Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Drawing on location

Are you traveling this summer? We are taking a couple of road trips and I will take my drawing gear along as I always do. It isn't always easy to find the time for drawing when you are traveling with other people. You don't want to bring everything to a halt while you stop to draw something, but often I find a space of time here and there. Here is a drawing I made in Ecuador in 2004.

My daughter had climbed to the summit of Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world the year before. She wanted us to experience part of it, so we hired guides to take us up Cotopaxi in a van to the highest point you can drive to. From there our plan was to hike up to the base camp—the yellow-roofed building in my drawing, just below the glacier. Incidentally, because Cotopaxi sits very near the equator, it is the point on all of the earth that is closest to the sun. We stopped at the parking area at 13,000 feet altitude to start our climb. When I stepped out of the van I was overcome by dizziness and nausea. My heart was pounding alarmingly. Altitude. The guides said I could not make the hike. (As if I didn't know that!) So, I stayed behind with the van. Fortunately I had my sketchbook in my pack and for part of the four hour wait, I sat on the back bumper of the van and drew my view of the peak. I took photos as well and, in fact had to complete my drawing from memory when snow and fog rolled in. I look at this drawing and I can feel the pressure on my chest, the sting of the thin, cold air in my nostrils and the buzzing in my head from the high altitude. I am so glad I took my sketchbook. Even now, I hold the book in my hands and love that it was there with me on that mountain and here with me today.

Here's a less dramatic drawing.

A couple of years ago I had some time to take a walk around downtown Boise, Idaho near the hotel where we were staying. We lived in Boise many years ago and I remembered this charming old building in an area of town that has been completely changed since we lived there. This building is one of the few buildings that remain from the time we lived there and it now houses a Starbucks coffee shop on the main floor. I bought myself a latte that I took across the street where I found a wall to sit on, drink my coffee and draw the building. As I was drawing the bicycle parked out front, the owner appeared, climbed onto it and rode away. I was happy that I had gotten the main details down before it vanished. I am always a little shy about drawing in public places, but I find that most people ignore me and the ones who stop to see what I am doing are always so nice and appreciative.

We are on our way to Idaho and Montana tomorrow. I have my sketchbook and supplies ready to roll. If you are on the road this summer, don't forget your drawing supplies.

1 comment:

  1. I'm on a month long road trip with sketchbook in hand, but have not had a minute to use it. Good for the trip, not great for the drawing opportunities.