Earlier this summer, as I let our dog Willie out for his last pit stop each night, I was delighted to see small birds sleeping in the corners of the porch. They'd turn their heads, look at me, and tuck themselves back into their corners. Once, around midnight, the moon had tucked itself into a corner, too. I made several sketches (below) before painting. Our street has street lights--rather than shoot them out, I guessed at how the scene might look on a dark cool night, and added the house at the top of the street (actually it's my impression of the house--can't see it from my porch). I can tell by the light (which needs to be dimmed along with my signature) that my neighbor's home--upstairs, probably at the computer.
Interesting that I see these columns at least ten times a day and don't know their curves until I paint them. This is probably the fourth time these columns have appeared in my paintings; one day, I might get past my front porch and paint other streets or towns.
I just re-read The Writing Life by Annie Dillard. She is so right--the artist or writer begins with a vision; time and materials hound the work; the vision recedes. At the end, you have a replacement of the vision--a page.