Monthly Sketch Outing

Next Monthly Sketch Outing
Sunday, January 29
Lunar New Year Celebrations
International District
10:45 A.M.

Meet at Hing Hay Park near the covered shelter.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Street Scenes

1/20/17 Greenwood
I don’t know about the rest of you Seattle urban sketchers, but I find that the deeper we go into winter, the lower my standards are for what constitutes inspiring sketch subjects. Any sketch I make must be done from the warmth and comfort of my “mobile studio,” which means my scope and viewpoint are limited.

That said, I’m getting lots of practice with trees, power lines and parked cars. 

1/17/17 Wedgwood
1/16/17 Maple Leaf

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Meet the Correspondent - Suzanne Shaw

I came to US in 1993 from Singapore.
I always love arts, but did not really involved until children grown up and finally retired 3 years ago. I started my first Watercolor class over Vancouver,WA, since then never stop loving its beauty of purity. Two years ago I learned USk from one of Artist friend, starting the journey of sketching. I have been participated sketch outings as often as I could. 
This year, I would like to challenge myself to associating my sketch or painting to storytelling. In spite of English is not my first language, I will do my best while walking with many gifted artists. Below are two of my earlier sketchs: #1 was done at Convention Ctr (A Native American stature),#2 was done at Balboa Park, SanDiego.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Old Truck

This old track parked at off road nearby where I lived, it never moved like statue stood there. Whenever drive-by, always caught my eyes. As land developing rapidly, I'm afraid it will vanishing soon. So, today is a perfect chance to sketch it as contribute to our weekly theme"Trucks"

Friday, January 13, 2017

January Sunday Sketch Outing

Sunday, January 29  
Lunar New Year in Seattle's International District

Meet in Hing Hay Parkin or near the covered shelter
Corner of King and Maynard 
10:45 am until 1:15

See details on Monthly Outing Page.

4th Annual Gab & Grab

Blanche shows her compact sketching kit.
Every winter, USk Seattle substitutes the Gab & Grab for one of our Friday sketch outings. It’s a favorite among long-time members and always brings in new faces, too. Today we welcomed newcomers Pat and Bo and hope to see them at future outings when we actually sketch together!

For our fourth annual event, participants were invited to “gab” about their choice of these topics: a new tool; a favorite bag; a favorite art technique book; or an art tip learned in a class, book or from another sketcher.

The “grab” portion of the event wasn’t nearly as uncivilized as it sounds (although when I spotted the Jedi vs. Sith pencil box, I called dibs immediately!). Everyone brought unneeded art supplies or books to trade or give away. Dave generously gave away a couple sets of his laser-crafted ornaments, too.

Thanks to everyone who shared information and supplies! 

Dave demos how to use the perspective aid he
made from acrylic sheets. He also gave away several.

Anne shows tiny round boxes she offered during the Grab.
Sue shows her tiny sketch kit and explains
how she hacked it to accommodate her tools.

I was sad that Kate couldn't make it to the Gab & Grab, but I'm really happy that I
didn't have to fight her for this awesome find!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Seattle 10x10: Discovering Your City One Sketch At A Time

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Urban Sketchers we are glad to announce the first year long USk program ever!  This is happening in different parts of the world this year! We are bringing a program to you right here in Seattle.

Please join us!  Check  for information about the class offerings happening internationally.  If you are traveling this year, consider taking a class with one of our sister programs in another country.  This is a great way to meet sketchers around the world as well as learn from some great teachers.

Check here for our program in Seattle and come join us for a free lecture at Daniel Smith Seattle January 28, 2017 11:00 am-1:30 pm.  Meet  and learn with local sketchers.  This is a great way to get into sketching if you are interested but need some help.  Tell your friends about this. All levels are welcome!  You can purchase the whole course or purchase individual classes.  What ever you do, don't miss out on this great opportunity!

Classes are $50 per class or $450 for all ten classes. Contact for registration information. Please use "Seattle 10x10" in the subject line.

We look forward to having you join us.

Happy Sketching!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A little catch-up

I'm going to play a little bit of catch-up here. I've been sketching more than I can post, instead using my instagram feed for more up-to-date posting.

In November I went south to the Los Angeles area and had a few days of sunshine and feasting with family and friends.

Hollywood is packed with sketchable locations. TCL Chinese Theater (formerly Grauman's Chinese Theater) is an essential landmark on the Avenue of the Stars. Apparently when it opened, a riot broke out as fans tried to catch a glimpse of their favorite celebrities.

Grand Central Market sits comfortably in the former entertainment center of downtown LA. Built in 1917 it was the green grocer for the neighborhood residents. It was refurbished in 1984 and now hosts not only a patchwork of food vendors, but a varied menu of events: game night every Thursday, free concerts, holiday markets and more.

Shinique Smith's "Forgiving Strands" welcomes visitors at the rear entrance to Hauser, Wirth and Schimmel. This internationally known gallery of contemporary art took over a 100,000 sq ft flour mill in the downtown LA arts district. I loved this piece of bulbous fabric twists, stuffed, tied and looping through the hallway. The contrast of these lush, plump textiles and the stark, concrete hallway was a gift to my tactile sense.

Iconic Santa Monic Beach - lifeguard stations and slack line artists walking their flat, slack tightropes, twisting their limbs to maintain balance - all makes for great sketching on the beach. These lifeguard stations are surprising difficult to draw!

You can see more sketches from the celebrity state on my blog:

Friday, December 30, 2016

Melancholy in Pioneer Square

12/30/16 Pioneer Square Christmas tree
You know Christmas is over when the large tree in Pioneer Square comes down. Meeting with Urban Sketchers Seattle for the last time of the year, feeling a bit wistful as I always do when I know the holiday season is coming to an end, I sketched the workers cutting off the branches and taking down the shiny ornaments.

On the other hand, I was thrilled to be able to sketch outdoors, however briefly. Although I didn’t paint it into my sketch, a large part of the sky was actually blue this morning!

After 20 minutes in 40 degrees, I retreated to the warmth and pastries of Grand Central Arcade. While I enjoyed sketching a silhouette of the main entrance and its beautiful arched windows, and while the cinnamon roll from Grand Central Bakery was as delicious as ever, I was again struck with some sadness about how the Arcade seemed dark, somber and empty. When I worked downtown decades ago, the Arcade was a favorite lunch break getaway (I already had my nostalgia fest the last time we sketched there), and it was full of interesting shops; its many tables were always crowded with people. Today there were more “for lease” signs than occupied spaces, and the homeless seemed to outnumber the employed (though not the sketchers).
12/30/16 Grand Central Arcade

Finally, my third reason for melancholy today was that we had to say good-bye to Ching, who is moving to the Bay Area. She’s been a very regular, enthusiastic urban sketcher the past seven months, and we’re all going to miss her.

We'll miss you, Ching (second from left, front row)!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Kekaulike Square in Hawaii

Aloha, from Hawaii!
When you have blue skies, warm breezes, palm trees and a bustling market square in Chinatown, it begs to be sketched. A few of the USk Oahu sketchers were kind enough to meet with me on Saturday afternoon for an impromptu outing at Kekaulike Mall in downtown Honolulu.

Here's my finished spread with my cool new USk Oahu fridge magnet from AJ! Thanks, AJ!
Check out more photos by Sebastian and our sketches on Flickr!
We met at the intersection of Kekaulike and North King St at 1:30, exchanged sketching stories, browsed each other's sketchbooks and realized we should probably get busy! That's Sebastian, Harald and A.J. (above) making the most of the hour of intense sketching we did during our visit to Kekaulike Mall. Sebastian wore an official orange USk Oahu tee shirt for easy recognition.
We felt that we could have spent a lifetime there, but accomplished at least a decent start in our sketchbooks. As we shared our sketches, we promised to get together again in early January for another outing. One more warm, colorful outing before I return to the "graphite season" in Seattle as Tina calls it!
I liked the way the bananas are hung on a rail above boxes of fresh produce. It's illuminating to take the time to read the produce signs, even if you can't read the part written in Chinese. There are so many new and interesting subjects here: a rainbow display of shiny plastic housewares, a variety of brooms made in all sizes, shapes and materials and a gigantic durian which was mercifully intact! I  had to go back for another go at the sketches I started, finishing up some text and adding color.

A bit of history about our location: Much of Chinatown in Honolulu was rebuilt at the turn of the century after two fires. In the 1980s the city developed both Maunakea Marketplace and Kekaulike Mall to draw in commercial ventures. Along with O`ahu Marketplace, these centers teem with immigrant entrepreneurs selling fresh produce, seafood, clothing and household items.

A Graphite Time of Year

12/25/16 Maple Leaf neighborhood

We had a white Christmas in Seattle – but not from snow. All morning the landscape was hidden behind a thick veil of fog. I’m hardly ever inspired to sketch from my front window because the rooftops and trees are so familiar to me, but the fog gave everything a layer of mystery.

12/26/16 Ravenna neighborhood
Yesterday morning wasn’t quite as foggy, but the overcast sky was gray and foreboding, and the air wrapped around me like a cold wet towel. Coming home after an errand, I drove through the Ravenna neighborhood and spotted these Chinese pinwheel palms that gave me the perception of warmth.

Graphite seems made for this dark and colorless time of year.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Holiday

Happy Holiday....   to all who are celebrating.

Early morning at my favorite cafe/bakery:  The Stonehouse Bakery.   The owner, Patrick, had a crew of 2 in this am to finish all the Christmas orders. While I sketched I had a delicious blueberry scone and some hot coffee.  It was quite the bustling place with people coming in to pick up their orders. 

Thanks for another wonderful year with Urban Sketchers!  

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Two Views of Pacific Place

Here are two views from the top level of Pacific Place, the first done during this past Sunday's meet up and the second drawn in 2010, from different ends of the atrium space.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Pacific Place

Once I arrived at the Pacific Place mall,  I realized they did not have as many holiday decorations as in past years.  I had been looking forward to sketching the oversized nutcracker statues but they weren't there!

I settled in at the cafe to sketch the view of "Joy".  These large, red, block letters seem to be "the thing" this year as my local mall has them, too.  Then started a succession of children posing on it for their parents.  Some were probably on their way to meet Santa, who was upstairs.  I managed to catch these two little girls in red dresses. In the background is Suzanne, sketching.

I wandered the 4 floors, looking for another sketch subject.  I finally settled on "Give".
Mall visitors were encouraged to post a selfie with it to be entered into a contest.

Sharing sketches and our group photo:

Happy Holidays and see you in the New Year!    It's been a wonderful year sketching with this wonderful group of artists and I look forward to 2017 with you all! 

(except for the Friday Ad Hoc group.... see you on the 30th!)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Downtown in December

The Holiday Season in Downtown Seattle includes shoppers on the streets, scampering between the stores and restaurants.  Shoppers and decorations in the malls and stores, with banners and poinsettias in Pacific Place.  The Ginger Bread Village at the Sheraton Hotel raising money and awareness for the Juvenile Diabetes Association.  A fun theme this year of all the Harry Potter Books.   And finally this year championship celebrations for the Seattle Sounders winning the MLS Cup!

Lots of Love

Pacific Place in downtown Seattle is full of upscale retail stores. At this morning’s sketch outing, I decided to look at their display cases for ideas since they always feature their finest merchandise.  Initially looking for red and green holiday cheer, instead I found compelling monochromatic imagery.  I’m always intrigued with the offerings of a favored jewelry store, and sure enough, arranged with thin, elegantly designed candlesticks and matching tapers ready to catch the light, their window was an eye catcher.

Designer Candlesticks

Up the escalator, a bridal shop had an exquisite wedding gown in the window.  Flowing and sparkly, I think you would feel like a princess walking up the aisle in this gown.  The crystal chandeliers added a touch of glamour to an already glamorous display.

Embroidered Wedding Gown

I must have picked up a theme, because my next sketch was all about LOVE.  Besides love and marriage, there was seasonal love in bright lights at Pacific Place.  From my perch in front of LOVE, numerous families passed me by; clearly out for the day seeing the sights, visiting Santa or gift shopping for loved ones.  With live music on a stage and holiday decor, Pacific Place was a festive haven.
Love with Lights

12/18/16 Santa and a customer
When thinking of relaxing places to go a week before Christmas, Pacific Place isn’t what springs to mind – unless you’re sketching instead of shopping. Without a shopping list, Pacific Place seemed downright mellow this morning when I met up with Urban Sketchers Seattle.

It wasn’t as heavily decorated as in previous years, which was a disappointment to some, but I had a different goal. I wasn’t going in for self-competitive Santa sketching this year, but Pacific Place’s St. Nick is a favorite because of the uncommon viewpoint. The retail facility’s open structure makes its multiple levels visible from other floors, so I’ve always had fun sketching Santa from the floor above (you can see my sketches from last year2014 and 2012). I was going to continue my own tradition and sketch him again from the same place, but then I spotted a different location – directly overhead. I couldn’t hear what they discussed, but I saw at least one well-prepared boy present Santa with a written list of things he wants.

12/18/16 Leo Sewell's penguin sculpture (with
Jane sketching on the stairs)
A little later I walked to the opposite side of the mall to catch the long line of people waiting for Santa (below). As I sketched, I thought about the tough job of his hard-working helpers. They have to coax and cajole young kids to smile or distract them long enough to snap a photo before they realize they’re sitting in the lap of some bearded stranger. Still, I saw lots of babies and toddlers take their turns bawling.

The bird’s eye view I had of Santa put me in the mood to continue taking advantage of all the railings I could lean over to sketch the views below. First, I looked down over cafĂ© diners on the first floor. Then I walked around to the other side to look down over the penguin designed by Philadelphia-based sculptor Leo Sewell. Made entirely of found metal pieces such as old gears and signs, the penguin has become Pacific Place’s icon. (That’s Jane sketching from the steps nearby.)

I was on my way to the sketchbook throw-down when I saw that the lunchtime entertainment was local jazz pianist Deems Tsutakawa, familiar from the many years he has performed at Seattle’s Obon festival. I only had five minutes, but that was all I needed.

12/18/16 Santa's lineup
12/18/16 Diners on Pacific Place's main floor

12/18/16 Deems entertains the lunchtime crowd