Monthly Sketch Outing

Next Monthly Sketch Outing
POSTPONED TO Sunday, October 23
Green Lake Village
450 N.E. 71st St
Seattle, WA 98115
meet in the plaza in front of PCC at Green Lake Village
10:00 A.M.

See Monthly Outings Page for details.

See Adhoc Outings for additional sketch events during the month.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Sunday sketch outing

Sunday Oct 23
Green Lake
10:00 am - 12:30 pm

Autumn colors should be in full bloom at the lake. Up on the north side the neighborhood bursts with new businesses and old buildings. The Green Lake branch of Seattle Public Library has stark contrasts and arched windows. Poke around and I'm sure you'll find something that suits your fancy. 

If you want to sketch the Green Lake (Carnegie) library but it’s raining, there’s a handy bus shelter directly across the street where you can stay completely dry. 

Meet in front of PCC  
Greenlake Village
450 N.E. 71st St. 
Seattle, WA 98115 

See monthly outing page for additional details about this location. 

What a Difference!

What a difference another park & ride makes!  Normally on a weekday at Tukwila Light Rail station's park & ride there are no parking spots if I'm not there between 0700-0730.  About a month ago the new Angle Lake station opened to the south of Sea Tac, making it the furthest south.  It includes 1,120 park-and-ride spaces.

Today I tested the effect of those additional spaces.  And. Wow!  At 0830, there were still more than a couple dozen spots at Tukwila!  Even when I returned at 0930, there were still nearly that many!  This will shorten my commute into Seattle for sketch outings and other activities as I won't have to park further away and take a bus. 

I rode down to Angle Lake to add another sketch in my series on the art at the light rail stations.  As I approached, I could see the massive multi story parking structure to the west of the tracks.  And I could see a few empty spaces there, too.

Each light rail station has at least one, and usually more, pieces of art installed.  I'm slowly working on a series to sketch them all.

The pictogram in the upper right corner is a bit of collage collected from the Metro website.  Each station has it's own pictogram and I will be including them as I complete more sketches. 

From the wiki:  "Laura Haddad's 'Cloud' is the station's most prominent feature and is suspended over the elevated platform as it crosses South 200th Street. The 48-foot-long (15 m), 26-foot-high (7.9 m) sculpture consists of 6,000 small colored acrylic disks that reflect sunlight in ways dependent on variations in light, weather or an approaching train; at night, the disks are illuminated with LED floodlights that fade from orange to blue as trains approach the station. Haddid describes her sculpture as a "community landmark" and "sculptural barometer of local weather"

I didn't sketch the other art:  "Jill Anholt's 'Immerse' is embedded in the plaza's grand staircase and consists of four "delicate arcs" made of curved steel and tubing that connect the garage and station. Anholt's piece uses the arcs to filter light onto the parking area and 'celebrates the process of falling rain'"

Monday, October 17, 2016

Columbia City's PCC Natural Market

Last Friday morning the weather was so rainy and blustery, as soon as I began walking from Light Rail's Columbia City stop to the middle of the neighborhood's business district, I thought about turning around and catching the next train back to downtown Seattle. But I took refuge in the new PCC market and enjoyed a cup of coffee while drawing this view of the deli section.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Columbia City on Oct 14

Although our weather wasn't quite as wild as forecast it was still wet and wooly Friday for our outing to Columbia City. About 6 of us showed up and we hid under awnings or in cafes  and restaurants to do our sketches.   I was pretty bundled up and stayed outside sketching along the sidewalks until the rain got to be too much and I sought refuge in a coffee shop and did my last sketch inside.   A few cups of coffee did nothing for my hand steadiness unfortunately.  It was a fun day though.  The temp was mild and the dark sky and mix of green and colored leaves in the town was a nice contrast with the wet streets and sidewalks.  I really haven't spent much time in Columbia City but it was a nice, compact, low key downtown with a variety of good eateries and shops.  It had a pleasant comfortable feel.  Easy to see why it is becoming more popular over time.

I got curious about the Columbia City Theatre, but just as I was finishing my sketch and was looking up to look at the playbills posted in the windows the rains came down in earnest and I ran for it.  I did look up their schedule after I got home and it looks like they have a pretty wide variety of live music and plays and small musicals.  Plus they have the Bourbon Bar next door and apparently open through the stage seating.   Looks like a fun venue.   I have always loved small venues like this.  They can be great fun and a wonderful source of community pride!

 I had fun prowling around the puddles by the Columbia Family Health Center.   There were some trees nearby beginning to get some yellows and oranges on them as well as dropping leaves onto the sidewalk and brick road margin.   This was an interesting construction.   They had a nice decent sized concrete sidewalk along the sides of the buildings, and then a curb, and then a brick paved road margin that had trees and lampposts in it, and beyond that the actual roadway.  It was a nice setup and gave pedestrians plenty of room with lots of space for the shade trees and cars.  

Looks like a fun little community to go back and explore in more.

Friday, October 14, 2016

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Go Sketching

10/14/16 Columbia City PCC salad bar

10/14/16 Frank sketching at PCC
Despite high-wind warnings and other predictions of a storm that could rank among the five worst storms in Western Washington history, seven hardy sketchers met in Columbia City – and several of them even sketched outdoors!

Not me – I retreated to PCC’s cafĂ©, where I sketched the salad bar. Shortly after I arrived, Frank Ching came in, so I sketched him. When we shared sketches over lunch, I was impressed by those who sheltered under awnings and in doorways – at least until the rain started pouring sideways – to capture the neighborhood.

The worst of the storm is not supposed to hit until tomorrow afternoon, when I intend to be safely bundled up at home, flashlights and candles at the ready. Hope the rest of you locals are all safely indoors by then, too! 

Hardy sketchers!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hello everyone! And a bit on our last outing to the Gates Foundation!

Hi everyone!  My name is Dave Somers and the Seattle Urban Sketchers recently invited me to participate as a Correspondent as well as a sketcher!   I am looking forward to this as a way to keep me sketching, perhaps even more than I have been, and to do more digging about the places we visit on our outings.

I moved here to Seattle from Hawaii for work about 6 years ago and my wife, Casey, joined me a few years later after leaving her position in California.  We live in West Seattle now and love the area, though we knew we would.  Seattle, and West Seattle in particular, has been a second home for us in terms of long time friends and our love of ocean and mountains.  We plan on being here a long while.  And since I am retired from the National Park Service now I can focus a lot on my hobbies, including Sketching!

I started sketching less than a year ago.  I took an adult ed drawing class at South Seattle Community College so I could better jot down ideas for another serious hobby I have, turning wood on a wood lathe.  I hoped that some sketching skills would help me draw better ideas that I could actually make sense of a year or two later.   In the process I met Darsie Beck, a Tacoma Urban Sketcher. He suggested I look up the Seattle Urban Sketchers as a way to build my skills and meet some fun people in the process.   I did that and am hooked now, both on the sketching and the folks in the Sketchers!!  I have been trying hard to make every outing I possibly can since starting with the group last Spring and now heading into Autumn.

This last Saturday, Oct 8, the Sketchers were invited by WSU to join up with one of their Architect Classes that was traveling down to Seattle to spend some time sketching at the Olympic Sculpture Park.   We got "weathered out" though and ended up sketching at the Gates Foundation Visitor Center near the EMP or Experience Music Project.   It turned out there was a large group of students and a few instructors, plus YungChing Hung and Stephanie Bower from the Seattle Sketchers.

I had been in the Gates Foundation VC a number of times, but this was all before I started sketching.  I was focused on the exhibits of their numerous projects and ideas, and enjoying the feel of the space, but didn't really pay attention to the interior otherwise.   This time though, with sketch pad in hand I started noticing.  It was an interesting place to sketch.  Perspective lines running everywhere, subtle color changes and contrasts, and lots of people.  Sketching people is not a strong point of mine and there was a herd.   Ohh boy.

It was fun though.  I tackled an interesting corridor along the outside wall of the building and had fun with that.  I should add at this point that the floor actually did have bare footprints burned into it.  I am not sure if they had a wild day with a firewalking ceremony or if this was an artistic embellishment.  I didn't see a description of it and will have to go back and dig a bit to find out the significance of these foot prints.

Stephanie was fun to watch sketch.  I took her Craftsy class so I had seen her sketching in that context, but to see it happening in person was a kick.  Even more amusing though was the fact that seemingly all of the WSU students knew her from a class she did for them a few years ago.  They all remembered her and the class quite well and very fondly and were delighted to see her again.  She got mobbed a few times which was pretty fun to see.  

The class got together at the end of the session to share their efforts, much like we do.   It was clear that they had been at this awhile and were getting quite accomplished.  It would be interesting to try and start an Urban Sketchers group up there with these folks as their core.  I have a feeling it would be a popular and active group.

I am off to listen to the rain falling with a cup of tea in hand!  Thanks again for asking me to participate as a Correspondent everyone!  Will do my best to participate fully!!  Hopefully I will see you at the next outing with raincoat and rainpants in hand if the latest weather reports are accurate!


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Color at Coulon

After a slow start to the day, I had some errands to do about noon.  Once home, I decided to go out again, this time with my sketch kit.  It was a beautiful day:  not a cloud in the sky and 65 degrees.  It was a Pperfect NW autumn day.

Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park is well known locally for the vibrant maple trees that line the street.  That was my destination as I wanted to sketch the trees again.There were so many people there, taking photos of the trees and also making family portraits with the trees as glorious background.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Sidetracked by Color

10/10/16 Greenwood neighborhood
Driving through the Greenwood neighborhood yesterday afternoon, I was actually heading for my favorite traffic circle to see if our recent heavy rain had taken down the maple leaves. But I never made it that far, because I took a turn onto a street I don’t usually take – and stopped dead in my tracks. Though mostly bald on top, these two maples still blazed with color, going out with a big bang.

A similar sidetracking happened today, when I was walking across the University of Washington campus. I was on my way to the Quad, which is one of my favorite places to sketch during cherry blossom season. (It turned out the cherries were disappointing – mostly green but turning straight to brown instead of yellow and orange first.) On my way back to the car, I passed Paccar Hall, where a yellow tree (wish I knew what kind it is) was afire in the high sun. I went up to Paccar’s third floor terrace to sketch it.

We are having the most amazing autumn this year, aren't we?

10/11/16 UW campus

Monday, October 10, 2016

Soggy Saturday Morning with WSU Students

A soggy Seattle welcome to the large group of design students from WSU! Rained out from the Sculpture Park, they ended up at the Gates Foundation Visitor Center to sketch and make notes for a few hours.

I have sketched here several times already (and I worked on this project with Olson Kundig for over a year), so I wanted to pick a new view... 

Here is the line drawing. As I teach in my Craftsy classes (info on my blog), I always start with the big shapes, then locate my vanishing point, and to speed things up, I often use a small triangle to snap quick long and straight lines. This would be a really difficult view to draw without knowing where the VP and eye level line are... hard to rely just on just shapes to get this one right!  It is so much easier to just use the VP. I also fill in the sketch working from left to right to minimize my pencil smearing...
I'm also trying out a different sketchbook, the Handbook 8" x 8". I don't like the paper as much as the Pentalic's true 140lb, but the format is great...

Then I added was hard to see in the dim light!  I paint like an architect, thinking about how I want to paint the volumes, the solids/voids.  I start with a pale, bluish purple worked into the areas that recede.  Next I'll add yellows, usually based on a yellow ochre, to warm the areas I want to advance in space or glow.  And the hardest of all, I reserve the white of my paper where I want to show a bright sense of light...the hardest thing about watercolor is where you DON'T paint!

And here are some of the WSU students (and two Seattle Urban Sketchers!!) --their teachers, Bob Krikac and Carrie Vielle are wonderful and really TEACH their students to draw.  It was great to see them all!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Endless Blue

Last week I took a trip to Orange County, California.  The endless blue of the sky and ocean is curiously exhilarating and calming at the same time. I felt raring to go outside yet very peaceful inside. Hat and sunglasses required as the sun is relentlessly brilliant and hot, at least while I was there.

Parking lot palms

Basically a follower, my first experience was to wait for my companion at a coffee shop.  Like Seattle, building projects proliferate in the OC.   Hacienda style is mandatory with red tile roofs, white stucco walls and palm trees or succulents as landscape accent.  As I sketched from an outdoor seat in the shopping center, palm trees fanned out in orderly fashion creating a regal look for a not-so-humble parking lot.

Doheny State Beach, Dana Point, CA
Taken to the beach as promised, I sketched under the shade of an umbrella at Doheny State Beach until we noticed a crowd gathering at the cove to watch the 2016 Pacific Paddle Games.  Paddle boarders from around the world, places like Tahiti, Australia and Brazil, joined enthusiasts from the area for the games. Women and men competed in separate events paddling out through the surf, around an obstacle course, and back again 3 times.  If a paddle boarder surges ahead going out, the same paddle boarder falls behind if a competitor catches a wave coming back.  The strength and athleticism of the contestants braving the powerful elements of the Pacific amazed me.  Cameras and drones surrounded the beach. Loudspeakers boomed with play-by-play action reports adding to the excitement of the event.

Replica of the Pilgrim at Ocean Institute, Dana Point, CA

During the Tacoma West Coast Sketch Crawl I met many sketchers from the San Diego group.  After hearing of my plans to visit Dana Point, one of the sketchers recommended I read Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana, Jr. to learn about the early marine trading days along the California coast.  Following her advice, I procured the book and became completely immersed in the story of a mariner’s journey aboard the tall ship Pilgrim.  Dropped off at Dana Point Harbor to sketch, I discovered a replica of the Pilgrim docked in the harbor. The Pilgrim replica is a living history classroom for the Ocean Institute located at the harbor.  The original Pilgrim docked at San Juan Bay (Dana Point) several times.  Hundreds of school children marched past my sketching perch on their way to the institute.  At 90 ft., the Pilgrim seemed very small for the amount of action on board as it traded up and down the coast.  It’s hard to imagine working aboard this ship in 1835 with 9 other sailors for one or two years at a time.  The descriptions in the book about the sails and masts during storms at high sea resonated as I tried to draw the dangling ropes.  Now that I know a replica exists, I hope to go to a re-enactment some day.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Figure Drawing at '57 Biscayne

I don't know if this counts as an urban sketch (feel free to delete if not)...however it was on location at '57 Biscayne: at the studio of Jane Richlovsky which is an awesome location and a recent subject of one of Gabi's features in the Seattle Times: I have not done figure drawing in over 30 years so when joining Gabi and Steve at this recent figure drawing class, I went into sketchcrawl mode and this is what occurred. I have not been able to go to a sketch outing all summer so I was excited to have this opportunity to get out!

Monday, October 3, 2016

All work and no time to sketch!

    Impromptu sketch with random pen and paper at a training meeting...All work and no time to sketch!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Bergen Place

9/23/16 Bergen Place Park
Named for the Norwegian city, Bergen Place is a small but colorful park in the center of Ballard. On Sundays, the park is lively with farmers market shoppers, but on this gusty, drizzly Friday morning, it was quiet except for the regular, startling outcries of a man in flip-flops making erratic hand gestures. (I think the park is his home; I’ve seen him on farmers market days, rummaging through trash cans, shouting at persons unseen by the rest of us.) Despite the questionable weather, four hardy sketchers showed up.

Attracted to the juxtaposition of real trees and art trees, I stood across the street to sketch the park until the drizzle turned to full-on rain. Then I retreated to Starbucks, where a front window gave me a slightly different view of the park, this time with some of the Scandinavian flags visible.
9/23/16 Bergen Place Park

We decided to meet at the Ballard public library for our sketchbook throwdown. While I waited a few minutes for the others to show up, I stood near the library’s entrance to catch the sidewalk scene.

I hate to say it, but it feels like fall, and outdoor sketching season is probably over.

9/23/16 near Ballard library
Kathleen, Kate, Tina and Suzanne: hardy sketchers!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Upper Queen Anne Hill

On a beautiful sunny Sunday morning, these scenes presented themselves during our group's monthly meet-up. Because there were so many details in each view, I decided to be selective and not draw everything. Sometimes, white space can be just as powerful as what we do draw.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Devil Makes Coffee

I first found Diablo Coffee shop online back in the early aughts - a cuban coffee shop with cafe con leche--sounded like a cheap trip to tropics for a wet Seattle winter day. But when last Sunday turned out to be bright and sunny, I wanted to venture out into the streets. The 5-Spot seemed to be a popular spot for bunch.

After we met I went back to get a take on our meeting spot, Diablo Coffee which shares a shady patio with Queen Anne Book Company. 

Roy DeLeon and I ordered Cuban sandwiches and sat on the patio chatting. We pulled out our sketchbooks and did quick sketches of each other before departing until next month. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

El Diablo Again

El Diablo Coffee Company behind the counter.

El Diablo Coffee Company drawn last year.