SFO Groundtime

I arrived at SFO at 6 AM on a Sunday morning, plenty of time for my 8:42 flight to Phoenix Sky Harbor. Or so I thought.

I leisurely had breakfast having made it through security in about ten minutes, not bad for a Sunday morning. Plenty of time to catch my flight.

After breaking the fast, I passed by the departure board and my flight was rescheduled for 11:30 AM because of a “ Crew Connection”. I later found out that our crew was delayed in Reno, Nevada due to inclement weather.

Now I had three extra hours to spend (for a flight lasting an hour and a half!) at San Francisco International Airport!

I definitely got some steps in wandering in the terminal-mall that is SFO. I parked in a comfy swivel chair and people watched, which is first class at SFO. I attempted to add a story to those passing by, very much under the influence of Barbara Kingsolver. (My travel read was her first novel The Bean Trees, which is set in Tucson, Arizona.)

What to do? Sketch of course! Airplanes parked on the tarmac are very obliging sketch subjects. They sit still.

As I was sketching the tails of a line of United planes, an arriving flight pulled in front of my subjects. Good thing I had inked most of my sketch. Planes do move after all. Just not the ways a sketcher may want them to.

I got in two sketches at SFO until I finally boarded my United flight to PHX.


Phoenix, Sedona, Flagstaff

For my one week spring break I decided to keep it close and sketch, bird, and nature loaf in the Grand Canyon State (without visiting the Grand Canyon). And also see one of the best meteor crater strikes on planet earth along with the observatory where Pluto was discovered.

The Southwest is a landscape of red-rust rocks, olive greens, and blue skies. I would need a slightly different palette to capture the landscapes around Sedona, a different palette than I use in coastal California.

I added some more paints such as quinacridone burnt orange by Daniel Smith to add to the desert colors I would be using in attempting to render the Arizona landscapes before me.

The beginning of any adventure is creating a map. I may or may not stick to the route but it provides the framework for miracles and wonder (featured sketch).

From my digs in Sedona I would be heading north to the colder climes of Flagstaff and then 37 miles east to the Meteor Crater near Winslow. I want to field sketch the crater from its rim. It will be cold, with a high of 45 so I am bringing my October Yellowstone jacket beanie, and gloves.

Once I get the meteor crater in my sketchbook I will head back to Flagstaff to the Lowell Observatory, my sketching target: the Pluto Discovery Dome where the search for Planet X ended as Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto on February 18, 1930.

I return to Phoenix and chose to stay west of downtown. The location is near Skyharbor but also about 40 minutes to the famous “Thrasher Spot”. This legendary birding destination is the best place to see the elusive Le Conte’s thrasher (and three other thrasher species). Good thing I have this desert wraith on my life list already. This nemesis bird took a lot of time and legwork to see, but I finally saw a Le Conte’s on January 4, 2019 just west of the landfill at Borrego Springs. But I do not have Bendire’s thrasher and if I see this bird, I will close out all North American thrashers!