|5/30/18 Maple Leaf neighborhood|
In addition to teaching me about the architectural styles in my neighborhood, my current series on Maple Leaf houses is teaching me about some of my neighbors. They can be funny about what I’m doing (and I don’t mean “funny” in a ha-ha kind of way).
A few weeks ago on a sunny Saturday morning, I passed this lovely Tudor that I’ve admired many times for its round porch and faceted conical roof. I had made a mental note to sketch it for my series someday – on a weekday (keep reading and you’ll understand why). On this Saturday, however, I spotted a large planter that was placed in such a way as to block cars from pulling into the driveway. Sharply cast shadows defined the planter in an interesting way, so I pulled out my little red Field Notes to sketch it from the sidewalk.
|5/12/18 In front of the driveway of the house above.|
I hadn’t been at it for more than a few minutes when I noticed that the owner had peeked through the drawn curtains. She came to the front door, stood in the doorway and said, with an unfriendly, suspicious expression, “Can I help you?”
Smiling, I responded: “Oh, no – I’m fine! I like the interesting shadows on your planter here and felt like sketching it,” and immediately turned my sketchbook around to show her. She eyed it suspiciously from the porch, gave me the stink eye, and closed the door.
When I had first started sketching houses in my ‘hood, I went out without regard to the day of week. I noticed, though, that on weekends when people are gardening, washing their cars, and doing other tasks outdoors, I am more likely to attract attention. Although no one had confronted me, I decided that I would avoid potential suspicion by sketching houses only on weekdays when everyone is at work.
My intuition was right. I’ve talked to others about it, and the ones who have sketched residences concur that some owners don’t like having their “property” sketched without permission, even if the sketcher is standing on the sidewalk (public property). Not wanting to get the stink eye again, I waited for a weekday before I returned to this Tudor and stood safely across the street to sketch it. (I think only her cat was home, sitting on the windowsill.)