Afterwards I met up with my artist friends Patrick O’Brien (left) and Armand Cabrera (right).
Armand and I set up our pochade boxes to paint the Chinese restaurant across the street from the bookstore. Jeanette stood, holding her watercolor sketchbook. There was a steady stream of curious spectators on the busy sidewalk behind us.
Two guys stopped on their way to delivering beer to a pub called Buck’s Hunting and Fishing. They wondered if we were having a painting contest. (photo courtesy Patrick O’Brien).
Here are the Three Stooges deep in concentration.
An old man stopped beside me. He folded a newspaper and put it under his arm. “Something you might want to know about that building,” he said. “The guy who owned it in the 1940s baked German pastries for President Roosevelt. He baked them right there in that building.”
“Didn’t someone have to taste the food to make sure it wasn’t poisoned?” I asked. He just laughed. “It was different in those days.”
One by one the chefs from the restaurant ran across Connecticut Avenue to see what we were doing. They commented among themselves in Chinese. After they returned, a big cloud of garlic smoke billowed out from the exhaust vent.
A little kid came by, dragging his mom. “That’s AWESOME,” he said.
A woman with a shiny purse said, “Why are you painting that place? It is the ugliest building around here.” Then she looked at my picture. “But you made it look beautiful.” I told her that I tried to paint it just the way it was without changing anything.
Here’s my painting in two different stages. Some of the construction lines, drawn in umber with a bristle brush, still appear in the block-in at left. At right was how it looked when I quit.
The painting wasn’t really finished, just abandoned after about two and a half hours. Near the end of the afternoon, the sun popped out from behind the clouds, bleaching out the pink and green colors of the awning.
Tomorrow: Backlit Bare Branches