|2/19/17 Lower level|
One-minute poses at Gage life-drawing sessions seem like pure extravagance compared to the real-life drawing practice we got today at Seattle Bouldering Project. Urban Sketchers Seattle discovered it was more like one-second poses as people attempted to scale the vertical walls of the practice facility for rock climbers.
|2/19/17 Gesture sketches from the upper balcony.|
A recreational venue as well as a training facility, Seattle Bouldering is a huge place with multiple artificial mountains for climbers of all ages and skill levels. Scaling the walls like spiders or hanging upside-down like chickadees, most of the climbers fell eventually, too. “Climbing is 90 percent falling,” we were told by Bouldering staff, and I was very happy to be sketching and not participating.
Almost exactly three years ago, USk Seattle visited Seattle Bouldering, and I remember clearly that I didn’t spend enough time warming up with gestural sketches. This time I heeded my own advice and used several pages of my sketchbook doing nothing but small gesture studies with a brush pen. Always looking for Suhita Shirodkar’s “line of action,” I just kept the brush pen moving. The upstairs balcony offered the best view of the high walls where the more experienced climbers were practicing. It was impressive to see these strong, agile people plan and execute each foothold and handhold.
Once I had loosened up a bit, I decided to make a few slightly larger figures and pay attention to shadows. They turned out to be just as challenging as the figures casting them because the light seemed to be coming from all directions.
From the lower level where I could stand nearly at the same level as the climbers’ thickly padded floor, I finally felt ready to take a larger view of both the people and the strangely shaped interior space.