Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Comedy of Frustrations

3/19/14 Diamine Chocolate Brown and Iroshizuku Tsuki-yo inks, Sailor pen, Zig markers, Canson XL 140 lb. paper
Some days are like this.

The strong wind, predicted rain and solid, gray sky didn’t bode well for outdoor sketching, so I headed out for Zoka Coffee as I often do on days like this – except it was so crowded that I couldn’t find a single empty seat.

Annoyed but undaunted, I left and decided to look for a cherry tree or something else I could sketch from my car. Driving through a few familiar neighborhoods, I spotted one or two power line-mutilated trees I could have sketched, but the available parking near those trees wouldn’t give me the angle I needed.

I’ve been wanting to sketch the ongoing construction at the new light rail station, and I remembered that Roosevelt High School’s parking lot looked like it might give me a partial view. I was hoping I’d get there around the time school let out, but I was too early, so the lot was still full. Thwarted again.

Finally, only a few blocks from home, I spotted massive twin trees that had both been chopped away through the center, and the whole block was empty – at last, something to sketch and somewhere to park!

I hadn’t even gotten a pen out yet when I heard a plunk and then a plunk-plunk. Hail stones were bouncing on my windshield! If it was like most hailstorms around here, it would stop in a few minutes, so I started to sketch. The hail, mixed with rain, started falling faster, so I had to keep turning on the wipers. Sketching the trees as quickly as possible, I was filling in the darker areas when my trusty Sailor ran out of ink. I made do by washing the lines with a waterbrush.

By then the rain/hail was coming down so hard and fast that I felt a splash on my shoulder (I drive an 18-year-old convertible with a soft top that doesn’t seal completely), so I had to lean slightly away from the side window to keep my sketch dry. The wipers couldn’t keep up. I got out my light gray Zig marker, thinking I would simply show the rain – and that marker was practically dry, too! The sketch was done, whether I wanted it to be or not.

Despite my series of frustrations, I’ll end this post on a hopeful note: Even mutilated, those trees were covered with tiny buds. Spring is near.


  1. I had to laugh as I read your description of your sketching day. Some days are just like that. Glad you were able to get enough of this huge tree done to capture the feel, size, and mutilation and didn't let rain or hail stop you. lol

  2. That's what I call perseverance! Good work. Yes, hopefully it will soon be spring.

  3. Oh how I laughed and commiserated when I read this! Spring will indeed come and we'll have many warm outings yet! Thanks for the smile.

  4. Thanks, Joan, Kate and Peggy! We all-season sketchers gotta laugh!


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