Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Synthesis (The Lovers)

Over the days of 8-7 through 8-10.

Located on 19th between Valencia and Guerrero in front of a park where the Mission Pool and community center is.
On Friday I got the outline started, drawing alongside a friend whom I'd just met.
Got approximately the top half done in white outline.
On Saturday we came back to resume work on our different pieces
only to find that sprinklers (?) had come on during the night and done some damage.
The hand that Stella had drawn was almost completely erased, down to the fingertips.
The top of my piece was washed away, but I decided to rebuild it and finish the design.
(Even knowing for certain that it would be getting water damage)

There was a group next to us on the sidewalk, selling their wares, much the way many people do in the city, an un-official sidewalk flea market. Part of a hispanic family: a grumpy grandpa and a grandson and granddaughter, both teenagers.

It was a really pleasant place to be drawing on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, and I got the feeling that Grandpa didn't care for us being there, making art. (Maybe he thought we were 'homing in' on his turf, or would affect his business)
He did his best to discourage us at different times. First it was 'Hey you gotta get a get a permit for that!? The cops gonna come arrest you for graffitti.'
I explained that I wasn't worried about it; its legal, and I'd already talked to the police about it.
The two grandkids, who were really nice, made a point of apologizing for him, saying 'He's always like that'.
Then a while later he tried a different tack: ' Why you drawing that when it's not gonna last? It's just gonna get washed away, you're doing it for nothing.'
I told him thats why I take photographs.
A bit more time went by and he still hadn't given up.
'How bout those houses over there?' he points down the block. 'Can't you draw over there?'


This was, I believe, only the second time in several years that someone had attempted to bully me away from making art. I am a fan of directness. I try to listen to the words people put together and spot the meaning and motivation that they carry.
'Look man, do you not want us drawing here or something? This is a public sidewalk. And we were drawing here yesterday.'
He had no answer for that.

It turned out to be a rather heavily trafficked spot, being on the way to the entrance to Dolores Park. My drawing was large, and took up most of the width of the sidewalk. I did my best to keep out of peoples' way, and even wrote 'ITS OK TO WALK ON' on either side of the drawing. Still, a curious effect took hold: nobody wanted to walk on it. I suppose I should take it as a sign of respect, but truthfully it was a little irritating. I'm at the very edge of the sidewalk near the street trying to do my thing and stay out of people's way, and they keep walking behind me!

During the daytime, the kid of the family (who was 11, but a monstrous 11) practiced his rudimentary skateboarding skills, and we got him to play a bit of hack with us when we took a break.

My friend finished the dismembered heart she was working on and took off late in the afternoon. I pushed through and got the fill-in work done, exhausting as it was for the large area. At one point I got into a discussion with the mom and the grumpy grandpa about the work. They couldn't believe that I get paid for doing this.

I'm thinking of this one as a study for the Tarot image, 'The Lovers', though I may not use it for that. To get a decent photo I tried scaling a tree hanging above it. I was so exhausted by the day of drawing that I didn't go for the usual step of reforming the white outlines after the color layer.
It was great to go lay in the grass in Dolores Park afterwards.

The next day the sprinklers had done their damage, and the overall effect was a muddy mess. The color selection and lack of cohesive linework brought all the worst qualities to the front.

So, finally, today I felt compelled to go back and sharpen it up a bit. With a few minutes work I had redone the outlines, and it looked much better. I was even pleased with the effect of the water damage, partially erasing the faces of the figures in rivulets.

Pictures of all this forthcoming...

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