Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Loading Dock

Yesterday my wife and I went to the supermarket. While she did the shopping, I sat out back painting the loading dock.

Gazing at the back of the market for a half hour got me thinking about how we divide our world into frontstage and backstage, parts we're supposed to look at and other parts we're not.  But from a systems point of view, the loading dock is really important, because it's where everything goes in. It's the mouth of the organism.
While I sat there, two people in supermarket uniforms approached me. They had spotted me from the picnic table where they take smoking breaks, or from the security cameras, I'm not sure which. 

One of them identified herself as the store manager. I was nervous, trying to muster an explanation. She said, "I'm just being nosy. Can I see what you're doing?" She was interested in painting. We remarked on the beauty of the spring day and then she and her associate went back inside.

21 comments:

David R. Darrow said...

...went back inside and called DHS.

James Gurney said...

David, no kidding! The events in Boston—and the way they were covered— don't make it any easier for those of us who roam around in urban areas with backpacks, gazing around in strange directions.

Rich said...

Not many painters to be found here - the store manager must have been dumbfound somewhat;-) The "beauty of the spring day" won't exactly manifest on that spot(except the blue sky above)

Suppose you could be placed on any spot in the world: you would manage to make an interesting, an appealing painting out of it.
Kind of Universal Gurney...

T Arthur Smith said...

You're one of the few artists I know who regularly finds great beauty in rust and asphalt. Great work!

nystudios said...

Nice foreshortening on that trailer.

Keith Parker said...

I tutor a young boy in drawing. His parents own a Chinese buffet, where I meet him every Sunday afternoon and have our lessons. Part of my pay includes is free meal. So I set down my doufle bag and went to the bar this week. When I returned to my seat with my plate a man approached me and asked if I watched much tv. I said no, not really. He then lectured me about what I already knew about Boston and the danger of people leaving bags unattended. My friend Richard and had a good laugh about it later.

JonInFrance said...

Yeah, and the marketing people want to keep the reality at the back - it's horsemeat at the bottom of the supply chain, and hey presto, finest beef in the photo on the box ;D

Sherry Schmidt said...

Love your piece, and I'm also drawn to the alley and utility pole type views. When I had a job and went to different markets it was that backstage thing I really liked, all being prepared for on stage!

Nathaniel Gold said...

Love this what kind of set up are you using with the tripod can you describe it. Looks different then the lap art I see you do in the films. Is this work in your moleskin?

James Gurney said...

Nathaniel, good eye. I'm experimenting with a new rig for holding up my Moleskine. I'll show how it works when I get it perfected.

Keith, that's an amazing story.

Thanks so much for your kind words, Rich, TArthur, NY, and Sherry.

Nathaniel Gold said...

Thanks James I look forword to hearing more about. I wanted to share my set up very simple but esaly portable.

http://nathanielgold.blogspot.com/2012/10/cotman-watercolor-reload.html

Gina Florio said...

I'm often confronted with this problem with watercolor plein air painting. You have probably answered this question before, so I apologize if it's redundant. But how do you get such straight lines in your painting?? I often want to paint scenes like this, but give up halfway through due to frustration at the natural curve of my own arm...

K_tigress said...

Looks exactly like the loading area at my local grocery store. I see that every time I go over there considering I always enter from the back of the store and the mall next to it when I'm on foot and sometimes in the car entering the parking lot.

James Gurney said...

Gina, that's a good question. I used two tricks for getting straight lines. For several of the big lines, both vertical and horizontal, I hooked one finger of the drawing hand over the edge of the sketchbook--quick, easy and reliable. I'll have to show that on video. For the small parallel verticals in pencil, I used the edge of my watercolor kit as a straightedge. It served OK, but I was wishing I had a ruler or a triangle.

David J. Teter said...

Beautiful watercolor James,
The simplicity and warms and cools balanced so perfectly, still waiting for a watercolor book of yours.

Wouter Tulp said...

Hi James,

Quick question, as I am experimenting with different outdoor easels. The one on your photo looks like a photography tripod. How is it attached to your canvas?

James Gurney said...

Wouter, The quick answer is that it's a homemade rig, made from a piece of plywood with a 1/4 20 nut attached to the board so that it fits on a tripod. I'm still working out the rig, and I'll post on it when I figure it out.

Simone said...

Oh so you're one of those representational art fanatics trying to terrorize the whole art world with good representational art. Good drawing and good painting do intimidate you know....

ANDROID said...

I love how you can make any drawing situation an intellectual experience. Your musing on back stage and front stage was great. Your blog is a wonderful reminder that it's not all about getting work done, but it is also important to think, to wonder, and dream.

Thanks, I check the blog everyday
-Andrew

Vicki Sergent said...

I am always more interested in what we are not supposed to look at rather than what we are supposed to. It is far more interesting. Around here oil rigs and industrial areas are fenced off so that no one can see--that and the "no stopping at any time" signs.

H-Tizzle said...

Calling the loading dock the mouth is pretty apt. I used to work unloading for a big box retailer, and it really is like that. Mealtime rolls around and all the food comes in to be mashed up and reorganized in the gut before sent off across the body by the blood.

Mealtime being second shift, food being freight, and blood being us poor saps pulling half-ton skids of bleach across the store!