I’m usually terrible about attending organized sketch crawls, but today I made an extra effort and joined the Urban Sketchers group up north in Edmonds, WA. My friend Gabi Campanario (who founded the group) was there, and while most of the rest of the group camped out to sketch around the downtown core, we set out for the shoreline. There, Gabi let me in on the best sketching secret ever: that the best place to be was under the ferry landing.
You can only walk under there (without waders) when the tide is lower than normal; today we had a boatload of sheer dumb luck, as it happened to be an exceptionally extreme spring tide. Today was not only a full moon, but a so-called “supermoon,” where the moon is the closest to Earth that it will be for the next year. We arrived on the scene about an hour before low tide, and found the place absolutely teeming with marine life.
I’ve seen tide pools before, but nothing like this. There were literally hundreds of sea stars, crabs, anemones and clams in lurid colors. And I got to make a few discoveries—like just how bizarre an anemone looks when it’s completely exposed and left hanging from a rock like a gob of soupy ABC gum. Or that if you stand in place long enough, sooner or later a clam will squirt a jet of water at you from two feet away, and hit you with uncanny accuracy.
The place was also teeming with beachcombers, who provided a good exercise in speed-sketching an ever-changing crowd (as if the seriously challenging perspective of all those pilings weren’t enough…). Gabi, on the other hand, was super easy to draw: he plonked himself down on a rock to paint, and became almost as motionless as the sea stars clinging to his perch.
So thanks, Gabi, for a great sketch outing today. And a big shout-out to the moon, for providing the perfect opportunity!