Thursday, June 18, 2020

Houses of Maple Leaf

6/13/20 Maple Leaf neighborhood

A couple of years ago I began a series of sketches to document the architectural styles of my Maple Leaf neighborhood. Most were “portraits” of individual houses I found especially charming or that exemplified the various styles I see around here. I usually stood directly across the street, and on warm, sunny mornings, it was sheer delight (and extremely challenging, I might add) to spend close to an hour trying to capture these homes.

I continued the series last year, and my intention was to keep going this summer. But now I don’t feel I should stand on the sidewalk for an hour while pedestrians may be trying to get past me safely. Stepping 6 feet away each time I see someone coming is difficult to do while sketching.

I’m undeterred, however. I am taking notes on houses that face in directions that I can find safe spots to stand for a while. And I have also changed my approach to this series. The sketches do not all have to be color portraits as I have made in the past. Quick, small sketches also tell a story, especially when shown together.

Above are three small sketches I made while standing on the corner of Northeast 80th Street and Fourth Avenue Northeast. Eightieth is a busy, noisy arterial that leads to the freeway entrance, so pedestrians rarely walk where I stood. Within 15 minutes, I simply pivoted to make each sketch. I’ll let you decide which one is not like the others, but they all tell the story of Maple Leaf architectural styles.

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