Monday, July 23, 2012

I missed this past Saturday's sketch outing at the Bass Pro Shop because I went to Joplin, MO with my Son.  He is a police officer and was one of the earliest responders sent to Joplin in the days following the devastating tornado in May of 2011.  He spent nearly two weeks there helping to deal with the aftermath of what had happened to a widespread area of the city.  Just north of the hospital they have built a small park dedicated to the volunteers that came to help.  It is a beautiful park / memorial and it was nice to see something new within the affected area.  I sat on a small stone wall and sketched this scene of this lone house with the outer walls standing but the roof and interior severely damaged.  The tree was stripped of all foliage with the exception of the one single branch that was full of leaves.  It was a very eery scene but I believe typical of what it looked like in the immediate days following the disaster.  Although it has been 14 months since the tornado, I'm glad I had the opportunity to visit this with Andrew and to record this still haunting scene in my sketchbook.
While I was sketching my drawing above, Andrew was drawing this scene of the hospital which was just to the south of where we were.  It was damaged beyond repair so it is undergoing complete demolition.  Andrew is new to sketching and has just started to experiment with adding watercolor to his drawings.  I think he is doing a fantastic job in just the short time he has been doing this and wanted to share his drawing here as well.  Hopefully we will have a new addition to Urban Sketchers Midwest . . . 

Saturday was a great experience and I'm lucky to have spent the day as we did.


  1. Wow, Don, your drawing brought tears to my eyes. It's very powerful.

    I have friends who lost everything in that tornado, and others whose families are just gone; somehow your sketch makes that poignantly near.

    I think your son did a wonderful job, and please thank him for his service for all of us.

  2. Remarkable color scheme! Manages to convey both the despair caused by the destruction, and the hope associated with re-building.

  3. So poignant. That tree is a haunting and tender metaphor for life continuing on after a cataclysmic event.

    Drawing--what a wonderful way for father and son to spend time together. There was a father and son (age 13) duo at the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Santo Domingo. What a bond!

  4. Amazing sketches! Very emotional!

  5. Thank you all so much!! It was a special day for me and I am glad I was able to capture something like this and to be able to share it here.


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