Gravel Lawns


One day, a week or so into the Landscape Lottery project, when Lars was busy with school work, his father Pete stepped up to take over the task of generating random coordinates. He came up with GPS points #7 and #8. It's not that I can't do it on my own. But I have more fun if the process is interactive. And it helps me stick with the task if I'm accountable to someone else.

Officially there's no right or wrong when it comes to picking random numbers. But I have to say, Pete managed to set me up with some nice locations. At first I was only happy about #8, on Tumamoc Mountain (see next 2 images). The location shown here, like so many of the Landscape Lottery sites, really depressed me at first. I wasn't feeling the poetry or the desire to connect that motivates a lot of my usual painting. The actual GPS point was in a gated back yard with a "beware of the dog" sign posted and an actual barking pit bull thrown in for good measure. By the loose rules of the Lottery, that gave me a short stretch of street out front to work with and several possible views to consider. I chose this view for the basketball net (in honor of Lars) and the red white and blue color scheme that gets picked up in the sagging but cheerfully back-lit American flag.

When the painting was done, I had trouble knowing what to think of the scene... until Pete waxed enthusiastic about what a perfect slice of unsung Tucson life it represented - exactly what the Landscape Lottery was supposed to get to. He characterized it as "a middle class residential street with small ranch houses and cars parked on gravel lawns..."