Who goes to another country just for a few hours of urban sketching? My wife even joked: "Where do you think you are, in Europe?"
Last week, I took a 4-hour train from Seattle to Vancouver just to do that. I met Asnee Tasna, who was visiting from Bangkok, local sketcher Don McNulty, the best host we could possibly have, and Gail Wong, who also came up from Seattle with her husband.
Despite a little train delay, we hit the ground running early in the afternoon. This being a city surrounded by water, it was just fitting to hop on a little boat and go to a place called Granville Island, a former industrial area south of downtown that has been transformed into a vibrant neighborhood and shopping district.
During the boat ride, I did a quick line sketch of Don and Asnee that I colored on my the train back home.
At Granville Island we grabbed some take out food at a lively market and promptly started sketching the art-deco style Burrard Bridge, which dates from the 1930s. I can't remember if it was Asnee or Don who said it was "compulsory" that we sketch the bridge. I appreciated the direction, because there was so much going on around us that I didn't quite know where to start.
Gail, who teaches at the University of Washington, taped a video of Asnee drawing to show her architecture students. Asnee, unfortunately, had no way to come down to Seattle because it's very difficult for Thai residents to get visas to enter the U.S. With more preparation time, maybe we can bring him back to teach a workshop in Seattle!
At the end, we laid out our sketches on a wooden bench and took some "trophy photos" before jumping back on the ferry so I could get to the train station on time.
In all, I was in Vancouver for just a little over five hours, but the trip was well worth it. The opportunity for a Thai, a Canadian, an American and a Spaniard to sketch together doesn't present itself everyday, so this was a very special occasion. I know the memory from this experience is going to last forever.
(Don't miss the accounts and sketches posted by Asnee, Don and Gail!)