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.

Drawing, Ink and watercolor wash, Life in general, Richmond Annex, Sketchbook Pages
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Join the conversation! 14 Comments

  1. 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.



  2. Hi Jana, love the drawing. Backhoe loader made me laugh – it should definitely be a country and western song!


  3. 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. 😉


  4. Trust you to make art from disarray and chaos!!!


  5. A gorgeous, lively sketch, Jana – all little boys love these machines, don’t they. Over here we tend to call them simply ‘diggers’. LOL


  6. Terrific sketch of two Johns and a backhoe loader! It’s going to be a mess for a while, just keep in mind the end results!


  7. 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!


  8. I love your rendering. Who thought someone could make a back-hoe and a potty house look so pretty! Love your work! Please keep it coming!


  9. 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:)


  10. Wonderful sketch, Jana! It seems like your colour palette is getting bolder and brighter since I last visited (sorry it’s been too long).


    • 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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