Or perhaps more accurately, suburban sketch. This building has long been on my radar. It sits along Highway 200 as it passes through my little blip of a community that is so close to the much larger Sandpoint that it may as well be a suburb. I have no idea what it once was; it looks to be unused and uncared for for some time. Some of the shingles have blown off the roof and the black plastic meant to protect that part has come loose and flaps in the wind. The upper windows are black (blacked out?) and the lower windows and door are boarded over. The door once had a small overhang to shield those coming and going from the weather but it too has come off. Other businesses along this stretch include motels, gas stations and a few store fronts. I can't decide what role this building played in this precursor of the strip mall. One thing for sure, the red around the windows and edges of the roof peaks still catches the eye. With a "for sale" sign out front, I've been worried that it might either be torn down or rehabilitated before I had a chance to sketch it. And with it being blustery November, I thought my outdoor sketching time was at an end for the year.
But today surprised me. I didn't expect it to be any different from the rest of the week which has been very rainy, windy and cold, but it was. The sun came out and it felt quite warm, and so I grabbed my sketchbook and pen and walked to where I could see the building. Ideally, I should be standing on the shoulder of the highway to get the angle I had in mind, but it's not wide enough to be safe. Instead, I found a spot farther away from my subject than I have for the last couple of sketches, which I think was a good thing. The downside was the railroad track between me and the building - I couldn't get up high enough to see over it; its raised bed hid the base of the building. But I could capture those red-rimmed windows.
I tried a different approach today, using pen instead of pencil (surprisingly freeing) to make dots at key points before drawing in lines. I still got a bit off, but it worked quite well. When there are evenly spaced details like the window peaks, it makes a lot of sense. Then you can just connect the dots! As I often do, I saved the addition of colored pencil for when I got home. Only had a few slight panics; it's amazing how much one forgets even after staring purposefully to supposedly burn the image into one's brain. But I think I got it mostly right.