Helmets and Heroes

Still mildly shaken from the false alert of a missile attack earlier in the morning, local and visiting sketchers descended upon the Honolulu Fire Museum yesterday. Like on our first visit two years ago, yesterday’s event started with a fascinating review of firefighting history in Honolulu by a group of expert docents Fire Inspectors Mau and Kunimitsu (with support from Fire Inspectors Zablan, Inay, Enos III, and others), followed by a sketch session that encompassed the museum’s exhibits as well as its urban environment. Engine #6, the first unit to respond to the Pearl Harbor attack, was featured in several sketches, as were helmets, speaking horns, and other firefighting paraphernalia dating back as far as the 19th century. This past week, the HFD celebrated its 167th anniversary! At show and tell, visiting sketchers from Seattle and Sydney mingled with the locals as we shared sketches and perspectives, both literal and figurative.

As always, don’t forget to check out our sketches on Flickr and upload your own!

See you at our next event on January ​27!

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Honolulu Fire Museum

Our visit to the Honolulu Fire Museum on Saturday combined education and sketching, thanks to the support of the Honolulu Fire Department. Fire Inspector Kendall Ching set the scene with a brief overview of the grounds and an insightful and touching account of the history of firefighting in Honolulu, with emphasis on its origins under the Hawaiian monarchy and the determined response to the Pearl Harbor attack. In the 1 1/2 hours that followed, we found ourselves almost overwhelmed by the choice and richness of detail of firefighting paraphernalia from a bygone era.

In our traditional show-and-tell session we shared notes and thoughts on materials and techniques, and contemplated why it is so much harder to sketch scenes on location rather than from photos. Tentative conclusion: It is our brains that get in the way – in particular when it comes to proper perspective in close-up views like the ones we encountered frequently here!

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We hope to be back at the Honolulu Fire Museum to hear more about historical events and developments – and to again tackle sketching all the chrome and brass, bells and nozzles, ladders and pumps.

Until then, we hope that you will check out our sketches on Flickr and join us at our next event!