Monthly Sketch Outing

Next Monthly Sketch Outing Sunday,
January 24,
- Starbucks Roastery 1124 Pike Street,
- Melrose Place 1501-1535 Melrose, and
- Six Arms, 300 E Pike.
Meet at 10:30 AM
See more info on the Monthly Outings tab.

See Adhoc Outings for additional sketch events during the

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Waiting for Scott - Fresno Airport

I came across this sketch from Thanksgiving. We were trying to time our flights just right into Fresno to visit my brother Ian in Merced for Thanksgiving. My brother Scott was flying in from NYC and we had about 30 minutes until his flight came in. I was interrupted by the excitement when he showed up and forgot I even did this until I just discovered it in my sketchbook.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Starbucks Roastery

I got to the sketchcrawl early to scope out a view, but it wasn't until Steven Reddy pointed me in the direction of an upstairs view--once I saw it for myself, I knew I had to attempt this. As usual, I get about 10 minutes into these complicated views and ask myself, "What was I thinking???"  But I plow ahead and hope for the best.

This is the initial blocking out of the sketch--can you guess what vertical corner I drew first?

And this is the completed pencil and watercolor sketch. I think at least half of the pencil work
ended up on the back of my hand, so it all got a little too gray and murky!  
Got very dark in the space too, so while I painted 95% at this spot, I did take it outside near a window to add the last bits...while I sipped a green tea latte next to Sunil's talented family of sketchers!

Click on this view to see it larger!

For anyone interested, I have some Seattle Urban Sketchers workshops coming up called Good Bones in which I teach basic perspective sketching made easy and also an intro to watercolor the next day. If you are interested, please read more on my website or on the Urban Sketchers workshops page (thank you, Gail Wong!)

You can also find a 50% off discount link on my website for my Craftsy course, "Perspective for Sketchers"...Craftsy offers several really great classes taught by a cadre of familiar Urban Sketchers.

And finally, I'm also very, very honored to be teaching in Manchester at the symposium this July! Hooray!!!

New Year Lion Dance

My town has a branch of Uwajimaya, the local Chinese market.  Every year, they bring a group of Lion Dancers sometime near the Chinese New Year.  Sunday was the day!

Feather and I met there. We arrived an hour early in order to sketch the special displays.  We sat at a cafe table and both sketched this display with Lion masks.  We gathered some on lookers!  A mother and son were particularly interested and had lots of questions which we enjoyed answering.   

Once the Lion Dancers arrived, we packed up and went outside to watch.  I brought the "good" camera.... the Canon DSLR.  I put that puppy on continuous shooting (in a film camera it was called motor drive!) and fired away during the Lion Dance.  I came home with 160 images, which were culled heavily down to 26.  I also shot video with my Nexus 5 (phone).  All the photos are here.

Once that excitement was over, I went back into the market to sketch the large dragon sculpture that hangs from the ceiling.  He is there all year long.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Last Week Around Town

Planet Java Diner

The Bounty, Stone Way

Mr. Allard's Classroom

Planet Java
In-class Demonstration

Out of necessity, my Gage class uses the still-life to practice the ink wash and Uniball technique. The class was conceived as an outdoor experience but the unpredictable Seattle weather and the after-dark hours of the winter class made that impractical. However, the approach is exactly the same: little to no penciling, committing to gestural contours, quick diluted washes and a little hatching.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

1516 Melrose Avenue

A series of pathways zigzag up to this dark house that sits back from Melrose Avenue. How much longer will it withstand the forces of development?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

2016 Manchester Symposium Registration starts January 30!!

Once a year, the Urban Sketchers community convenes in one place for its annual symposium.  This is a fabulous, impressively well-organized 3-day event that brings together hundreds of sketchers from all over the world to sketch, learn, and share!  The energy and inspiration are amazing, and the opportunity to take workshops, learn from, and yes, sketch next to people I admire, is just incredible. You can arrive knowing no one and leave with friends you'll keep the rest of your life.

End of 2015 symposium photo in Singapore, photo by Azzam Bre Mahputra, USk.

This year's USk Symposium will be in Manchester, England, July 27-30, 2016.

Now, the reason for this post...
early bird registration starts THIS SATURDAY, January 30 online.
If you are interested in attending, I strongly suggest you set your alarm and sign up as soon as registration is open, as this is going to be a popular and well-attended event--it may sell out very quickly!!

For more information on how to register and the different passes that are available, go to 
the newly updated Urban Sketchers website and click on the 
"Symposium" tab...

Hope to see you in Manchester!!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

January 2016 Sketchcrawl-Starbucks and Melrose Market

Click here for closeup
1/24/16 Sunday's sketches from USKSeattle Sketchcrawl -- I sketched here with USKSeattle in February, 2015
Last time, I spent the day outdoors. This time, I decided to come inside more often.

I started out on the corner across the street from Starbucks Roastery, drawing the logo sign on the roof corner, (if you zoom in, top right, you can see Gail siting her sketch) then I followed the bronze coffee beans embedded in the sidewalk in front of Starbucks' front door.
A trail of bronze coffee beans and a rain-soaked leaf pointed the way downhill to Melrose Market
I ended up half a block down the street at the Melrose Market. What a wonderful place! From the main corridor, you can get an overview of the entire marketplace, but it was fascinating to watch the busy chefs at work in the kitchen at Sitka & Spruce. A beautiful tray of fresh baked scones loomed tantalizingly on the butcher block counter, tiny flowers were placed at the chef's table. I realized my sketches were mostly brown and grey, so I was happy to find a red chair with two fresh baguettes sitting in it and the red door at the end of the hallway.
A pair of sketchers, an "evergreen" sticker, a red door, and pussy willows in a vase atop an old oak barrel.
Harris was kind enough to let me get this shot with her cell phone camera. Thanks, H!
I counted 36 sketchers on the sidewalk outside the Melrose Market sharing their "catch of the day", but I know several who were not able to stay the entire session. I'm sure Jane will soon post up one of the group photos she got in front of Starbucks.

Starbucks Roastery & Tasting Room

Nice to get out and see everyone at today's Sketch outing. This was my first time at the Starbucks Roastery & Tasting Room. When the place first opened, I saw the line around the block and then forgot about it. I thought I was a Starbucks snob, until I saw this. I think I may be old school. This is some serious coffee. But there is an odd sort of Hollywood-not-Seattle feel. I can't put my finger on it...the tourists? the shiny objects? the airbrush tans? I'll have to go back to figure it out....

Capitol Hill Starbucks Roaster and Melrose

With vacuum tubes, conveyor belts and whirring churning caldrons, Starbucks has turned their roasting process into a Willy Wonka coffee factory. This hammered copper roaster was lit to be the show piece of the lower lounge.

At Boren looking west down Pike I framed the Plymouth pillars between the entrance to Tango and the trolley strand pole. The perspective down Pike gives  some depth to what was otherwise a flat skyline.

Melrose Avenue

I spent my time down the street from the Roastery and sketched the Pine Box formerly a mortuary and now a pub.  I will have to return and take a look inside.  Their website showed a beautiful interior with wooden pews for some of the seating.

For my second sketch I was starting to draw a view toward the Metropolitan Towers when a garbage truck pulled up and decided to sit in front of me for about 15 minutes.  The driver must have stopped to have lunch.

Coffee Roaster

It was a pleasant surprise to see a few of my former Gage students at this morning's outing. Tons of detailed "still-lifes" inside the shop to choose from. I think I'll go back when there aren't quite so many tourists and do more like this.

Jittery Roastery Redux

1/24/16 My tasting and the "Experience Bar" on the lower level.

Since I was planning to spend the morning with Urban Sketchers Seattle at the Starbucks Roastery, I reduced my usual caffeine intake at breakfast to half a cup. It’s a good thing I did, because by the time I finished the sketch above (during which I enjoyed a fun Origin Flight tasting of three Starbucks Reserve coffees), my lines were getting a little wiggly!

1/24/16 Baristas at the Experience Bar.
Jitters notwithstanding, I had a terrific time sketching at Starbucks’ flagship location. The coffees, food, d├ęcor, furniture, cups, even the napkins are different from any other Starbucks I’ve been to. The biggest difference, though, is the customer service. Although almost all Starbucks baristas are friendly and service-oriented, the Roastery people are a cut above. They really made me feel special there (and OK, I paid top dollar for that specialness, but I still feel like going back for more!).

Since this was my third sketching trip to the Roastery (the first was in January last year, and the second was a month later, both times with USk Seattle), I decided to focus on different challenges. After sketching my tasting experience, I captured a couple of the knowledgeable and hard-working baristas busy at the “Experience Bar” on the Roastery’s lower level.

1/24/16 Roastery exterior
Thoroughly buzzed by then, I walked across the street for some fresh, cold air (a little too cold – I didn’t last long) to make a quick sketch of the Roastery’s exterior. I made a note to come back in warmer weather to spend more time on the exterior – it’s a really beautiful old building.

My favorite was Pantheon in the center, followed closely by Sumatra.

Starbucks Roastery and Tasting Room

Last time I was here I wanted to sketch the Bar but didn't have time.  It's really a beautiful center piece.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

January Sketch Outing

Sunday January 24 * (yes, this is a repeat of February 2015)
10:30 - 1:00 **

3 locations: 
1. Starbucks Roastery  - meet here at 10:30 am
2. Melrose Market
3. Six Arms Brew Pub

1. Starbucks Roastery
1124 Pike Street, Seattle 98101
(In the building that was Utrecht )

More photos of the Roastery 

1501-1535 Melrose Avenue, 
Seattle, WA 98122

Six Arms   300 E. Pike St., Seattle, WA 98122
across the street from Roastery; opens at Noon

 * We're changing the date to the fourth Sunday instead of the third to avoid conflicting plans on the holiday weekend (Jan 16-18)

**We're changing the time because Melrose Market doesn't open until 11:00. This way we have more indoor sketching options and we won't overwhelm one place or the other.


Parking map for the area:

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Friday Ad Hoc for January 22nd

Friday Ad Hoc January 22  "Gab & Grab"

This is not necessarily a sketch outing  There may be opportunities to sketch, but it's primarily a sharing session (see below).

We'll meet at 10am at the Northeast Branch of Seattle Library.  It is in the Wedgwood neighborhood.  If you’re not familiar with the neighborhood, Wedgwood is a bit northeast of the U-District. Easily accessible from the 65th St. exit of I-5.

6801 35th Ave. N.E., Seattle, WA 98115

This is our 3rd Annual "Gab and Grab".  Here's how it works:

1.  Bring your sketch bag for a "What's in your bag" sort of show-and-tell.  If you like, take about 5 minutes to talk about some aspect of your kit that is a favorite,  most useful or newly discovered. That's the "Gab".
2.  Bring items (art supplies or art books) that you no longer want.  Trade with others.  That's the "Grab"!

If you have the time, bring a sack lunch and we'll stay until 1pm to chat.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Sketchers at Top Pot Donuts

2016_01_08 USk Top Pot

I have to admit I was not tempted by the Elvis Presley special Maple-Bacon donuts available at Friday's USk meet. I went for a chocolate glazed old-fashioned. And for sketching I went for the row of sketchers silhouetted against the windows of Top Pot Donuts Alki shop. I had to leave early, so missed the sketchbook sharing at the end. :(