Monthly Sketch Outing

Next Sketch Outing Sunday July 20, 2014 - Amazon Headquarters, South Lake Union, Seattle
See Adhoc Outings for additional sketch events during the month.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


I've been trying out some different ways of sketching lately. Here are three: 

While driving to Richland - the desert colors and open sky hit me as lovely - pencil and watercolor - about 5 min max. 

Trying out my new pen, a Pilot parallel/pen with water soluble ink, wet on wet, color first, then line. Need to work with this process a bit I think. 

My favorite place to sketch in Olympia. 1 minute thumbnails - well maybe 3 minutes for some. Olympia Farmer's market.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Construction at 8th and Lenora

Last Sunday at the monthly sketch crawl we were sketching downtown and it started to rain.  Since the theme was Seattle in Process, I thought it was appropriate to show process of the sketches I did.  The first sketch I started with pencil underlay and watercolor washes.  When it started to rain I abandoned the sketch and decided to start another one in ink.
Both were incomplete by the end of the sketchcrawl.
This morning I went back to finish both of them.
The first sketch I added more watercolor then added ink line.
Second sketch as the ink lines were already done I just added watercolor over the inkline drawing.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Houseboat Sketching

Thank you to Mary Lou and Sam for inviting us to sketch from your lovely houseboat on Friday and to Peggy H. for arranging it. It's always a treat to see the houseboats from within, a special and kind of secret Seattle view. There were many, many good sketching choices but this charming and peaceful home caught my eye right away.  - Peggy G.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Rick & Joyce Miner's Floating Home.

It was a fun challenge drawing this scene (I added the color at home) on a rocking and rolling dock. Each time a yacht or tour boat went buy we wobbled, and I didn't realize until too late that my satchel and its contents were soaking in  lake water. As we drew, the owner, Rick Miner, came out and used the megaphone (seen on the table in the picture) to yell at some party boaters to slow down because the wake was slopping all over. He came out and introduced himself and we exchanged cards. Nice guy! Check him out at

Houseboat Sketch Outing

Peggy has friends, Mary Lou and Sam, who live on a houseboat on South Lake Union.  We were invited there to sketch today.  There were just too many beautiful and interesting scenes from which to choose!

I wandered all over the docks before choosing some places to sketch.  First is from the dock of our host's home, looking down the dock:

Then, also from the host's patio, looking across the way to another dock:

Finally, a small houseboat on the dock with boat and kayaks:

We shared our sketches and then had a group photo.

  The group on the stairs of our hosts' houseboat;  Missing at least 2 or 3.  From bottom:
Peggy, Tina Kate
Susan, Gordon, Nilda
Logan, Natalie
Peggy JG, Donna
Frank #3, Steve  (There are 2 other Franks already in the group, so I've called him #3!)
Thanks to Sam for taking the group photo.

Lots of photos here and just one sample:

Mary Lou and Sam’s House Boat

7/25/14 Lake Union from the rooftop deck
Summer is back on, and the Friday sketchers celebrated with a special treat: Sketching on and around the Lake Union house boat of Mary Lou and Sam, who generously opened their floating home to us.

Choosing my first subject was easy: I climbed all the way up to the rooftop deck (stepping very carefully on that last spiral staircase!) to sketch Lake Union with the Aurora Bridge and Gas Works Park in the background.

7/25/14 neighboring boats
The second sketch subject was harder to pinpoint. First I wandered around the three levels of their home, looking through all the many windows. Then I went outside and walked around all the surrounding docks, peeking at the views between the boats and marveling at the magical romance of living on the water. (Yes, we spotted the house boat from Sleepless in Seattle just a short distance away!) Suddenly I realized I had only about 15 minutes before the meeting time, so I quickly sketched a couple of boats in front of me.

It was hard to beat sketching from a house boat, but then Sam gave a few lingerers an even better treat: A ride around Lake Union on their Lear boat! He showed us how the top rises to reveal a roomy cabin (certainly roomy enough for more than the five sketchers who hopped in when he offered the ride) and then acts as sun shelter, so we could cruise the lake in comfort. I couldn’t resist sketching Captain Sam at the wheel of the Plug ‘n Play.

Thank you, Sam and Mary Lou, for opening your home to us, and thanks to Peggy for initiating the opportunity!

7/25/14 Captain Sam at the wheel

Thursday, July 24, 2014

New Amazon Construction

The two blocks that Sellen Construction is building for the next Amazon expansion was my focus on Sunday.
The first sketch is the concrete elevator & stairway core that will be the main structural element for the new high-rise.  The second is of the sidewalk on Lenora St. where they have scaffolding, cones and other safety elements to protect the pedestrian walking the block between 6th & 7th Avenues.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

More construction

South Lake Union is a jungle of cranes and construction sites. Between deciding where to focus and the rain, time allowed only one sketch last Sunday. I was just getting the hang of drawing cranes when the rain decided to visit. I tucked myself back into Cafe Suisse to finish the watercolor to this point. I may add a bit more color, but for now: 

The day before I oriented my paper horizontally, plopped myself on a market bench and focused on some of the fruit stalls: 

Line to Color Workshop in Tacoma

Announcing "Line to Color Workshop"  happening in Tacoma, Washington  September 12-14, 2014. In this intensive workshop, architectural drawing instructors Frank Ching and Gail Wong will walk you through clear steps covering the complete process of making a sketch on location, from the time you draw the first line until you apply the last touch of color. This workshop will occur over a 3 day period meeting at various historic locations in Tacoma and will include  dinner with a 1-hour keynote presentation on Friday,  two 4-hour sessions on Saturday, two 2-hour sessions on Sunday and a final 1.5-hour  sketch crawl Sunday afternoon with instructors available for help.

Topics will cover, perspective, composition, process in developing the sketch, approaches to watercolor and value. Ideas introduced in this session will be demonstrated on site and practiced in the following sessions with one on one help from Frank and Gail.
For more information about the workshop see Workshop Details Link.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Mass and Space on Vashon Island

Sketching with another artist who has different preferences for subject is a challenge. I like to draw dense clusters of objects, while Donna focuses on the play of light in the spaces between objects. Urban Sketchers Seattle met on Vashon Island Friday. Having never been there before, Donna and I spent way too much time wandering around, comparing locations. We finally settled where she had a view of the Sound, while I drew the nearby clump of mailboxes.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Construction Sketches (Pre-today's Sketch Crawl)

Today's Sketch Crawl came out of an idea that I wanted to capture the construction of building over time.
A friend of mine (Dan Foltz) had a building that was starting construction in 2013. It was near my office (and I could see it from my desk too), so I began capturing it in different sketches over this past year from different viewpoints.  The building is a high-rise residential project, located at 9th Ave and Pine St, across from the Paramount Theater.  The architecture firm is Weber Thompson.

Happy Anniversary

Gail & Jane told us this is the 5th Anniversary of Urban Sketchers Seattle!  Jane brought some special beverages so we could have a toast.   Thanks to Gabi who started it all (on left in red jacket)! 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

July Sketch Outing

Sunday, July 20th

Meet at 10 am at CafĂ© Suisse at 2008 Westlake Ave  (at 7th and Westlake Ave).  It's on the South Lake Union Streetcar (trolly) from Westlake transport hub.

This month’s Sketch outing is preparation for our (Usk) participation in the Seattle Architectural Foundation annual Model Exhibit titled “In PROCESS”. 

Southlake Union is teeming with new construction sites and so this month we will sketch construction sites (which is part of the in-process of the building design and construction) around the area of the new Amazon campus addition at 6th and Westlake.  Ideally each of us would come back at a later date and sketch the same view with the building farther along in its construction progress.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Pilchuck Glass School Open House

Last Sunday, I attended and sketched at the 
annual Open House at Pilchuck Glass School
up in Stanwood, Washington.  
There were many activities for people to watch
and or participate in.
We also got to see some behind the scenes
glimpses at places that the public
sometimes doesn't see.

 Buster Simpson's Tree House was pretty nice and people
from the school use it to stay in, 
however there is a size restriction for the tenant.
Buster Simpson was an artist living on the property when the 
school was starting.

 This was like a little roadside chapel in the forest.  Really magical.

 Hot, Hot Hot! and a lot of fun to watch.

Regular folks got a chance to play around
with molten glass too. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

USk workshop sponsored by Seattle Art Museum

Thirty five sketchers took to the streets in and near Pike Place Market on Saturday June 28. Gabi Campanario, Frank Ching and Gail Wong lead the group from three different locations focusing on different approaches to urban sketching.

The workshop included a tour of SAM's exhibition on Modernism in the Pacific Northwest: the Mythic and the Mystical. 

 Michelle Cooper: 

Jim Bumgarner: 

David Richardson: 

Frank Ching

 Gabriel Campanario