Monday, July 26, 2010

Swing Bridge, Sunset Beach, NC

I managed to complete one sketch while visiting with most of my family for a few days last week. Sometimes--okay--ALL the time-- you have to choose between drawing and participating.

We stayed at a beach house in Sunset Beach, North Carolina. There's a small, antique swing bridge to take you across the intracoastal. It's wood surfaced and operates like a large gate to let boats through, on the hour, 7 am - 7 pm and until 9 pm weekends and holidays. There was an old man named James on the bank, watching me and another artist work. He said that the bridge was modernized in the 50s when the mules who'd pulled the bridge back were replaced with machinery. What you can't see in this sketch is the huge concrete monstrosity that will shortly replace this little bridge. I've included the photo of the area below, as a contrast. It will make traffic to and from the little island much easier, but what will be lost? Maybe having to wait to get across meant that only people who really wanted to be there had the patience to get there. Not that I am against modernization, but...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

For Sale

This great looking old Thunderbird is for sale at my mechanic's shop. I really didn't do it justice here. I usually don't care to draw stuff without people in it, but this little slice of the garage was very interesting. Also, I couldn't leave as my car was getting the oil changed.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bar Out Back

I went to a bar on 1792 recommended to me by someone who knows of my fascination with dives. It was a dreary Sunday afternoon, and not many people had decided to come out. The bar sits across the road from Lake Monroe and is large; only one half of it was open. When we arrived, a band was playing loud and hard on an open air stage, but we chose to sit inside where it was air conditioned, if smoky. The beers are bottled and cheap: $1.50. I think the group in the sketch were regulars. They got progressively louder and more lively over the 90 minutes we were there.

This sketch was started before they got to that point; my favorite is the guy with the red bandana and the goggle glasses. His beard was worthy of ZZ Top, but had been trained into two long pieces with what I believe were hairballs at the ends. I didn't get close enough to see for myself, but the woman in the tank top grabbed scissors from behind the bar and threatened to cut the hairballs off since, as she said, he had 'too many balls'. I was wondering how far it would go; she was pretty insistent they be cut off and he was equally set on preventing her self-appointed barbering task. Disappointingly, she eventually put the scissors back when he thrust out both arms full length at her face.

The light coming in from the windows was very difficult to work with- it was bright enough to make it difficult to see details of the people sitting at the bar. I'll choose another time of day the next time we go.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fourth of July, Part II

After a damp fireworks display in Sanford, we somehow ended up at the Tin Lizzie Saloon on First Street in Sanford. It doesn't serve anything besides beer and those weird hard liquor coolers. Oh, and jello shots, courtesy of the bartender. Mine was melon flavored, I think. The cigarette smoke was thick and a John Wayne movie was on one of the televisions. The jukebox was playing and a woman was dancing, beer bottle tightly clutched in her fist. She alternated the dancing with enthusiastic smooching of the old man on the right at the end of the bar. Not sure if she knew him or not. The whole scene felt like a Heironymus Bosch redux. I was closely observed during my sketch by a very drunk man named Robert on my right, who also insisted I sketch him. His compliments on my work, although hard to make out due to his advanced state of inebriation, were nonetheless appreciated. These kinds of places are fascinating to me, but I don't know why. I think it has something to do with my perception that they are people living on the edge of society and sometimes slipping off the cliff. It's like they've stopped playing by the rules, something I wish I could do sometimes.

Fourth of July

Winter Park put on an Olde-Fashioned Fourth Saturday morning, so we went along in the hopes of hearing some Sousa performed. In between band and clogger performances, we got a very energetic DJ featuring music from the 50s/early 60s. He actually did the Twist a lot better than I am showing it here-I kept sweating on the sketchbook so the whole sketch felt awkward. The park was filled with mostly older people and very young families. The city also provided horse drawn carriage rides and a display of old cars. It was an oddly comforting scene, reminiscent of my childhood spent in rural Vermont, with our Fourth of July parades and town wide barbecues and fireworks.