Monthly Sketch Outing

Next Sketch Outing Sunday, December 21 - Seattle Center

See Adhoc Outings for additional sketch events during the month.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Winterfest at Seattle Center Armory

It wouldn't be Christmas without a trip to Winterfest to see the trains, hear the carols and this year to sketch the armory.  There is so much activity going on that it can be overwhelming to draw. 
So after finishing the armory I opted for a single subject. I've always loved the retro styling of our beloved Monorail.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Camel

Swanson's was beautifully decorated and the staff very friendly when sketchers spread about on Friday. The reindeer and camel were such calm expressive animals. But they had to be sketched between waves of delighted kids. Never get between a child and a camel.  :)

December Sketch Outing

Sunday December 21
10:00 - 12:30
Seattle Center's Winterfest 
Meet inside the Seattle Center Armory (Center House)
at the inside entrance to Starbucks
(Starbucks is on the Southeast corner of the main floor)

Here's an outside view - meet inside: 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Diva Espresso, Wallingford Neighborhood.

Rough pencil and beginning contours.
Ink wash.

Camels, Reindeer and plants, oh my.

Friday Sketchers visited another location to celebrate the holiday.  Swanson's was beautifully decorated for Christmas.

My first sketch was of a bare tree with glass bird feeders. I thought they looked like Christmas bulbs.

After all the chaos of the small children feeding them, the reindeer calmed down and took a rest.  It was a good chance to sketch them.

I settled in the warmth of the cafe to talk to Gretchen, visiting sketcher from Madison, WI.  While at the table I sketched the small koi in the pond next to my table.  In the other pond, there were some huge fish, one was about 2 feet long.

This was one of the better turn-outs.  We were 13 sketchers but Gretchen, unfortunately, had to leave early.  I forgot to even get a photo of her.  We used the class room, set up for Santa photos, to show our sketches and take our group photo!

Swanson's, Indoors and Out

Swanson’s Nursery is fast becoming an ad hoc Friday sketchers’ holiday tradition. With two reindeer and a camel in residence, a spacious café with a koi pond and surrounded by a jungle of plants, and lots of holiday decorations everywhere, it’s hard to beat!

Dasher and Blitzen
Last year and the year before, I focused on several close-up sketches of the animals. This morning shortly after I arrived, the reindeer and camel pens were mobbed with kids as their keeper (in the red cap) handed out raisins for them to feed to Dasher and Blitzen. Luckily, kids have a short attention span, because it didn’t take long for the crowd to disperse (and suddenly my crowd scene looked sparse!). I moved in closer for a portrait of Curley, the camel, and a couple of gesture sketches of the reindeer.

By then, I was thoroughly chilled, so I went into the café to
warm up. Fortified by coffee and a pumpkin scone, I did a few sketches of the café area, which is built like a greenhouse with windows covering the ceilings. All the large-leafed plants were giving me déjà vu of Paraty’s banana trees and palms. It’s such a treat to sketch indoors under all that natural light! I killed the last five minutes before our sharing time to sketch one of the koi.

A good holiday tradition, indeed!

Gloria sketching in the cafe

Koi pond resident

Thursday, December 18, 2014

72nd Street Café, Seattle

Just another coffee shop interior, this time 72nd Street Café, Greenlake, Seattle, where I settled to read my recent library book, Ben Lerner's Leaving Atocha Station, which I'm loving.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Gage Drawing Jam

This was the first year I was able to attend the Gage Drawing Jam. It reminded me of art school days roaming the halls with room after room of interesting things to draw and loads of folks into the same thing - drawing. Here's a couple that could be considered "in context" and meet the USk people in context standard.



sketching/media classes offered in Jan 2015

drawing, field sketching, expressive works and watercolor

more information @

Looking forward to 2015! Happy holidays!

Forwarding a letter from members of our Board:

Dec. 14, 2014

Dear all,

2014 has been a great year for USk!

Because of your support, USk provided scholarships to 11 local sketchers who attended the Paraty Symposium at no charge. Paraty was the 5th International Urban Sketching Symposium we organized in just four years, following previous editions in Portland, Lisbon, Santo Domingo and Barcelona.  Our workshops program continues to grow with workshops held in Oxford, England;  Savannah (GA), Seattle (WA) and Tacoma (WA) in the USA, Cockatoo Island in Australia, and several cities in Italy.

As a new year begins, our all-volunteer organization is excited to expand our workshop program and to increase the number of scholarships we offer if possible, but we need your help!

If you believe in what USk stands for and support our mission, please consider making a tax-deductible donation today. We suggest a $20 donation, but pledge as much or as little as you'd like. Every little bit helps!

Let's work together to continue "Showing the World, One Drawing at a Time!"

You can donate via PayPal using the sidebar button at

Or make your check payable to "Urban Sketchers" and mail it to:

Urban Sketchers
P.O. Box 12624
Mill Creek, WA 98082
United States

Very best wishes for a happy New Year!

USk Executive Board,
Elizabeth, Gabi, Omar, Jessie, Mario and Brenda

Friday, December 12, 2014

Lincoln Elementary Computer Lab

I subbed for a couple days last week at APP Lincoln, just a few blocks from my house. The kids had earned, according to the lesson plans left by their regular teacher, an hour in the computer lab. When a student asked if she could go back to the room to get her sketchbook, I told her to grab mine as well, and I drew the kids as they played games. I rarely draw people because they move too much, but I was captive with nothing else to do. When I finished, they asked me for a copy so I printed one out for their room.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Looking ahead to 2015

This photo is from one of the Good Bones workshops held this past winter/spring at our own Pike Place Market.  I'm scheduling 2015 workshops now, including more Good Bones in Seattle (yes, even in our winter!), a 5-day workshop again in Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy for those who want full emersion, and a 2-day workshop in the beautiful pedestrian center of The Hague, Holland.  

Sign up for 2015 workshops is open now! For more info and photos, please go to and click on the new "workshops" page. 
And don't forget about the 2015 USk Symposium in Singapore--guaranteed to be an utterly amazing, superbly well-organized event where you'll meet incredible sketchers from around the world!  
Happy Sketching everyone! 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Anacortes Ship

Tankers dock at the refineries at Anacortes. Cold day. Security made me leave! Frank B.

Gage Drawing Jam 2014

The Gage Academy was full of people of all ages and abilities Saturday at the annual Drawing Jam.
After spending time in a number of different studios, I ended my day in the grand Skinner Auditorium.  The space has high clerestory windows and so I wanted to capture a sense of the height while including the group of artists drawing the models in the center of the room.

Keep Clam!

Clam Lights is a holiday tradition in Renton.  It is a display of Christmas lights along a path in Coulon Park, next to Lake Washington.  My favorite display is the dancing Clams, made famous by Ivar's, a local seafood restaurant.  This video shows them in action!  It was sunny and 58 degrees so I sat on my stool in the park to sketch the Clams during the day.  It's fitting that there is an Ivar's fish & chips shop within view.

They are a version of  "Clem the dancing clam", who first appeared in 1985.  "Keep Clam!"

I got an early start to the day.  I thought it would be safe to make a trip to the mall just as it opened and before it got too crazy.  The Santa stage was facing the opposite direction from previous years, making it easy to sketch from the floor above.  Santa didn't have any children visiting yet.

Sunday, December 7, 2014


Seattle, WA, 05 December 2014 – Urban, a non-profit organization, is celebrating its fifth anniversary since incorporating on December 6, 2009. Its mission is to promote on-location sketching and to connect people around the world who enjoy urban sketching. Wildly successful, the international community of urban sketchers is estimated at 50,000+ and almost 14 million page views on the Urban Sketchers (USk) blog.
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