Mining Towns and Antsy Dogs

Wallace, Idaho is sketching paradise.  A well-preserved mining town from the late 1800’s, there are oodles of intriguing views in every direction.  Not only are the architecture and the street scenes appealing, there are benches to sit and sketch everywhere!  That probably wasn’t what the city planners thought of when they added the benches, but how convenient for those of us who like to draw.

I arrived early and found a good place to park.  I started off with my camera, my sketching bag and my dog, Tucker, to tour the few blocks and find a place to draw.  The streets were quiet and I got some great photos for future drawings.  I found a spot that was perfect, complete with bench, and sat down to get started. I figured I could hold on to Tucker with my left hand while I drew with my right.  I have an active, friendly dog; he feels it’s his duty to greet everyone.  He was constantly distracted, and so was I.  Obviously, this would have to be a quick sketch.  After about a half an hour, Tucker’s patience for staying in one spot was waning rapidly. Time to quit.  Just as I capped my pen, this happened:

van block

Yes, a large vehicle completely blocked my view – just one of the reasons why I sketch fast on location whether I have a dog in one hand or not.  You never know when your subject is going to change, be blocked or obscured in some way.  Plus, light is always changing, too. I’m always conscious of working quickly to catch light and shadow.   I actually find that drawing speedily is better, less time to ponder often means a more spontaneous and effective end result.

Here’s the drawing I did with Tucker in one hand….


I wanted to draw more. Knowing that my van was parked in a convenient spot, I put Tucker in the van where he could sit and watch me as I sat on another handy bench.  This worked much better.  One of the fun things about Wallace is that they use mining equipment as decorations, table supports and flower planters.  I thought this old mining car sign was fabulous.


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