Toilet seat display, ink & watercolor

Toilet seat display, ink & watercolor

Who knew it could be fun to sketch at the hardware store? There were laughs (see end of post) and artistic discoveries galore at our Tuesday night sketchcrawl, now forced to go indoors for the winter.  When I first arrived I started to ask  one of the  helpful employees that Pastime Hardware is famous for, about the part I needed for my toilet. Before he could show me where to find it, my phone rang with the ringtone I made from the Cake song “Never There” (click below to hear the ringtone).
An employee who was standing nearby said, “Hey! That’s Cake.” and then began whistling it. Throughout the evening I could hear him whistling the tune from all around the large store, which gratefully, is one of the few stores in existence that does not play annoying music 24/7 over the loudspeakers.

I had no idea how many differently shaped toilet seats there are. I discovered that looking at the negative shapes between the seats helped me to better find the shape of each seat. Then, looking more deeply and trying not to generalize, I discoverd the piles of boxed and/or wrapped toilet seats on the shelves behind the display. And then I noticed and added the pegboard behind that. I fell in love with the pretty color I mixed from cerulean blue and yellow ochre for the pegboard. This, to me, is the joy of sketching in a nutshell: seeing more and more deeply and the fun of making lines and dots and shapes and playing with color.

Next I faced the opposite direction and drew and painted these large metal watering cans up on a tall shelf.

Watering Cans version 1, ink and watercolor

Watering Cans version 1, ink and watercolor

When I got home I glued a bit of my receipt (from the toilet flapper I bought) to the edge of the page in my sketchbook (above). Tonight I thought the page might look better with a dark background so I added some ink, didn’t like that, and then painted with gouache over the ink to get more what I had in mind. (The receipt is still there, I just didn’t scan that part below).

Watering cans, ink, watercolor, gouache

Watering cans, ink, watercolor, gouache

The last sketch I did was of Cathy sketching a row of hand trucks in the room filled with bins of nails. I messed up her face but fixed the FAIL by pasting another piece of receipt over her head.

Last Sketch of Cathy Sketching

Last Sketch of Cathy Sketching

I would have liked to sketch more but it was nearly time for the store to close. It had been a lot of fun, and I enjoyed the comments and questions of passing employees and the few customers shopping on a very quiet Tuesday night. Cathy said that when she was sketching outside the employee break room she overheard employees talking about us and saying, “There’s a lady out there painting… TOILET SEATS!”

At 8:45 a man announced over the loudspeakers:

“Good evening customers…and… ART STUDENTS [giggle]. The store will be closing in 15 minutes so please bring your purchases to the [giggle giggle] cashier …[giggle]…”

…and then laughter ensued throughout the store, employees, customers and us artists alike! It was a slow night at Pastime, with twice the employees as customers, so I’d like to think they enjoyed our company as much as we enjoyed theirs.

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Category:
Art theory, Drawing, Gouache, Ink and watercolor wash, Life in general, Painting, Places, Sketchbook Pages
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Join the conversation! 19 Comments

  1. This story is so funny. What a great idea – invade a shop and paint whatever is about. Certainly the workers there must have had some laughs.
    Keep up the great work!
    Wendy

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    • We are having to get creative about where to go and I find it interesting to see the kinds of responses we get — ranging from a sort of “this does not compute” look to people wanting to chat about how they can’t draw a straight line. Jana

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  2. A perfect evening. It broke the routine of employees moving customers through an assembly line, so rushed and automatic, and they saw you as individuals and wondered about you and painted toilet seats, and one even picked up a contagious tune to keep him company. Viva artists!Q
    annie

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  3. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post – what fun! I’m going to have to try out your excellent idea. Your drawings are really good too!

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  4. Thank you for the morning smile, Jana! How lovely to have had an enjoyable and fun evening of sketching, but to have also shared that with others.

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  5. What a neat story! Thank you for the morning smile you gave me. I totally can imagine myself in my local Ace Hardware sketching paint cans and lightbulbs to an amusement of the staff. They are good to me there, I am almost sure they will not laugh 🙂

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  6. Thanks for making me laugh today!

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  7. Loved this. You have so much fun. My mother who is 86 does this with a friend in Jackson. They usually sit in a restaurant and draw the people. I will have to suggest she go to a hardware store – although sadly there probably isn’t one in Jackson now because Lowe’s moved in.

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  8. Another whimsical super composition good job once again!

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  9. No doubt, i wish I could have joined you.

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  10. fab fab fab!
    love al of these, Jana, especially the loo seats.

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  11. Great story and sketches, Jana. The part about drawing toilet seats reminded me that you never know where you’ll be when enlightenment strikes.

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  12. LOVED your sketchcrawl at the hardware store – great drawings and a fun posting! I wonder if I could get my art buddies to visit one?

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  13. Now that’s an idea! Sounds like it was a lot of fun for EVERYONE!

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  14. Hi Jana, You’re sketch crawl experiences are both funny and inspiring! Love the drawings too!

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  15. […] sketches. Who knew that toilet seats hanging on the wall could be subject matter for art? (see it HERE) Near the end of the evening, the clerk announced with a chuckle over the loudspeaker: […]

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