Friday, October 10, 2014

Cold Mad Campus

10/10/14 water-soluble ink, colored pencils, Canson
XL 140 lb. paper
Maybe I was just grumpy about the cold, damp fog that enveloped me in chilliness. For whatever reason, most of the art I saw this morning on the University of Washington campus – part of Mad Art Seattle’s Mad Campus sculpture exhibit – wasn’t very inspiring. If truth be told, I’d have to admit it was probably me who wasn’t inspired, since the other Friday sketchers certainly came away with inspired sketches!

My first sketch was of something that I did find inspiring, but it wasn’t part of the exhibit. Walking through the Sylvan Grove Theater, it’s hard not to be moved by the classical beauty of the four Ionic columns. Of course, I wasn’t so moved that I sketched all four – the capital of one was enough.

After wandering the campus to see most of the 12 pieces in the exhibit, I somewhat half-heartedly settled on Burnt in Time, by Brian Widmaier (below). According to the flier description, a group of 12-foot obelisks “showcases the surrounding surfaces and reveals the steady progression of time.” Hmmm.

10/10/14 Platinum Carbon ink, watercolor
(Burnt in Time)
Still uninspired, I sat on a bench to munch a protein bar, and the crinkle of my wrapper attracted numerous geese. I took advantage of their attention to sketch a few.

Chilled, I decided to get coffee at Suzzallo Library. Out on Suzzallo’s steps, I looked up at Gerberding Hall’s tower, which mocked me with its formidable gothic self. Normally, I would run the other way, screaming. But fortified with caffeine, I pulled out KK’s bag of tricks: a few sticks and India ink. No, the sticks and ink don’t give me KKs superpower, but they somehow make me fearless enough to take on something like that gothic tower (so I guess they give me a different superpower!).

In fact, I felt so cocky that I did one more twig and ink sketch, this time of The Legend of Jerry Roundtree, a sculptural work by Seth Friedman (the pyramids and cubes next to the trees, below). You can probably tell I was more inspired by the trees than the sculpture, but that’s OK. By then the others showed up to share sketches, and that improved my mood.

10/10/14 Diamine Chocolate Brown ink

10/10/14 India ink, twig (Gerberding Hall)

10/10/14 India ink, twig, colored pencil, Tomoe River paper (The Legend of Jerry Roundtree)


  1. You're sure a lot more productive when it's cold than I am. For some reason, sketching when it's cold wears me out. Must be my Arizona blood. These are great sketches. Lots of varied styles as well.

  2. I'm loving your twig sketches! What kind of twig did you use? I tried sketching with one after seeing KK's video once, but I found I had to really let the wood dry out before I could use it otherwise it just soaked up the ink. What kind of point do you have on your twig?

    Sorry the art exhibit wasn't all that inspiring...sometimes it is hard to get inspired...but you did sketch quite a bit.

    1. Thanks, Joan! The twigs are just stuff I picked off the ground in our yard, so they were already quite dry. I think it does help to let them dry out if they are fresh. Then I took a knife and tried to cut sort of a chisel shape at the end -- kind of a like a calligraphy nib? But actually, it doesn't matter what kind of end you cut on it -- it's hard to control, no matter what! ;-)

  3. Ditto on the twig sketches comment, Tina. Love them! Who knew a stick would be more expressive than a professional fountain pen!? Love your studies of "Canadians" in sepia, too.
    Heheh, I can feel your frustration with the cold foggy weather. As you know, I did Mad Campus sketches last Friday on my own after teaching my morning class. So far, the afternoons have cleared up and you get some light and shadow to work with. I liked Evan Blackwell's installation outside the Burke Museum.


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