Niki often has such good advice. (Niki is my daughter Alexis Nicole, many years ago I started calling her Niki, and it stuck, though I am the only one.)
She pushed back when I explained to her my stress about the large number of paintings and sketchbooks that I was accumulating. I do not want her and her brother to feel the need to slog through all of them when I am gone, so I was contemplating disposing of many of them. My thinking was, “who would ever look at the many, many sketchbooks I have filled over the years,” figuring they would sit in cardboard boxes until thrown in a landfill someday. Niki pointed out that my sketchbooks are my way of journaling, that the sketches and notes tell the story of my life and travels, and that she wants to look at them to get a glimpse of the places and experiences that I had, something which I never really considered.
“Capturing the moment” is why I sketch, and what I tell others to do, Niki make me realize that I am capturing the moment for others to experience as well, as a kind of legacy.
So here are a few sketches and their stories from a few years ago, I would like to think my style and technique have changed for the better, but they captured some moments.
Perth, remembering a friend
April 2011, after at least twenty trips to Australia I was headed down under once again, I never thought it would be my last trip to OZ. I flew from Seattle to Los Angeles then on to Brisbane to change planes for an additional 5 hour flight to Perth in Western Australia. I received a message to call my wife, Tricia. She said, “Brace yourself for bad news.” My mind raced: the basement is flooded, family, illness… “Jay, died.”
Jay was a friend, a good friend, he died young and suddenly. I flew on to Perth, took a taxi into town and my hotel, dropped my bags and headed to Murray street and a pub that I always frequented when in Perth. I ordered a pint of James Bogh and salt and vinegar crisps. My first toast and sketch was for Jay. As the evening went on I met folks from all over the world at a big table, a reminder that life goes on and new connections are what makes it worth living.
Queen Anne in San San Francisco
When I traveled doing seminars my days were filled but evenings were for me. The Queen Anne Hotel on Sutter Street was built during the gold rush of the late 1800’s. It still exudes the ornate Victorian charm of those days. The rooms are small, as was the custom of the times, people relaxed and conversed in the lobby, the salon, not in their room. The lobby still had velvet sofas, Tiffany style lamps, and of course complimentary sherry and cookies, with three fireplaces. I spent a delightful evening reading the newspaper. This sketch brings back those memories, an oasis in the midst of dealing with peoples problems at work.
One of my most memorable trips was in September 2015. I left Seattle on a Saturday morning and flew to Dubai. I had a seminar there on Monday, then flew to Milan via Germany, I hired a car and drove to Genoa for a seminar on Thursday, returning to Seattle on Friday.
That first night in Dubai, after checking in to the Raddison I went up to the rooftop pool and bar. The lights from the city twinkled in the night, the lights from the pool illuminated the closed umbrellas, so I sketched. A wonderful warm evening in a place I doubt I will ever re-visit, but surely will never forget.
Waikiki Brewing Company
Hawaii for tourists is different than Hawaii for the locals and regular travelers. I have been to Hawaii more times than I can count, few of the trips were for pleasure, yet that does not mean I did not seek out places to hang out; I found many places just a block or two off of Kalakaua that never saw a tourist, yes some were a bit of a dive, but so enjoyable. In 2017 I made a couple of trips teaching project management, I stayed at the Doubletree on Ala Moana. Just a one minute walk down the street is the Waikiki Brewing Company – my go-to hang out for sure. These sketches were done on two separate trips that year – like the others they bring back nice memories.
Thank you Niki for motivating me to revisit some moments. I think I will go back through a few of my sketchbooks and add some notes, so when you read them in the future they tell more of the story. Love and thank you Niki.