Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cozy Architecture

Great architectural doesn't always equal heightened experience. I had a moment just yesterday in a small hole in the wall in Port Townsend, Washington.  I liked that it was off the main historic drag.  No tourists.  This place was called the Owl Sprit and it was a warm cozy saffron colored surprise from the ice cold gusts of wind pushing against my face.  There were a group of 4 gray haired men with North Face coats on *seems to be the standard uniform here* seated at a matchbox of a table right in front of the door which they asked Jeffrey to kindly close once we got in.  A nude painting of a woman placed above a well worn arm chair across from an upholstered chair from another era, perhaps from a rummage sale next to the Christmas tree farm along a street named ECOLOGY.

The dark curly haired owner was behind a hand hewned wool shellacked counter chatting it up with some bearded flannel loveing guy eating alone. But he was far from alone.  I took one look at Jeffrey and said "Yes, we must eat here!".  Look I know this is not a travel blog but there is something to be said about creating warmth in a space.  I happen to love to eat.  I am very picky about my food.  I liked the fact that the owner was chatting and preparing in front of his audience.  One of the older gents literally just called out his order of the "famous chocolate chip cookies".  Serious decisions were made when I saw the soup.  It was saffron and super thick and the owner was ladeling it out into a bowl. They only had beef stew and a pumpkin. In my book I knew this place would be the bomb!  I hate when you go to a place for soup *let's just clear it now that Arizona chefs do not know how to make soup* and they have a million kinds. You know they come straight from some frozen plastic bag. Uggg. Nasty.

Well, as you can guess, the beef stew was amazing, OK. Amazing.  I was in a zone of pure happiness.  Everything was freshly baked at this place.  We even had French pressed coffee. No plates or mugs matched.  The owl painted on the wall with two mermaids twined together was cool too.  As far as me and murals go.  The glass dimpled orb lights from the 70's were glowing gold and staggered in height. In a place this cold in the winter, you need a place to go to warm up and feel welcome.

What will you be wearing to the New Years Lord of the Rings Dance Party at Under Town coffee house in Port Townsend?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Concrete Pour

This was taken a couple weeks back at The Center for the Arts in Phoenix, Arizona.  Brycon Construction is the master of ceremonies on this project.   The contractors were getting ready for the concrete pour for the following morning. If I could just spend the entire day watching them build, I would. You know it.  Actually, I would eventually start helping them. What they are standing in will be the new elevator shaft.

You should be really happy right now that I don't know how to program a soundtrack of Any Williams "Happy Holidays" for this blog.  I loved that song for all time until I just watched him singing it. It was better not knowing how he smiles. Like a cheeky banana.

The only name I know in the photo above is Steve.  He challenged me to be there for The Pour at 5:00am the next morning.  I could barely sleep the night before. I kept going back and forth.  How crazy am I?! It was worth every minute of sleep I lost.  Steve wore salmon corduroy pants.  For knowing that the pants would get splashed with gray muck, that is pretty fashion of him.  Points for Steve.

This slot trough is the future concrete foundation.  Some guy was amazed that I was there to watch. He said "I get to do this everyday!"  Well, he said it with a period at the end.  Everything happens so fast.  If the mix is too runny or too thick everything needs to be re-done. The structural engineer who was there said he has seen when those wood form works just bust open when the concrete is poured.  Brycon's formwork was super strong.  

The guy in the orange vest is using a vibrating stick machine *good name for a band* to get all the air bubbles out that could really mess up the job once it is all set and dry. 

The white metal channel is how the concrete comes out of the truck. No I didn't take a picture of the truck. Just get over it OK!

Never wear leather boots on a morning like this. I tried to enjoy Ran's stories of making his friend get into a head injury sledding on a metal disk on a snow covered road pulled by a tractor but I just couldn't deal. I tried standing on a 2x4 but that did not help. My toes were frozen. I took shelter in my car and watched the sun come up.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Buckeye Park and Ride Ribbon Drive Thru

I just noticed how the bus message board says "Special".  Yesterday was a  SPECIAL day.  December 15, 2011 marked the completion of The Town of Buckeye Park and Ride.  Serbin Studio was the architect of record for this project.  Mayor "Jackie" Meck is seated in the bus drivers' seat.  

I hid under the silo separating sugar packs for the coffee from Dunkin Donuts and Donuts from Fresh in Buckeye.  There were about 100 +/- people who showed up at 9:00am for the event. I liked how Deanna K. Kupcik, President of the Buckeye Valley Chamber of Commerce removed the 5' tall scissors from the table and told me that the Transit Bus was going to drive through the ribbon instead.

Verylene Meck speaking with Jeffrey Serbin *looking quite dashing* under the Silo.  She is always after me to wear red lipstick. She seemed happy that I cranked it up to bright pink.  She was irked that I wore pink lipstick with my hand knitted red scarf though.

The lovely Sharlyn Hohman, Grand Dame of Goodyear, Arizona.  I made sure she got the invite. She is the President of the Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce.  She was beaming this morning at the Bill Jonson's morning breakfast.  Thank you for coming Sharlyn!

The sweet lady in the red sweater is Pat Rovey, past President of Buckeye Women's Club.  Her cousin Dwight supplied the Silo.  Goodyear Councilmember Joe Pizzilo with Dunkin Donuts coffee.  The gorgeous lady in the coral jacket is Amara Pederson, Marketing Goddess with Hunter Contracting.  Amara pick up the donuts.  Thanks Amara! 

This reporter from the Arizona Republic actually interviewed me! What the Halo?! Did anyone pick up the paper today? I still need to go check.  I was a bit tongue tied but then I just focused on a mountain in the distance and all the metaphors came at once. Rapido!

Give it up for the men's fashion!  Buckeye Councilmember Craig Heustis on the right is killing it with the fedora and trench.  Goodyear Councilmember Gary Gelzer was BOMB *can't believe I just went to Cabelas to look up what that hat is called*! 

There is Jackie, Mayor Meck posing for the millions of cameras.  Nice hair lady.

I was definitely happy and pleased.  Sean Banda the Associate Planner for Town of Buckeye and I posed with our pointy shoes. He was rocking turquoise socks but you can't see them.

Special thanks to everyone that came.  Thank you to Hunter Contracting, Overton Builders, W.C. Scoutton and Town of Buckeye who made this project happen! 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Unpredictable Colors Drying Together

This is the latest watercolor that I cranked out.  This rendering is for the City of Phoenix for the Center for the Arts.  This project is under construction as we speak!  As I got started I knew I wanted to create a sense of place on the lawn in front of the main entrance.  Sense of place means lots of people doing real things.  You must understand that you will never find the same group of ontourage *technical architectural term that means drawings of people* in my watercolors. Each watercolor is unique in that way.  It is staged for how I see the place being used.

Staging my peeps takes longer than anything.  Each group of people will be traced 3 times.   The first trace is on my grand light table *big as a coffee table*.  I want accuracy in my peeps.  I like to see cell phones, fashion forward apparel and nice hair.  

This is how it starts.  See this lady trying to eat her lunch in peace?  This was taken by me when I was with Jani at Harvard Yard this October.  Nobody seems very happy at this place and most peeps wore dark drab colors.  

You can see the first trace which is on buff paper *technical term for transparent cheap paper on a roll*.  I cut the tracing out and literally arrange the person to scale with the architecture. I usually have my favorite peeps in all of my watercolors.  I can tell you right now that I dispise the man walking behind this Harvard lady on the bench.  He looks like he just got off his TV couch and has onion breath. I don't like biking girl either.  Her shorts are so 80's.  I never like the computer generated ontourage.

After I stage all the peeps, trees and shadows on my original pencil staged drawing *had to be there*, I again trace everything to the final watercolor paper.  This is how she turned out. The guy in the back has a cantalope head growth. This time I used my original photo from Harvard Yard to help me with what everybody was wearing. I stayed with dark blues and grays and then let the architecture speak with the rich terra cotta paint.  Um, three coats.

I like how the sky and grass turned out.  I start with those first.  I always despise my watercolors until the shadows are painted on. Shadows are the eyeliner of any watercolor. The contrast of sharp detail against unpredictable colors drying together is quite sublime.

I wonder if the Harvard lady will ever find out?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Freshly Squeezed Color

It's hard to settle on which pic is the juiciest.  I just returned from a site visit to the Town of Buckeye Park and Ride.  Jeffrey had mentioned that the canopy paint colors were a little explosive.  For the last couple of nights I had dreams of possible solutions.  If it was a watercolor I could just go over with a layer of shadow.  Once I got out there I was feeling harmony over the color.  Ok, beyond harmony. Shizaaaaaam! Totally HOT don't you agree!

The headgate is in place.  I would have liked it to look more beat to hell rusted and such but I guess over time it will happen.  Once the baby grasses take root they will wave their grasses in the sun and be the analogy for the ever flowing water in the Buckeye canal systems.

I love how the concrete is glistening in the crisp morning air. I wanted to run right through it and make a body impression. I totally should have.  I would be banned from the ribbon cutting ceremony so I didn't do it.  Are you bummed over that now?

Check out the day glo bag on the concrete foundation. Really works with his orange vest. He is working it.

This is what I mean by juicy. Freshly squeezed concrete.

I am so happy we went with cool grey on the parking shade canopies. It is so right it makes me crazy right now.  Like the 500 piece lego set I bought. I specified all the pieces to be gray.  Kind of dismal for children.

The Grande Canal the Buckeye way.

This is juicy too. No not the crew.  Check out the colors.  Look up.

Um. Juicy.  At first they wanted to take out the sprinkler pipes but now that it is done,  it looks perfectly "Buckeye".  

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Day with Herman

Thanksgiving Day.  It is quiet.  Not one phone call *except for Erik my brother wondering what time we need to drive to Phoenix it be with the Townies for Thanksgiving*.  I took this photo of myself laying on top of this rocky mountain about a 5 minute hike from the Serbin Studio home office. 

I am thankful that Serbin Studio is. had been the choice fate of Pierre to have been born and bred in the country.  For to a noble American youth this indeed-more than in any other land-this indeed is a most rare and choice lot.  For it is to be observed, that while in other countries, the finest families boast of the country as their home; the more prominent among us, proudly cite the city as their seat.  Too often the American that himself makes his fortune, builds him a great metropolitan house, in the most metropolitan street of the most metropolitan town.  Whereas a European of the same sort would thereupon migrate into the country.  That herein the European hath the better of it, no poet, no philosopher, and no aristocrat will deny.  For the country is not only the most poetical and philosophical, but it is the most aristrocratic part of this earth, for it is the most venerable, and numerous bards have ennobled it by many fine titles.

*um...bard is a poet, just so you know, and plebeian is one who is or appears to be of the middle or lower order*

Whereas the town is the more plebeian portion: which, besides many other things, is plainly evinced by the dirty unwashed face perpetually worn by the town; but the country, like any Queen, is ever attended by scrupulous lady's maids in the quise of the seasons, and the town hath a brave dress for every week in the year; sometimes she changes her dress twenty-four times in the twenty-four hours; and the country weareth her sun by day as a diamond on a Queen's brow; and the stars by night as necklaces of gold beads; whereas the town's sun is smoky paste, and no diamond, and the town's stars are pinchbeck and not gold.

Herman Melville, Pierre; or, The Ambiguities, published in 1852.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Benbow Veterans Memorial Dedication

November 11th Veterans Day marked the dedication for Benbow Veterans Memorial on Mainstreet Buckeye, Arizona.

When I joined the Mainstreet Coalition last winter, Ron Noble, President of the Buckeye Mainstreet Coalition handed me a concept sketch of what he envisioned for the Benbow Veterans Memorial. When I first looked at the drawing I thought, "How lucky am I to give some input on this local project!" 

Watercolor, Lara Serbin,2011

The presentation watercolor and many other drawings were presented to the Buckeye community to gain approval and momentum. To learn more about  Benbow Veterans Memorial check out this article featuring Ron Noble, the President of the Buckeye Mainstreet Coalition.

Ron Noble, President of the Buckeye Mainstreet Coalition

It is quite wonderful to see the reflections as one stands in front of the black granite memorial wall.  What you see here is the first phase of construction. As more funds are raised, further phases will be constructed.  Do you have a loved one who served in the military?  Bricks pavers are being sold now for $50.00 each to raise money needed to finish the project. Serbin Studio has order forms if you are interested in purchasing a brick.  Please contact Lara Serbin if you are interested.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Silo

The Town of Buckeye Park and Ride construction site.  A project design by Serbin Studio Architects.

I got the chills as I looked at these photos this morning. OK, I wasn't there when Hunter Construction was craning this silo into place.  I am chained to this desk reviewing shop drawings for another beauty about to be built.

This is my baby silo. Do you remember when this silo was just an idea on watercolor paper?  I have to admit Jeffrey and I were hoping it would fit the day this was happening.  Do we really want to be on site when they are lowering this thing into place?!

I have to get down there to check it out for myself.  This is a very proud moment.

Special thanks to Rob McGee from W.C. Scoutten of Goodyear Arizona who sent these great photos.  Loving what the clouds were doing too! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Construction Progress at Buckeye Park and Ride

Howard Blomker with Hunter Contracting drove me in his truck full of contractor things *one of those doors that felt like trying to shut a bank vault* all over Town of Buckeye Park and Ride construction site last week.  This project is the idea and inspiration from the good people of the Town of Buckeye.  The open house is already on the calendar and by the looks of things this place will be ready to pick up bus riders soon.

Howard dropped me off here so he could answer the millions of questions that the many crews on site had waiting for him.  I watched this concrete mix truck mix and dump concrete to make the street that future busses will drive over soon.  Jon McMahon with Overton Builders took over as tour guide at this point. 
The security building is the built structure on the site so far. 

The security building is on the right hand side partially covered by the bus in the forground. The metal roof pitch is cranked much higher than the sketch.  It will be easier to locate from Jackrabbit Road.  Yes, that is all there was out here before this Park and Ride, just busy rabbits fighting with quail over seeds.  

Jon was showing off the hardware for the turn buckle at the metal roof cables.  Mega watt cool.

I know I showed this already but didn't you want to see them smoothing out the concrete?  This was happening so fast!

Security building.  Nobody wanted to be in the picture.

These columns will support a future shade canopy for your parked car.  Well even in the shade those crayons will melt pretty good.