Friday, May 15, 2015

Vacation Sketches

During my recent visit to the Tri-Cities I naturally went sketching.  My first stop was the Uptown Shopping Center, which dates from the 1950s.  I wanted to draw a composite piece of the places I most remembered when growing up in Richland:

So here we see Lee's Tahitian restaurant, the Uptown movie theater, Ray's Golden Lion, and the Spudnut Shop sign (home of potato-flour donuts since 1948).  This was fun to do, and people kept stopping by to see what I was up to, and I got to explain urban sketching.  The movie theater no longer shows movies -- a church group was meeting there and they offered me water and pastries as I drew.  Good times.

The next day I visited the Triton Submarine Memorial Park, where Truman watched me draw the conning tower.

The Triton sub was built in 1959 and was the first submarine to circumnavigate the earth completely submerged.

The next day I visited The Reach -- the natural history and history museum that opened last summer.  It's a striking building perched atop a sagebrush-covered hill, with metal animal sculptures and a larger sculpture about which there is NO INFO on their web site (!), although it is part of what they call the "Solar Stage" so I presume it has something to do with that.  Anyway, I tried to draw the building from a vantage point on the road below, and on the first three attempts, failed to get it to fit onto the page.  Possibly you can see the problem from this photo I finally took, with the idea to finish sketching it later:

It's really long!  I should have brought my landscape-orientation sketch book.  On the first try, I ran out of room on the right.  On the second try, I ran out of space on the left.  On the third try, I fit it all in but got the proportions all wrong, as you can see here:

So I gave up, intending to return the next day -- when it was pouring rain and very windy.  Darn!  But luckily I had taken the photo, so I loaded that onto my laptop, sat down in front of it, and tried a fourth time, measuring carefully -- and finally got it to fit, with proper proportions -- hurrah!

It's at this point in a piece that I always ponder leaving the ink sketch as is, or coloring it in with watercolor.  Will I ruin it?  Will it be better as a plain ink sketch?  In this case, I opted to go ahead with watercolor, and am happy with that choice.  I like the final piece very much:

Fourth time's the charm!  I'm glad I stuck with it until I got it right.


  1. Good stuff! I really like the Uptown "montage" as it were and the final Reach picture.
    So, what happened to all those baby photos? LOL.
    It was fun beating you at cards. Revenge in August?

    1. The Mother has copies of the Tristan photos. They won't turn up here, though, as the subtitle of this blog is "Art. Birds. Nature. Maybe a dachshund photo now and then." Sorry, doesn't fit the categories! Maybe they will turn up over on my old Livejournal site someday.

      The Mother and I decided we would play a different game next time (which may be next year, as I am not planning a return visit this year at this time). Hearts or Spades, perhaps, or anything else except Crazy Stoopid Boring Rummy!

    2. Sounds like someone is bummed about Crazy Stoopid Boring Rummy LOL. I like Hearts. I can win at Hearts too. No August visit? Phooey.

    3. It seems to me that people could come up to Seattle to visit ME once in a blue moon instead. I'm staying put.

      I don't even remember how to play Hearts so you probably could, but I couldn't talk The Mother into switching to Scrabble. I RULE at Scrabble!