It’s been a busy summer for Sideways Gaze Signs!
Café Zydeco invited me back to finish the theme I started back when it was snowing – sea creatures playing Cajun music:
A new client, the adorable clothing shop Sora, had me paint their hours on the door, and hopefully there’ll be more creative work to come… I was grateful for the shade, painting on the north side of the block on a blistering afternoon.
Here’s Johnny Townmouse, carrying his picnic basket to the market on the window of perennial client, Red Rooster Home:
The businesses on that same block commissioned me to paint a dozen oak barrels, front and back. They are “branding” their block, North of Broadway, as “NOBO.” (I suppose it should be NoBro, but that would discourage about 25% of the clientele.) So I ordered a stencil – not something I usually do, but given that I’d be painting the same thing 23 times, it seemed worthwhile.
This job was a technical challenge – thanks to Sign Pro for the stencil, and Sherwin Williams for mixing and fine-tuning the paint and primer! The most popular passerby comments as I sat cross-legged on my dropcloth and painted logo after logo were:
- What does NOBO stand for?
- NOBO… don’t you mean HOBO?
My “uniform” of paint-spattered clothes lends a workingman’s invisibility, as people who would normally ask me for money, don’t, and many people who would normally greet me, don’t. I get a lot of positive comments, since sign-painting is a spectator sport, but my favorite reaction is a child watching transfixed, unashamed to stare. People are kind. “Hey sis, you got some paint on your cheek,” a homeless man points out. An Oxford regular, frequently plastered, offers to pick me one of the sweet red strawberries growing in the top of the barrels, hidden among the flowers. And I’m on a first-name basis with Troy, the local mailman, who is always interested to see where I’ll pop up next.
It took some gymnastics to reach all the barrels, which were filled with gravel and dirt and plants, thus impossible to move. A couple required me to weave my trunk through bike racks to get the necessary angles…
I also took a drawing class this spring, again with Bob Phinney at the Lifelong Learning Center. The homework was a sketch every day. I wasn’t quite that diligent, but here are a few favorites among dozens of sketches.
The class included techniques for drawing people without staring at them and hence creeping them out. The most fascinating tactic: look at your subject for a second, shut your eyes and stare at the afterimage burned into your eyelids, then look down and draw FAST – everything you can remember from the hovering, ephemeral shape. Drawing from memory is handy, especially for objects in motion – animals, little league players, hipsters.
Soon I’ll be branching out into sandwich boards, metallic copper paint, and perhaps some earthy interior work for a massage therapist… stay tuned!