On a recent trip out to the Pacific Northwest, I sketched a lot. We were there to see friends, vacation and explore. Our travel style was to spend most of our time walking around the cities, sometimes with our friends, interrupted only by eating and drinking. We were always looking at something, and we drank a lot of coffee.



This style of travel always makes me want to draw. I’m not sure if it’s all the new things to mentally record, the excess hours in coffee shops or how much richer sketches make a journey than only snapshots. It could also be a history of traveling with artist friends.


When we took the train from Portland to Seattle- a trip I highly recommend- we were moving too quickly for me to sketch very much. The thing I was most impressed by was the colors anyway. In my little sketchbook, I recorded a list of colors as the landscape changed. On this diffuse, misty day, the area just north of Portland impressed me with its golds and grays, as well as sparkling lichen green and vibrant new moss green. This palette slowly incorporated rust and the color of evergreens and blackberry(?) leaves. Farther into Washington, the lichen golds gave way to synthetic mustard/ turmeric yellow, the synthetic bright aqua of construction materials and the weathered blue-gray of warehouse buildings. These transitioned into the colors of new lumber, which matched the dried grasses and weathered white, always with the foggy backdrop. The swans and the warehouses echoed each other in color. All I could think about was how much of this landscape embodied the word wilderness.