While I was drawing this a man in a car stopped in the middle of the street, right in front of me, leaned out of the window and said- ‘What colour would you paint that relief there up above the window on the right?’
I looked up at it.
‘I’d leave it white,’ I told him, ‘otherwise it might stand out too much.’
‘Originally it was brightly coloured so I want to paint it.’ he said.
‘Well, maybe paint it the colour of the doors and window sills.’
The man looked up toward the relief, and then back at me.
‘I really don’t know.’
‘There’s a website called kuler,’ I told him, ‘it’s an Adobe website, and you upload an image of your house and it will generate a palette of colours based on the house, and you could choose something from the palette to paint it.’
‘What was it called?’
‘Kuler,’ I said, spelling it out, ‘from Adobe, you know, the software company.’
‘Okay, thanks.’ he said, sitting there in the middle of the road, his car idling.
‘Where are you from?’ he called out to me.
I told him.
‘Thought so.’ he said, ‘My daughter’s just gone there.’
‘Nice.’ I said, ‘Where exactly?’
‘What for?’ I asked him ‘Work?’
‘No,’ he said, ‘chasing a boy.’
Then he shook his head and laughed.
Then a woman came out of the house and got in the passenger side of the man’s car.
He turned to her.
‘She’s from Australia.’ he said.
‘Oh!’ said the woman, leaning forward.
‘Our daughter’s just gone there.’ she said, loudly.
‘I know,’ I called back, ‘she’s gone chasing a boy.’
We all laughed at that, and then we said bye and they drove off down the road and I looked at that relief above the right window and pondered what colour I would paint it.
While I was drawing this a man pulled up in front, in a Tesla.
Opening the door, he noticed me and called out ‘Am I ruining your view?’
I told him yes, so he shut the door and moved.
‘Why are you drawing this house?’ he walked over and said to me after he’d parked on the other side of the street.
‘It has good light,’ I said, ‘and a lot of trees.’
I asked him if he lived nearby and he told me he lived in the house next door to the one I was drawing.
‘Is it from the 50s?’ I asked him.
‘1948,’ he said, ‘and all the houses in this street were designed by the same architect.’
‘Oh yeh?’ I said.
‘Gregory Ayn,’ he said, ‘and all the trees were planted the same year by a landscape architect called Eckbo.’
I looked around at the houses.
‘They’re all the same design?’ I asked him.
‘Almost.’ he said, ‘but if you look at the one behind you, the front door is in a different place and the house has been turned around.’
Today’s podcast: Swindled- The Tour
While I was drawing this a woman in a Tesla pulled up in front, obscuring more than half the house.
I thought she might have been waiting to collect one of the schoolchildren that were wandering across the park where I was sitting.
But no child got in her car.
She had parked in a red zone and this was the reason, I imagined, that she had her flashers on.
I surmised by the tilt of her head that she was looking at her phone.
It was a good 20 minutes before she pulled away.
‘Fucking Tesla!’ I thought.
Today’s podcast: Swindled- The Whistleblower, Karen Silkwood
While I was drawing this a woman driving a big white car called a ‘Le Sabre’ stopped in the road in front of me, leaned across to the passenger seat, wound down the window and called out: ‘I’ve got some art stuff I’m going to give you. It belonged to a friend of mine but I doubt I’ll ever see him again.’
I paused my audiobook and said oh, okay, thank you.
She got out of her car and came around to the trunk, opened it and pulled out a large drawing pad.
‘Here,’ she said, dropping the pad down on the ground next to me, ‘there’s this.’
Just then a car pulled up behind her, but she didn’t acknowledge it and the fact that she was blocking the road.
Instead she opened the passenger door, leaned in, and from the floor, withdrew a pencil and handed it to me.
I looked down at it.
It was a carbon pencil and seeing it made me glad because earlier in the day I was contemplating buying one to start a drawing of my girlfriend Amy’s dog.
Then, without further ado, the woman, who was in a blue singlet, had cropped brown curls, and was wearing a sarong with tassels along the hem, got back in her car.
I watched her drive off as I sat fingering a page of the pad, which was newsprint.
Today’s audiobook: Jen Sincero’s How To Be a Badass
While I was drawing this a man in a white SUV reversed into the driveway.
I had no idea where he went after parking because the car was partly obscured by a large tree.
About an hour later a man and a woman came out of the house and without even a glance, drove off.
How odd, I thought, such a lack of curiosity that you wouldn’t approach someone who was sitting opposite your house drawing it.
Today’s podcast: Swindled- The Implants
While I drew this nothing much happened.
A postman delivering mail said hello.
A man collecting his mail from the mailbox said hello.
A woman and a man passed by with a stroller and the man, who was wearing sunglasses, smiled and said hello.
And then later a man went up the red steps and spoke to a woman who came to the door holding a baby.
Today’s podcast: Stay tuned with Preet- What’s Life Worth with Ken Feinberg
While I was drawing this I heard a noise (through my earbuds, over the sound of the podcast I was listening to) and turned to see a man with an unhappy look on his face standing on the grass of the house just behind me.
‘Sorry?’ I said, removing my earbuds, ‘What was that?’
‘What is it you’re doing there?’ he called out.
‘I’m drawing.’ I called back to him.’
What are you drawing?’ he asked, walking toward me.
‘I’m drawing that house across the street,’ I said, ‘that one there, the pink one.’
‘Oh okay, well…’ he said.
‘I know it can look suspicious, someone sitting in the street like this.’
‘Yes,’ he said, ‘it sure does look suspicious.
The man said nothing else, just turned and walked across the grass toward his house.
I watched him walk away.
Today’s podcast Bear Brook, Episode 1.
While I was drawing this a young man passed in front of me on the path leading a very large Boxer on a leash.
The young man, who looked to be between 28 and 32 and was wearing shorts and sunglasses and talking on his phone, seemed not to care that the animal had pulled him to a stop and was standing with its face about a foot away from mine.
‘Hello nice doggy,’ I said, leaning back slightly, keeping my voice chirpy and dog-friendly.
The dog didn’t wag its tail, didn’t even move: it just stood there, as if it was made of concrete, staring at me intensely with a smile on its drooling lips.
Even though the young man was deep in conversation, he must have been paying attention to the animal because he held the leash tight enough to prevent it licking, or bitting, my face .
I didn’t want to touch the dog in case it was riled to strike, so I continued with the friendly words until the young man yanked on the leash, and him and his salivating beast walked away.
Today’s podcast: Oprah’s Master Class- Alicia Keys
While I was drawing this a woman came out of the house behind me and, on hearing her over the top of my podcast*, I took out my earbuds to listen to what she had to say.
‘Wow,’ she said, ‘wow, that’s really beautiful.’
I said thank you to her and she asked me if I was drawing it for the people who lived in the house.
‘No, I just go about the place drawing houses.’ I said, and I went on to tell her about my hundred houses project.
‘What number is this?’ She asked me and I told her it was number 30.
‘Do you do other kinds of art too,’ she asked, ‘like big things?’
I told the woman, who had her hair pulled tightly back and was wearing shorts, Nike trainers and a pink tee shirt with the words of an educational establishment across the front, that I did big things, and waited for her to tell me what kind of big things she meant.
But she didn’t.
Instead she said- ‘You know because me and my friends we like art.’
‘Oh, okay,’ I said, ‘would you like me to give you my website address so you can have a look at what I do?’
The woman said yes, and I gave her my name and number, which she put into her phone.
Just then, I heard a man’s voice calling from the woman’s house, and I turned around.
‘Shawana!’ I heard the man call out.
But I could not hear the rest of what he said, as Shawana had turned and was yelling something back to him.
After a few moments their discussion finished and Shawana turned back to me and told me she would be in touch, and I said fine and we said our goodbyes and I went back to my podcast, slightly challenged at having to draw around the car that had been parked in front of the house about 20 minutes before by a grinning woman who had exited it carrying a coffee in her left hand while waving at me with the right.
Today’s podcast- Karina Longworth, You Must Remember This: Hollywood Babylon, D.W Griffith and the Gish Sisters.
*Today’s podcast: Every Little Thing- ARRRRR Pirate Legs really A Thing?