Monday, September 14, 2015

Whidbey Island Weekend

9/13/15 colored pencil, ink (chickadees)
We took our visitor from out of town to Whidbey Island for the weekend. The clouds and cool temps kept most of the tourists away, so I felt like we had the island to ourselves. Relaxing on “island time,” we saw most of Whidbeys scenic highlights: the Deception Pass bridge, Ebey’s Landing, the lighthouse at Fort Casey (which I sketched a couple of years ago) and beaches surrounding the island.

Since we were playing tour guide, I didn’t want to take too much time to sketch; I’m sure you’re all familiar with balancing the temptation to sketch with the need to play host. But lightning sketcher that I am, I still managed to sneak in several sketches –most of the ones shown here were done in less than 10 minutes each, including the sea lion skull. I’ll mention a few notable exceptions:

9/13/15 ink, colored pencil (fisherman at Deception Pass)
The madrona tree, which did take longer than 10 minutes, was done while we relaxed on the deck of the house we rented in Greenbank. The Etch-a-Sketch-y church steeple in Langley is an example of a Marc Holmes single-line exercise, done in less than a minute! Marc says he can sketch with a single line in the same time that it takes to snap a photo, so I put myself to the same test with this technique. Greg had stopped to photograph something that had caught his eye, so I did the same – with my Field Notes notebook instead of my camera. Guess what? I finished sooner than he did! It’s not my most accurate sketch, but just as Marc said, even a sketch as quick and unfinished as this one still serves the purpose of capturing the visual memory in my mind. A year from now, while I won’t be able to recall many other architectural details from Langley, I bet I’ll still remember that church steeple.
9/13/15 ink, watercolor (fisherwoman at Ebey's Landing)

My most enjoyable sketch experience of the weekend was the series of tiny bird studies I made one morning while the others were still getting ready to go out for the day. A couple of bird feeders hung outside the livingroom windows of the house we rented, and a flurry of small birds took turns getting their breakfasts. Chickadees have an amazing talent for wrapping their feet around thin vertical stems or wires, their bodies suspended at an angle. Making one small mark at a time before the chickadee flew off, then waiting for another to return to a similar position, I tried to capture that gesture. I didn’t quite get the position of the legs and feet right, but I had a ton of fun trying.

9/12/15 ink, watercolor (Madrona tree)

9/13/15 ink (sea lion skull at Coupeville Wharf)
9/14/15 ink (single-line sketch; Langley)

9/13/15 ink, colored pencil (bird studies)

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