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".