Monday, October 19, 2020
Thursday, October 15, 2020
I've been making a point to do one solid sketch every day. It's an answer to my desire for a bit more structure in my life. I live alone & am self employed & single so I have to account for all my time by myself. day in day out. No more regular events anchoring the months. With all the wildly scary and depressing news out there, it’s important to fall back on something positive and immediate.
I’ve been daring to go out for coffee again (outdoor seating only) while the weather is still nice. It’s been comforting to sit in places where I can overhear conversations and watch the world go by as I sketch, as all urban sketchers can appreciate. And making sure I do something every day that grounds me and consistently makes me happy is therapy.
Here are the first 12 days of my project, September 22 - October 3.
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
It was on this day in 2012 I was invited to be a USk Seattle blog correspondent. I thought it would be good to do a post to commemorate my 8th anniversary.
I miss everyone! I miss sketching together! I've continued to sketch, mostly from my car. I'm also sketching almost daily, but some of it isn't Urban Sketching.
I've just completed a series on the local fires stations. I sketched each on location from my car. We have so many reasons to be thankful for fire fighters, even more so now!
It started at the end of April when I was driving around the main section of my suburb looking for something to catch my eye. It was Fire station #11. It's one of the more uninteresting buildings. But that's the challenge, isn't it?
At right of this sketch is a depiction of the enameled metal mural, "Untitled" by Harold Balazs.
It wasn't until July that I decided to make the series. Next was Station 17 and also King County Fire Department 40. It’s another boring building so I parked off to the side to at least get an interesting angle.
On to Station # 12, in the “Highlands” neighborhood. It was a more interesting building and there was even a fire engine outside, but too far from the building to fit into the composition normally. I sat in the shade of a tree this time. I had my mask ready in case I was approached, but I wasn't.
The next day I went out earlier in the morning to avoid the heat. This is Station Number 14. It’s over near Wizards of the Coast. It's also the "M.G. 'Scotty' Walls Training Center". I found very little about him, even on the Fire Department's website.
I'm on a roll. The next day, it was Station #16 with a more interesting design. There is the tall hose drying tower. A small shelter in front covers a memorial bench with the inscription, “In recognition of volunteer firefighters. King County Fire District 25. 1945-2003"
After this, it was a waiting game. I sometimes see the fire engine parked in front of my closest station, #13. Every time I was out over those weeks, I drove by the station to check whether the engine was out. And that morning of September 5th, it finally was! Of course, it drove off very soon after I'd begun the sketch. But I followed my axiom, “draw first what’s most likely to move”.
The tall tower is for drying hoses. I’ve actually been inside this station when they had an open house just after construction finished a few years ago. I remember they told us the massive gas kitchen stove was made to automatically shut off when the fire alarm went off! No one wants the fire station to burn down because they left food cooking on the stove as they rushed off to fight a fire!
The fire truck drove back in just as I was finishing. The driver called out, “did you put me in it?”. When I mentioned that to Himself, he said, “you should have said: ‘No, you drove off!'” I never think of clever come backs.
I'm looking forward to when we can meet as a large group to sketch. Until then, "stay safe and carry on sketching"!
Saturday, September 12, 2020
|9/12/20 Maple Leaf neighborhood, early afternoon|
|9/12/20 the sun is finally visible around 2:40 p.m.|
Thursday, September 10, 2020
8/22/20 across the street (Maple Leaf neighborhood)
Sketch the same view at different times of the day: That was the USk Talks Challenge that Shari Blaukopf had offered sketchers when she gave a USk Talk way back in May. I liked the idea and kept it in the back of my mind all summer, but I kept forgetting to do the same scene at a different time. Then yesterday, I looked across the street at the shadows cast by our neighbors’ planters on the lawn, and I suddenly remembered that I had sketched the same view in the afternoon a few weeks ago. It was an ideal opportunity to finally respond to the challenge.
Above is the scene in the afternoon, and below is the one I did yesterday morning. The afternoon sketch was leisurely on a lovely sunny day, but the morning one was quick: The air was still hazy with smoke from wildfires in distant parts of Washington State. I used violet and yellow to capture light and shadow as well as to evoke the strange color of the sky.
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
The sign says, "the Eagle always faces forward".
Then I drove to the central part of Renton with the plan to sketch more houses but I happened upon an event that was perfect for the USk Flickr group's weekly theme: "masks". The Chamber of Commerce was giving away PPE to small businesses. They had some people in dino costumes to attract attention! However, they moved a lot and then packed up and left before I was finished. So my sketches of them were very quick.
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
I sketched in the shade on the sidewalk across the street. This is one of only a couple times I've sketched outside my car since March. I wore a mask for the longest period yet, about an hour.
It closed during the WA Phase 1 shut down. Per a PI report, it closed permanently last week, in part due to a 27% increase in rent. The Georgetown neighborhood used to be industrial funky but has started to gentrify a bit. The owner said he might try to relocate to White Center.
There are murals on the south side, including a Henry. The white mural in my sketch is by @overallcreative
Thursday, July 16, 2020
Sonar Killa – the Golden Fort – is set in the Thar desert in northwestern India, less than two-hundred miles from the India-Pakistan international border. The glitter of the yellow sandstone walls in the early morning sun is dull and metallic, reminiscent of the precious metal that the fort is named after. It is as much a breathtaking sight today for a modern traveler as it must have been to a merchant plying the silk route when the Mughals ruled India in the fifteenth century.
We had found ourselves a room with a jharokha – an overhanging enclosed balcony situated on top of the bulwarks, with a sweeping view of the surrounding town and the landscape. A young scion of the family that has owned the eight-hundred-year-old haveli – a traditional Indian mansion – for several generations was responsible for its conversion to a tastefully decorated boutique hotel. Many such families still own apartments and mansions on the fort, passed as an inheritance from generation to generation. The fort has been continuously lived-in since olden times, the narrow streets buzzing with the sounds and smell of day-to-day life, adding lively charm to the ancient walls.
I took every opportunity I could find to slip out of our room and situate me in one of the many nooks and crannies of the fort to sketch. One such early morning sojourn led to the discovery of a portal hidden behind a carpet-sellers display. The opening led me along a narrow ledge behind a succession of gun-turrets, to a gun-slot where I squeezed beneath the barrel of a tremendous gun, one that had stood poised to protect the fort for many centuries.
In Nov 2017, I was deep into the preparation of my Middle East adventure to travel in the footsteps of probably the original urban sketcher of them all. The Scottish artist David Roberts had traveled through Egypt and the Holy Land in 1838-39, to sketch through direct observation, the landscape mentioned in the Bible, the first time such an ambitious project was being undertaken. Looking back at my sketches of Jaisalmer, I notice I had already started experimenting with David Roberts’ inimitable style – juxtaposing locals in colorful garb against monumental architecture. Fortunately, psychedelic colors and majestic architecture are both to be found in abundance in Rajasthan.
My wife Monica and I bivouacked on the sand dunes of Thar under a star-studded sky. Our guide, a local villager with mustache thicker than my thumb, had cooked a hardy meal for us over ambers plucked from the roaring campfire. After serving us the piping hot daal-baati – crisp wheat balls baked and then mixed with spicy lentils, doused with dollops of ghee, the guide used an empty five-gallon plastic water jug as a banjo to provide beats to the folk songs he sang for us. On our way back, our jeep got stuck in the sand. Leaving the driver to wrestle with it, Monica and I hiked a dune to arrive at an ancient cemetery with the fort gleaming on the horizon.
My goal for the trip was plenty of line-and-wash - “wash where there are no lines and lines where no wash is needed”. As I sat down for sketching, I found myself drawn to the strong architectural lines and the squiggly curves of the Devanagari script (and Rajput mustaches.) I felt like I had barely scratched the surface of Jaisalmer in the four days I was there. It is only a matter of time, I am sure before I go back to Jaisalmer, which I already consider in my favorite top 5 walled cities of the world.
Sunil Shinde lives in Seattle with his wife, two daughters, and his golden retriever, Oscar. He has been an ardent urban sketcher since 2013. When he is not traveling, he is building an AI-based population health product in stealth mode. You can see his sketches here.
Sunday, July 12, 2020
Hello, sketchers! We hope you are doing well and staying creative during these difficult times. Since it will still be a while before USk Seattle is able to organize sketch outings (we follow King County’s restrictions for “social and recreational gatherings”), we wanted to offer some ideas and resources to stay inspired, engaged and sketching:
To celebrate USk Seattle’s 11th anniversary, we’re having a party on Zoom on Sunday, July 19, 12:30 p.m.!
Here are more ideas:
- The current Phase 2 restrictions allow five or fewer individuals to gather outdoors. Call a few friends and meet somewhere to sketch together (socially distanced, of course)! For those who feel safe in large public areas, this is the easiest way to get back into the social spirit of urban sketching. And please share your sketches online so that everyone can enjoy them! Our Facebook group continues to grow daily. On Instagram, use the hashtag #uskseattle.
- Keep sketching on your own and share online. See our location suggestions below.
- Get inspired by the many online resources for classes, tutorials, interviews, presentations and more on urban sketching and other types of art (see below). Some instructors who normally offer in-person workshops worldwide have taken their workshops online, which means that even non-locals can enjoy the same benefits as locals. Take advantage of these great opportunities to improve your skills while staying in the safety of your home.
Sketch Location Suggestions
Bellevue Botanical Garden
Gas Works Park
Jack Block Park
Lake Union Park
Leschi Park and Marina
Olympic Sculpture Park
Sketching Play Lab with USk instructors Suhita Shirodkar and Paul Wang: 90-minute Zoom sessions focus on exploring elements of design.
USk Portland 10x10: Rita Sabler offers workshops with a choice of in-person attendance (maintaining physical distancing) or on Zoom. (Kate participated in a Zoom workshop and found it well done.)
Studio 56: Free offerings and interviews on Zoom with urban sketchers who teach for Studio 56. Some online workshops are available for a fee.
Sketchbook Skool: Many online classes offered, some of which are related to urban sketching.
Several urban sketching instructors are now offering workshops online, including Michele Cooper and Shari Blaukopf.
Urban sketcher Teoh Yi Chie, better known as Parka, offers hundreds of product reviews and demos on YouTube. Some online courses are also offered for a small fee.
Daniel Smith owner John Cogley offers frequent presentations and artist interviews on YouTube. (The Seattle Daniel Smith store is closed but plans to reopen Sept. 8. All in-person events remain cancelled through the end of 2020.)
Thursday, July 9, 2020
|Your Family Auto repair shop & Cafe Selam Ethiopian Restaurant on E Cherry St.|