Monthly Sketch Outing

Next Monthly Sketch Outing
November 20
Stimson-Green Mansion
1204 Minor Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101

10:00 A.M.

See Monthly Outings Page for details.

See Adhoc Outings for additional sketch events during the month.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Stimson-Green Restroom

The Stimson-Green Mansion had a lot of good viewpoints to choose from, and I was tempted to sit downstairs in the musty kitchen because of all the hanging pots and pans, but decided to save it for next time. Instead I went for the restroom upstairs. Although it looks like I'm on the throne, I sat on my camping stool in the doorway should anybody need to get in for more legit reasons. No one did.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Train trip

Some months ago I realized the AmTrak station in Centralia was just a block from a McMenamins.  I made a plan to take the train for a sketch outing there. I've not been on an AmTrak train since I was a teenager so I thought it would be a new experience. Yesterday I finally got around to it.  A couple sketching friends came with me.

The first half hour of the trip I was alone, Tukwila to Tacoma.  I sketched the woman sitting across from me.  Then I met up with my traveling companions at the Tacoma station.

Me, Frances, Pat at the Centralia Train station

First, we sketched in the old fashioned train depot.  It was small but had the Victorian era details.     It was built in 1912, a bit out of the Victorian period but it still has the details.

Then on to the McMenamins Olympic Club hotel. 

If you don't know about McMenamins, they are a hotel and restaurant company that buys historic old buildings and renovates them into amazing venues.       They serve the communities in which they reside by opening their facilities to the public.  The locations often have a movie theater or a pool, or both, and these are available for the public to use.  All of the locations are unique with art, painting and decor related to the area in which they reside.  Each of them is eminently sketch-able!  We've sketched 2 or 3 times at the Six Arms on Capitol Hill, Seattle. 

From the website: "Our goal is to keep the past in the present, to celebrate and connect us all with the people and events that have helped define each McMenamins property. To that end, we research, interview and compile materials to identify and commemorate our properties and their surroundings. Our best historical finds often come from you!" 

It was predicted we would have rain in the afternoon so I made my first sketch of McMenamins outside.  This is the view from the street.  The greenery is hung for holiday decor. 

After sketching outside for about an hour, I was happy to sit by the wood stove to warm up.  This heats the dining and pool rooms!  There was a large stack of wood next to it.

We had our lunch there and shared the sketches we'd done so far.

My final sketch was of the large sign in the "New Tourist Bar".  I didn't know it at the time, but Greenalls is a brand of gin.

All of the staff of the Olympic Club were delightful.  I was allowed to go into the hotel section in order to complete the scavenger hunt and get another stamp for my McMenamins Passport book!  And they stamped our sketches too!

Now I'm planning a trip to the Spar Cafe in Olympia to get that last stamp in the section!  This will be a drive, though.  I checked into going by train:  in addition to the travel time by train, it is an hour bus ride from the station, which is actually in Lacey!  I only takes me an hour to just drive there.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Year Five at Gingerbread Village

Having read only the first book and having seen only a couple of the films, I can hardly call myself a Harry Potter fan. (I can’t tell Gandalf from Dumbledore to save my life.) But I am a fan of sketching at Gingerbread Village, the annual holiday fundraising event hosted by the Seattle Sheraton. Local architectural firms team up with the Sheraton’s chef to create truly marvelous edible confections. The term “gingerbread house” hardly describes the colorfully lighted, kinetic, three-dimensional depictions of the Harry Potter books.

Last year the theme was Star Wars, and since I’m definitely a fan of that franchise, I spent a lot of detailed time sketching the candy-and-cookie depictions of my two favorite films. Since I didn’t have much personal connection with the theme this year, I decided to focus more on the visitors. My favorite was the young child (gender uncertain to me) wearing a teddy bear hoodie and pulling a bright green wagon. His mom, obviously a huge Potter fan, was snapping as many photos as she could while also explaining to her kid, who apparently hadn’t seen the films yet, what was going on in the scenes. Mom was running back and forth too much for me to capture, but the kid was all I needed in the sketch.

Early enough in the season, I didn’t get mobbed this morning, so it was relatively easy to make gestural sketches of people of all ages (including the chef himself, who came out to greet visitors).

This was my fifth consecutive year sketching Gingerbread Village, a tradition that began in 2012 as the first outing of Urban Sketchers Seattle’s Friday group. It started getting too crowded for us to sketch comfortably, so after a couple more years, we stopped, but I miss that festive gathering. I think we just have to go earlier in the season as I did today (and Kate did last week).

Here are my posts from 2013 and 2014

Friday, November 25, 2016

Friday in the Park

It was another Urban Sketcher Seattle Friday Ad Hoc outing today.  We'd planned to go to the Volunteer Park Conservatory as it offered warm shelter from what was expected to be chilly rain.  It was also a long way from any retail location on this Black Friday!

But the weather was a beautiful, blue sky day, though still a bit chilly.  Some sketched in the Conservatory but others sketched outside in the park.  I was among the latter group.

I first sketched the front door of the conservatory.  I am always attracted to old fashioned architecture.  (Arches paper; Daniel Smith Watercolors; Platinum Carbon Black ink in a Lamy Safari).

I remembered I've wanted to sketch the Black Sun sculpture so I walked over there next.  I positioned myself so the Space Needle was visible in the opening!  (Bockingford watercolor paper; Daniel Smith Watercolors; Platinum Carbon Black ink in a Lamy Safari).

There was just a few minutes before we were to meet back up.  I did a 10 minute sketch of the sentry camel sculptures in front of the Asian Art Museum.  (Strathmore Series 500 Mixed Media paper; Daniel Smith Watercolors; Platinum Carbon Black ink in a Lamy Safari).

We shared our sketches and had a group photo on the patio in front of the Asian Art Museum:

Thanks to John for the photo. 

Chilly Blue Sky at Volunteer Park

11/25/16 William Henry Seward
Blue sky! After several continuous days of rain, it was good to see the sun this morning at Volunteer Park. Several hardy Friday sketchers took advantage of it to sketch outdoors, but despite wearing two layers of Polartec, I couldn’t quite bring myself to do it. I did, however, have a great view of William Henry Seward from my parking spot. Nostalgically I remembered the last time I had sketched the monument more than four years ago on a warm August day – warm enough that I had to seek shade instead of my car’s heater.

After that I ducked inside Seattle Asian Art Museum, which will be closing soon for major expansion and restoration. First I went to the rear of the museum where I knew the tall windows look out on some of Volunteer Park’s old trees – a good opportunity for a value study. Then I walked through the sculptures in the museum’s permanent collection and found one of a Buddhist monk “at the moment of enlightenment,” whose expression was nothing less than joyful. Or so I thought. The placard, however, said, “it is a moment of intense mental struggle and often associated with actual physical pain.” Well, he looked happy to me.
11/25/16 sculpture of a Buddhist monk, Seattle Asian Art Museum

By the time of the sketchbook throw-down, it was warm enough to stand outdoors for the few minutes it took me to capture one of the museum’s stone camels, who also looked happy to be in the sun.

11/25/16 Volunteer Park tree
11/25/16 SAAM camel

Stimson-Green Staircase

I got to the mansion late, and upon seeing a greater-than-usual turnout, I was lucky to find a spot that I liked. This doorway framed the staircase nicely, and provided an interesting perspective with many pockets of light and dark, which I tried to capture.

The second sketch at right was looking from the opposite corner, just in front of the door you see in the first sketch at left. The tricky perspective was a challenge, and took me awhile to set up! It's not every day you get to sketch an interesting space such as this.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Stimson Green Staircase

2016_11_20 USk Stimson Green

The staircase at the Stimson-Green Mansion in Seattle was a challenging sketch for me. But focusing on a detail like the lantern at the base of the stairs was a good way to keep from being overwhelmed by the complex interior of this historic building. As others have mentioned, I am very grateful to the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation for opening this house up to Urban Sketchers last week.

Dumbledore in fondant

Every year since 2012 I've gone to see the Gingerbread Village hosted by Sheraton Seattle.  It is a fundraiser for Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF).  Every year it is more incredible.  I thought last year's Star Wars theme could not be topped.   But the animation and detail in this year's creations on the theme "Celebrate the Magic of the Holidays" (which is Harry Potter) are even better!  These are massive creations done in all sorts of sweets.  They are designed by a team of architects and built by a Chef (probably also with a team).  

The "Friday Sketchers Ad Hoc" outings started in 2012 with our visit to this event.  In recent years we have stopped going as on our usual day and time it has become a mob scene, so crowded it is impossible to sketch.

Today I left before dawn at 0630 to catch the lightrail into downtown Seattle.  I arrived at the Sheraton before 8 am and nearly had the exhibit to myself.  After photographing all six books thoroughly, I sat down to sketch Book V.  It was created by Bailly & Bailly and Chef John Armstrong.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Stimson Green Mansion

Thank-you again to the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation and Julianne for opening the mansion to the Seattle Urban Sketchers today.  We enjoyed all the different rooms and places in the mansion for sketching at our November outing. 

I did a quick sketch outside of the south wing while I was waiting for everyone to arrive this morning.  It was raining so I sat in my car for this view.

 I chose the dining room for my first sketch indoors and then swiveled 180 degrees to sketch the entry way for my last sketch.  The axis between the front door, through the entry, past the grand stairs, down the large table and to the fireplace is very dramatic component to the house that set the stage for entertaining guests in a very elegant manner. 

You'll end up in my sketch!

David, one of our members, made special arrangements for us to be able to sketch inside the historic  Stimson-Green mansion.  It is owned now by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.  It is located in Seattle's First Hill neighborhood and was built 1899-1901.  It displays an historically intact interior.     

This was the venue for my very first sketch outing with Urban Sketchers, back in February 2012!  I was interested to go back and see how far I've come.

My first choice was an upstairs room.  It might have been a bedroom since there was a bath connected.  Today it seems to be a parlor.  I initially wanted to sketch the corner with the period table and chair along with the artifacts on the table.  Just as I was about to start, Natalie sat in the chair.  I warned her she would end up in my sketch!   And then Steve came in and set his stool in the bathroom!  Both ended up in my sketch.

Then I sketched some details of the huge fireplace in the sitting room downstairs. 

We shared our sketches around the large dining table.   It was a large group today.  Perhaps the good turnout was a combination of the chilly rain and the opportunity to see this historic home.

Stimson-Green Mansion

11/20/16 Ching sketching on the main floor
Only a month or two before I joined Urban Sketchers in 2012, the group had met at Stimson-Green Mansion, a beautifully restored and maintained building on the National Register of Historic Places. Today I finally had an opportunity to sketch there myself. Although the mansion is available to the public for special events and tours, this morning it was generously opened just for Urban Sketchers Seattle, so we had the entire house to ourselves. (Thanks to David Chamness for arranging that!)

And what a house it is! Although dimly lit in some rooms, enough natural light exposed the details in many areas. The architecture is “primarily of Tudor and Gothic revival, but its eclectic styles also range through Moorish, Romanesque, Neoclassical, and Renaissance influences.” I spent a while simply wandering from room to room and floor to floor, taking photos and trying to imagine what it must have been like for the Stimson family to live there in 1901, and later the Green family (who resided there for 60 years). Seattle doesn’t have many houses from the turn of the previous century, so it was a treat to be able to walk through it, sit on the furniture and sketch whatever we pleased.

11/20/16 Window seat
I was somewhat overwhelmed by the large interior views, so I chose a few details that I thought would hint at some of the house’s grandeur. Light coming in above a window seat, a wall lamp, and two beasts decorating one of several fireplaces all caught my attention. My favorite sketch of the day was of Ching when I captured her from above on the stairway landing. 

11/20/16 Fireplace details

11/20/16 Light fixture

Helen and Terrie in one of the bedrooms

Ching downstairs

Sketchers everywhere!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Monthly Outing - Stimson-Green Mansion

Sunday, November 20   
1204 Minor Avenue
Seattle, WA 
10:00 am - 12:30 pm

The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, stewards of Stimson-Green Mansion have generously offered to open up this architectural and historic jewel on a Sunday morning just for our group. We have been to this location before, back in February of 2012, and it's variety and comfort make it a perfect location for rainy Seattle winters.

Read more about its history and significance. And plan to come to participate in this really rich sketch opportunity.

P.S.  Washington Trust for Historic Preservation has partnered with Seattle Urban Sketchers to auction several sketches of special locations around the state.  The auction will be held sometime in December and the proceeds split between the two organizations. Many thanks to WTHP and to David Chamness for arranging this opportunity. 

Seahawks Series

I can't be the only one who finds it more and more difficult to write a post when I have gotten behind. I want to post sketches in chronological order, but that means catching up on my scanning first. So, I'm going to break the cycle and just show you what I have been doing with my Sundays...

2016_10_16 Seahawks v Falcons

We don't have a television, and streaming a Seahawks' game inevitably means our wifi signal will flicker out just as the ball is sailing into the endzone, leaving my husband and I cursing at our monitor. So we have resolved the issue by heading down to the Copper Coin in West Seattle about a half hour before game time. With a little luck we nab a good seat, enjoy a win (or a tie), a couple beers, and I get in some sketching.

2016_10_23 Seahawks v Cardinals

2016_11_07 Seahawks v Bills

2016_11_13 Seahawks v Patriots

Friday, November 11, 2016

Veterans Day To-fer

Fran's Chocolates was a beautiful space (and yummy samples) but just not cluttered enough for me, so I headed over to the Trailer Park Mall. Even when they're closed, there's always plenty of yummy eye candy there.

After yesterday's record-breaking heat, I was underdressed, and didn't realize how chilled I was until it came time to wrap it up.

Then it was off to teach my On Location class. We met at Café Ladro on Capitol Hill. To help my students overcome the anxiety over perspective, I dove in without pencilling and pushed the wonkiness to extremes. Check out the lower left shelf. Proportion schproportion.