In September of 2008 I emigrated to the United States, to settle in the city of Orange in California. This big change of surroundings has prompted many new ideas and inspirations within my practice. The city of Orange has a historic plaza at its heart (also known as 'The Circle') and numerous residential streets surrounding it, each lined with beautiful old houses, churches and commercial venues. Many of the buildings date from the 1880's with much of the older architecture extending through to around 1940. I began illustrating these buildings, trying to capture a little of their character in my own way. An extension of my work with ink and wash, the isolated structures and forms within these works pay homage to the subject itself. The residential houses are often brightly coloured, which draws the mind to the houses of Portabello Road, London or the island of Burano, Italy. A lot of the thought behind these illustrations has just been through having the opportunity to walk these streets and absorb the surroundings. The houses often strike me as quite quirky in some ways, especially with all the little touches that people add to them in terms of decor or ornamentation on the front porch. I come from a large city (London) where I am used to seeing either large terraced houses or blocks of flats so I have certainly found an enjoyable difference in being able to document what I have seen in this way. The works pictured are all made using acylic ink on watercolour paper. This project culminated in a display of the illustrations at the Orange Public Library & History Center in the heart of the historic downtown.
Images (left to right): 'Yellow House On Washington', 'The Light Of The World Church', 'Blue House On Olive'.
© All images Copyright of James Keniston 2009