The inside/outside room

This week’s sketching adventure was at Summit hospital. There is a small patio that is surrounded by the building. It is inside and outside at the same time. The door has been locked for at least a year due to construction and remodeling.

I’d been there a year ago (an annual appointment with my cardiologist brings me here) and was planning to sketch then.  The construction had just begun, so there was no way.  This sign greeted me this year –

sum 8

I looked.  I could see no danger.  I didn’t test the door.

I got a pumpkin spice latte at the coffee shop and sketched and photographed from inside, through the glass.  This was my view from the inside.

sum 9

This is what I sketched (this is dry watercolor pencil)

sum 9b

It is more impressionistic than realistic.  I didn’t match up the angles in the top North East corner (9 to 10 on the clock), so there is a gap.  It is OK, and I was grateful to have done this – to have made time to do this.

But this wasn’t enough for me. I talked to three people to determine why it was still locked.  The second person didn’t even think people were meant to be out there.  When I told her there were benches, she changed and said “Ask Ann” and jerked her thumb behind her to a small window that was set up like a bank teller.  It turns out that Ann is in charge of the switchboard. I have decided that if Ann doesn’t know the answer, she knows who knows.  She made some calls. She learned that it was safe to open again.  She called a security guard to unlock it for me.

sum 6

I’m the first person there in a year.

sum5

I was overwhelmed with joy and pride at my bravery in asking.  I quietly said the “Shehecheyanu” prayer  – – “Blessed are You, Lord, ruler of the universe, who has given us life, sustained us, and brought us to this moment.”

I chose a bench to sit on.  Here is what I saw –

One picture could not cover it all.

Here is what I sketched – (this is dry watercolor pencil)  This was 10-11 am, Friday October 13, 2017.  It was about 65 degrees.

sum 7

Here is what it looks like after, with water added. sum 10.jpgSketching isn’t about drawing everything that you see.  It is more than a photograph.  The filter is your perspective – not only externally, but internally.  It is what you want to show.  It is about editing out the trash cans, or highlighting the blue reflection of the mirrored glass.  It is choosing to draw only three lines of windows instead of 5.

It is more than a photograph because it shows things from a human perspective.

I took the results to the three people who I talked to in order to gain access.  I said “here is the fruit of our labors”   – and only the coffee shop person even remembered me.  I’d been gone for an hour and the other two had talked to lots of other people in the meantime.  They had forgotten about me.

Ann was particularly taken by my sketch and said “Do you do this for a living?”  No – I’m not paid (yet) for my art.  I do this to live.  But I don’t make money at it.  She brought up a local artist, Phil Ponder.  To have my art compared with his is a huge complement.  She said “You have real talent”.  I am pleased with my work, but I don’t think it is that great.  But this is inspiring.   She also thought that it would be a shame for this to stay in my journal – that I should make it so it can be on display in the hospital.

We will see.  This would involve asking more people, making sure that it will actually be on display and not hidden in a corner.  It might involve re-painting it on bigger and better paper.  Getting it framed.  Do I pay for that – or do they?  Do I want to go through all of that work?

The outside room

I found this unusual “room” at a nearby hospital. I’ve gone there for years because I have a doctor who has his office there. Once a year I go in, always in November. I’ve come to look forward to going at that time because of the “ghosts of leaves” that decorate the sidewalks. It is the wonderful and amazing combination of falling leaves and autumn rain that makes this temporary magic.

10

9

12

11

I usually do very little exploring in that building because I have to get back to work quickly. This time I had quite a bit of time to spare so I went to look around. I’m glad I’ve started asking for more time off when I schedule doctor’s visits so I’m not rushed. That certainly helps my overall health.

I looked down from the window in the hallway on the sixth floor where the office is. I saw trees – and not in a place I would expect. They were surrounded by the rest of the building. It was a tiny enclosed courtyard. I had to go find it.

I went downstairs to the entrance lobby and looked around. The courtyard I was looking for was behind a little café that sold coffee and melted sandwiches. There were plenty of windows around it. It was perfectly visible from the entrance that I’d come in for years. Somehow I’d never set my eyes to look that way, or at that distance. Just goes to show there are plenty of treasures that are around if you have your eyes open. I’d only been looking for one thing (my doctor’s office) and missed this. The café looked interesting too. It might be a nice place to come on a non-doctor’s-visit kind of day and enjoy lunch.

I’ve long thought I should go here on my day off and write, or maybe even sketch the people who are waiting for their lab results in the lobby. There are a lot of padded benches here and a lot of light. I’m not sure why I haven’t done this yet. There is free parking and this isn’t far from my home. Perhaps I’m concerned someone will challenge me because I’m not here for an official reason. They might think it is odd that I’m just hanging out. This is another thing I’m working on – trying to not worry so much about breaking rules that aren’t rules. Sometimes I make more limits than I should.

I went towards the door that let out onto the patio. I pulled on the door – it opened. Good. Then my concern was that the door might not allow re-entry. I checked it and it seemed like it would be fine. I then looked to see how far away the café was – it was close enough I could bang on the windows to get their attention.

And then I went out. And I saw this.

5

A tiny little park enclosed in a building. With benches.

4

It is open to the sky.

2

There are birdhouses and birdfeeders here. I saw two bags of birdfeed against a wall. Someone tends this little place.

1

3

Is it outside, or inside, or both? Is it a room?

When I came back out I asked at the café if that door was always open. The lady said she thought it was, and commented that almost nobody went out there. She thought they should put a table out there and I discouraged that idea. More clutter. It would make it more artificial out there. It would upset the balance of man-made and natural. I think it is good the way it is. The little lights are a bit disturbing, but they might be really nice at night.

Then I got their hours and took pictures of the menu, as a further enticement to make a date with myself to go out here.

 

Here are more “ghosts of leaves” from an earlier visit.

g3g4g2g1

 

Here are some from Thursday, 10-20-16, in Old Hickory.

g1g2g3g4