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Drawing Ink and watercolor wash Sacramento Sketchbook Pages Urban Sketchers

Train Trip to the California State Railroad Museum

1908 Train #112 Redwood Empire Route, ink & watercolor, 5x10"
1908 Train #112 Redwood Empire Route, ink & watercolor, 5x10"

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.

Micaela and Susan sketching on the train
Micaela and Susan sketching on the train ride

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!)

Davis Train Station as it rolled by
Davis Train Station as it rolled by

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.