Saturday, August 9, 2014

New Poles

8/9/14 Platinum Carbon and Fuyu-syogun inks, watercolor, Zig markers, Canson XL 140 lb. paper

The “No Parking” signs up and down the block were a clue. So were the two new utility poles lying on the ground in front of the houses across the street. I skipped my Jazzercise class because I had a feeling some interesting action was going to take place this morning. I was not disappointed.

8/9/14 Pilot Iroshizuku Take-Sumi and Fuyu-syogun inks, Zig marker
Shortly after 9 a.m., two large yellow vehicles showed up from Seattle City Light (my favorite bright yellow Zig marker has been getting quite a workout these days; it’s the ideal shade of heavy-equipment yellow). I went out on our tiny front deck outside our bedroom and looked down, where one of the yellow vehicles was sucking all the dirt from the hole that workers had dug next to the existing utility pole. Meanwhile another worker poured something – water? – into the hole from a hose (above).

The next part happened so fast that I couldn’t sketch much of it: an amazing choreography as the second yellow vehicle (I wish I knew the name of it. . . is it a type of crane?) lifted the new pole off the ground and turned it around – without knocking into the tangle of utility lines, trees or our house! 

Mesmerized watching all the smooth, well-practiced movements, I cringed when the pole got really close to those wires. The pole was very quickly put into place right next to the existing pole (at right), the hole refilled with dirt, and they were done – at least with that pole.

8/9/14 Platinum Carbon and Pilot Iroshizuku
Fuyu-syogun inks, Zig marker, Museum
water-soluble colored pencil
Next they moved down the block a few yards, where they used a slightly different process to dig. This time they used a huge auger on the end of the same yellow vehicle (at left). (Greg found out later that they had to dig the hole manually for the pole in front of our house because it was too close to a gas main to use the auger.) The dirt that came up from the auger was dumped out onto a tarp that was laid out beside the hole.

As they moved the second new pole into place, again right next to the old pole, I sketched the equipment operator (below left), because I think he was the hero of the whole operation. I was so impressed by his skill in maneuvering the long business end of that machine.

8/9/14 Platinum Carbon and Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun inks, Zig marker, Museum
water-soluble colored pencil
Finally the workers shoveled the dirt that came out of the hole back in (bottom), and they were done. In a little more than two hours, they had installed two new power poles, and I had the most sketching fun I’ve ever had while still wearing my slippers.
8/9/14 Platinum Carbon and Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun inks,
Zig marker, Museum 
water-soluble colored pencil


  1. Great series of sketches, Tina.

    Cheers --- Larry

  2. You must have been so excited!!! I love the sketches of the utility pole installation ballet. I am always amazed when I see them lifting things and not knocking into everything. These are great sketches, Tina...and you didn't have to leave home!


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