Friday, June 6th, 2014

Frank Bettendorf’s Trip to the Channeled Scablands



81 year old urban sketcher Frank Bettendorf was super excited about the new landscape Webbie notebooks so we sent him one to try out on his recent trip to the Channeled Scablands – a barren, relatively soil-free landscape in Eastern Washington. Click on any image below to view the full gallery. 

I’m back home after seven great days recording my trip to the Channeled Scablands and I’m eager to share some of the experience with you. I shot three rolls of slides, two rolls of black & white, and did 27 sketches. I thought I’d send enough so you’ll at least get some feel for the trip..

The new landscape Webbie worked beautifully and I tried a full spread, that is across two pages, for the first time and it was good to have the space. Good surface to work on and the different pens I tried worked well except for the Copic Multiliner whose black faded to a gray on the surface. Don’t know what the issue is. It was fun to use the new format and I recommend others try it.

So here’s some background. I live very near Puget Sound in Northwestern Washington so I’m in the so-called “rainy” part of Washington, the part most think of when you say Washington. However, once over the Cascades, very much like the Rockies or Alps, the environment changes. High Desert, rolling hills of ranch and farm country, and acres and acres of wheatfields. And heat. Summer days in the hundreds is common. Small towns, some faded, some only a railroad siding, but always wonderful helpful people. They are genuine, authentic, and wave from their trucks when you meet them on the two-lane backroads. I love all those elements about being there.

The following is a quote from an excellent book about the Scablands. “The Channeled Scablands region exhibits a variety of strange and dramatic geological features caused by ice-age flooding some 15,000 to 18,000 years ago. As you explore this area, you’ll encounter forest and farmland, lakes and streams–but the primary geologic player in evidence is basalt rock in a variety of forms. Coulees are lined with basalt columns, eroded plateaus of brown-black basalt thrust up above the surrounding soil to form buttes and tablelands reminiscent of the American Southwest. Basalt is a form of lava that oozes out from beneath the earth’s surface, then hardens as it cools and splits into multisided (often hexagonal) columns.”

Years later gigantic ice floods covered the Scablands and scoured them into amazing surfaces. And, not all the surfaces are alike, something that interested me a non-geologist. Intriguing is the word. So enough of the writing, here is what I’m writing/talking about. Please let me know what you think, what your reactions are. Thanks.

4 thoughts on “Frank Bettendorf’s Trip to the Channeled Scablands

  1. You’ve got some mighty fine stuff here, Frank!

    Keep up the good work!

    We opened Blithe Spirit w/ Angela Lansbury tonight at the Ahmanson. From here it moves to SF, Toronto, then Wash, DC (the National). The audience was great!

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