Saturday, August 16, 2014

SKETCHBOOK: "Sketch a bit...FLY a bit"

What a SPECTACULAR FUN DAY I just had!!  It was one of the most excellent and unexpected good times I've had in a LONG while!!  I traded some sketches for two plane rides at the Excelsior Springs, MO Airport "Fly In" event.  Artist Cathy Johnson, author and leader of the "Urban Sketchers Midwest" group, organized a sketch-crawl at the airport again this year.

I couldn't wait to get out there and start drawing, so I arrived about 3 hours earlier than our scheduled time.  This allowed me to enjoy the pancake breakfast they had at one of the hangers.  The sketch below was done where everyone was eating.  I bought some new gray markers to try a tonal study.  As happens with using ink pens, you can't correct mistakes.  My proportions were off a bit on the people in the center area, and they look like giants.  The lighting was really bright at the hanger doors, so all the dark shapes worked great for the gray tones.
 Next up, a sketch of the hangers, and a few planes.
Before I get into the story about my plane rides, I'll keep going with showing you the sketches I did.  Below is a PIPER SUPER CUB.
 And here is the linework for a PT STEARMAN bi-plane.
 This is after adding my watercolor washes on top.

Now I'll fill you in on my double-whammy adventure!  While I was sketching the airplane hangers, there was a group in front of me that was having fun flying one of the new "DRONE-Cams".  Several times during the drawing, I could hear that 4-prop aircraft hovering above me.  I thought it was hilarious that I was being spied upon!  After awhile, the owner of the drone came over to talk, and to see what I was sketching.  His name is Steve Johnson, and is the Director of the "Recreational Aviation Foundation".  Then he asked me if I would be interested in trading a sketch of his plane for a RIDE in that plane.  I said, "ABSOLUTELY!!!  I would LOVE to do that!!" (or something to that effect).
So here are a few photos of that excursion, flying over Excelsior Springs, and above the airport.  It was a BLAST!
Once we landed, I went to work on drawing Steve's plane. Here he is below with the final sketch.  I had a terrific time, and really enjoyed chatting a bit with his family and some of his friends who also flew in for the event.
So as I am drawing, putting the finishing touches on Steve's CUB sketch, another pilot arrived and was kind enough to loan me his pocket knife so I could cut out the page from my sketchbook without ripping it up.  This gentleman was Dan Kirkpatrick who owns the Blue and Orange Bi-plane (plus a couple of others).  It turns out that he is also the manager of the airport, too!!  Dan and I had spoken last year for a bit, and he had left some nice comments on my blog about the drawings I did of his planes.  In short order, we began a little bartering...and I agreed to draw a sketch of Dan's airplane in exchange for a ride in his bi-plane!!!!  Below is a pic of Dan, and the sketch.

So "Off we go, into the wild blue yonder"...again!!  This time in an open cockpit!  I was grinning so much that my teeth were drying out the whole flight.  Dan said you can tell who is a happy aviator by counting the bugs on his teeth. Believe me...I was HAPPY!!
I think both pilots felt like they got a square deal with an original piece of artwork of their airplane.  I, for one, think I got the BEST deal of all!  A HUGE "Thanks" to Steve and Dan...I'll never forget this!!

UPDATE 8-17-14!  Here are a few more pics that were posted on Facebook today.


Unknown said...

Totally awesome day! Love your write up, photos and your sketches of the Fly-In. Fun seeing you smiling from ear to ear!

Susan said...

Wonderful post! Who knows where your sketches might take you.

Unknown said...

Warren it was as exciting for us aviators to watch what you do as it was to fly with us! You made it a very fun an memorable day! Thanks!

Steve Johnson

Kate (Cathy Johnson) said...

This is SO COOL, Warren, I'm so glad you could come, get there early, and get such a terrific bonus from the day--which you've passed on to us! I love your photos as well as your sketches...and aren't our aviators the coolest folk?

I used to do quite a bit of bartering with artwork--meals, lodging, legal advice--it's great!

Anonymous said...

What a fabulous experience! Super super! Some of those photos would make great inspiration for some watercolor landscapes as well! What a rich day of experiences. Mom

Warren Ludwig said...

Thanks everyone! I am reminded of a bracelet that my late wife, Cathy, used to wear. It said, "Open Your Heart To The Possibilities". The day at the airport was a perfect example of being open...and it was a terrific experience! "Have sketchbook...will travel!"

martine paquet said...

What a delightful post, Warren!
And what a great adventure you got while sketching !

Renee said...

I was smiling the whole time I read your posting. What a wonderful experience.

Brenda Swenson said...

Looks like a page from "Warren' Great Adventure". What an unexpected and wonderful time you had! These things don't happen when we sketch indoors. We never know what opportunity's are waiting for us. Thanks for sharing!