Sunday, May 13, 2012

Urban Sketchers’ Manifesto No. 2, Part 1

5/12/12, Copic Multiliner SP pen, watercolor
Urban Sketchers’ Manifesto No. 2: Our drawings tell the story of our surroundings, the places we live and where we travel.

I was wandering around the University of Washington campus on a fabulous sunny day – the kind that Seattleites are willing to wait 10 months of overcast skies for. I’ve visited the campus many times since I graduated (for the second time) in 1981, but on this visit it seemed like everything was different. Several new buildings had gone up since my last visit (PACCAR Hall? What’s that?), and pathways appeared where there used to be grass. A visitor stopped to ask me where the HUB was, the student union building where I had eaten many, many meals over the course of six years, and I had to twirl around to get my bearings before I could point him in the right direction – that’s how disoriented I felt. It’s hard to be nostalgic about one’s youth when everything looks different.

I decided to sit in “Red Square” to sketch the Broken Obelisk (a sculpture by Barnett Newman, 1963), partly because it was far less daunting than Gothic architecture, but mainly because Red Square looked the same as when I was a student. In the brick paved plaza that I had crossed countless times going to and from two libraries on either side, I could imagine, for a few moments, that nothing had changed. (End of the old fart’s walk down Memory Lane.)

(This is one of a series of blog posts about how I have interpreted the Urban Sketchers manifesto.)

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