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 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 says, smiling ‘he’s been married to the same woman for like 50 years.’
‘Woah,’ I say, ‘good effort.’
‘He told me that on their first date he bought her flowers,’ she says, ‘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

54. A woman parked her car in front of the house

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While I was drawing this a woman pulled slowly up to the curb and parked in front of the house.
I put my pastel down and hoped she would look over at me and I could ask her to move on.
But she didn’t.
Instead she opened the back door and took out a small white folding chair, and then walked into the house next door.
I sat there for a while, slightly annoyed, but then went back to work, drawing from memory what was behind the woman’s car.

Today’s podcast: The Daily- Corroborating E. Jean Carroll

53. Phone

53.phoneWhile I was drawing this a woman and a man, dressed in sports clothing, sunglasses and baseball caps, stopped in front of me.
‘Wow, that’s really…’, the man said, before I cut him off, pointing to my headphones waving my hand, and mouthing ‘I’m on the phone’.
‘Oh, okay.’ said the man as he and the woman both smiled and continued on their way and I went back to my phone where I was simultaneously talking to my friend Barb over in the Valley, and arguing with my girlfriend about dental floss via text.

Today’s podcast: The Daily- The Legal Vulnerability of Roe V Wade

25. I Just Love Seeing Creative People

23While I was drawing this a car pulled into the driveway and an elderly woman got out, walking with a stick.
She looked back at me several times, but the angle of her mouth told me I should not wave hello.
So I went back to my drawing and podcast.
About half an hour later a short man with dark hair and moustache drove up and parked his car in the front of the house next door.
He got out of the car and, while walking up the driveway, looked over at me a few times.
I waved, but he didn’t wave back.
‘As miserable as the old woman!’ I thought to myself.
Then around 10 minutes later a large silver SUV stopped right in front of me and a woman leaned across from the driver’s side and shouted something.
Because I had my earbuds in and was listening to AC/DC with the volume way up, I had not heard what she said.
I took my earbuds out and called back to her asking her what she had said.
‘I just love seeing creative people do their thing!’ she said, a big smile on her face.
‘Thank you,’ I said smiling back at her, ‘I just love creating.’
At this we both laughed, and then the woman said, ‘I’ll let you carry on then.’ and I waved and she drove off.

Today’s playlist: AC/DC playlist, including Thunderstruck, Back in Black and You Shook Me All Night Long

24. I Suppose It’s Creative

BED686E9-970A-4446-9259-B4421AC92D04While I was drawing this a woman and a boy drove off from the house behind where I was sitting, and about 15 minutes later the woman returned alone, and came and stood by me and started talking to me.
I took my earbuds* out and said hello and she told me how much she liked my drawing.
‘Do you live there?’ she asked me looking toward the house, and I told her no.
‘Are you doing it for money?’ she said and I told her no again, and then as briefly as humanly possible, I told her about my hundred houses project and told her that she would be today’s story.
‘Oh, oops,’ she said, followed by ‘I should get out and do some drawing, but I…’
‘Oh,’ I said, ‘do you do some art?’
The woman, who was twirling her car keys and wearing what looked to be track pants, a flimsy tee shirt and bare feet, told me that she had done art a long time ago, but that now she worked on Photoshop, inside.
‘So I suppose it’s like…you know,… creative.’ she said.
‘These are soft pastels,’ I told her, ‘have you ever used them?’
The woman said no, but that she would like to.
‘You should try them,’ I told her, holding one up toward her, ‘you have to get really good ones, though, and really good fixative.’
‘I’ve never drawn on black,’ she said, nodding toward my paper, ‘that’s a good idea.’
Then she told me about a friend of hers who painted on trash, and who had then done an exhibition of made up album covers, and that Spike Jonze had come to his exhibition.
‘Michael Stipe came, too.’ she told me.
‘Oh,’ I said, a feeling of minor envy rising, ‘nice.’
‘Must be great to, you know, just… follow your dream.’ she said to me, ‘Do you draw all day?’
‘No,’ I told her, ‘I’m only up to number 22.’
Then I told her about my ‘day job’, and how and where I live, and that it allowed me time to draw, and she said oh that must be cool.
And then I asked her what she did in Photoshop.
‘I create layers, and colours, and you know, backgrounds so I suppose it’s… creative.’ she said, still twirling her keys, ‘but it’s not like what you do.’
‘But what’s it for?’ I asked her, and she told me it was for ads, mainly, and that once upon a time she used to come home covered in acrylics, and the bath would be covered in paint but now she uses a computer and a stylus.
‘So you went to art school?’ I said.
‘Yes.’ she said.
‘You should come drawing with me,’ I said to her, ‘I go out for a couple of hours at a time, and if you come with me you would be forced to do something.’
The woman smiled and asked me my name.
I told her my name and she held out her hand and I shook it and she told me her name, and then I told her my number while she put it in her phone, knowing full well she’d never call me, let alone come drawing with me.

Today’s podcast: Classic Desert Island Discs- Victoria Wood

16. The Old Man in the House

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While I was drawing this, a couple (man and woman) walked along the footpath behind me and stopped and began to speak.
‘Ooh, let’s have a look.’ the man said.
I turned to my right to look up at them, at their baseball caps and big round sunglasses, their polo shirts, and their grinning white faces, as they stood their looking at me down in the gutter grinning back up at them.
‘Oh, look at that,’ the man said and pointed at my drawing, ‘my, that’s pretty!’
The woman said nothing, no noise, not a nod of the head.
Only grins.
‘Is that chalk?’ he asked.
I set him straight by telling him it was soft pastel, and made a stroke on the paper with one I was holding between my fingers.
‘Much softer than chalk,’ I told him, ‘look how smooth.’
‘Uh-huh, uh-huh,’ said the man, who now had his hands on his hips, his legs slightly spread, and was nodding and looking down at the paper, ‘Uh-huh!’
I hadn’t turned my podcast* off for this disruption, so after the man made a few throwaway lines of encouragement at me, and told the woman ‘let’s go, honey’, I went back to listening and drawing.
Then around 20 minutes later, as I was nearing the finish-line, a man walked along behind me and said- ‘Oh, I don’t want to startle you.’
I laughed and told him it was fine, he hadn’t startled me because, out of the corner of my eye, I had seen him coming.
The man, who was wearing a white baseball cap with a small logo on it, a white polo shirt, shorts and sock and trainers, stopped and laughed and told me he liked my drawing, and that he thought it was beautiful and that I’d gotten the light right.
‘Do you live around here?’ I asked him, and he told me no, and that he’d only be around for a bit longer.
‘I live in Houston.’ he told me when I asked him where he lived.
‘Do you know who lives in the house?’ I asked the man, who was standing to my right, slightly out onto the road, looking straight down at me with his hands folded behind his back.
He looked back toward the house, which had cracked paving, and patchy uneven lawn where the roots were bulging under the earth, and a porch empty of ornaments, unlike the other houses in the street.
‘I believe an older gentleman lives there, alone, but the neighbours all look out for him.’ he said.
‘Oh, that’s lovely.’ I said.
Then he asked me if I would sell my drawing to the man in the house.
‘No,’ I said, looking up at the man, ‘I go about the place drawing houses, you know, where the light is right. I’m going to move neighbourhoods soon, though, I need more trees.’
‘Oh, I see,’ he said, ‘but what do you do with the drawings?’
‘I’m drawing a hundred,’ I said, ‘and I’m up to 14, and when I get to 100 I’ll have an exhibition.’
‘Oh, I see, wonderful!’ the man said, smiling.
‘Yes, and I write little stories about the people who stop to talk to me while I’m drawing, so you’ll be this drawing’s story.’
‘Oh,’ the man said in a slightly raised surprised voice, ‘really?’
‘Here’s the address.’ I said, and I told him the address of my blog, ‘Can you remember it?’
‘Yes,’ he said, ‘I’ll remember that.’
‘Good,’ I said, ‘You can read about yourself!’
Then we both smiled and said some niceties to each other and told each other to have a good day, and he left, and I went back to my drawing, giving the grass a bit more green, the paving a bit less crack and adding a few red and white flowers that perhaps the old man in the house might have liked.

*Today’s podcasts: Trumpcast- All that Kushner Money
  Sword and Scale: God’s Plan