A biro, coffee and a quiet moment.
The flamingo. Las Vegas, or Margate?
Margate or Vegas?
My lap of honour around Vegas starts at the Luxor.
I am alone in the pyramid lift and it is making a noise no lift should make. It shakes violent from side to side and the display says ‘EZ’. What does that mean? Is this part of the experience? I feel claustrophobic.
The display still says ‘EZ’. The doors start to rattle inwards and for the first time in my life, with force, I press the ‘save me’ bell. Nothing happens, but a second later the display says ’16…17′ etc. Soon the doors open and I leap out with enthusiasm.
To my dismay, when I head out, the only available lift is the bone shaker. I hold the doors until a big group of people join me. Their reaction to the shaking and grinding confirms this is NOT part of the experience.
I had a request for Halloween pumpkins today. So with just an hour to spare before leaving Vegas for my road trip, I reeled off as many pumpkins at I could.
Good morning Las Vegas!
Slowly baking as the sun gets higher.
Totally toasted by 3pm!
9am is far too early to stumble across a pair of 20 foot high peacocks, just begging to be sketched.
Once I finished the pen work, I eyed up the fancy mosaic floor and decided this was not the place to risk ‘Inktober day five: The return’. So I went round the corner to a safer spot, to finish the ink wash.
Not quite believing that no one moved me and my grubby little palette on, I returned to my flowered friends to finish off.
My final stop of the day had to be the fountain of the gods at Caesars palace.
For Inktober, I’m following the urban sketchers manifesto, essentially, paint it as you see it, live, as it happens.
However today, I’ve also managed to match the official Inktober theme of ‘gigantic’. Hard not to, since everything in Vegas is gigantic.
I’m working solely in ink this month, straight down in pen with no sneaky pencil outlines first. So the MGM Grand lion could so easily have ended up wonky.
I also did a quick sketch of New York-New York, whilst a couple stood next to me getting married by a man with a briefcase. Just them and a photographer.
I added the colour sitting next to an Irish bar, in New York, in Las Vegas. Weird.
Normally I would have my sketchbook out, desperately putting down some lines, but right then, it’s too sobering. It would be impossible to be here without mentioning and feeling for the people involved in, and impacted by the recent mass shooting.
Over the next week, I’ll try to capture Vegas as I see it.
I circle through sprawling, dim lit Casinos and out into the blinding sunshine, face to two face with two women in leather hot pants, brandishing whips. It’s pretty clear that life in Sin City, goes on.
I start with Paris, which I last sketched in the flesh in 2014. Midway, a couple ask me to take their picture. I do.
Then on to the Bellagio fountains, where Fleetwood Mac and Phil Collins pound out to a techno beat.
The fountains spring into action to the tune of ‘Gad bless Amer-i-caw’ and I have 15 minutes to sketch them.
Midway, a man asks if he can take a picture. Now this is not unusual. I stood sketching at the top of Gornergrat mountain in Switzerland, whilst literally, a train load of tourists shoved long lensed cameras between me and my page, some ruthlessly diving in, others smiling and gesticulating thanks. I don’t usually mind and if someone asks, I usually let them, but my body thinks it’s 1:30am, I’m tired, and I don’t fancy it. ‘I’d rather you didn’t’ I say politely, he tries again, I say the same. He walks around the other side of me and tries again (bear in mind I have only 15 minutes) ‘no’ I say, ‘but it’s for me’ he says. I raise an eyebrow and carry on sketching.
It’s 7pm in Vegas, but my body thinks it’s 3am. I’m standing alone on the strip in Las Vegas, sketching the iconic Flamingo. Midway, a man asks me if I might have any idea where the Uber pick up point is. It’s time to sleep.