Sketchbook Adventures: the Aviation Boneyard

I was fairly active with my art in high school. I was in the art club every year, and president for two. My graduation included being ceremonially killed by my successor, and eating a graveyard cake. I moved to Alaska a couple months later, and quickly found a group of other young artists who were getting together for  “art nights” once a week. Now that we’ve all filled our lives with work, relationships and every attempt at “adulting”, I find that I’m missing the camaraderie that comes with those kinds of clubs and meetings.

This past Friday, I went to my first meeting with the Fairbanks Sketchers. It’s a free group, meeting at a different inspiring location around town every month; July’s location: the “Bone Yard” of Everts Air Cargo. I’m deathly curious, and jumped at the chance to go, sending a hurried email to get on the short list of 15 sketchers. I could probably have drawn these same airplanes from the road, but there was something satisfying about putting on the orange vest, and climbing around the old structures as mechanics worked to salvage parts.

Now, this isn’t my normal subject matter. Sure, I like to paint “dead things”, but mechanics aren’t really the thing that lights my soul on fire.. It was a challenge to draw something so incredibly far off from my norm. Planes were taking off around us, Everts employees gushed about the planes and threw technical jargon around that I didn’t understand. At one point I found that I had been sitting next to a dead bird, and I mused about how fitting it was to find in the bone yard, among so many grand fallen fliers. I turned to a fresh page, and indulged in scribbling something that was a little more “me”.

I’m hooked. There’s something to be said for challenge, and I felt so welcomed by the group. Everyone was there simply because they love to put pen to paper, and it was fabulous to stretch my artistic legs in the company of such welcoming people. If you’re in Fairbanks, and you have some time to share, I hope I see you and your sketchbook on Saturday, August 5th from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Plant Kingdom Greenhouse.