Day Five: Wednesday: The drawing at home of the Nielsen's
Driving up a narrow road towards this location, a house literally wowed us. We both “wowed.” All this wowing was mere seconds before we discovered that we were, in fact, heading into this wow-inspiring home to draw. This house, this home, was old. Really old. Pre-stars and stripes, actual colonial kind of old, which is just the tip of the wonderful iceberg that awaited us. The furniture inside was beautiful, as were the collections of books and objects on the shelves, and better still the hot black coffee and the luscious red berries they fueled us up with. All pale in comparison, however, to the family itself; husband, wife and daughters, that hosted us in this ancient American structure.
The thing about houses that old, by and large, is that the ceilings are usually really low. Were people shorter back then? Or perhaps they just couldn’t afford to waste wood making places as big as the Home Depot allows us now. In any case, there was not much wall space, and there was a lot of very reachable ceiling space. At the request of Mr. Nielsen himself, we set about drawing an extension of sorts of the monstrous and appropriately ancient maple tree that stood just outside his door. Drawing the leafless branches of this behemoth on the ceiling required us to first rip down many many thin lines. This process, which took nearly half of the time of our stay, proved a little boring (understandably so) and puzzling for the younger ladies of the house, but Mr. Nielsen hung in there to talk to us throughout our visit.
This was a wonderful conversation. We shared some old projects with him via the website, and his comments and questions were not only thoughtful and eloquent, but genuinely encouraging. It felt really good to stand in this low room, on the old, uneven floor, and feel like we were doing okay in the grand scheme, and that we should keep on going. After finishing the tree, we dropped a single figure on one of the walls, holding onto one of last years maple leaves, awaiting eagerly the impending bloom of this spring. This drawing looked great, which the young ladies confirmed when they trickled back in. It was hard to photograph though . . . really hard. Though the drawing is gone now, its nice to know that the real tree has filled out with bright leaves over their roof, for what is likely the two-hundred and fiftieth time.