Next Monthly Sketch Outing

Nov. 11, 1 p.m., at King Street Station
See Monthly Outing page for details.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Voices of our City

Many of you know I've been in Santa Monica for the past 6 weeks and will be for the next couple of months. It's been great fun getting to know a new place. One of the things I love is finding out about all the local events. 

Last Saturday I popped into a concert at the Santa Monica Public Library. Billed as a "Homeless Choir", the San Diego based group put on a rockin' good show for a smattering of folks in the auditorium.

A few solo vocalists stole the show and after the performance they sat down in front of the stage and we all had a conversation about homelessness.

Not only do they sing as a group but they advocate for themselves any way they can. They have influenced the San Diego city council to adopt more helpful policies towards the homeless and they have helped find housing for several families. They are building support and community amongst themselves and spreading hope to the greater homeless community.

Not all of the group members were experiencing homelessness. At least three were organizers and advocates that have devoted their lives to making friends, finding solutions and promoting justice for those who are experiencing homelessness.

Whatever the details of their lives may be, they put on a really inspiring and rockin' good show.

See my personal blog for more sketches and info.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

King Street Station - USk 10 Anniversary

Joined Seattle urban sketchers for three years, I am so grateful and fortunate finding this group, in which enable me to connect my passion of creating arts. Sketching is now more like therapy, a form of life!  
I sat inside the station looked at grand interior...beautiful shine of lighting, then was stuck into its unique scene...till sketches sharing! 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Happy Birthday USk! (from King Street Station)

My first outing with USk Seattle was back in January 2013 -- almost half of the now ten years it has been around! While I can't say that I've been the most consistent in attendance in the past five-ish years (summers are hard when there's so much you can do outside!), I can say that I've really enjoyed every outing and getting to see and draw parts of our city; and seeing many different people participate and their work has been equally, if not more, enjoyable.

Happy 10th birthday USk, and here's to many more!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Ten Years of Community

11/11/17 King Street Station's tower sketched over my
Global 24-Hour Sketchwalk badge
Urban sketching – the act of going out to sketch in my neighborhood or wherever I travel – tends to be a solo activity for me. It’s become such an integral part of my day-to-day life that, more often than not, I sketch whenever I’m out on an errand or commuting. It’s like writing in my diary – a reminder of my day with a sketch instead of words. But Urban Sketchers, the worldwide community, is about much more than that. Yesterday afternoon at King Street Station and online during the prior 20+ hours, I was once again reminded of what it means to me to be part of that community.

Ten years ago this month, Gabi Campanario tapped an icon on Flickr to create a new image group and started inviting sketchers around the globe to add their sketches to the group. That was how Urban Sketchers began – an online community. Very soon it evolved into local groups meeting in person to sketch together, and eventually sketchers began gathering annually in one place for an international symposium. But the heart and soul of Urban Sketchers has always been local groups and individuals sharing in person and online. The 24 hours of Nov. 11 were a visual representation of that worldwide heart and soul, and I was thrilled to be part of it.

11/11/17 One of King Street Station's globe lamps and Smith Tower.
Beginning in New Zealand and ending in Hawaii, local groups in each time zone began posting photos of their part of the Urban Sketchers Global 24-Hour Sketchwalk on Instagram. Volunteer social media organizers in each time zone uploaded those images to the global Urban Sketchers Instagram account, and anyone following the account or searching the event’s hashtag saw a continual stream of sketchers and their work throughout the day.

I started viewing Instagram on Friday around the time New Zealand began posting, and then Asia, and it really felt like I was attending a worldwide party! In fact, I was restless to get the party started in Seattle – but I’d have to wait until Saturday afternoon for that!

It was worth the wait. We all agreed that Seattle USk had a record-breaking turnout, including some new members and several members who hadn’t attended in quite a while but wanted to be part of this special event. With sketchers sitting quietly on the benches of King Street Station’s waiting area, looking down on the waiting area from the upper level, or braving the cold drizzle outdoors, it didn’t look like a party, but it felt like one in the best possible way: people with a common passion coming together to enjoy their favorite activity.
11/11/17 Passengers waiting for their train.

When I first joined Urban Sketchers in May 2012, I was a nervous introvert who had feelings of doubt and unease as I left the house for my first outing to Magnuson Park. The group I found there was so friendly and happy that I got over my doubts immediately. I had found my community, my tribe.

Happy 10th anniversary, Urban Sketchers! I’m honored and proud to be a member.

To see images from around the globe, search the hashtag #USkGlobal24hrSketchwalk. USk Seattle’s images can be found with the hashtag #uskseattle.

Initial meet-up: Blank sketchbook pages ready!

Thank you, Gabi, for clicking that Flickr icon!
I got a sore neck sketching the tower!

Halfway through the sketchwalk, we took a group photo to include as many participants as possible.


Sue in a precarious position.


April, our Instagram manager, finally gets to sit for a sketch!


Michele, Gabi, Tina and Kate

Final end-of-sketchwalk photo

11/11/17 Post-sketchwalk drink & draw at Elysian Fields brew pub

Ujjwal and her husband, Mel and Gabi

Global Sketchwalk at King Street Station

2017_11_11 USk King Street Station

2017_11_11 USk Seattle Drink and Draw

2017_11_11 USk Seattle Sketchers

Sketches from Urban Sketchers 10th Anniversary Global Sketchwalk. Seattle USk met at the King Street Station and it looked like about 50 sketchers participated, many new (!). I spotted the taxi lineup as I walked in and decided they would be my first sketch of the day. Thanks to Tina for the loan of a yellow pencil! #USkGlobal24hrSketchwalk

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Muppets, Monsters and More at MoPOP

11/10/17 Jim Henson's puppet for Beautiful Day
The last time I visited Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) nearly two years ago, it was still called EMP, and I was there on my own for the thoroughly enjoyable Hello Kitty exhibition. Yesterday the Friday USk sketchers got a special treat: MoPOP member Kate generously gave us complimentary guest passes so that we could visit as a group.

I opted to upgrade my ticket so that I could see the visiting exhibition about Jim Henson, Imagination Unlimited. Many of Henson’s most popular Muppet creations were on display, as well as other artifacts from lesser-known parts of his career. Of course, young kids had a ball seeing familiar characters, but here’s what made me gulp: Adults half my age were taking selfies with Sesame Street characters because they were nostalgic about growing up with the TV show. Once I got over feeling ancient about that, I settled down for several fun sketches.

My first was of a Muppet unfamiliar to me but who apparently claimed fame on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1969 when it ruined someone’s Beautiful Day. I enjoyed seeing and sketching the monster itself, but even more interesting was seeing Henson’s hand-drawn sketches from when he was developing the design. The exhibit included several such sketchbook pages and related handwritten notes that gave a glimpse into his creative mind.

Designs for Beautiful Day character
Early designs for Rowlf

Next I chose a pair of my personal favorites – Bert & Ernie. As I sketched, a nearby video loop played an old Sesame Street segment of the pair. Their exhibit was a particularly popular spot for selfies.

11/10/17 Bert & Ernie

Before I left the exhibit, I sketched a station where visitors could design their own Muppet by rearranging facial parts and hair and then view how their creation would look on a TV screen.

Selfie opp
11/10/17 Design a Muppet station

 I spent the most time in the Henson exhibit, but before the meetup, I had time for a quick run through a couple of other exhibits. One was Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds, which showed a number of set pieces, costumes and spaceship models. From the mezzanine above, I sketched one of the costume displays and snapped a photo of Kate sketching nearby.

11/10/17 Star Trek costumes
Kate sketching a Star Trek exhibit

11/10/17 Ever heard of this movie?
With only about 10 minutes left before the meetup, I dashed into Scared to Death: The Thrill of Horror Film. Although I’m not a huge fan of the horror genre, I wouldn’t have minded spending more time in this exhibit, as some of the monsters would have been fun to draw, especially the Alien from the 1979 film. But the problem was that this exhibit was necessarily dark and spooky, which made sketching nearly impossible. I found one exhibit of a monster from the 2001 movie Jeepers Creepers (I’d never heard of it) that was well-lighted enough to spend 5 minutes sketching. 

My last sketch of the day had nothing to do with MoPOP except vicinity. Waiting at the bus stop, I looked up at the Space Needle and remembered that I have been meaning to sketch its top, which is currently under renovation. The caged observation deck is being replaced with a slanted glass wall and glass floor so that tourists can get a bigger (and more expensive) thrill than they can now (yawn). 

11/10/17 The Space Needle is wearing a messy hat lately.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Muppets at MoPop

Friday sketchers met at MoPop...The Museum of Pop Culture (formerly known as EMP...Experience Music Project).

Since I hadn't seen it yet, my first stop was the Jim Henson exhibit. I looked forward to sketching muppets and I wasn't disappointed. There was an interactive Muppet design station for kids. It demonstrated how Sesame Street would make a new puppet for a background character, or "extra". A variety of features could be stuck on in many different ways to create a new character. These were called "Anything Muppets".

The sign for the exhibit is a bit of photo collage.

Tina sketches a Muppet.

I'd already viewed, and sketched, the Star Trek exhibit. I went again and this time sketched costumes from my favorite Star Trek: TNG ("The Next Generation"). The signs are all  photo collage.

We were few in number today. Perhaps that's due to an important sketch outing tomorrow for the 10th Anniversary of Urban Sketchers. (Natalie is missing)

More photos:

Foss Waterway Seaport - Tacoma

Last page of this sketchbook, certainly takes me a lot longer to fill one these days. At the Foss Waterway Seaport Museum for a 1st Saturday Tacoma Urban Sketchers gathering. Vintage diving gear.

Pen, ink and watercolor in a watercolor Moleskine.
#urbansketchers #tacoma #Fosswaterwayseaport#moleskine

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Visiting USk PT

During a previous visit, I'd walked through the Palace Hotel in Port Townsend but didn't take the time to sketch there.  When the Urban Sketchers Port Townsend announced a Wednesday outing there, I thought it would be a good time to visit.

I convinced Himself to go with so we'd have a chance to stay together at the Chevy Chase Beach Cabins.   One we arrived about 3:30 pm we got settled into our small cabin and we took a walk around the property.  Here's our charming cabin with a view.

It was sunset and I quickly did a simple sketch of the view from the hill above the beach.

On Wednesday morning, I went in to town to join the sketchers. It was good to meet the group and a fun time sketching this historic location.

With so many choices, it was difficult to settle on a subject.  I liked the globe and lamp that Mel was sketching, so I composed an alternate view, including him.

Then I sat on the stairs to sketch the entry door used by hotel guests.

Sharing sketches:

Group photo taken by one of the others.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Grabbing Color When I Can

11/3/17 Northgate

Our spectacular autumn
is over. Like a loud, overbearing, uninvited party guest, winter lumbered in a few days ago, and her name is La NiƱa. She brought overnight temperatures in the mid-30s and, most surprisingly, snow! I knew the sunshine wouldn’t last forever, and I fully expected rain by now, but snow?

Still, I’ve been grabbing color where I can, even last Friday when it snowed. I deliberately arrived at a dental appointment a little early because I knew I could park near those maples on Fifth Northeast that I sketched just the week before in the delightfully bright sun. The windshield kept getting covered with slushy snowflakes, so I had to keep turning on the wipers. (That streak you see running down the car on the right occurred when I leaned out the side window to take my “trophy” photo. Ah, social media. . . it has become part of the message.)

The next day – still chilly, but at least the snow had turned to rain – I had an errand at Roosevelt Square (below). Over the edge of the parking lot barrier, all I could see was the very top of a maple and two utility poles behind it.

11/4/17 Roosevelt Square
Today the sun was back. Temps were still in the 30s by mid-morning, so I stayed in my car for one last shot at my favorite traffic circle. I sketched this trio of maples (below) almost exactly a month ago when the one on the right was just starting to turn, and the one on the left was almost fully green. Now the one on the left has a few orange leaves still hanging on, but the one on the right is bald.

Sigh. It was a lovely fall.

11/6/17 Greenwood neighborhood

Monday, October 30, 2017

Swansons Nursery Collage

Swansons Nursery Collage

I took 311 bus from Bothell to downtown Seattle and later D line till Swansons Nursery. It was 1 hour 40 minutes journey. The entire route was spectacular as fall was in its peak. After reaching I took a glance of entire nursery, saw different plants, shrubs, dinosaur topiary, hay maze, tractor: lots to sketch. I zoomed down to my favorites. I started with Jack sparrow & his boat which was displayed at the entrance. It was fun to sketch this character and view kids reaction to it. The bright orange pumpkins were catchy and organised systematically, smaller ones on one side and bigger on the other. The huge pots gave contrast to bright orange. Before I could finish this pumpkin display, two kids came wearing pumpkin costume. I immediately tried to capture one of them and again got back to real pumpkins. The scarecrow was another attraction here. Later I visited the Hay maze where children were having fun in the maze. The stacks of hay, goats, small pumpkins for carving everything was under one roof for children to enjoy. With hay maze & kids, my Swansons Nursery Collage was ready.

Here I also sketched the man wearing stylish hat, who was explaining a girl about the goats, in my pocket sketchbook. Great Halloween display and sunshine at Swansons Nursery.