It may be 2010 out here in the 'burbs where I live, but a barely visible turn off Lake Manor Drive will take you back seventy years to a time when a bunch of bohemian types roamed into the hills and set up a scattered community. When the real estate developers arrived a decade or so later, they left the random houses undisturbed, built around them, and life went on.
So three years ago, when my ex went looking for a mortgage to call his own, he found himself on a winding trail, complete with strolling peacocks, a sign reading "County Maintenance Ends Here," and a flock of ZZ Tops on Harleys outside the local chapter of Hells Angels. But hardy fellow that he is, he kept on going, edged down a narrow path and pulled up in front of what was destined to be his new home.
Quaint doesn't even begin to describe it. Enveloped by trees, and opening onto a glorious view of the hills above the tiny community, it came with two bedrooms, two baths, a chicken coop and a mountain man.
Although he was offered the chickens as part of the deal, after some consideration, he declined, though he did keep the coop (and a lotta feathers and bird poop). It was a minor detail compared to the rest of the property, with that cathedral ceiling soaring into the trees, and the pathway through the garden with its charming porch swing, and...oh, the mountain man?
Well, he's an elderly gentleman with a long white beard and waist length hair, who's missing most of his teeth, walks with a cane and keeps his ancient, worn cowboy boots hanging on the fence around the tiny trailer where he's lived for twenty years. As he's quick to tell you, he was born in them thar hills and never left, nor wanted to, and has a million stories he could tell (and does) about the old days before the city folks came up and started throwing up their fancy houses quicker 'n spit.
And even though my ex passed on the chickens, the mountain man was a permanent installation, so when he signed the papers for the house, he got him as part of the package.
So when I decided to do a series of drawings celebrating our older generation, duh, where else would I go for my first subject?
Here he is as a work in progress...
He doesn't actually have anything against modern society, as you can tell by those snazzy sunglasses. Plus he says the beer these days is pretty good, and it's just a short stroll to the little country market to get himself a cold one.
I'll have the portrait finished soon (and will post it here, of course) and then it's on to the next in the series. But I'm thinking it won't be a person...those cowboy boots...the history behind them, what they've lived through. Every crack in the leather could tell a story.
Tell me what you think in the comments. About the boots or whatever else you think would be a good subject for the series. I'd love to hear from you.