|11/5/14 Platinum Carbon and Noodler's Brown 41 inks, Caran d'Ache Museum|
water-soluble colored pencils, Canson XL 140 lb. paper
You’d think in Seattle, of all places, that I could find a place to sit and sketch at any of hundreds and hundreds of coffee shops at any time of day. Apparently not at 2 p.m. on this particular rainy Wednesday (OK, I admit, I didn’t try hundreds). My intention was to practice more sketches of people for Veronica Lawlor’s Sketchbook Skool lesson, so first I tried my favorite place for that, Zoka Coffee. Not a single open seat! (All that free Wi-Fi that makes patrons so easy to sketch is a double-edge sword – no one leaves.) Frustrated, I drove back north and tried what was formerly Forza Coffee and has recently been reincarnated as Fix Coffeehouse. It, too, was full, but I was tired of driving around Green Lake. Fix’s outdoor tables were protected from the drizzle by an overhang, and it wasn’t too cold, so I took my coffee outside.
I’ve sketched this scene of Spud Fish & Chips twice before – once in May 2012 and again in August the same year. I prefer the composition and angle I had used previously; today’s sketch didn’t come out quite the way I wanted. I felt like I got distracted by the one tree’s colors and didn’t pay enough attention to the rest. Anyway, I was muttering to myself about my dissatisfaction, feeling like I should have stayed home and done more metasketching instead.
Just then a young woman named Michelle approached me. She had spotted me sketching and said she sketched a bit herself, too. We chatted about watercolors and Urban Sketchers, which she knew about, and I encouraged her to join us. Our brief conversation was a good reminder that the result – the way my sketch came out – isn’t nearly as important or meaningful as the process of getting out into the world to sketch. It’s about making a connection with my surroundings – something that rarely happens in my own studio.