One afternoon last week I sat with new watercolor crayons to sketch the front porch corner of the house my sister and brother-in-law built on the 2.5 acres they’ve come to call their “Hobby Farm.”
I knew my hand and eye would be rusty, and I disliked the mismatch of watercolor sticks to the blue-gray wash on their house, but I tried a semblance in love.
I admired the craftsman style carpentry, eyed the angle of the roof, noted the detail in the soffit, and thought about the southern sky back lighting. I was so challenged to lay out the major beams, looking up into the afternoon that I began to lose my sense of vertical. I got lost in the wonder of wood siding worked this way and that. I didn’t realize the strong vertical needed for perspective was unavailable by the time I drew the front porch step rail. I hadn’t stepped back to notice things were quite a wobble off ninety degrees.
But I gazed at the rocker John built in his shop, a chair that has presided over after dinner tea many summer nights. I loved getting the hollow of the inside porch roof and the living room window. I remembered rocking, when the day cooled and sipping decaf Constant Comment, watching the bats come out to fill up on insects with the back splash of sunset on the mud floe hills.
I recalled the comfort of that porch when I sat with real water colors, for an entire morning on day in July, just messing around. Now my crayon sketch loosely showed the line of poplars and a few pines in the skyline, hinting at the garden rail. Peggy’s garden is a whole other world. I sketched her daphne bush in bloom by the front porch, and one of the many clay pots with fascinating rock garden plants; succulents, sedum and things I admire but have no name for.
After I put my crayons down, I brushed a bit of water over parts of the sketch. I wanted colors to blend, but keep an open, breezy feel. And the funny flop of the front porch rail became okay with me. Sigh. I have not done a realistic drawing in so long.
I filled the left two thirds of the page, but the house and porch drawing faded to plain paper on the right. I wondered when I finished if that was just being arty or if there should be some words on the page.
This evening I have enjoyed remembering my sister’s place and the rest it afforded over break last week. I gave the drawing some words. I wanted to celebrate the love and care they put into each detail, into the horticulture and the craftsmanship.