25 June 2016

Storybook Houses

There's a row of houses in Burbank that I've always wanted to draw. I drive by them regularly--they're on Hollywood Way, close to the entrance to the Warner Bros. Studios lot. I've always thought of them as the houses of the Seven Dwarves, because they're so tiny and so funky looking. But...I'm always in a hurry to get to work, so I never stop.

This morning, however, I woke up at 6:30 feeling energetic and inspired to do some urban sketching, so I decided to jump in the car, go draw the houses, and then try out a breakfast place in Burbank that is so popular I have never been there, because the line is always out into the parking lot. I drove to Hollywood Way, found the row of houses, and encountered an unexpected obstacle--no parking! I finally found a spot in front of two of the houses; they are spaced out along the street, two or three together, flanked by other, more regular-looking housing, and then another two or three in a row.

My original plan was to do several of them at once, but I forgot the big sketchbook in my haste to get out the door, and had only my 9x9-inch one, so I settled for exploring the details on just one. I remembered to put in "entourage," as James Richards calls it, by adding the dog walker, which is intended to give scale and interest.

I drew the house, and then watercolored. I was pretty pleased with myself, because all I brought with me is my Altoids tin mini-palette, which has only four colors in it (blue, yellow, rose, and brown--I forgot to refill the turquoise), and I managed to mix most of the colors I needed fairly adequately.

After I finished, I drove up the block and around the corner to Bee Bee's on Pass Avenue, and got there by 8:30 a.m., only to discover that people in pursuit of breakfast at their favorite place apparently wake earlier than I normally do on a Saturday--the place was packed, and there were about 30 people standing outside waiting for a table!

So instead, I drove home, made myself some scrambled eggs and potatoes and a big cup of coffee, and relaxed on the patio. And all of this before 9:00 a.m.!

21 June 2016

Octopus Garden

The Beatles' song prompt was "The Octopus's Garden," which would probably lead most people to think about an under-the-surface scene with waving fronds of seaweed, but I've been thinking a lot lately about changing the composition of my boring back yard, so it took me to a different place. I've always loved gardens where there are converging beds and paths, with a destination point in the middle (or multiple destination points, if there's room)--well, let's face it, what I'd really like is to have the Versailles gardens in my back yard!

Thinking about the octopus made me remember the wagon wheel gardens I had seen, where each spoke was a gravel or tree bark path, and the spaces in between were dedicated to different plants and flowers (many times herbs), so I decided, why not an octopus shape for a garden?

I didn't think sufficiently about proportions when I was drawing the underpinning, so the arm paths are a little too wide, the garden contents a little too small, and the furniture in the central head is out-of-proportion tiny to the rest of the stuff, but I couldn't resist putting in a bench, a couple of adirondack chairs, and a fire pit to give the guy a face.

Larger spaces between four of the legs were dedicated to roses on one side and vegetables on the other, and the rest are filled in with a variety of herbs (thyme, sage, rosemary, parsley, basil, marjoram, parsley, scented geraniums), decorative cabbages, lavender bushes, and a strip to grow cut flowers for the house.

I doubt I would actually do an octopus garden in my yard, but what a fun exercise!

Micron pen, watercolor.

19 June 2016

Say cheese!

Today's prompts on Every Day in June are: "Say cheese!" (that's the random one) and "Hello Goodbye" (that's the Beatles' song prompt). This picture works for both: I think his response to "Say cheese" is clearly "What?! MY cheese!" And it works for "Hello Goodbye" because someone is about to make off with the cheese...

Micron pen and watercolor, from a photo on the internet.

Sunday morning

When you're desperate for coffee and you have just banged your glass French press pot against the side of the sink and broken it, needs must find a solution! Here's mine:

It works just fine, actually, except that the coffee doesn't stay hot, so you have to use it quickly. Not a problem! Micron pen, watercolor, and a little bit of coffee in the shadow!