View From the Manning House

The Manning House is a grand old mansion located not far from the court offices in Downtown Tucson. I'd never noticed it until the Landscape Lottery landed me a few steps from its front entrance. There's an elegance to the place that almost inspired me to do a painting of the facade and landscaping. That felt too much like a house portrait, though, the kind of painting I sometimes do on commission. And so I looked in the other direction.

Often, while out deciding what to paint, I ignore the things that most catch my interest - sometimes because they don't seem consequential enough (that may be one of my worst creative habits). In this case, I was most drawn to a small flock of birds - several sparrows and a thrasher - that were pecking around on a patch of gravel, flitting off and flitting back, moving in and out of the shadows cast by palm trees, having a gently animated interaction with a small bit of space. I could have spent days sketching and painting them. But instead I thought I needed to show some buildings and a recognizable sense of place.