Drawing Ink and watercolor wash Life in general Painting Sketchbook Pages Watercolor

Found on a Walk

Found on a walk #1, Ink & watercolor
Found on a walk #1, Ink & watercolor in large Moleskine watercolor book

One of the advantages of a semi-urban neighborhood is the wealth of detritus that can be found on a walk to bring home and draw. Near the end of my daily walk is the “cat house”: a mossy, old cottage on the edge of small “urban park” (empty lot with grass). The homeowner is a kind soul who feeds the cats who live in the “park”. She also puts out bags of unwanted “free” stuff.

My first find of the day was one of those “free” bags—full of books in great condition. I selected the above, a 1963 edition of “You Can Draw” with dust jacket intact, Joan Didion’s “Year of Magical Thinking” which I’ve been wanting to read, and a funky old edition of “Everything that Rises Must Converge” by Flannery O’Connor. I appreciated the title’s nod to perspective drawing and a quick browse of the book intrigued me to read more.

The little symbols around the edge of the sketchbook page above were my experiments to create a little signature/date symbol after seeing the marks that some of the artists in “An Illustrated Life” used in their sketchbooks.

Found on a Walk #2, Ink & watercolor
Found on a Walk #2, Ink & watercolor in large Moleskine watercolor book

When I’m walking I’m attracted to shiny things and remants of life I find on the ground. These bits include the seemingly racist “Pancho Lopez” wrapper for a pre-paid phone card, a losing lotto ticket, a claim check for “Latham Square” and a piece of a dog-walker ad.

Found on a Walk #3, Ink & Watercolor
Found on a Walk #3, Ink & Watercolor in large Moleskine watercolor book

Lastly, some holiday remains: a bit of an already abandoned Christmas tree, a piece of fluff from a Santa hat or stocking (?), fall foliage and some little seed pods.

It was a great walk; a bit blustery and it started to sprinkle as I reached home, ready for a hot cup of coffee and the drawing table.

9 replies on “Found on a Walk”

If only I felt well enough to go for a walk. I am enjoying your ‘catch up’ sketches to finish your sketchbooks. I’m thinking I might like the illustrated life book too; might have to treat myself!


Marta, I’m so sorry you’re still not feeling well. I’m sure you would like
the book, and it’s definitely a treat! Probably my favorite and definitely
most inspiring art book I’ve bought all year!


What an amazing collection of objects you get when you intentionally look, during a walk. Also I do like the idea of someone putting out bags of stuff they don’t want. When we were kids a few of us used to go to the ‘tip’ to collect old china, etc. Nowadays you are not allowed to ‘browse’. There’s so much we throw away that other people might like.


Wendy, I too used to like to browse at the “tip”. I had little money when my
first son was a little and the little store at the dump was great — I’d buy
him things that he could take apart, like old typewriters and clocks, as
well as toys in perfect condition. To this day he still has a habit of
taking things apart.


Great STUFF! Danny did journal pages with things found during a walk – numerous different chairs on the sidewalk waiting for the trashman. I love seeing so many journal pages from you!


You are having a great week of painting! I like how you categorized your finds. In my stocking on Christmas I found a little book of photographs of chairs left out on sidewalks in St. Louis. Each photo has a caption. Number 19 shows a picture of an old office chair next to a public telephone with the caption, “She never calls anymore.”


Maybe it’s the inherently nosey gene in all of us, but sketchbook “doodles” and whimsies interest me so much more than perfection. (Not to say I don’t also appreciate that!)
A lovely way to end your year and fill your books. Good fortune and happiness to you in 2009, Jana.


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