On my ventures out to sketch, I’ve probably walked by this van a hundred times and never without briefly looking over to admire it. The lines of the body, the windows, and the utility of its design capture my imagination for a moment and become one more piece of my life in San Francisco, where Volkswagen vans still abound. My walks around the city, not only looking for subjects to sketch or paint, are spent forming a relationship with life right here and now. I’m recording the small things that are special and meaningful. I feel a great devotion to things, whether it’s a van or a shadow cast over the rooftop of a house that I otherwise have no connection to. The places and things that I pass by on my way through life leave fingerprints on my mind and memories. Maybe that’s why drawing and painting have become so important to me. Each drawing represents a tiny fraction of how I look at the world.
Corners and rooftops extending up through the sky have grabbed my attention. A window in partial shade stood out to me on a walk and while a painting of the whole house might give more information, I felt like there was something interesting about the window on its own. The reasons I’m drawn in by certain images feels like a mystery. Not a mystery that I’m obsessed with solving but one that I’m glad to explore with paint and pen. More tomorrow…
When I walk around the city, my eyes seem to jump around to the hard cast shadows. It’s become a habit now that we are in the middle of spring. The sunlight and shadows make for interesting shapes and colors. Visually, I’ve always been drawn to contrast and hard edges so I’m grateful for the sunshine while we have it. I’m still planning to make daily updates here and doing a new 4″ x 4″ watercolor painting each morning. So far, it’s a nice routine and I really appreciate your views and comments.
I painted a corner apartment building one block south of Haight-Ashbury today. I find myself drawn to this neighborhood over and over again. It has a feeling to it that’s hard to describe. The hippies, artists, and musicians of the 60’s have mostly moved away but there is still a feeling that something important happened here and is, maybe, still happening. Artistic types and free spirits still wander along Haight Street and give off a strange vibration that they are a part of something or maybe they’re up to something.
Over and over, I walk along and turn the corner, drawn to the tree lined streets adjacent to Haight, and I feel something for the buildings and the sidewalks. I feel like so much cultural history, art, and music came from people living behind these walls. And it’s still alive, extending out into an unknown and unpredictable future. I’m going to keep making drawings and paintings of those streets and houses, so please check them out and let me know what you think.
I’ve been playing around with different ideas of what I’d like to share in this space and it’s led me to a couple of thoughts. First, posting on a daily basis is very rewarding. I posted my drawings each day for a week a while back and felt good at the end of each day knowing that I finished what I set out to do. Knowing that the drawings would be online put a little pressure on the process, which also had a positive effect.
Secondly, daily posts make this more like a journal and tell a story over time. This blog is a chance to share and get feedback from people around the world. I hope that my drawings and paintings give an impression of the part of the world I live in and this is a way to share them.
As a result, I”m planning to post one of my 4″ x 4″ watercolor paintings here each weekday for the rest of April. Some will surely be rough and less finished than others but I’m looking forward to seeing how they evolve over time. A lot of my focus is on painting the buildings and places around my neighborhood but I’ll be branching out to new subject matter as time passes.
Here is the first of what I hope to be many.