Friday, May 10, 2013

Sketching in the Center of the Universe

5/10/13 Platinum Carbon ink, watercolor, Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook
With ideal – no, pluperfect – sketching conditions (for me, that means wearing a T-shirt and sandals but not breaking a sweat while sitting in the sunshine), a good turnout of Seattle sketchers showed up for an ad hoc meet-up in the Center of the Universe.
My first stop was the Fremont Troll, long on my list of favorite Seattle sights to show out-of-towners. The Troll, who lives under the Aurora Bridge, was created in 1990 by Ross Whitehead, Steve Badanes, Will Martin and Donna Walter. When I started my sketch, the only other person there was sketcher/photographer Gordon, who climbed behind the Troll’s shoulder to take a picture of me across the street. But by the time I was finishing up less than an hour later, I had lost track of the number of tourists who came by – some in taxis with the meter still running; others on tour buses; still others on foot. I know the Troll is supposed to be scary, ominously clutching a hapless VW Bug. But as I sketched him, I realized he has very human hands and seems more curious than scary.
5/10/13 Platinum Carbon, watercolor, Zig marker, S&B sketchbook
A few weeks ago I sketched the statue of Lenin, prompted by the Urban Sketchers Flickr weekly theme, “Oddities in Your Town.” I couldn’t resist sketching him again, although this time I let him take a back seat to an elegant tree, nearly in full leaf, offering shade to Lenin and passersby.
After the sketchbook sharing and lunch at the PCC with Peggy, Susan and Nilda, I wandered over near the Fremont Bridge to sketch the popularly accessorized sculpture, “Waiting for the Interurban” (made by local artist Richard Beyer). Today some of the cast aluminum sculpture’s characters were dressed in T-shirts promoting “Team Josh.” One wore a few fizzled balloons, perhaps from a previous decorating. To get that full frontal view, I had to sit across the street near the Old School Frozen Custard shop, an exercise in frustration. Traffic was continually going by on North 34th Street, and every few minutes cars would stop for a red light, completely obliterating my view. Giving up the fight, I finally put one of those cars into my sketch.
5/10/13 Platinum Carbon, watercolor, Zig markers, Stillman & Birn sketchbook
My parking meter had only a few minutes left on it – not enough time for another sketch. What to do, what to do. . . ? Eat frozen custard, of course.

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