Inspired by a wonderful urban plein air painting workshop and demo by one of my favorite artists, Randy Sexton, I sketched the main street in the funky little town of Crockett that houses his studio, Epperson Gallery and a tattoo parlor. Randy is one of the nicest gentlemen I’ve ever met, as well as a highly skilled and talented painter, and a gifted teacher.
Crockett is home to many oddball characters and funky old bars and shops. When I said I’d love to paint portraits of some of the local denizens he said he’d been doing just that, starting from when a professional model didn’t show up for a figure painting session. He and his fellow artists just popped in to one of the neighborhood dive bars and recruited a regular to come pose for cash and beer.
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.
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.
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.