Once, long ago, my good friend Shelby gave us a tour of her parents' home: one of those gorgeous old North Capitol Hill mansions. Her dad's home office -- a small room on an upper floor, with corner windows looking out over Lake Washington & filled with African sculptures, kid art, and loose papers strewn about everywhere -- struck me as a place I would like to draw. A few weeks ago, I heard that they going to move within a few months, which compelled me to the owner, Michael, if I could document that room.
Despite Michael assuring me he "left it unmolested" I was a bit devastated to see that all the papers and mess had been cleaned up before I arrived. Well, they are moving, and there was still a lot to take in. A clump of lanyards, relics of events pre-2020. Masks, elevated bowls, figures, and animals mingle on every surfaces. A few leftover scrolls of building plans lean over in the corner.
While my watercolor dried, Michael gave me a tour of his collection, which spans several rooms. He told me the origin of each piece: Ivory Coast, Yoruba, Congo. Also the purpose of each one: none of these were meant to be strictly decorative, despite how they decorate most of the house presently. I wondered a lot about where they came from and who might have used them. Michael has traveled the world, but spent a lot of his youth in Africa, and feels artistically connected to this form of sculpture. So do I! I love the personality of each sculpture -- each are so specific, but you can feel the specific emotion they convey with face and body language. The contrast and balance of curve and straight lines has been inspiration for my own drawing work for a long time.
Later, Michael and I ended up going out to dinner and talking about art and life! It was really fun to make that connection I never would have had without location drawing!
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