Friday, April 3, 2009

Sunset somewhere in Texas

My oldest son Ryan is familiar with the sunset challenges that I have received from his brother Sean. Ryan called me on a recent Friday night as he was driving 4 hours across Texas from Corpus Christi to some other location for a weekend cycling event. It was unfamiliar territory for him, and a long drive. During the drive he noticed a beautiful sunset and decided to leave me a phone message similar to what Sean has done. He gave me a call, but instead of the message recorder he got me on the cell phone. So, I acted as my own message recorder and transcribed his description of the Texas sunset to the paper on my lap (my tax envelope of all things!). Ok, another challenge from one of my boys.... it was another fun exercise to paint something from a written description - rather than seeing it for myself.
P.S. You might wonder why I bothered to note my son's dinner on the side. He had assembled a 'homemade bag dinner'. My son loves to cook, is careful of what he eats for his athletic pursuits, and was just so excited to tell me what he had put together for his dinner on the road. It certainly made me smile when I heard what he was having for dinner - even a homemade mini-pumpkin pie!

Sunsets in San Luis Obispo

Usually when I sketch or paint I depict something that I can "see" with my own eyes. Long distance communication with two of my boys has given me another perspective - painting a scene from someone else's description of it, without seeing it myself. It all started with a phone message left by my middle son over a year ago. He called and left me a phone message about a beautiful sunset in San Luis Obispo (SLO), California where I used to go to college and where my son now is. The phone message was certainly a tease as he described at length the beautiful sunset that he was seeing, and I was not. However, I turned his message into a challenge to myself to sketch and paint that sunset. It was a fun exercise. (skip to the end of this post to see the 2008 sketch)

Fast forward to this year.... my son Sean knows that I'm having fun with my sketching and painting, so he recently left me another phone message as an art challenge. His message was a detailed description of another beautiful SLO sunset. My son included
an explicit request for me to sketch and paint the sunset before he would be home for Spring break. Always looking for ways to connect with my boys... I took on Sean's latest challenge and finished it before he arrived home. I sure had fun sharing my effort with him. Here is the latest SLO sunset from 2009:

Backing up to 2008, here is the watercolor sketch that I did with Sean's first detailed sunset phone message last year: