Mom’s House (part 3)

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(This is the third part of three – if you’re interested, start with part 1 then part 2.)

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This third post is sort of journey through my sketches of mom’s home – first interiors, then exteriors – each group in chronological order, oldest to newest.

Mom's Den - 1987 pencil on paper in sketchbook 12, 11"x17"

This one is my mom’s den nearly a quarter-century ago. It’s roughly the same view as this image. The glass table on the wooden sled thingie was in the middle of the den most of the time while mom’s four kids were growing up. When the grand kids started walking around, mom swapped it out for more of a wooden trunk thing. The configuration changed a bit then – the chair on the far left moves to the right, and the couch was moved to the be along the plate glass window in the background.

I remember mom didn’t really like this drawing, because it has a big messy pile of newspapers – in the middle left next to the chair.

Mom's Den 1987 pen on paper in sketchbook 12, 8.5"x11"

This one is slightly oddly cropped. That’s a TV in the bottom right. Sitting atop it, in addition to a couple of bowls, is a painting of mom. The painting also features my sister Liz, though she’s cut off. It’s an oil painting that I really like – one of my best, I think. There’s another painting on the ground, too, visible in the middle center of the painting. That one is a self-portrait – me. And of course, lots of books, which I wrote about a bit here

Table in mom's den, 2002, ink on paper in sketchbook 45, 8.5"x11"

This sketch is of an antique table in mom’s den. I think that the table was owned by my mother’s mother. It folds out into a circular shape. There’s an electrical cord in the picture that I am pretty sure is a sort of walkie-talkie listening thing – because one of nephews/nieces (I think my brother’s daughter Rachel) was asleep upstairs.  What the drawing shows is how mom had various photos and knickknacks on various surfaces. I actually recognize one of the photos; it’s of my brother at his college graduation, where he wore a conical wizard’s hat.

Mom sitting in the den, 2003, pen on paper in sketchbook 46, 11"x17"

This isn’t that great a picture of mom, but it does show quite a bit of her home. It’s drawn from the couch, looking toward the kitchen. You can see a lot of the kitchen cupboards and refrigerator, which always featured a rotating gallery of artwork by grandkids and kids (some of my artwork is visible.) There’s a sort of metal-cage fruit-bowl that I remember well; it’s partially visible on mom’s table. The briefcase-like thing (with the handle, in the right foreground) is a set of markers.

My feet on mom's couch, 2004, ink on paper in sketchbook 48, 8.5"x11"

This is a similar view to the one right above it… sans mom… with my feet.

As I mentioned in part 1,  I don’t think that the outside of mom’s house is quite as memorable as the inside. Nonetheless I did two drawings of the outside that I will share here.

Mom's house from the backyard, 1987, ink and watercolor on paper in sketchbook 12, 8.5"x11"

Above is a drawing that I did back in July 1987. It’s a pretty standard suburban home… what makes it more uniquely mom’s is the cactus in the multi-opening pot (lower right.) The Jonathan Borofsky poster is visible as a black silhouette near the left edge of the large windows on the first floor (with the lower half of the poster obscured by the lower screen door.) Mom’s cactus collection was mainly under the wood-slat trellis thing on the left, where you can see the chair that mom would sit in when she tended her cacti.

During the last week, as we began to move stuff out of mom’s house, I took the photos shown in my earlier posts, and I figured that I would draw the front, too. The day after the memorial service, Sunday morning August 7th 2011, I brought a chair out to the front parkway and sat down and drew this sketch, in my sketchbook number 60:

sketch of mom's house in Tustin - 7 August 2011, ink and colored pencil on paper in sketchbook, about 11"x17"

You can see the trash-filled dumpster in the driveway, black trash bags, etc. as we’d started to clear out the garage and more. It’s not the greatest sketch I’ve ever done, nor is it some unique architecture, but it is mom’s house. You can see various cacti and succulents along the home and along the edges of the yard.

What was really great about this, though is that, while I was drawing I had some company. Mom’s next door neighbors arrived home while I was sitting and drawing. Their young daughter and son walked over and checked out the ladder, chairs, broken vacuum cleaner, etc. on the driveway.

A bit later, the daughter Bethany brought paper and colored pencils out. She pulled up a small chair, and sat down next to me and did a drawing.

Bethany at work on her sketch

When she finished the sketch, I asked her to hold it up for me, in front of mom’s house (note the huge succulent plant… and the bark that I helped mom put on an empty part of her yard):

Bethany holding her drawing, in front of mom's house

and here’s one last close-up of Bethany’s wonderful drawing.

Bethany's drawing up close

I enjoyed that Bethany wrote mom’s address on the house, and included the small red chair that had been on the driveway, but that she moved and sat on to do her drawing. Bethany was asking me to make sure that I drew the chimney (which I did – see above.)

It was great to have company while I was drawing mom’s place for what will probably be the last time. I’ll miss mom and her sweet home and her neighbors.

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