I was luckily tapped to do the sketches for this years home tour tickets. Follows are a few thoughts on the process over a few days:
6730 BOB O’ LINK
Midway through the frustrating first hour drawing this first home on the tour list, I realized that something was dreadfully wrong. I’d worked out the angle, the focus or feature that spoke to me most: (the white bright horizontal lines of the upstairs porch set over the dark interior verticals of the door and windows). I couldn’t get my rhythm, my flow… had my sun hat, nice chair, all the mark-making devices, nice paper taped to a lightweight board, the placement of the house on the page…What?… (This is always a pivotal point in a work…don’t quit, persevere, problems are opportunities, right? ) About to flip the sheet over once again, it came to me: Dude, remember?! You don’t draw al fresco sitting down! Stand up fool! I positioned my truck just so, the tailgate my easel and let go. From this new vantage I first spied chickens (I keep clucks too!) and the addition (?) in the back and I knew I had it!
Every drawing is a puzzle to solve (the hard/fun part) and then it’s a bunch of work (the perspiration bit) As I drew, in the back of my mind I kept trying to place the build date. Had a lot of clues, but nothing I could put a finger on. Great house and the eventual knowledge that this was a relatively new construction relieved my curiosity.
6843 LORNA LANE
I’ve always loved this house. International style still holds sway even after 20-30 years of appreciation. Probably because I grew up in a garage and early espoused Bauhaus principles.
I knew I wanted to reveal the ziggurat of the three casement window bays on the left but was really intrigued by the tasteful pool addition as well. Couldn’t have both without resorting to some cubist/photo montage trickery…tradition won out. The windows drew themselves, erasing and scribing, really exploring the tempo and relationships the house revealed. I was surprised to find a third window on the right of the central column, a hh…stairs perhaps? And on and on…Love the pebbles skirting the nice magnolia tree out front, windows obscured my more skinny trees. What a handsome spread!
6729 LAKE CIRCLE
I’d scouted and located all the tour homes the weekend before, noting features, approaches, clues…This place I just couldn’t get a handle on. Eight AM breakfast tacos and coffee across the street waiting for inspiration as the sun climbed. Whole Foods tacos aren’t that great, turns out, my home brew tepid, ugh…wait…Ok what do we have here? Roof peaks and roundish awnings…that’s it! New, old, remodel?? Arrows pointing to the sky and graceful curvaceous eyebrows shading the entries. Got it. I set to work racing the extreme early morning shadows. Searching for and discovering the base core to set my examination: the vertical just to the left of the front door. Bam! Stark shadows reminded me of an Edward Hopper drawing I’d seen years ago. I’ll go with that. What’s important? I’m here to sketch a house not foliage, so I just suggest what’s there and focus on the charming elements that are featured. Nice curved drive, the structure of the deck hand rails, the massive glass garage doors that almost transcend their function grounding the left side of the home.
A wonderful beginning to day two drawing. Dread turned to joy finding the answers. Great place.
3613 VINTAGE PLACE
What house? That was my thought when I finally figured out this new street. Impossible, it’s all trees! Whew! Spent three hours crouching, peering under through and around all the branches and leaves to reveal a stately, highly featured, stepped back structure. Aligning my sights to the left of massive portal, I was closer to this house than all the others yielding a glimpse, a looming monolithic presence. Deciding to ignore and merely suggest all the wonderful plantings and trees I embraced the almost romantic nooks and historical nods in windows, columns, wrought iron, cast stone, tile roof and stained glass…what a pleasure to pull things out. I’d had my doubts.
I’m addicted to drawing these vague leaf structures somewhat obscuring the abode. Draw, fill in, erase back, smudge, repeat…feels good deep down. Plus it sort of entices viewers to look beyond the trees. Very rewarding.
6735 WESTLAKE AVE
What a piece of land! I walked back and forth, sat on the opposite curb eating an apple, thinking, then an orange, wondering, analyzing, searching for the best view. I’d need a scroll to contain it all! Really interested in the left side (again, hmmm). Liked the journey from garage thru a sort of pergola up to the enormous slate-roofed manse. But it didn’t feel right. Never a fan of symmetry, but realizing I’d not done a straight on view, I perched myself smack dab between the welcoming bollards and saw it: a proud, pale agave silhouetted on the rich, dark main entry. Just that alone warrants future exploration.
Great, this will work. Unfortunately, as I discovered it became hot soon enough out on the street. The shade I’d begun with moved with the passing day. My sweaty hands working in concert with the charcoal to create curious textures. This was a 3 quarts water drawing! Gave it a deep blue sky to set off the slate, crowding the page to suggest the immensity of the place. Wonder what’s in the back? Classic 20’s?
Tokalon, Tokalon, Tokalon…just love saying it! Loved the street since I first got lost there years ago. Expansive corner lot, some newer bits round the bend. I’d have to depict the house super tiny to encompass it’s entirety. I chose the old formal entry with the gently curving stepped approach. This place is deceptively complex. Kept discovering new features like the octagonal cupola -like turret jutting past the slate roof. Ivy everywhere, overwhelming details, so much, could have drawn all day long.
Albert Scherbarth 7 October 2011 Dallas
Super excited to be on a development team to bring this short story to life as a book or an animated film.
The visuals were just so vivid, couldn’t stop drawing. Not really my style, sort of conjured up this mess, kind of oozed out.
It’s basically a story of paradise, twin daughters, jealousy, contempt, bad magic, destruction, retribution, atonement . . . you know, classic creation-type, “how’d we end up here in this mess?” stuff.
More to follow, we hope.