Next Monthly Sketch Outing

Funko in Everett
See Monthly Outing page for details.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks

I wanted to get an over view of the Ballard Locks yesterday, so I started at the south side of the property.  It allowed me to sketch the spill way, both the large and small locks, the control tower and the US Army Corps of Engineers office building.  

Later I captured some boats in the large lock and the office building.  It was a good perspective to get the energy of people gathering and then watching the lowering of boats.

After the meet up time I did a quick sketch of the wave sculpture over by the fish ladder before heading to get some halibut fish and chips at Totem House by the north entry to the property.  We just beat the rain as it started to fall as soon I headed to my car after getting my fish and chips!

Ballard Locks

After a summer hiatus it's good to be back sketching with USk Seattle! I came late and had to leave early but was able to get one sketch in. It's fun to look at familiar places with fresh (sketching) eyes and notice details you hadn't before. Hope to see and sketch more with you all in the coming months!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Ballard Locks - 9/17/2017

Although have been Ballard Lock several times, yet this is first sketched here. Observation defer sketching from sightsee, that including sound, color, air, atmosphere of surrounding. I like to capture this first image of Bay Bridge with fall color framed. I following Tina's suggestion of walked few steps higher on southend. Last stop, at Visitor Ctr asked a Centennial celebration stamp. - 100 Years !

While waiting for group throw-down, in front of wave sculptures, two images caught my eyes...a aged lady in the wheelchair was enjoying around...and a young boy was exciting to watch boats and fishes.
Interesting contrast..."Memory vs looking forward(future)"
A very quick sketch to depict the moment!

Ballard Locks

It was lovely at the Locks with people from all over the world touring the facilities.
A tour guide leader saw my sketch of the Salmon Waves and mentioned that Australians see fiddlehead ferns when they see the sculpture.  I didn't hear what other folk see but I think it looks like a sea monster reaching up to snag a passing ship.

Chittenden - aka Ballard - Locks

Though rain was finally predicted, it held off until our sketch outing was finished. A larger group than usual attended the Ballard Locks sketch outing today.  There were some first time sketchers and even a couple new sketchers moving here... one from Boston and one from NYC! And there was a visitor from Spokane.  Welcome all! 

I did quite a bit of wandering around before I sat down to do my only sketch of the day. I decided to go big... or at least larger than usual. My sketchbook today was 9x12 inches. This is the second time I've sketched the railway bridge open.

"The Salmon Bay Bridge, also known as Bridge No. 4, is a single-leaf bascule bridge spanning across Salmon Bay and connecting Magnolia/Interbay to Ballard in Seattle, Washington. ... Built in 1914 by the Great Northern Railway, it has an opening span of 61 meters (200 feet) and has two tracks."

I asked for the stamps at the Corps of Engineers visitor center. 

There are several sketchers not in the group photo as they had to leave early!  I think we were at least 30 today. 

Thanks to Dan's son, Colin, for taking the group photo!

A Change in Weather at Ballard Locks

9/17/17 Salmon Bay Bridge at the Ballard Locks
The first real rain in weeks was predicted for today – just in time for USk Seattle’s outing at the Ballard Locks. If and when the rain did come, I was planning to duck inside the fish ladder area. By 10:30 a.m., though, the sun was still darting in and out of clouds, so I went to the parking lot on the south side of the Ship Canal. Although I’ve sketched the Salmon Bay Bridge several times, I’d never been able to catch it in the open position. My luck stayed with me – the sun came out just long enough to put in those shadows on the bridge. 

9/17/17 Ballard Locks
Crossing the canal again, I stopped at the Locks at a busy spot – not just busy with pedestrians, but also visually busy. I have no idea what this yellow thing is in the foreground, but it apparently has a nautical purpose. In any case, it was just the right time to initiate my new Stillman & Birn Nova gray-toned sketchbook 

We got an excellent USk turnout on this iffy-weather morning! And fortunately for us, the rain waited until my drive home to finally start falling. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

United Way Day of Caring

On a walk during my lunch break I happened upon 60+ volunteers for the United Way Day of Caring. They were people from the Port of Seattle who have donated property for a homeless village on which the volunteers were creating.
Low Income Housing Institute and Microsoft corporation were on site working hard. I stopped by and showed them my sketches of our neighborhood efforts on building a tiny home possibly for this very location. United Way of King County
Sketched on location on Tan paper, ball point pens, gouache, watercolor and white gel pen

Friday, September 15, 2017

PARK(ing) Day in Maple Leaf

9/15/17 Pop-up park in the Maple Leaf neighborhood

Who knew that international PARK(ing) Day has been going on for a decade? It’s an annual event to “raise awareness about the importance of walkable, livable and healthy communities.” I first heard about it last year when Urban Sketchers Tacoma took part in it. Then earlier this week I was reading our neighborhood blog, Maple Leaf Life, and learned that a “pop-up park” would be installed today just a few blocks north of our house.

Greg and I walked up to Northeast 85th Street this afternoon and found that a few parking spaces on Fifth Avenue Northeast had been cordoned off, and chairs and benches had been hospitably provided. A coffee urn, a cooler of beverages and snacks were offered to neighbors walking and biking by to see what was going on. The idea is to use a space normally reserved for cars as a place for people to gather. Aimee (in the green T-shirt), a leader of the Maple Leaf Greenways organization, spearheaded the pop-up park at that busy intersection.

It was fun to meet a few people, exchange thoughts on neighborhood issues and discuss possible solutions. Heck, it was just fun to stand in the warm sunshine sketching the event on a beautiful Friday afternoon.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Rain at last! Some like it, some don't.

Finally! After more than 50 days without rain and smoky, hazy air with ashes from forest fires falling on our heads, we had measurable rain for a few hours today. What a relief!
The fields still look dry after our new record for most consecutive days without measurable precipitation (55 straight), Seattle’s combined rainfall tally the past two months of just 0.02 inches ties 1914 for the driest July-August on record.
About 40 miles north of Seattle.
I hopped into the "mobile studio" and drove to a spot across the road from an old barn, shoulder deep in dry grass and right on the flight path to the local municipal airport. Here's my initial pencil line work, just one, in my Pentalic Aquajournal and my watercolor set up. I'm testing the new color dots watercolor sampler from QoR, a gift from one of our generous sponsors at the Chicago Urbansketchers Symposium. The colors are great!
Here's my mobile studio setup, trying out the little QoR sample palette.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, er, suburbs.
You tend to forget a few things about rainy weather after taking sunshine for granted:
  1. No matter how diligently you water your plants, they don't appreciate it as much as even a few drops of rain. (That's "Knucklehead" the potted pumpkin. Look at those big leaves reaching for the raindrops!)
  2. Not a good idea to  use water soluble ink, even if you're sketching under the eaves on a dry patch of the sidewalk. Instant specks!
  3. A cat can forget that its secret nap lair leaks in the rain.
Our neighbor cat emerged from her secret nap lair, VERY disgruntled and soaking wet.
I was inspired. Rainy days always put me in the mood to draw and paint.
My two page spread from a rainy Saturday in September.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Urban Pond

Today was rather dark and hazy, with smoke still in the air.  The light was quite flat but we didn't have rain as predicted, though we felt a few drops.  The Friday group met at Meadowbrook Pond.  It was a very still and peaceful place.  Even though many people walked through, it remained quiet. 

I liked the roof line of this structure and it was a popular subject today. The crow landed, so I just had to "put a bird on it". 

I walked further into the park to find this sculpture.  I was unable to later find any information about it, though one of the locals indicated it is a depiction of the sun.

After the "throw down" and group photo, a few of us headed to the Wedgewood Ale House & Cafe, which was recommended by a local.  It was a good suggestion as we all enjoyed delicious fish and chips.  We sat on the patio so I sketched this portion of the sculptural fence. 

A few more photos here:

Thursday, September 7, 2017

A Few Memories of the First Day at USK Chicago Symposium

I'm relieved to see that there are a few other sketchers like me who need some time to put together their thoughts and reminisces of the 8th Annual Symposium in Chicago. It's quite a task to try to convey just how amazing the experience was. So, even though this is a bit late in posting, I trust that it will give an impression of what it was like on the first full day, July 26, 2017.

That's me in a black top next to the bench, taking a panoramic photo of our huge group on our way to the first Sketch Walk at the USK 8th Annual Symposium 2017. We walked up Michigan Avenue to the South Garden at the Art Institute of Chicago. Eventually the approximately 200 sketchers (my guess, I haven't seen the official count) strung out for three blocks and through several stoplights. Note: If you have a good eye, you might spot Jane and Gail from USKSeattle in the right side of this shot.
This was the sketch walk gathering point outside of the symposium venue on the first morning. Thanks to the volunteers who guided us to the best sketching spots in the city.  None of these photos can truly express the impact of  the entire crowd of around 200 sketchers walking together along the streets of  Chicago, stopping for a while to see the world one sketch at a time..
The reflecting pool and fountain at the south garden of the Chicago Art Institute was a tempting spot to try to stay cool while sketching an inspiring subject.

I decided to go on ahead of the group to the north garden of the Institute, our second stop on the sketchwalk. It's a smaller space and even without the fountain, provided a nice shady spot with benches, tables and chairs perfect for sketching. Outdoor sculpture, like Alexander Calder’s Flying Dragon, is carefully sited. I always enjoy viewing from different angles and chose this north facing profile because it seemed not at all like a dragon, but like some exotic tropical bloom, repeating the shapes of the surrounding foliage and other plantings.
Yesterday morning we went out on our own to see the Buckingham Fountain. Even at 8:00 am, it was hot enough out in the sun to appreciate the cooling windblown mist off the edge of the fountain.
Buckingham Fountain with Chicago skyline. 7/25/17

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Catching up on the Summer

Here are my sketches from Fremont sketch outing in June. Sorry it took so long to post! 

The first one was done just above the trail along the Fremont Cut.  I wanted to get the extent of the Fremont Bridge as it stretches over the cut.

The second sketch was of the building sculpture by Mark Stevens called Monsuang.  It grows on you the more I see it and study the forms that attach to a generic "industrial" residential building.  It has become one of those landmarks in Fremont.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Abstract Butterfly at Jimi Hendrix Park

The last summer sketch outing with the Seattle Ad Hoc group! This is one of Seattle's newest parks, the Jimi Hendrix Park in the Central District. The red sculpture is supposed to be a sort of abstraction of a butterfly. There are many references to flight and wings in Hendrix' songs, and Little Wing especially has butterfly imagery in the lyrics. Some of the other sketchers drew the whole form and their sketches show this better. I imagine the park will also become a good performance space.

2017_08_25 Jimi Hendrix Park

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Beacon Hill and Northgate Light Rail

The recent outing to Beacon Hill was focused on the area around the Light Rail Station.  I have been riding the Light Rail more and more as stations are added to the system.  This was my first time getting off at the Beacon Hill Station.  It is accessed only by a fairly deep elevator, which is different from many of them that have escalators and stairs also getting to the surface station.  The location that I choose to sketch is the newly renovated Beacon Hill School that is part of a mixed use complex that grew out of the station development.  El Centro De La Raza looks to be a great asset to the community and a place for the arts and many other programs.

With the light rail as a theme I also spent some time sketching the rail /station construction at Northgate the day before our outing.  I met a one of the construction workers at the Beacon Hill outing that is working on the light rail and loved that I had bothered to sketch some of the things he is working on.  You never know who you will meet when you are out sketching!

Jimi Hendrix Park

8/25/17 Jimi Hendrix Park

Seattle’s newest park, opened earlier this summer, honors one of the city’s most well-known musicians – Jimi Hendrix. The Seattle native’s memorial at Greenwood Memorial Park in Renton is visited by many fans each year, and his bronze likeness in front of the Blick Store on Capitol Hill is also popular. Now there’s finally a public park in his name.

Several urban sketchers at yesterday’s outing featured the bright orange sculpture that forms the park’s visual centerpiece. Apparently when it rains, water collects at the top and then pours out from one end, creating a natural waterfall. Thankfully yesterday, however, not a drop of rain was nearby, and we all enjoyed a beautiful morning in the sunshine. Quotations from Hendrixs songs are engraved on pavers on the parks walkway shaped like a guitar. I chose one I thought was fitting to write on the sketch.

8/25/17 The same sculpture from a different angle.

I felt like my first sketch (above) came out a little fussy. After taking a brief break to walk through the Northwest African American Museum inside the historic Colman School on the park grounds, I tried a more abstract approach (at right) from a different angle. 

Purple Path

The Jimi Hendrix Park officially opened just this past June. Urban Sketchers Seattle paid a visit on Friday. Also next to the park is the Northwest African American Museum housed in the former Colman School.

My first sketch was of the staircase that bears Jimi's signature.

My next subject was the one that stood out the most in the park: this large orange structure. None of us could decide what it was meant to be. I looked it up after I got home. Gloria's guess was correct! "The newly installed central shelter, a soaring sculpture reminiscent of butterfly wings, now anchors Jimi Hendrix Park."

That's Tina on the far left and Peggy JG on the right, sitting on the high bench.

There were purple sections of walk way with Jimi's lyrics carved on them.

We might consider going again next year as there is more planned for the park: "Within the next year, a purple “shadow wave wall” — designed with Hendrix’s face in the middle — will be built atop a small slope in the park."

Info about the park is here 

Seattle Times article about the recent opening.

A few people are missing from the photo.