Washington, D.C.

Posted by on Mar 19, 2017 in sketches

A trip anywhere is an opportunity to sketch. And if one is fortunate enough to travel with people who understand this, well…

This trip in late February was my first to Washington, D.C., and it was only overnight; the hotel we booked was a highly convenient two blocks away from Independence Avenue and semi-attached to a Starbucks branch (which inconveniently, inexplicably, closes at 7p.m. on weekends…really, what the hmm?!). Arriving on Saturday afternoon meant a few hours of daylight to wander about the place, and I decided early on not to enter any of the museums and cultural centers, but rather stay outside and practice sketching buildings. (This would give me another reason for subsequent visits.) The brevity of the trip meant I could only sketch so much once I got there and hit Independence Avenue: turn left one day, turn right the next.

Sometimes decisions are based on very simple factors.

Other decisions are made by ambition, and often result in less than desirable results (never failures, just learning experiences). As is my wont, I brought with me a plethora of supplies that went unused during the trip: Posca paint markers, colored and watersoluble pencils, and an additional sketchbook. You’ll see in the gallery of images below, I really only used watercolors. These were mostly done with a Pentel Aquash waterbrush (large tip), though I used a real travel brush and water pot when the location accommodated space for them. Let it be said that while I don’t like using waterbrushes often — I find managing the steady trickle of water through the pen difficult and endlessly frustrating — they are highly convenient in certain circumstances, and wind. Wind, besides giving one’s nose the sniffles, is a great reason to use a waterbrush, and do without fiddling with board, pot, book, brush, and box. Amongst the sketches below, the ones made with waterbrush were the National Museum of the American Indian (very windy!), and the last sketch of the Washington Monument (suddenly cold, also windy!).

I worked in landscape-format Stillman and Birn Zeta softcover book and a Pentalic Aqua Journal, two of my favorite sketchbooks. (I don’t have many; I’m pretty picky.)

The trip was a great one for me, though the city deserves a longer, more leisurely visit, and a few wanderings through its less-lauded neighborhoods and streets. Faces were all friendly, and thankfully, nary a lack of food trucks for snacking and lunches (I do love food trucks). Well worth a visit, and a reminder that this great nation was founded on better democratic principles than is often practiced.

Click the images below to see larger versions.

sketch, watercolor on paper: A reader in the park.

A reader in the park.

sketch, watercolor on paper: The Smithsonian Museum.

The Smithsonian Castle

sketch, watercolor on paper: The Washington Monument from a distance.

The Washington Monument from a distance.

sketch, watercolor on paper: The undulating waves of the National Museum of the American Indian.

The undulating waves of the National Museum of the American Indian.

sketch, watercolor on paper: The Capitol dome from the National Garden.

The Capitol dome from the National Garden.

sketch, watercolor on paper: Evening coffee.

Evening coffee, courtesy of hotel service. There has to be a coffee sketch somewhere, right?

sketch, watercolor on paper: Greenhouse at the National Garden.

Greenhouse at the National Garden.

sketch, watercolor on paper: The last sketch of the Washington Monument at twilight.

The last sketch of the Washington Monument at twilight.

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4 thoughts

  1. Penemuel

    March 19, 2017

    Love seeing your sketches of D.C.! Sorry about the wind and the sudden cold snap – our weather in winter is more than a little crazy…

    Reply

    1. Thank you! We actually had really lovely weather during our visit. I think I just chanced upon little wind tunnels, though I did expect that at the Lincoln Memorial — that long pool helps the winds sweep up and down the avenue. But it was a lovely visit, and I want to go again; people were so friendly (anywhere outside of NY, imho).

      Reply

  2. Wow!!! You got a lot done for an overnight trip. Great job capturing the essence of the scene without a lot of detail. (The water brush helps with that too.) Love these!

    Reply

    1. Thank you! It helped there was so much to see within reasonable walking distance. Though I’ve to say, every time I thought I was getting closer to a monument, it was really another quarter mile farther. But a great, walkable city.

      Reply

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