|5/15/14 Platinum Sepia and mix of brown inks, watercolor, Zig markers, Pitt pen, Uniball white opaque pen, Canson XL 140 lb. paper|
Gas Works Park on Lake Union is a quintessential Seattle icon: A mix of old and new, industry and nature, commerce and recreation, and a bonus view of the Space Needle. As such, I’ve sketched there numerous times – the first was almost exactly two years ago, then again a few months later, a year ago this month in Gail Wong and Frank Ching’s Urban Sketching workshop, and then again later that summer. But in every case, I managed to deftly avoid sketching the park’s namesake – the gas works themselves. Those huge, hulking remnants of the coal gasification industry are like a Rube Goldberg invention of pipes, smokestacks and ladders now embellished with colorful tags. To say the least, they are intimidating to sketch.
Something about this beautiful day – the sky a bit hazier than in the past several days, but still 74 degrees with a soft breeze – shored up my courage. I climbed to the top of the kite-flying hill for the best view of the old gas works. When you’re used to many months of overcast skies, it’s a treat to have sufficient natural light for strong shadows, so I decided to feature the interesting shadow cast by a main pipe.
Technical note: When it was time to refill my fountain pen a few days ago, on a whim I filled it with waterproof Platinum Sepia ink instead of my usual Platinum Carbon Black. I bought the bottle of Sepia a couple of years ago and tried it briefly, but it doesn’t dry as quickly as Carbon Black does, so I kept smearing it and decided I preferred Carbon Black. But every now and then I get into a brown mood (Diamine Chocolate Brown water-soluble ink is an all-time favorite), so I gave Sepia another try. It turned out to be perfect for today’s sketch of those warm reddish-brown gas works.