Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sketches and Doodles at Folly Beach and Charleston

With all of our spring breaks aligned, we all took off together for Folly Beach, SC and Charleston. We did our usual favorite things, and some new ones.

One of the new things was touring the Yorktown, a WW II aircraft carrier on permanent display at Patriot Point in Mt Pleasant, across the harbor from Charleston. We've seen it over there for years, and finally got over to see it. It's enormous, and we probably saw only two thirds of it before we were tired out. I saw even less, because I took an hour to wander among the planes in the hangar deck, and drew this sketch of my favorite. I chose it for aesthetic reasons - I liked the beefy look of it, and the bend in the wing, in particular. This was the first F6F Hellcat flown from a carrier - hence the "00" number. It was flown by "Jimmy" Flatley - who introduced them to carriers, proved how effective they could be in the war, and went on to change much about naval aviation and became a Vice Admiral. I noted all this because I had spent so much time on his aircraft.

Later, up on the flight deck, Youngest and I were looking for the fastest jet up there. There were several contenders, and we had to walk the entire set of planes to finally find the F-14 Tomcat at the back of the carrier. We noted with satisfaction that it was the fastest (top speed of 1500 MPH). I talked a little about the competition between the Airforce and the Navy over fighter jets, in particular, and the place the F-14 played in that competition for years. Then I noticed that the commander listed on its side was one James "Seamus" Flatley IV. I opened my sketch pad to check this wonderful serendipity - and saw that, indeed, this plane was flown by the grandson of the man who flew the Hellcat on display below deck. And I would not have noticed the connection (remembered the name) except that I'd spent so much time drawing the plane. For the rest of the day I saw hellcats in photographs and diaramas and immediately recognized them, though I had never paid any attention to that fighter before.

Another morning, before anyone else was up. I tried this watercolor sketch of a horned whelk I found on the beach. No pencil first - drawing directly with the brush. It's not a technique I enjoy, and I'm not good at it (those facts may be causally connected in both directions) - but it was interesting to try. Some things in this sketch I like - others I dislike.

And one evening, as others cleaned up after dinner, I drew this doodle which started as random lines and then gradually became birds. We saw a lot of them on the trip, and many emerged here - pigeons, an osprey (nesting at the top of the Yorktown's conning tower), cormorants, chickens (seen in paintings and art objects in Charleston and, if you've followed this blog long enough, you would recall how often they show up in my drawings and paintings), and crows and grackles down at the beach. No pelican - seems odd considering how many we saw.

It was a good trip, and we all came home very tired.

1 comment:

susan said...

I love the plane and the fact you chose this particular view of it allowing me to finish the image myself. I see it as quite jaunty, painted in bright colors, and flying against a clear blue sky. You know I admire Miyazaki's work and the extraordinary respect he has foe realistic detail in his films that somehow make the situations in the stories much more real. Your drawing reminds me of the best of his ouevre.

The whelk illustration is nice too - something I'd be unlikely to try because I'd be too impatient to wait for the edges to dry so I could continue to paint the form.

The birds doodle could quite easily be incorporated as another painting. The intermingled flowing forms are a very elegant mix.

I'm glad to know you had such a nice holiday. Your way of remembering events is so much more honest than a host of snapshots could ever be.