Elmhurst, IL: I have met very few people in my lifetime who get excited about the dreaded railroad crossing. In fact the news would confirm that more and more people believe they can outsmart the crossing gates and have had to pay dearly for that error in judgement. I am rather the opposite where I look forward to the latest artwork on the train cars, rendered by the unknown graffiti artists scurrying about the railroad yards at night, and on display for the general public imprisoned at the crossing gates. I find this art rather compelling and the one element that makes waiting for a freight train more enjoyable.
Consider, then, that the art of Urban Sketching exercises the artist's observation skills of the world right before them, and now the mundane and overlooked become the hero of their compositions. I had such a moment recently when I was stopped by the activated crossing gates and was overcome by the complexity of signage and warnings that have become necessary. "Do not stop on Tracks," "Caution: walk time shortened when train approaches," and "Warning: Fast moving trains." The only one missing might be "Warning: crossing the tracks while gates are down may kill you."
Regardless, it is this kind of over-communicating that becomes great subject matter for the Urban Sketcher. The more curious, the more there is a backstory attached to the sketch, the better.
Sketch: Prismacolor 005 Premier Pen and Prismacolor color markers on kraft paper.