For our Doodlewash prompt of “Porch,” combined with the Inktober prompt of “Swing,” I opted for this completely imagined scene, yet another thing outside my comfort zone. I used to live in a house with a front porch, complete with a porch swing for a number of years and adored it. It was a little bungalow built in 1924 and had a large covered porch across the entire front of the house. Sitting on a the porch swing in front, I would wave at passing neighbors and get an occasional visit from a neighbor’s cat. It was such a friendly and wonderful setting. This also meant that I actually met my neighbors more often, and more often than not, would end up on their porch to sit and chat for a time as well. The front porch was a neutral space, away from the private space of the home’s interior. In these older homes, the porch was built intentionally to bring communities of people together. Soon, newer homes shrank the porch to simply a few steps leading up to the door. If you wanted to say hello, you had to knock first. I miss having a home like this, and since Philippe has never lived in a standalone house in his entire life, I think there just might be a porch swing in our future.

What I loved about the front porch was that it challenged my typically introverted nature. I wasn’t hiding on a deck at the back of the house surrounded by additional fencing, but right there in front. Even door-to-door solicitors were somehow less irritating. I’d often chat with them before declining whatever offer they were presenting, of course. But, I’d take the time to connect.

Front Porch Swing Inktober 2019 Illustration

The porch seemed to invite friendliness and openness. Had they knocked on my door, I would have had that familiar feeling of intrusion. But the porch was perfectly neutral without that tedious door creating a psychological barrier between private and public. There were no houses like this in the neighborhood that I grew up in. Perhaps that’s why I adored Halloween so much as a kid. One time a year, you got permission to boldly walk up to someone’s house and get a glimpse of the people inside. Yeah, and the candy. Definitely the candy.

Saturday is Philippe’s birthday and, on this same day, our neighborhood and nearby neighborhoods are holding a Porchfest. Though we live in a newer row home, there are indeed much older homes in our area that still have large front porches. We’d seen signs posted, but they weren’t very descriptive so we had no idea what it was all about. Apparently, it’s a music festival boasting 150 regional bands on 68 front porches, so it sounds rather intriguing. We might just have to have a stroll and check things out. Beyond the actual porches, there’s also going to be three stages set up in the historic cemetery that our home overlooks. Though there was a little note on their website discouraging people from bringing pets. Not that Phineas would enjoy it, anyway, as he dislikes crowds even more than we do. He gets nervous and tends to pee everywhere. Thankfully for Philippe and I, our own shy condition hasn’t advanced to this stage yet. But, I adore the concept of this event. It’s nice to know that in the age of smartphones and constantly swiping to connect, there’s still an interest in preserving those more old-fashioned was to connect, like the joys that can be found in front porch culture.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Quinacridone Red, Benzimida Orange, Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta, and Ultramarine (Green Shade). Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen (Broad Nib) with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Front Porch Swing Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail

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38 thoughts on “Front Porch Culture

  1. Love that front porch! The Porchfest sounds amazing. We have a yearly artwalk in one of our older neighborhoods, that is similar – you do have to go into houses for some of the exhibits, but mostly people put their art out on the porch.

    1. Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕Love and am also deeply envious that you have a porch!! hehe… I adore them! Our neighbors have giant wind chimes that I love. They’re all the low notes that add an extra bit of spooky to Halloween month! lol

  2. Lovely scene of the porch and swing. I’ve wanted a front porch for many years too, but I’ve never lived in a neighborhood that had them. My parents had friends with one (along with a swing) when I was a child, and I loved visiting that house.

  3. Charlie, I love your porch! Your neighborhood porch party sounds great! We have open studios weekend here and it spreads over about 10 towns. You have to be asked as a guest of a studio on the tour so I am not part of the tour but who knows maybe someday. I do hope to visit a few. I am slowly meeting other local artists. Most of my artist friends are online.

  4. Okay, the most intriguing part of this is bands in the cemetery! Ha! If one of those bands doesn’t learn Dem Bones, I’d be very disappointed.

    I never really lived in a porch sitting house. I always thought I would love one. They seem so friendly. I have read about some planned communities where the houses are placed close to the street, and they all have porches. Besides getting to know your neighbors, it keeps down crime too.

    1. Haha! I thought the same thing. If I don’t hear Dem Bones, I’m going to be “gravely” disappointed! lol 😃💕 Yeah, porch houses are a smart thing indeed. They do bring people closer together in the best way!

  5. We have a stand alone swing at the lake. I find it so relaxing to sit and read in it. Enjoyed your post today, Charlie! 😃 Thanks for the smile!

  6. Looks so inviting! I often wish we had a large porch to sit on. I think that is when people started to be less neighborly, when front porches started to disappear. So sad.

  7. Love it…first of all, we had a front porch much like the one pictured. (it most often had a cat sitting on the railing too)
    Your Porchfest sounds like fun. I am somewhat relieved (no pun intended) that you and Philippe have not acquired
    Phineas’ nervous habit. Both article and pen and ink delight!

  8. Beautiful drawing. There’s a Porchfest in Napa, California, not far from me. It’s fun, but the music venues are usually a couple of blocks apart, otherwise each porch’s music would interfere with one nearby (most music is in front yards, not porches, since so few houses have porches). In Napa, which is flat, going by bicycle works well. Have fun, and report back.

  9. Awesome drawing! I’m loving your inktober compositions! The porch music fest sounds fun. I remember years ago, in Vancouver, British Columbia, my neighbourhood had a living room music fest, where the venues were peoples’ living rooms. It was a lot of fun! 😊

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