|7/15/14 Platinum Carbon, Diamine Grey and Pilot Iroshizuku Tsuyu-kusa inks, Caran d'Ache Museum water-soluble colored pencils, Zig markers, Pitt Artist Pen, Canson XL 140 lb. paper|
Power lines and poles are by no means attractive, and they have certainly marred scenic photos for many a photographer. But if they are a prominent part of a cityscape, I like to include them in my sketches. Ugly as they may be, they add a certain rhythm of lines, both vertical and horizontal.
A few blocks south of my house in the otherwise charming Maple Leaf neighborhood is Seattle City Light’s North Substation at around Eighth Avenue Northeast and Northeast 79th Street. Whenever I drive by (which I avoid if possible), I feel bad for the people who live right across the street and have to look at this eyesore through their windows every day.
This week’s Urban Sketchers Flickr group theme is “So Ugly it’s Beautiful,” and the North Substation was my ideal candidate. This mother of all power lines, which looks like a giant Erector Set, is unattractive, to say the least. Yet as I stood uphill from it to sketch its vast, regular rhythm of lines and transformers, I had to acknowledge a certain beauty. I even thought about how all those lines and transformers are hard at work bringing me electricity so that I can scan and blog about my sketches each day.
Thus acknowledged, I finished my sketch and was happy to turn my back on all that ugly beauty.