Arches and Hoodoos! Part-1

Utah, greeted us at the start of Summer vacation. Exploring red sandstones and barren landscape through sketching and hours of hiking on trails was the main motto of this adventure. I geared up myself with maps, camera, favourite hats, sunscreen and pink/black Nike shoes. We wanted to experience the land of rocks, towering fins and spires and the world’s largest concentration of natural sandstone arches. We took a flight to Salt Lake City from Seattle. On the flight, I could watch movies and play games on the screen in front of me. I sat in the window seat like I always do.

Delta 752 interior view blue neon on ceiling was highlighting

When we arrived at Utah, it was very hot. We rented a car, then my dad had to drive for 4 hours to get to our hotel in Moab. The drive was different with raw landscape and very few vehicles on US6. Our hotel was close to Arches National Park and Canyonlands. When we arrived at our room and got settled, we decided to go to Arches National Park. First we saw the Balanced Rock. It was a naturally formed structure that was balanced. My mom was busy sketching, while me and my dad explored the area, saw vegetation growing over there and I was struggling to capture ants into my camera. Entrada sandstone with blue backdrop and a moon is a visual treat. 

   

The next destination was Delicate Arch. On the way we took breaks to load the camera with moments and filling sketchbooks.

Huge sandstone structures and green vegetation around

The hike to Delicate Arch was 3 miles but it felt like 4 or 5! Delicate Arch looked very beautiful at Sunset. It is a Must-Watch Arch! During our hike we paused and smelled the fleeting bloom of a desert flower, felt the twisting trunks of ancient Junipers, and listened for Raven-call echoing off the rocks.

Large sandstones! Mom’s hand were not stopping to sketch each detail of journey!

We came back down faster, probably because it was mostly downhill. It was a dark and starry night and I could see millions of stars and the White Moon. It was my 1st time walking experience through the dark in a barren landscape with a torch. Indeed thrilling!! By the time we reached to our room, all were exhausted and desperately in need of sleep. 

Worth watching Delicate Arch

The next day we headed to Landscape Arch. The hike was easy as compared to Delicate Arch. It was cloudy and cool breeze of mornings, felt good to have a break from the sun. On our way I saw lizards, ants, different birds, cactus plants and played in the sand too. 

Morning time at Landscape Arch

Later, we hiked to the North & South window arch. It was incredible view on the other side of Arch and windy too.

North Window Arch Entrada sandstone and the tan Navajo sandstone show diagonal lines called cross-bedding

It was noon by the time we hiked back down, so we decided to have lunch and go to Canyonlands. The drive from Arches National Park to Canyonlands was about 1 hour. On our drive, we saw Sandstorm at a distance and encountered a slight drizzle of rain. The changing weather, typography was noteworthy into my journal. This entire place is a place of enduring life and raw beauty, a window from which to contemplate the past and our shared future.

Scripted by our daughter!

More on Cayonlands and Bryce in Part-2

Fremont through Sketchers eye!

The bright sunny Sunday morning in Fremont was the Monthly outing destination this time. It was our first visit to Fremont. Though it was hot weather, I grabbed for myself a shady place and sketched the Lenin statue directly with pen. The visit of Gabi was encouraging for all of us.

 

The hollow bronze Lenin statue attracts lot of crowd. Fremont is famous for its large public art and quirky statues. As I utilised my time with Moleskine sketchbook, my husband and daughter captured the architectural features and art in camera.

From the corner of the Fremont Pl North, I captured the Planet Orbs, all signal posts along with The Lenin statue. 

Some camera moments of Fremont!

Though wanted to capture the Troll, but by 12:30 the sun was directly on head, so we decided to give it a miss. Fremont is a place of JP patches, Rocket and the Saturn, Planet orbs, Dinosaurs, Center of the Universe and Waiting for the InterUrban. It’s wonderful to see the work of other sketchers and sketch along with them. After sharing the work, we posed for the usual group snap of Seattle Urban Sketchers.

Fremont 25th June 2017

Sketching with the maestros

Group Reportage : Discovering Lake Union Park, was the last workshop of Usk Seattle’s 10×10 workshop series. Being the first visit to Lake Union Park there was lot of zest and eagerness to capture different views in my Moleskine landscape sketch book. The morning started by sketching Centre for  Wooden boats and a totem pole before the experts  arrived. The wooden structure appealed to me because of the rustic look and one can engage in heritage experience here. A place where history becomes alive. It’s a hands on experience at the maritime museum.

Centre for Wooden Boats

Boats with machines and yellow brass measuring gauge drew my attention. The black gizmo with contrast of brass zoomed in to my sketchbook. I tried to capture minute details of it.

    

The next destination was MOHAI( Museum of History and Industry), surrounded by historical Artifacts. MOHAI is the largest private heritage organisation in the WA. The Carroll’s diamond clock is a perfect example of it. The lush green and yellow pillar with a clock on top stands out elegantly. The Canada Geese roaming around the MOHAI are fun to watch.

Sketching directly with pen

The letters ‘Swiftsure’ on the huge scarlet red colour ship caught hold our vision. Our means me and the master Gabriel Campanario. Within few minutes he guided me how to sketch directly with pen. Three sketches on one page related to that particular spot. The thing which attracts one’s vision is to be sketched, giving very little time to ponder upon. Our hands and brain co-ordinates accordingly and we create a perfect image. Sketching is quick drawing or capturing that moment of place according to ones perspective. It’s a special moment to seek guidance from all the mentors of Urban Sketchers. Gail wong’s Panaromic view concepts, Sue Heston’s simple shapes and stronger sketches, Anita Lehmann’s charcoal shades, David Chamness’s sketching freely without worry!, Steve Reddy’s black & white confident detailing of contours and Gabi Campanario’s quick sketching, drawing human figures and describing the situation – Pocket sketchbook. The most memorable day with Seattle’s Urban Sketchers at South Lake Union Park.

Instructors of Urban Sketchers

Spring break – Los Angeles

We traveled down to Los Angeles last week to enjoy warm sunshine and explore new city life in LA, California state. Our daughter was in full enthusiasm for Disneyland and Universal studios. My husband was aiming for relaxation and I wanted to use all my pencils, sketchbooks, charcoal etc. to do full-time sketching of new environment and of course break from kitchen, ha ha…

We took early morning flight from Seattle to Lax. Our first destination was Santa Monica Beach. It was wonderful bright sunny weather with cool breeze. The city welcomed us by tall palm trees and heavy traffic. We spend hours on beach, visited Amusement park and build sand castles. I tried to capture the sea, sand and deck of Santa Monica. 

Santa Monica Beach, LA
Palm Trees, Santa Monica

At the beach people were relaxing, playing frisbee, cards, flying kites etc. Tall palms looked completely mesmerizing. It was amazing experience to sketch the beach. Later, we took a walk at Third street Promenade and did window shopping. One can find all famous brands in this area. Live singers, musicians and bubbles in the air created magnificent surrounding. Though wanted to sketch here but unfortunately it was too windy.  

Second day we targeted Hollywood Walk of fame & Universal studios. It was bit difficult to sketch at Hollywood Walk of Fame as the crowd was more and many eyes to look upon. Still I managed to capture Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the street with names of stars. The street had Spiderman, Mickey Mouse, Superman… posing to their character.

Grauman’s Chinese Theater

Being Spring Break long wait was there for rides at Universal Studios. I could scribble the Flight of Hippogriff ride with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in background while standing in the queue.

Flight of the Hippogriff

The studios are pleasure to watch. The day ended in a jiffy with thrill and adventure of rides.

The next day was most awaited Disneyland. Beautiful weather and super excitement was within us. It was easy to sketch here as I could grab a good shady place and everyone was in their own Fantasy world.

 

 

Sleeping Beauty Castle, Disneyland

Fourth day we went to Downtown LA. Tall buildings, art & culture and Staples Center one could notice here. Staples center is a multipurpose sports arena in Downtown.

          

Walt Disney Concert Hall is a great example of Architecture, mainly play of planes and forms. The entire structure looks different through various angles. Frank-Gehry designed the structure in 2003.

Walt Disney Concert Hall, Downtown LA, Charcoal

Last day was visit to California Science Center, Griffith observatory. A panoramic view of LA can be observed from the Griffith park. Indeed great Spring of LA, break from Seattle weather and fun-filled adventure in LA. Packing all good memories and experiences we were back to Seattle and now with normal routine.

Hanami 2017

Blooming Cherry Blossom in Neighborhood 4th April 2017

‘Hanami’ or flower viewing, which denotes the simple pleasure of looking at a single Cherry tree or group of trees in bloom. The soothing colors of white and pink flowers are treat to eyes. The five petal flower is a delicacy in itself. The brown colored branches are loaded with flower bunches and are indeed one of the world’s best reminders of fleeting passage of time. The subtle scent and the joy of seeing all variations of fluffiness seem to make us feel happier.

The streets are lined with fluffy, shades of pink one can imagine. With the blow of wind the petals resembles like snowflakes. The ground turns into blanket of white. I couldn’t stop myself to sketch this picturesque view. The color palette and brush urged my imagination and to draw what I perceive. Our neighborhood contains group of Cherry blossom trees, who welcomes the season of Hanami. The wait was long this time as compared to 2016. The Quads at University of Washington too bloomed by first week of April.  

        

         

In spite of rains and less sunshine there was huge crowd on 2nd April 2017 at the Quads. People truly enjoy the beautiful blooms which the city experiences. The bridal shoot at the Quads, mommies with strollers, picnic parties, children running all over the area, all indicates the festivity of Hanami – joy and happiness. Spring is the perfect season to awaken the trees and plants from their slumber to display their foliage and blooms once again.

Spring in Seattle

A Refreshing Walk!

Zig-Zag pathway into the woods

The snaking pathway making its way into the woods, pure and fresh air to breathe, birds chirping & searching for food, rabbits crossing the trail and insects, ants crawling on trees.  A perfect decision to take a break from the gym and embrace the outdoors. A Walk in the Woods! Though start of Spring but Seattle maintains cooler and wetter climates. The showers, clouds and sun playing hide & seek calls for Nature to look into. The lush green tall trees play with sun rays giving light and shadow effects on the pathway. I am awed by the sheer impact of unsentimental patterns, twists and turns, falling branches, dried twigs & logs all intriguing different art forms. An artistic expression one can visualize with the maniac of lines, wood textures, harmony & balance of trees and tiny living habitats there. Indeed a powerful natural abstraction.       

A walk in the woods introduced me to myself. The peace, purity of nature calms completely your body and soul. Mind gets the essential boost which an indoor space can’t provide. Mother Earth our original teacher, who existed before us and will exist even after we are gone, unless we destroy it by our carelessness. What a terrible act it will be! The Earth is an amazing gift to explore. The tall huge trees in itself are magical. Growing year by year, spreading their shades, creating beauty to impart and of course nothing asking in return. These trees have a reason of being what they are. Living in the most natural, benevolent way is right here on Earth. There are many Life lessons and reasons hiding behind the trees which are waiting to be found out. Unfortunately we humans value least to our environment – a fact.

We humans have the urge for creativity, innovations and always try new stuff to work upon. But unknowingly the environment is affected. Before we ruin the Earth, certain measures and steps are must to save it with our intelligence and willpower. We all can definitely save it. Save environment and Save trees!!! 

I know that I am getting refreshed & helping myself by walking in the woods. I am spending time in serene nature with all kinds of living organisms and learning new stuff about life. An experience to add on in my Seattle journey. An inspiration for my imagination. And that’s pretty refreshing. Don’t believe me? Take a refreshing walk in the woods. Get to know it a little better, and you will probably be surprised by what it has to share.

Just when I think I am done!!!

In conversation with my friend about Life at each others end, we both immediately made similar statements – monotonous routine, job-work, cooking, picking and dropping kids, calling kids for home-work, to eat food, waking them up early mornings list is unending, when will it be done forever!

In conversation with my husband, How was your day in office today? and the reply came routine with work load, office politics, dead lines, when will it be done!!

Well on other side my daughter Hooray Mamma! School is reopening after winter break. I am happy to meet my buddies, play, learn all in fun way. Each day is new and different for her. Yeah! and that’s what I call a Real Life. Childhood is careless, naughty, fun, play, enjoying each and every passing moment of life. No worries, no botheration to know the realities of family ties, social values or Life itself. It is the most pleasant time of our life, a time to enjoy where nothing matters. Yet, as I sit here, staring at my childhood, I wonder why I’ve changed so much? Why do we grow old and become strangers to that little kid we once were? Why do we think that just because we are no longer kids, our hopes and ambitions have to be forgotten? Why do we see our childhood as a vague and distant memory? I know that the world is not fair and it might seem impossible at times, but one thing I do remember about my childhood is that I never gave up, I never stopped trying. I wish I could become a child again. Its the same routine daily and silly questions pop in my mind that why I have to do the same stuff again and again? When I will be done with it forever? Ha Ha Ha… Mother’s job is tough, less relaxing and unending. I still wonder how our mother’s did all daily chores without ifs and buts.

Nevertheless I came to reality from my dreams and realized it was the small child speaking inside me. How can I getaway from my responsibilities and practicality of Life. Whenever I think I am done, there is always new challenge awaiting. Is it true for me alone? Or everyone facing similar problems?

It immediately strikes me of words by Hugh Prather – “Just when I think I have learned the way to live, life changes”. So apt in today’s world. Not me alone but many of us wish to live simple life but simplicity at times demands more. We face doubt about the decisions taken and uncertainty of Life.

How can I say when it will be done when the situation and time are always demanding. Challenges are knocking door and many hands ready to pull you up & down. Each phase of Life is a bliss and a learning. Though I know my childhood will never come again but that little child in me will always be there curious and cranky. Accepting challenges of Life, treasuring the child within us lets be prepared always, because we never know       When all be done!!!

 

Snowlanders


Oh the weather outside is frightful, But the fire is so delightful,and we have no place to go, Let it Snow, Let it Snow…Let it Snow…

Dazzling words suited to the cold winter weather. But we did have a place to visit in chills and enjoy white powder, the famous Bavarian alpine village ‘Leavenworth’, 4 hours from Seattle.

          

With Rodnee from Sound Excursions we headed to our journey by Frosty’s Ferrari(bus) from Bellevue to Leavenworth. Sara was our guide throughout the journey. Gearing up with all cozy, warm jackets, gloves, boots and hoods we were set for adventure experience. Our first long distance bus drive in United States. In Frosty’s Ferrari we were Snow-landers. Each family had chosen their team name. Of course the name was thought by our snow lover daughter. The bus was spacious, luxurious and with wash-room necessary for the journey. The weather was freezing cold, snowing throughout and we were entertained by Sara playing Holiday Trivia and Holiday movies. Unfortunately we Snow-landers didn’t won the game but the fun, thrill and family enjoyment was immense and cant be expressed in words. The entire path from Bellevue to Leavenworth is mesmerizing. Tall lush green deciduous trees covered by snow, as if we were travelling in white dessert. The huge transparent windows of the bus made the view crystal clear.

Snow on trees – Sketching

Leavenworth is famous for its Christmas Lighting and Ice-fest. Its a modeled German town and attracts tourism. Leavenworth surrounded by Northern mountain cascades in the backdrop is replica of countryside Bavarian Germany. Our all time fascination to feel the falling snow on our cheeks, making balls and throwing at each other, sledge and tubing, all came true. 2016 was the 50th year of Christmas Lighting festival. Half a million lights were twinkling in Leavenworth. The Lighting festival starts a month ahead of Christmas and fills with crowd during weekends.

Front street Gazebo

Live musical performances of all favorite Christmas songs fill the streets, interrupted briefly at 4:30 pm for the arrival of St. Nickolus at the Front Street Gazebo. Throughout the day we were entertained by high-caliber performances in the Front Street Gazebo, including hand bell choirs, a top-ranking Army National Guard Dixie band, breakout solo artists, the best high school and professional choirs in the Pacific Northwest. We saw carolers strolling through town, the smell of roasted chestnuts filling the air, sledding in Front Street Park, a traditional Gluhwein Tent (selling hot spiced wine and cider), costumed Christmas characters (including Santa, Mrs.Claus and Father Christmas). At regular intervals hot burning fire-woods kept people warm. Being entirely open area, all winter gears and mental preparation for long waiting queues in the restaurants are must. We relished our supper in Los Camperos Mexican restaurant which was served hot, spicy and cheesy apt for cold winter.

The winter fun doesn’t stop here! Holiday concerts and productions, dogsled rides, snowmobiling, alpine skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing – there are plenty of ways here for each person to make the most of their winter wonderland!! Leavenworth is indeed dream destination to visit especially in winter. Must watch place from my Seattle Diaries!!!

View captured from Frosty’s Ferrari (Bus)