On our sketching trip to Sacramento we visited theEdgar Payne painting exhibit at the Crocker Museum. Above is my sketch of the beautiful old Ford he used to get to plein air painting sites. According to the brief video they showed he also frequently traveled by mule. I only had a few minutes to sketch the car so I painted it when I got home.
You can see the photo of the car and some of my favorite paintings from the show below. His compositions (he wrote the book Composition of Outdoor Painting) and his use of warm and cool colors to create a sense of light and depth are fantastic to see in person.
Our sketch group took a train trip to Sacramento and visited the California State Railroad Museum. The enormous building ( 225,000 square feet) contains many full-sized trains. This one called out to me so after looking around a bit, I sat against a pillar on the hard floor and started drawing.
I used pencil first to get the basic shapes down since it was so complicated. Then I switched to ink and the time flew by. A friendly docent started talking to me and I realized I only had a few minutes left before we had to leave for our train ride home, so I quickly added watercolor, which I touched up a bit when I got home.
The museum has a Pullman-style sleeping car, a dining car, and a Railway Post Office, all of which you can walk through, along with many life-size displays demonstrating railroad life in the early years of California. I especially liked the little telegraph office with the lady at her desk with a little dish holding egg shells and a salt shaker from her breakfast. She must have had to work long hours in her lonely outpost. Click here to take a 360 Virtual Tour of the museum (or go in person—it’s fantastic!)
We walked from the train museum to the train station for our ride back home. When we stopped at the Davis station I tried to draw it. But it must have been a “whistle stop.” I barely had time to sketch the tree and a bit of the lamp-post when we were rolling again.
Continuing on from yesterday’s post, we left the Crocker and walked a few blocks to Sacramento’s Old Town to meet up with Urban Sketcher Pete Scully who lives nearby in Davis. Then we all stopped to draw this beautiful bridge, which is actually painted with gold metallic paint, unlike the Golden Gate Bridge which is painted a red-orange, and is not gold at all.
Old Town is several square blocks of restored Gold-Rush era buildings with board walks instead of sidewalks, old trains, horse-drawn carriages, and a few people in costume like this woman (who, when I asked if I could sketch her, told me she was just waiting for her husband to come out of the restroom, and indeed left after 5 minutes). It’s very rustic, and while a bit touristy, is not nearly as bad as Fisherman’s Wharf or Pier 39 in San Francisco.
My last sketch of the day was the exterior of the Amtrak station in Sacramento. The building is very ornate and I would have liked to spend more time accurately capturing some of the details but my eyes were burning from some nearby idling diesel buses so had to go indoors.
There’s a Starbucks at the other end of this block-long building and I ran down there to get a latte for the ride home and then almost missed the train. On the trip back we shared our sketchbooks and relaxed; such a pleasure compared to driving. I want to plan some more train sketching trips soon!