64. Chasing a boy

64-smWhile 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?’
‘Sydney.’
‘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.

62. The house has been turned around

62-smWhile 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

60. I doubt I’ll ever see him again

60 small

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

 

59. A gaily coloured sundress

59 small

While I was drawing this I heard, over the sound of my podcast, a noise behind me and turning to look I saw a woman wearing a gaily coloured sundress staring down at me.
‘Ooooh,’ she said, ‘ooh!’
I smiled up at her as she smiled down at me.
‘Hello.’ I said.
‘Is that the house over there?’ she said, pointing to the house I was drawing.
Because she was so smiley I didn’t shittily say something like ‘cant you tell?!’
Instead I said yes, it is.
‘Wow,’ she said, leaning forward to get a closer look, ‘that’s some talent you have there.’
I told the woman thank you and continued smiling up at her until she stood up straight, said thank you to me and wandered off.

Today’s podcast: Cocaine and Rhinestones- Wynonna

58. Labradors

58_smallWhile I was drawing this 2 women, both leading Labradors, passed in front of me.
The first woman was wearing a wide brimmed straw hat, and large sunglasses.
‘Hello.’ she said.
Her dog, an oldish ochre-coloured chap, looked like it had some kind of fur disorder, it being clumpy and patchy.
I was feeling like having a break, so I hoped the woman might stop and chat and I’d ask her about the dog’s fur.
But she didn’t.
After her a woman leading 2 blond Labradors passed by on the other side of the street.
One of the dogs let out an aggressive bark.
‘Oh, stop it would you!’ I heard the woman say as the dog strained at the leash.

Today’s podcast: Criminal- The Tunnel

55. Ron

55While I was drawing this nothing much happened until I was finished, when I got into a conversation with a person who came out of the house next door.
‘His name’s Ron,’ the woman had said when I asked who it was who lived in the house, ‘and he’s the best. He walks with a cane but he still insists on taking out our trash cans.’
‘Nice,’ I say.
‘Yeh,’ she said, smiling ‘he’s been married to the same woman for like 50 years.’
‘Woah,’ I said, ‘good effort.’
‘He told me that on their first date he bought her flowers,’ she told me, ‘but she told him she hadn’t asked for them and threw them into the back seat of his car.’

Today’s podcast: This is Love- Anna and Massimo

51. Suspicious

51.JPGWhile 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.

32. The Boxer

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

31. I don’t have time to do it now.

While I was drawing this a yellow taxi (Prius) pulled up to the house next to where I was sitting drawing.
I watched it for a few moments but nothing occurred: no driver got out and no passenger got in, though I did hear the raised voices of women from inside the house calling ‘We’re coming, we’re coming!’
About 15 minutes later the driver walked over and stood off to my right, looking down at me and my drawing.
I heard him say something so I took my earbuds out and said ‘Excuse me?’.
But he said nothing, just nodded and smiled.
I turned back to my drawing, and then the man, who was tall and slim, bald and wearing a white shirt, red tie, well ironed gray slacks and aviator sunglasses, spoke again.
‘Nice,’ he said, ‘very nice.’
‘Thank you.’ I said turning to him.
He asked me what it was for, and I told him about the hundred houses.
‘I’m at 31.’ I said, feeling a despair at how many I still had to go.
‘I paint,’ he said to me, ‘landscapes.’
‘Oooh really,’ I said, ‘what kind?’
‘Mainly I like mountains and trees around here,’ he told me, ‘but I don’t have much time anymore with this.’
He swept his arm around toward the taxi, as if he were a game show assistant pointing out the prizes to the contestants.
‘Do you go outside and paint?’ I asked
He told me no because of time constraints, but he took photos and painted from those.
‘What do you use?’ I said.
‘Mainly oils,’ said the man, who didn’t move, was just stood there stock still, ‘ though sometimes I do sketches in acrylics or watercolors.’
I told him I did not do oils because they took so long to dry.
And then I explained to him how the pastels worked, that I could build layer upon layer, like paint, fixing them in between, eliminating the need for pesky over night drying.
I picked up a bright yellow pastel I had been using on the bushes and made a long wide on my drawing board.
‘Look how delicious that is,’ I said, picking up the can of fixative, ‘and now I can spray and go over the top with another color.’
The man was watching intently, but not saying anything.
‘Get a good fixative,’ I said, ‘this is 36 dollars on Amazon for 6 cans. Not top of the range but very good.’
Then I demonstrated how far back to hold the can, sprayed, waited a few moments for drying, and then made some marks on my drawing so he could see the wizardry that are soft pastels.
When I looked back up the man was smiling and nodding.
Just then we heard a noise and looked over to see 2 very old women coming one after the other down the path with walkers.
‘You takin’ a picture of my neighbor’s house?’ said the 2nd woman.
‘I’m drawing it,’ I said, ‘not a photo.’
‘That’s what I said, takin’ a picture of the house.’ the woman repeated, and rather than argue with an elderly stranger, I said yes.
‘I just got a lesson.’ he said, and the women laughed,
Then he said goodbye and thank you and went to help the women.
‘I picked you up one time before, I think.’ I heard the man say to one of the women.
‘Oh?’ yeh she said without looking up at him or stopping to converse, ‘I don’t remember.’
Then the man helped the very slow old women get into the taxi, and I watched him put their walkers into the back.
I turned back to the house and my drawing, but I was interrupted again by the man who bent down in front of me, holding out his phone.
“Here,’ he said, ‘these are the roses I take photos of to draw later.’
On the screen of his camera were photos of 4 pink roses and I said ‘Nice’.
Then he swiped the screen and showed me a rather good painting of a mountain with some snow on its peak.
‘You painted this?’ I said, ‘It’s very good.’
‘Yes.’ said the man, smiling.
‘Excellent.’ I said.
‘Yes,’ said the man, ‘thank you, but I think I’ll get some pastels because oils are so slow and I don’t have time to do it now.’

Today’s podcast: Sword and Scale Episode 118, all about a very nasty guy.