Went out sketching with Miz Dee all day today. We met at the Henry Crawford McKinney House in El Dorado, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a magnificent old mansion built in 1925 just after the South Arkansas oil boom. It has expansive grounds with a carriage house, pool house, reflecting pool, pergola, vineyard and stables.
It sat vacant for decades and was taken over by vegetation. In the last few years it was given to a local historical society and they are slowing bringing it back from near ruin. The grounds are still rather decrepit but I think it makes them more interesting than if it was all newly manicured.
There are still traces of its former glory here and there even though the grass has taken over the tennis courts, the fountain is growing weeds, and the swimming pool has been filled in. There are several huge outdoor tables made from a single slab of flagstone. There are enough flagstone pavers on the property to pave a Wal-Mart parking lot.
The estate must have been magnificent in its heyday with roaring parties until dawn. I can imagine F. Scott Fitzgerald driving up in his yellow Rolls Royce.
So, enough about the history. Here are the sketches:
East wing,view from the reflecting pool
I was quietly sketching away when a big ol' bullfrog croaked right next to me in the reflecting pool. Scared the peedoodle outta me.
Old fountain with vineyard behind.
The only thing growing in the vineyard now is poison oak. That little figure thingy in the top of the fountain is a pudgy little boy holding a goose. The goose's head is broken off.
Miz Dee Painting
The Ninja Sketcher strikes again. After I finished the fountain I turned to talk to Miz Dee who was, as she said, "spraddle-legged" on a bench. She thought I was sketching the pool house behind her. I was, kinda sorta, but that wild looking orange sketching hat was begging to be drawn. It had a personality all its own. I need me one of those.
This is the sketch she was working on. She had just started blocking in the first color washes in this photo.
And here is the final
Off to lunch for an hour to cool down, then one more sketch for the day.
I probably should have sketched this from a different angle to show the striking architecture and shadows, but in the humid Arkansas summertime you have to pick the view from under the big shade tree.
This was a wonderful, wonderful day!