It seems like the transition from on-site to studio work should have been easier, but in reality, the holidays swooped in hard and fast. With the exception of a single outing of the Capitol Hill Plein Aire Society Thanksgiving week, nothing happened until January. I think next year I’ll put more effort into setting up studio projects well in advance.
In January, John and I met up with the Urban Sketchers Seattle group at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) for a chance to sketch strange and wonderful relics of Seattle’s distant past, and for a chance to check out an exhibit of work by the man who started the Urban Sketchers movement: Gabriel Campanario. Little did we realize we’d actually get a chance to meet him in person!
As I’m sure many folks who know Mr. Campanario will tell you, he is as approachable, engaging and inspiring in person as his body of work through years of sketching suggest.
Stewing over this enormous exhibit, was a kind of a revelation for me. As a Seattle native, I experienced instant recognition of many of the places he’s sketched over the years for the local newspaper. As a sketcher, I also recognized the impulse to sketch on location, and the subsequent fulfillment and understanding of a subject in only the way on-site sketching can.
After talking with Mr. Campanario, John and I wandered into the rest of the museum. First I setup next to an exhibit of 50’s pop nostalgia that included an old television set that ran a constant loop of vintage Seattle television commercials and – among other things – the costume of Seattle children’s television personality Wunda Wunda. Before the the theme song to King’s Clubhouse drove me insane, I wondered into the early settlers exhibit to sketch a beautiful 1850’s maternity wrap, then wondered down to the cafe to meet back up with the group in time for a group photo.
February 2014 marked the beginning of the Year of the Horse. It also marked the beginning of John bringing his video camera with him during our outings…
Sketching amongst the echoes of drums and fireworks was exhilarating! For my first sketch, I setup on the corner across from the Jade Garden restaurant in an attempt to position myself in the path of the procession. Luckily, the Jade Garden turned out to be their very next stop. The only challenge at that point was getting a clear view from my little camping stool as the crowd of onlookers swarmed the street in front of me. By the time I had finished, the dragons had moved on to the next neighborhood storefront.