Sunday, September 28, 2014

Beautiful feet

We are at the hospital for a routine test. The doctor is late so we are waiting for him. My husband is watching TV and I am sketching. My favorite part of this sketch are my husband's feet. When I contoured the feet I realized that we as humans, have body parts that are so weird, if you think about it. I can image an alien analyzing our body, asking itself: why do they have such long arms? e.g. The test results came out well. We are out of the hospital that same morning. We feel good.

A5 S&B Sketchbook, ink and color pencils.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Seattle Part 6 of 6. The tale of an electric toothbrush

Ink and color pencil

Every time that we travel I take with me my electric toothbrush fully charged. It’s midnight, the night is quite. A buzzing noise starts and my brother in-law and sister in-law woke up. We are staying at their home. They looked around in their quest to find what is causing it. They think is my brother in-law’s pager. It’s not (by the way we are in the guest bedroom; we don’t hear the commotion). Finally my sister in-law finds the electric tooth brush in the guest restroom near their bedroom.  She cannot turn it off. It’s alive and it has free will. Next day I took it to our bedroom. It’s late that night. The buzz starts again and it’s LOUD. I cannot turn it off. Bad night. Next day I wanted to turn it on somehow to drain the battery but I could not do it.  I asked my brother in-law to place it outside the house, but he gave it back to me thinking he fixed it. The tooth brush is back inside the house. It was probably a better idea than leaving it outside, the backyards of houses in the neighborhood are small and if this thing does the trick again it would wake up the neighbors, yes, it was THAT loud. The buzz starts again, I cannot believe it, how long this is going to last? I cannot throw it away, I want to exchange it. I’m stuck with it. Finally I wrapped it with a towel and put it in the living room under the cushion of a sofa. The living room is in the first floor and the bedrooms on the second floor. It worked. We slept well that night, either I chose a good place to hide it or the battery drained. Next morning my sister in-law comes up from the basement; she said she hear it again. Oh no, the beast is still alive. At this point I’m embarrassed with the whole situation. Fortunately we didn’t hear it after that day. My brother in-law searched the website costumer service for me. I exchanged it already for a new one, although the warranty was due several months ago! I love the United States; the customer service is the best. Here it goes, packed in the same envelope in which the new one arrived in. I kind of feel melancholy since this toothbrush did wonders for my teeth and gums. Farewell toothbrush, it was nice to use you.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Seattle Part 5 of 6. Black and white Victoria

My husband and I decided to make a day trip to Victoria, B.C. Early morning we took the Victoria Clipper at Pier 69 in Seattle. This catamaran makes 3 hours at 30 miles, it's very steady for the water at Puget Sound, it can be rough, but we had a smooth ride in our way there. We were already on our seats at 7:00 am but the departure was scheduled at 7:30 am so I had 30 minutes to sketch the view out of my window. 

It was cloudy in Victoria, our sunny days luck were over. We took the hop-on hop-off bus. Although I was tempted to stop and sketch the neighborhoods and villas in Victoria, I didn't have a lot of time so  I chose to focus in the Inner Harbor. It was drizzling, but I found a tree and managed to stay dry and sketch comfortably....on the floor....go figure.

My A5 size sketchbook asked for a Extra Fine nib to do all the detail I wanted to sketch from this building. The pen I used was filled with non water proof ink. It's ironic that I chose to use it in a rainy day, but I went ahead anyway. After I was done with this one, we noticed people were getting inside the Parliament Buildings trough one of the side doors. We followed the crowd and it turned out they were giving free tours. It was very interesting. I learned that the main gate is only open for the Queen and heads of state. I really liked the door knobs. They had BC engraved, for British Columbia I guess. 

Once outside, I sat in the fountain right in front of the Parliament main gate and started to sketch the Empress Hotel. There was no shelter from the rain, so some drop spots can be seen in the sketches. I loved it, I brought with me not only sketches but the rain from beautiful Victoria. Click here for part 6.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Seattle Part 4 of 6. A little mistake

We headed to the Pike Place Market to buy flowers for the wedding. Flowers are fresh and priced quite reasonable. Hanging out with people who lives in the city you are visiting is a great advantage, traffic in Seattle is not different than any other big city, locals know where to find parking spots. We parked in the North side of the market. Not long after I drafted myself from the group, and found the Public Market sign. I was very confident this one was the famous entrance. I had no clue something was missing. When I finished I phoned the group to find each other, they told me they were under the Public Market sign and I told them I was too, but we couldn't find each other. "We are in the middle of the street!", -so do I!, I replied. Then someone in the group figured out what was happening. I proudly sketched this:

Instead of this:

I had an aha! moment, the clock was missing. My pride became shame for missing this one. Now you know, that if you are as clueless as I am and you happen to be in Seattle for first time, please know that there are two Public Market signs.

Trying to forget the incident, I sketched a park in the North end of the market. I could sketch the main entrance of the public market, just if you wonder, but after all, there are so many beautiful sketches of this view out there to enjoy. Who is going to miss mine? Click here for part 5.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Seattle Part 3 of 6. Ocean and Mountains in Washington State

On a sunny day we went to Shilshole beach. It's a trendy place where people like to celebrate weddings. It has magnificent views of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Although it was sunny nobody was in the water that day.

The following day we headed to Mount Rainier National Park, 3 hours driving South from Seattle to the Sunrise entrance, North of the volcano. Another sunny day.  The day temperature while driving was 55 F, but I noticed that while driving in the dark road due to the big trees the temp drop 10 degrees in a matter of minutes. When we arrived to the last stop at the Visitor Center, and after just walking a short distance here's what I sawwwwww....(my jaw just dropped) Mount Rainier itself, majestic and intimidating. Emmons Glacier is the biggest glacier in the continental United States.

Short after finishing my sketch, we headed to another trail towards the Shadow Lake, beautiful small lake, but worth hiking and sketching. Click here for part 4.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Seattle Part 2 of 6. Laurelhurst.

I found amazing views from this neighborhood. My first sketch shows a view of Lake Washington.  I spent a lot of time playing with green colors trying to render the many shades of trees and bushes in the Evergreen State. This was my second day in Seattle and it was cloudy. I had a brief taste of a normal day here, but I knew bright and sunny days coming ahead were going to make my stay memorable! 

Later that day I went to the Burke Museum located in the same area. There they found a piece of a mammoth recently, apparently it is a big deal, it was exhibited at the museum but it was still wrapped in this white material archaeologists use to protect and transfer their finds. What impressed me was the skeleton of a mammoth inside the museum, but I decided to sketch this wood sculpture right outside the entrance. I better write in this blog what I learned in the museum before I forget. The state of Washington was under water millions of years ago, that's why they have on display fossils of marine creatures found in the area.

Someone mention to me it was looking forward to see my sketch of the iconic Space Needle. The truth of the matter is that I didn't had a chance to sketch near it. This was the only chance I had to sketch it, and I took it, a view from Laurelhurst Park. It's so small that I had to point it out. Someone my be disappointed. Sorry.

My final sketch of this neighborhood is from my visit to the Laurelhurst Beach Club. It was the last day the beach was open. The day was sunny and as clear as water, even I could see Mount Rainier at the distance. Sunny days are so rare here, that the only subject I could hear people talk about was the sun. I love sunny days, but I don't like my skin exposed to the sun. The sun was setting and the shades of trees were getting bigger and covering most of the grass. I noticed my husband and I were the only ones in the shade. Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY was under the sun, all local people. We two looked like isolated weirdos in this immense shaded area and the rest, all cornered in a small sunny area. It was so funny. I guess I underestimate the many bright sunny days we have in Illinois during the summer. Something to keep in mind. Click here for part 3.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Seattle Part 1 of 6. Two passengers on my way to Seattle

Here's one sketch more of people on airplanes.

The first passenger was a woman with matched earrings and a jacket in blue. She was buried in sheets of paper and reading the pages nervously over and over again and jumping from one page to another without any apparent order. I thought she didn’t have any electronic devices to entertain herself during the flight, which makes me think that this was the first time I saw electrical outlets in the back of every single seat in a plane. Airlines realized most passengers bring their own devices to entertain themselves, nobody watch movies on the plane screens anymore. When we landed, and the use of phones were allowed, this woman took out her smart phone from her purse and started to text. I don’t own and don’t know how to use a smart phone. The lesson here is: first don’t judge a book by its cover, and second I need to get a smart phone.

The second passenger was next to me on my right in the other side of the isle. This man was sleeping. His tattoo caught my attention. I could recognized a fish in the tattoo. After I was done sketching, I told him I liked his tattoo and showed him the sketch. He liked it (I haven’t met any person who doesn’t like my doodles, that’s the beauty of sketching). I asked him what was in the tattoo and if it has any meaning for him. He told me it was two sharks and the symbol in the center was a Hawaiian Tiki god, who keeps evil away. He was proud of it, then, simultaneously, he and his wife told me he was planning on tattooing his other arm. I wonder how people choose the image that is going to stay in their skin forever. It would be a big decision for me if I do so...but I don’t have to worry, it’s not going to happen....ever. Click here for part 2.