The scent of bay leaves perfumed the air as I sketched the John Muir House in Martinez. I love details and although I hear often that “good” art demands simplifying, I give myself a treat and break that rule whenever I please.
I intentionally drew the house with the top smaller than the bottom because that’s how it appeared to me, sitting close and looking up. Later I realized the palm trees also appeared to tilt in towards each other at the top. Drawn parallel, they make it look like the house is tilting back away from them. Oops.
I took a break between drawing and painting to explore the house and climb up to the attic lookout/bell tower. The view from there incongruously includes not only the lovely grounds with fruit tree orchards and gardens, but also the nearby freeway. You can see my friend Cathy’s sketches of the John Muir property (and the freeway) on our Urban Sketchers blog here.
John Muir is known as the father of our National Park system; he convinced President Roosevelt to protect Yosemite, Sequoia, Grand Canyon and Mt. Rainier as National Parks. My son Robin has been hiking the High Sierra John Muir trail in sections for several years now and has taken some amazing photos, including the one above. You can see more of the photos he took this year in the remote wilderness on the trail here, and here (including his cute dog, Nilla who was one tired pooch on that trip!)