Monthly Sketch Outing

Next Sketch Outing Sunday September 21 Olympic Sculpture park
See Adhoc Outings for additional sketch events during the month.

Friday, September 19, 2014

September Sketch Outing

Sunday, September 21, 10 am to 12:30 pm

Olympic Sculpture park.
2901 Western Avenue Seattle, WA 98121 

We've been there before but there are two new sculptures to see and sketch.  Meet just outside the entrance of the PACCAR Pavilion at the corner of Western Ave and Broad St. 

Download a pdf map  page 5 has a map of the park with sculpture locations but doesn't include the new ones.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Edmonds, WA

Pet-sat in Edmonds over the weekend, and drew this during a coffee break near the central fountain.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Along the Ship Canal

Isn't Seattle astonishingly beautiful lately? Yes, fall is sneaking in but after so many pretty summer days, it feels like frosting on the cake. I spent a quiet morning sketching one day this week. There is a convenient bench on the east end of the canal before the Fremont buildings begin.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

South Lake Union

Donna's parents visited from Connecticut and stayed at the Residence Inn on South Lake Union. I drew the view from their balcony as we watched the sun set.

Friday, September 12, 2014


The sky was bright blue, but the wind was stiff at Fisherman’s Terminal, where the Friday ad hoc sketchers gathered this morning. Now that it’s September, we’re back to meeting twice a month instead of weekly, but on a beautiful day like today, it seems like we cut back too early!

When I was at the terminal a few months ago, I wasn’t in the mood to sketch a boat, so I took on the Fisherman’s Memorial instead. Today, with the colorful little boats of Paraty still fresh in my mind, I was in a boatier mood. I had a gazillion to choose from . . . then this blue trawler caught my eye. When I saw its name, I decided it was challenging me to sketch it.

From left: Gwen, Chloe, Michele, Susan, Tina, Gordon and Elizabeth
We welcomed a couple of newcomers today, Chloe and Gwen, as well as Elizabeth, who was visiting all the way from Windsor, Ontario. Members of Plein Air Washington Artists happened to be there this morning too, so the terminal was full of sketchers and painters. As it should be!

Seattle Architecture Foundation Exhibit Opening

Kay, Gabi, Tina and David attended the exhibit's opening reception (not pictured is
Mark Selander, who showed up later). (No, I'm not seated -- I'm apparently 3 feet
shorter than David.)
The nonprofit group Seattle Architecture Foundation invited Urban Sketchers Seattle to participate in its annual model exhibition. With the theme “In Process,” the exhibit is ideal for showing sketches of construction sites and other constantly changing projects in the Seattle area. A number of Seattle Urban Sketchers contributed sketches for the show. In addition, Logan Bingle, Kate Buike, Gabi Campanario, David Chamness, Mark Selander, Kay Tyllia, Jane Wingfield, Gail Wong and I all donated original sketches for the silent auction to raise funds for the foundation. Thanks to David for getting us organized and managing all the digital images for the show! Gabi gave a brief talk to the crowd about Urban Sketchers and the value of hand-drawn images.

Here's part of Urban Sketchers Seattle's exhibit of sketches.
At the opening reception last night, I was fascinated by the many creative 3-D models of real and imagined buildings and environments. While video and other digitally displayed models are cool to view, I was most impressed by intricate models that were hand-cut and assembled the old-fashioned way. Call me a Luddite – I like paper, pen, cardboard and glue!

Urban sketchers were encouraged to sketch during the reception, so I stood at the top of a short stairway to get a view of the mobbed exhibit room, but all I managed to sketch was a lot of backs!

The show is still on through Oct. 3 at 407 Union Street, so check it out!

9/11/14 Sketched at In Process exhibit opening reception

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11 tribute

I just happened to be on the Valentino Pier in Red Hook, Brooklyn where there's a spot-on view of One World Trade Center when it occurred to me that today is the thirteen year anniversary. Here's my small tribute in memory of all those who lost their lives in 2001. 

by the way, this is literally a small tribute-- about 2 x 6 in. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A “Family Reunion” in Paraty

8/27/14 Pizzeria da Cidade, Paraty
When I left for Brazil nearly three weeks ago, Seattle trees were showing only a tiny hint of fall. Coming home from SeaTac Monday afternoon, the first thing I noticed was that the trees were definitely turning orange and yellow – no more hinting. I feel like I’ve been far away for a long time – both physically and mentally.

Paraty was a delight – and full of surprises. When I had first started seeing images of the coastal village in southern Brazil – one I had never heard of before the announcement that the 5th Annual International Urban Sketching Symposium would be held there – I was immediately taken with its small-town charm. Unlike Barcelona’s spectacular urban vibrancy (which inspired and invigorated me even as it intimidated me), Paraty seemed more my pace. Perhaps I could leisurely walk its streets without being watchful of pickpockets!

As it turned out, I had to be as watchful as ever in Paraty, though not of pickpockets. Instead of looking around for thieves, I had to look down with every step – or risk tripping on the rough stone streets and sidewalks everywhere! Or if my timing was off, I might be trapped on one side of the street or another when the high tide came in and the streets flooded with a sudden, temporary river.

As small as the proverbial “one-dog town” (in fact, there were at least three, including the black one that was always asleep next to Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Ros├írio; if you look through the symposium Flickr group, you’ll see that the dog is a fixture in several sketches of the church), I could walk from end to end in a short time (though it always took me longer than I expected because I was trying not to trip). Despite its initial impression of being a sleepy town, Paraty is anything but quiet. I woke every morning to a cacophony of exotic birdsong and church bells. One day at 6 a.m., we were awakened by fireworks honoring a patron saint. Music was often playing, and the voices of local business owners and patrons filled the streets.

8/27/14 Our hardworking symposium staff at the opening reception.
Barcelona last year is the only other symposium I attended and can compare Paraty to, so I don’t have a broad range of reference, but to me Paraty was an ideal symposium location in several ways. Its small size made it easy to run (I mean walk – no running on those stony streets!) between the various symposium events, and it was so much fun to see other sketchers everywhere, anytime. The scale of the architecture was less imposing (can you say Sagrada Familia?), and I enjoyed the smaller workshops and activities more. In Barcelona, the culture was to dine late in the evening, so I missed most of the informal drink-and-draws because I was usually in bed by the time they took place. In Paraty, I could attend group dinners without losing beauty sleep. Stone streets notwithstanding, Paraty was more my pace.

8/26/14 Caramujo Restaurant, Paraty
The symposium structure itself keeps maturing and improving. This year I could choose to attend a mix of workshops and activities, giving me a broader range of experiences. For example, by opting to forego the Thursday afternoon workshop and attend a portrait exchange instead, I met a number of people who had not registered for the workshop pass, so I probably wouldn’t have had an opportunity to talk to them otherwise. Even better, I spent time with each one sketching their portrait.

Which brings me to the same conclusion I came to at the end of the Barcelona symposium last year: Regardless of the location or specific workshops (which were enormously useful), what I value and remember most about the Urban Sketching Symposium are the people I met or became reunited with there. I heard a number of attendees use the term “family reunion” to describe the atmosphere, and it’s exactly appropriate. I cherish the time I spent, both at the symposium and later in Rio, with people whose sketches I keep up with online all year round or just met and look forward to seeing again at a future symposium. Time and time again, I was moved by the communication that can transpire even without much of a common spoken language when we all share the common language of our love for sketching.

I could post here some of the many sketches of buildings and streets I made in Paraty (you can see them in the symposium Flickr group). But in honor of the many people who made the symposium special to me, instead I’m posting some of the sketches I made during the portrait exchange, informal drink-and-draws and the final symposium sketchwalk. Thank you, everyone, for a very special time in Paraty. I feel privileged to be part of this vast global network.

8/29/14 Cafe Do Fogo, Paraty
8/29/14 Cafe Do Fogo, Paraty

8/28/14 Sergio sketched at the portrait party
8/28/14 Marcia sketched at the portrait party

8/28/14 Fernanda sketched at the portrait party
8/30/14 Symposium closing sketchwalk, Matriz Square, Paraty. (There's Frank Ching at left, sketching while standing, wearing a hat.)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Shoreline Jazz Walk August 2014

 Sketches from another wonderful evening in Shoreline listening to some great live music with my friend Joe!


Drawing On Life - a peek into the sketchbooks of Irish architects

As part of the Seattle Design Festival, Integrus Architecture will present a screening of


a film that follows a series of Irish architects in their studios and the places they like to draw in. It eavesdrops on their discussions and thoughts in order to… See More

Monday, September 1, 2014

Walla Walla and thereabouts

We drove across the mountains for Labor Day weekend to visit relatives in the Tri-cities and Walla Walla. Walla Walla has a long history and some interesting historical architecture. The wine boom has transformed downtown and boosted the local economy adding interesting upscale shops, tasting rooms, and restaurants 

The blue mountains above Walla Walla offer a vast array of subtly different shades of gold and green. The broad open sky is like a big aaahhhhh.

 I stopped on the gravel road and did this very quick sketch because of the colors. 

In town the sidewalk cafes were full of visitors and locals. Lot's of tasting rooms line the streets, but this one section of Main Street is lined with outdoor seating. 

The Die Bruke (bridge) building sits on the busiest corner of downtown. and according to the walking tour of downtown Walla Walla, it is so named because it spans Mill Creek which runs through downtown emerging just next to where I was sitting. Starbucks sits on the other side of the street adding to the pedestrian traffic. Students with parents in tow were just arriving in town for the opening of the fall session at Whitman. 

 I did a quick Google search to learn about the Die Bruke and found Jim Bumgarner's sketch on flickr among the first in Google's links. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Ad Hoc group visits the UW's Medicinal Herb Garden

Overcast skies, and even a few raindrops did not dampen the views, nor the enthusiasm for this very unique part of the campus of the University of Washington.  I did the sketch on location in pen and ink, then added watercolor at home.  Sometimes I enjoy drawing more than adding watercolor...and I did happen to photograph the sketch before doing so.  So you be the judge...which do you prefer?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Paraty Pity Party

The group of Friday ad hoc sketchers from Urban Sketchers Seattle met in the UW Medicinal Herb Garden.  It was a cool, gray day with flat light.  It even sprinkled rain a bit, near the end.

The International Urban Sketchers symposium is going on this weekend in Paraty, Brazil. There are 4 Seattle sketchers there as far as I know.   So I called this outing the "Paraty Pity Party" and made badges to wear and/or stick on a sketchbook!

We spread out around the several acres of garden.  I was thinking of the USk weekly theme "doors and gates" when I chose this spot.  It is the entry to the garden, guarded by crazy monkey sculptures.  I could not find anything on the internet about them.  The phone guide indicated they are copies of Italian sculptures which graced the 1st medicinal garden.  They are thought to protect the garden.

We gathered in the garden/bus shelter out of the rain to share sketches.

Then we had a group photo.
Linda, Frances, Michele, Linda, Kate, Peggy H (seated), Gloria, Logan

Soap Box Derby Seattle 2014

 This last weekend I was part of a team that participated in the annual Red Bull Soapbox Derby.
It is held in one city in the world and this year it was in Seattle.
Last May we submitted a design and were selected to be one of 36 teams to compete.
The vehicles must be gravity propelled (no motor or other propulsion).  There is also a theatrical aspect to the race.  The goofier the better.  Winning the race is important but if you don't at least lose with style.
Our entry which I have been documenting from the beginning started with buying two matching 20" girls bikes on Craigslist for $30.00.  After a month we had our Geoduck (Pronounced Gooey Duck)  Racer.
For those of you who don't know what a Geoduck is, it is a large Clam found in the Pacific Northwest.
It also happens to be the mascot of Evergreen College in Olympia.
We did some test runs and got it up to 40 mph.  The day of the race came around and we were next to the last run.   We got off to a good start but the craft became unstable after the first of two jumps and it crashed with style.  By the way no one was injured.  It was a great way to cap off the summer and we're already thinking about the next race.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Ciao Tutti!

Ciao Seattle Sketchers da Roma...actually, my two month NIAUSI fellowship in Civita di Bagnoregio has ended, and I leave for the Rome airport in about 20 minutes...heading to the Urban Sketchers Symposium in BRAZIL!!!

Italy has been an amazing experience and Civita an amazing place.  The workshop here in July was wonderful, and my project to create an illustrated walking guide to the architeture of the town proved to be extremely interesting.  Civita has become a popular tourist destination (which is both good and bad), and the people who cross the bridge into town have no idea they are walking a 3000 year old Etruscan road or are looking at medieval buildings and Renaissance palazzi...or that there are Etruscan caves that honeycomb underneath the houses!!  I got to explore many caves. I hope to finish the guide this fall and get it posted as a free download online.

I've missed sketching with all of you this summer and have followed your work.  If you are curious to see some of what I've done the past two months, here are a few images, more on my blog: 
and on my flickr page:

Ciao for now... Brazil, here I come!  See you all in September...