Drawing Ink and watercolor wash Life in general Richmond Annex Sketchbook Pages

Ripping It Up for New Beginnings: Two Johns

John Deere & Porta John, Ink & watercolor sketch of tractor
John Deere & Porta John on my corner, Ink & watercolor

They’re tearing up all the streets in my neighborhood which were already horrible. There are so many potholes I often drive with one wheel on the center double yellow line since that is the only part of the road not in shreds.

The city had deferred maintenance for the past couple years, waiting for funds to replace the water lines (requiring street demolition) and then finally to pave them. The federal money finally arrived (thanks Obama!) and now the workers are out in force ripping up all the streets (in between their lengthy breaks every hour to stand around, smoke, snack and shoot the bull).

This seemed a fitting image for one of the last few pages of my journal since I’d done some tearing up and rebuilding of my own (figuratively) during the months it was in use. (More about that next time.)

I was sitting on a corner near my house sketching this near sunset when a nice, ordinary, family man who lives on that block (with a perennially messy front yard), wandered over to see what I was doing, reeking of marijuana. He showed me a wooden burl bowl he’d just carved and we talked briefly about the joy of creativity and then he wandered off again.

P.S. Not that anyone cares, but I was curious what this tractor thingee was called so I looked it up. It’s a backhoe-loader, a fun word to say out loud. It sounds like a line in a country western song.

14 replies on “Ripping It Up for New Beginnings: Two Johns”

I am so slow this morning – I couldn’t work out why your post was called two Johns until I went back to relook at your picture.

Great urban drawing, showing the reality of your life at the moment. I hope all the noise and disruption ends soon.


I wondered if anyone would figure it out and thought about explaining it but thought it might be fun to see if anyone makes the connection as I did. It’s funny to hear that you’re slow this morning because it was a good reminder to me that if I don’t want to be slow for my morning I better get to bed! It’s half past midnight here.



Love the backhoe-loader! It looks all ready to GO!

As soon as I opened the page, I knew exactly why you had given your post its title. 😉


I do like a laugh to start my day (after my coffee. Of course.)
Yes, I spotted the other John, too. I passed one on a building site the other day and some wag had painted “site office manager” on the door. 😉

And with this new comments box perhaps my URL will show!


Doesn’t everyone have a porta-potty and a tractor thingey sitting in front of their house? On the topic of johns, I had a classmate many years ago who had a toilet in his front yard that was used as a planter. Being green didn’t just start yesterday…

Great sketches as always:)


So great to hear from you! I thought about you and your artwork all the time I was cooking dinner last night. I don’t know what inspired that but it made me want to come see what you’ve been up to first chance I got (far too long for me too). Jana


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