Saturday, August 4, 2012

View from Chick-fil-A

I’ve only eaten at a Chick-fil-A once, and that was before they became tied to the issue of same-sex marriage. 

I don’t think the subject of marriage, or even sex, entered my mind when I ventured into a Chick-fil-A near Youngstown, Ohio. It was last May, in the middle of the evening after a long day’s drive from New York.


My mind turned first to sketching. I was trying to figure out how to paint the view of the sunset over the BP filling station across the street. Seeing the gas station made me think about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. I wondered whether people would forget about that disaster or whether the image of oily seabirds would be forever associated with the BP brand.

Eventually my thoughts turned toward food. I went to the counter and asked for a Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich. A young woman informed me that they didn’t have one.

I asked if they could make me one, and she said they had put away the ingredients. She was a nice girl, and seemed to be uncomfortable delivering the unwelcome news.

But wait, she said, there might be a Chicken Caesar Cool Wrap in the cold case in the back. She disappeared for a while and came back with a small packet wrapped in paper inside a clear plastic clamshell container.

Back at my table near the window, I peeled the wrapper and took a few bites between watercolor washes. I was as distracted as an iPhone junkie. Watercolor has a way of blotting all other thoughts from my mind. I stopped painting only to shake off the cheese shreds that had dropped onto my sketchbook.

The sunlight was dimming and the lights in the gas station were brightening, bouncing off the puddles left from a passing shower. I hurried to capture the fleeting light effect before the sun disappeared entirely.

13 comments:

Daroo said...

Excellent sketch.

The color and light FX are great but I also really like that your drawing choices (shapes and the texture created by the relative size of those shapes) add to the ethereal and fleeting nature of the sunset.

Carol said...

Excellent sketch.
Excellent comment.

Anonymous said...

i love the color - it really captures the feeling of fading light...

Connie Nobbe said...

It's a lovely little painting! It should be on my wall!

JulieD said...

I'm especially attracted to those power lines. Nifty!

jeffkunze said...

Nice painting James but what are you doing in Youngstown OH after dark!?
:)

Anand Upadhyay said...

I go to the Youngstown one all the time! I wish I could have met you.

tiffannysketchbook said...

I like all the implied details. nicely done!

Sherry Schmidt said...

Love this, gorgeous colors and mood.

John B said...

Great watercolor sketch... lovely color. I guess you are using the watercolor penciles that you mentioned... I'm hooked and want to try them

Connie Nobbe said...

Next time you do a plein air watercolor painting in a restaurant, please snap a photo of your set up. I would be interested in seeing how you juggle the supplies and the mirky paint water at a restaurant table. I would like to see that and learn from it. :)

en_b said...

Consider that fleeting light captured!
Really good one.

frankgrauillustrator said...

Wow, what a great mood you've captured! I miss traditional media.