Wednesday, September 25, 2013


9/25/13 Platinum Carbon ink, watercolor, 140 lb. Strathmore paper
Freelancing from home is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because of the freedom and flexibility. It’s a curse because of the freedom and flexibility.

I had hit a mid-afternoon slump and was hoping for a distraction. Right on cue, movement in my peripheral vision made me look out the window. My 84-year-old neighbor was standing on his rooftop, peering down into the chimney! He looks fit and healthy, and I know he does a lot of handiwork, but it makes me nervous to see anyone walking around on the slanted rooftop of a two-story home. His awkward stance, one foot on each side of the roofline, was just asking to be sketched. I tore my eyes away just long enough to go get my sketchbook. Unfortunately, he was done peering into his chimney, and I got back just in time to see him walk down and start to slide slowly down the slope! He managed to stay in control of his footing, and all I could sketch was him squatting by the gutter.

9/25/13 Chocolate Brown ink, 100 lb. paper
I was both disappointed and relieved when he got off the roof a moment later – disappointed because I wanted to keep sketching him, and relieved that I didn’t have to call 911.

But watching him from that angle somehow reminded me of the black locust tree that my friend Alice, who lives 10 blocks north, had suggested I sketch several months ago. (Isn’t the mind a wonderful thing? I had completely forgotten about her suggestion until that moment.) At the time, the tree was just coming into leaf, and she had said that its intriguing shape, which she saw regularly from her front porch, would probably interest me.

I had work to do and shouldn’t really go out. But if I don’t take my car, it doesn’t really count as going out, right? So I grabbed my bag and decided to take a walk 10 blocks north. The tree was easy to spot: Even fully leafed, it still had an interesting shape. I made a mental note to come back this winter to catch the bare branch shape that had originally attracted Alice’s attention. (Edited 1/4/14: I went back today to sketch it; all the leaves are gone, but now it's full of "winter buds.")

Oh, look – it’s almost dinnertime. I guess I’ll call it a day.

1 comment:

  1. You had a productive sketched, you walked, you worked...and your neighbor is in one piece. You captured his crouch by the gutter really well. Enjoy the rest of your evening.


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