Friday, July 4, 2014

A Sunny 4th on Queen Anne

7/4/14 Platinum Carbon ink, watercolor, Canson XL 140 lb. paper

Everyone in Seattle knows that summer doesn’t begin until July 5, and the weather forecast all week called for clouds today (but thankfully, no rain). Looking out the window this morning was a shock – could it be? Sunshine and blue skies on the 4th of July? What a delightful surprise, especially since the Friday sketchers were meeting at Queen Anne neighborhood’s Parsons Garden.

7/4/14 Platinum Carbon, Diamine Grey and
Pilot Iroshizuku Chiku-rin inks, Kuretake
brush pen, Carand'Ache Museum water-soluble
colored pencils, Zig marker, Canson
XL 140 lb. paper
Before the meet-up, I sketched the skyline view from Kerry Park just a few blocks east, a scene I had also sketched in April. The difference this time was that Rainier was out, so I made sure that the composition included our majestic mountain. I had to check Mt. Rainier’s proportions three times before committing it to paper. It always seems so huge when I look at it, yet next to Seattle’s skyscrapers, it’s relatively small on the horizon. I was hoping the flag atop the Space Needle would unfurl, but the still air kept it down. Oh, I know I could have sketched it in anyway – Kate suggested as much – but then I spotted a flag on a house in the foreground that was easier, since I didn’t have to fake it. (Sometimes I forget my artistic license at home.)

Once the meet-up began, I did an obligatory sketch inside the garden, and it was fun to catch so many sketchers in my sketch (I found my artistic license after all – no one’s cap was actually red!). But since I had just sketched there a few weeks ago, I didn’t have my heart in it, and I wasn’t in a garden mood. The wide skyline view had put me in the mood to tackle “the wall” again.

7/4/14 Platinum Carbon, Diamine Grey and Pilot
Iroshizuku Tsuyu-kusa inks, Museum water-soluble
colored pencils, Pentalic Aqua Journal
More than a year ago, I had somehow managed to muster enough courage to take on that formidable, curved view (below) – one that had cowed me the previous year. Although it was no less challenging today, I hardly hemmed and hawed at all before putting pen to paper. (Now that I’ve been sketching for nearly three years, I’ve learned this: Sketching doesn’t get easier; it just takes less time to grow my balls.)

After a sunny picnic on a park bench with a few other sketchers, I decided to take on one more quintessential Queen Anne neighborhood scene that has intimidated me in the past: again the same wall as the previous sketch, but this time from underneath it (at left). A long staircase leads from that curved upper path down to Eighth Avenue West and West Lee Street, where I stood to make this sketch. The wall has an interesting quilt-like pattern that I tried to indicate with crosshatching, but I liked the pattern enough to call it out in a detail.

It’s now late afternoon, and right on schedule, the sky is clouding up, so by fireworks time, it should be completely overcast. All is right with the world after all. Happy Independence Day!

Updated at 5:27 p.m.: It just started raining! What a relief to know things are normal here.

7/4/14 Platinum Carbon and Diamine Grey inks, watercolor, Museum water-soluble colored pencils, Canson XL 140 lb. paper

1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear you had sunshine for the 4th...we had rain, so I never got to participate in the outdoor art show I was supposed to do. I really like these sketches, especially the impressive view of "the wall" did so well with the proportions and the shading. The curved view at the bottom was well done too. Hope today is a great sketching day too. I'm heading over to one of our parks to paint today.


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