Congress Street

After doing the previous painting, I decided to paint a nearby scene - one that had caught my eye when I was driving in downtown Tucson a few days earlier. Tucson has one of my favorite downtowns: low key, aesthetically appealing, spacious. And one of my favorite art memories comes from downtown Tucson:

Many years ago, during one of my many visits to Tucson, while I was sitting on a low wall by a sidewalk, sketching a parking lot I'd noticed across the street, a small group of professionals (county office workers? bankers? lawyers?) walked by, returning from lunch break. A woman in the group stopped, looked at me, looked at the parking lot, looked back and said, "It's so great that you're sketching that parking lot! We see it every day. People park there every day. It's so much a part of our lives, but nobody really looks at it..." We both knew it wasn't an especially picturesque spot, but that, as part of reality, it deserved some consideration. And of course she didn't just mean the parking lot, but all the spaces and places and details we don't ever really see. I've never felt better about being an artist. She had affirmed a sense of purpose that motivates me but which most people (even art grant committees) wouldn't be able to articulate, let alone trust.

I've always found it odd that she never bothered to look at the sketch to see if it was good. It was the process, not the result, that she cared about; the spirit, not the outcome.