Monthly Sketch Outing

Next Monthly Sketch Outing
Friday through Sunday, August 19 - 21
4th Annual West Coast Urban Sketchers Sketchcrawl
Downtown Tacoma

See the West Coast Urban Sketchers Sketchcrawl website for details --

See Adhoc Outings for additional sketch events during the month.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Blue Sky at the West Coast SketchCrawl

2016_08_20 USk Tacoma Glass Bridge

Others have already talked about the architecture, the waterfront, the public art. But I think the common denominator in most of my sketches was the intense, opaque blue of the sky and the strong shadows that made every scene dramatic.

2016_08_20 USk Tacoma Sketchers

And I know I have never seen so many people sketching in one place at one time before! They were a good subject to finish up the morning with. Saturday afternoon I wandered along the trolley line looking for this wedge building that I someone mentioned at lunch. The late afternoon sun was just perfect - and I got to sit in the shade while I sketched!

2016_08_20 USk Tacoma Tullys

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tacoma Westcoast Sketch Crawl

I started the sketch crawl on Friday since I would not be able to stay for Sunday.  I arrived in Tacoma before noon and before the end of the week traffic heated up.  I wanted to hang around the port of Tacoma and sketch the industrial side of Tacoma.
I found a look-out platform next to the Port of Tacoma's office, which had a great view and shade to beat the heat.  I was able to do a couple sketches and even shared them with the receptionist and marketing graphic designer (and got to uses their restroom too).  Thanks!!

Cranes and Container Ship

Port of Tacoma

Tacoma Dome from McKinley Hill

Quick sketch before heading to the Friday evening dinner with the rest of the sketchers.

Museum of Glass

In the morning I turned my attention to the Museum District.

Another view of Tacoma Dome under the 21st Street Bridge

I continued to look for shady venues to beat the heat on Saturday, but also I wanted to pick some different views of the city.  The end of the Foss Waterway had trains, large storm sewer pipes and the Dome. 
Elks Lodge Hotel

A couple of more sketches after lunch down in the Theatre District.  I wanted to capture the Spanish Steps, but when I saw the Elks Lodge Hotel, it reminded me of a grand palazzo from Rome.  I was also able to get some of the balustrade from the stairs too.

Old City Hall and Commerce Street
 One last sketch while waiting for the street car before heading back for the afternoon meet up (so I had to sketch fast, because they come every 12 minutes).

After the meet-up I was finished for the weekend, both physically and mentally.  Great job of organizing by the Tacoma Urban Sketchers.  Thanks!!

4th Annual West Coast Urban Sketchers Sketch Crawl

Thanks to Frances, Kate, Mark, Darsie, and the rest of the organizing committee for hosting this past weekends gathering in Tacoma. Great camaraderie and fun. Enjoyed the time to sketch. Here are representative drawings from Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, and Sunday morning.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Saturday morning was the second day of the 4th Annual West Coast Urban Sketch Crawl in Tacoma, Washington.  Registration started bright and early in the lower level of the Washington State History Museum.  Volunteers passed out name-tags and goody bags before the group met for announcements in the auditorium.
Morning registration
Old hand-painted advertising signs on brick walls hold a distinct status in the landscape of American cities. With mellow colors and descriptive typography, their artful references to obsolete products are beloved by contemporary viewers. Ghost signs, as they are sometimes called, are abundant in downtown Tacoma. Seattle artist Buster Simpson’s public art project on the parapet of the Woodruff-Pratt building extends the sign tradition.  The word GATHER lines the parapet of a building on the University of Washington Tacoma campus. Originally a warehouse, a series of words emerge along the roofline as one walks past the building. Although I did not have time to position myself to see all the words, I appreciated the color, texture, and size of GATHER as it related to the history of the building, campus public art and the sketch crawl gathering
University of Washington Tacoma Campus Public Art
Rounding the corner of Pacific Ave after the last stop on the Tacoma trolley I suddenly felt transported to romantic Europe.  Almost as if staged, Italianate Old City Hall towers over the street stopping in time to create a space filled with views of Commencement Bay before the Northern Pacific Headquarters Building begins its architectural statement.  An ornate lantern-topped tower distinguishes the entryway of the rectangular three-story building.       #usktac4
Old City Hall and Northern Pacific Headquarters Building