Monthly Sketch Outing

Next Monthly Sketch Outing
Sunday, July 31
Amgen Helix Pedestrian Bridge
meet at Fish On Bait Tackle Shop and Cafe
Terminal 91 (on the bike path)

Parking available near the terminal. See map on Monthly Outings tab.
This is the day after the World Wide Sketchcrawl 52- we forge our own path!

Meet at 10:00 AM
End meet-up at 12:30 pm
See more info on the Monthly Outings tab.

See Adhoc Outings for additional sketch events during the month.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Second July Sunday outing

Sunday July 31

Amgen Helix Pedistrian Bridge
10 am - 12:30

We'll meet up at the Fish On Bait Tackle and Cafe at Terminal 91. (See Monthly Outings tab for parking I found on Yelp.) This is a funky little cafe that has parking nearby. There is also parking in a very small lot just across from the east entrance to the bridge on Elliot.

We've been to this spot in the past and everyone wanted to return because of the variety of sketch opportunities, the bridge, the industrial silos, the park and water views.

It should be a great summer outing. Hope to see you there! 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Very late Fisherman's Terminal

It's been a whirlwind since our June sketch outing, but I want to do my part to post from June's sketch outing. I actually did two sketches, but I can't find the first one. Like I said... a whirlwind.

So here's my Darla, the most popular of the teminal's boats that day.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Onion Domes at St Spiridon

2016_07_22 USk St Spiridon Cathedral

Seattle Urban Sketchers in the South Lake Union area. It was cool and damp, but the rain had stopped by the time the sketchers assembled. St Spiridon is an old (old in Seattle means the mid-1800s) Russian Orthodox church which is now surrounded by modern condos and hip cafes. Those onion domes were irresistible, but quite a challenge to draw and I did a lot more of a pencil underdrawing than I usually do. The ink and colored pencil were done on site, but I finished with some collage papers when I got home. edit - After checking my dates, the congregation of St Spiridon dates from the 1800s, but the church from the mid-1900s.

Friday, July 22, 2016

St. Spiridon Onion Domes

Waking up to the sound of rainfall, I wondered if it would dampen the spirit of the Seattle Urban Sketchers ad hoc outing to St. Spiridon Orthodox Cathedral this morning.  Undeterred, several sketchers showed up ready to go. Later, everyone had something interesting to share. The rain diminished leaving cool temperatures and overcast skies, a perfect situation for open air sketching on a city street. 

St. Spiridon Orthodox Cathedral 
The blue onion domes of St. Spiridon Orthodox Cathedral are a unique feature of the South Lake Union district in Seattle.  Reminiscent of Russian churches I’ve seen in illustrations and photographs, it’s a reminder of cultural heritage often forgotten by descendants of immigrants. Mesmerized by the complexity of the facade, domes, and crosses, it took me a bit longer than usual to lay down the composition. My concept was to draw the cathedral in the style of a Russian icon, facing the building head on, using a strong contour outline.

 Built in 1941, now sandwiched between modern apartment buildings and workplace towers, the cathedral offers an extraordinary contrast to the surrounding minimalist contemporary architecture. 

Immanuel Lutheran Church

7/22/16 Immanuel Lutheran Church
Two distinctive and strikingly different churches dominate the South Lake Union area’s historic Cascade neighborhood. The most eye-catching is St. Spiridon Russian Orthodox Cathedral, with its deep blue onion domes. Since I’d sketched St. Spiridon about a year ago (and since I should have been home packing my bag instead of sketching with Urban Sketchers Seattle this morning and was short on time), I decided to focus on the second church: Immanuel Lutheran.

Completed in 1912, the church has been on the historic register since 1982. Although it doesn’t look like anything I’ve sketched in Europe, the round and arched windows evoke the same architectural details I saw on Gothic buildings in Spain and Germany. It’s exactly the kind of building that makes me freeze with the deer-in-the-headlights look if I try to go at it with a fine point pen. But with only an hour to sketch, I immediately pulled out my brush pen to hit it as hard and fast as possible. It’s probably a good strategy even when I can be more leisurely.

The rain earlier in the morning may have kept some sketchers away, but the seven of us who showed up shared sketches afterwards at Espresso Vivace. Those blue onion domes captured a lot of attention!

In back, from left: Marvin, Ching, Kathleen and Sue. In front: Tina, Anne and Natalie
(Thanks to John Pound for taking the photo.)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Lincoln Park Foliage

I challenged myself to draw something besides man-made geometry and piles of clutter. Extremely difficult to find an inroad to a scene without platonic solids but a good opportunity to stretch. Next time I'll draw the play structure or the camping sheds.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Seattle Obon

7/16/16 Dancers at Seattle Buddhist Temple's Obon festival.

I look forward to Seattle’s Obon festival each July. A Buddhist event to honor ancestors and loved ones who have died, Obon (also called Bon Odori) is a time of celebration that includes dancing in the street, literally. 

Here’s the back story: Long ago, a man was grieving his mother’s death (forgive me if this story lacks detail; Sunday school was a long time ago). He was informed that his dead mother had reached Nirvana, and his grief turned to joy. So happy was he that he began dancing in the street (well, I’m sure it was a dirt road back then).

7/16/16 Taiko drummers
I don’t know if I got all of that story right, but I do know that the Obon tradition has managed to survive in many Japanese American communities. This fact astounds my Japanese friends and relatives, who see the tradition rapidly dying away in their own country. They find it hard to imagine that such an archaic, quaint festival is being kept alive in places like Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

When I was a kid, Obon was all about socializing with friends as we dressed up in traditional garb, participated in the choreographed folk dances and ate shaved ice. Back then, shorts and T-shirts were strictly forbidden; after all, it is a religious event at its core. In recent decades, though, rules have loosened to be more inclusive, and people of all races and religions join the fun. Baseball caps and jeans dance right alongside brightly colored kimono. A local taiko drumming group always performs, a highlight of the evening. You can still eat shaved ice and noodles, but you can also sit in the beer garden and listen to reggae or jazz.

As an adult, I still enjoy Obon as an occasion to see old friends and sometimes even join in the dancing. This year I enjoyed it even more because I brought my sketchbook to try to capture the color and energy. 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Lincoln Park

Yesterday was a very fine day for sketching at the beach!  The Friday Ad Hoc group met at Lincoln Park in West Seattle.  We had a beautiful view of Puget Sound and the Fauntleroy Ferry to Vashon Island. 

I was there early.  While I waited for others to arrive, I sketched the interesting houses across the street from the park.

Nearly everyone headed down to the beach.  I stopped part way down the path to sketch this classic view of the ferry. 

I had just a few minutes left so I did a quick sketch of Marvin sketching.  He got up and left before I was done, but I'd followed my practice of "sketch first what could move"!   There were some young boys hunting interesting things at low tide.  I wrote some notes about what they were yelling out.

At least 2 people aren't in the group photo as they had to leave early. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Summer at Last at Lincoln Park Beach

7/15/16 Lincoln Park beach
It was only 55 degrees when I got up this morning. When Urban Sketchers Seattle met at Lincoln Park, several of us were toting Polartecs or raincoats, just in case the weather changed the wrong way. (We joked that Seattle beachwear always includes Polartec.) But sitting in the blazing sun to make these sketches, all of my layers came off right away, and I was glad I wore a tank top. It’s finally summer!

I was almost finished sketching the pink and lavender vehicle parked next to some driftwood when its driver came by and drove off, so I had to fake some of the shading. The Vashon ferry in the background, which I was afraid would also pull out before I was done, took a lot longer to unload and load its long lines of cars. 

7/15/16 Vashon ferry

Georgetown Scenes

A little late but here are three sketches I managed to during last Sunday's gathering in Georgetown.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Amazon Spheres, Take 2

7/14/16 Amazon spheres from Sixth and Lenora
The last time I sketched the Amazon spheres, I stood on the Seventh Avenue side of Lenora Street. The balls’ amoeba-like skeletal structure was still entirely exposed. This morning, two-and-a-half months later, I chose the Sixth Avenue side where I could stand a bit closer. Though still visible, the skeleton is now almost completely covered with a glass skin, and a few workers were way up at the top installing the last of it. 

Above them was one of the ubiquitous cranes towering over the north downtown/South Lake Union area.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Disc Bound

On Sunday Gail W. looked at my book and suggested I write ablog post about it. Here it is.

For some months now, I've been using this Circa Sliver Foldover Notebook as a sketchbook. It's my preferred size at 5 x 8.5 inches, light weight and adaptable. I like this particular notebook because it has a firm cover for support and the cover easily folds over so I can stand to sketch.  The source is on-line from Levenger's Circa line.

I tear full sheets of watercolor paper down to fit.  If I want a double page spread, I don't do the last tear but, instead, fold the paper.  All pages are then punched with the Circa desk punch.  There is  a travel punch available but it can only accept watercolor paper of about 90 pounds. I also like to have a page of card stock to hold the stickers I used to put on the cover of my sketchbooks.

I can easily remove just a single page to attach to my coroplast lap board if I want to sit.  Then I can put the page back so all my sketches can be reviewed in the book.

My book holds a divider with a pocket, some notebook pages and a zip pouch.  You could add other items, such as calendar or planner pages.  Letter sized paper can be cut in half and punched to fit the book so you don't have to buy the pre-punched refills from Levenger.  If more pages are desired, larger discs can be used.

As the book fills, I remove sketches and store them in envelopes.  I could "reconstitute" a group of sketches into a disc bound book at any time.

There is also the Arc system at Staples and Tul at Office Max/Depot.  So far, I haven't liked their notebooks as much because they are either too heavy or too flimsy.  Their choices are limited to leather (heavy) and "durable poly" (flimsy).  Except for the discs with which the books are sold, they do not offer any replacement .75 inch discs, which is what I prefer.  On the pro side, they are less expensive than Levenger.  I signed up for Levenger's email notification so I am alerted when items go on sale.

Of course, you could work out the same system using a 3 ring binder.  That would be cheaper and more easily sourced.  However, I've not found very many that fold over well so I still prefer this disc bound book.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Seeing the Bigger Picture with The Northwest School

7/12/16 Roham and David sketching Pine Street.
“At The Northwest School, students experience the exhilarating chemistry between academic disciplines and the arts. They learn to see the interdependence of all aspects of life in the real world. A bigger picture comes into focus. The school day becomes less about isolated subjects—and more about dynamic, interwoven concepts and ideas.”

Before today, the statement above was all I really knew about the Northwest School, because that’s the philosophy I read on its website. But this morning I got a brief look at what exactly that philosophy means – and wished that I had been exposed to such a philosophy when I was in grades 6 through 12!

David and Roham
The school and the Seattle Architecture Foundation invited Urban Sketchers Seattle to visit Lily Hotchkiss’s design/architecture-based art class to introduce the kids to urban sketching. In this summer session, the students are learning to design different elements through sketches and models. “I thought it would be great to start out by learning how to see buildings and sketch them,” Lily said. “I love Urban Sketchers and think this will be an exciting way to begin!

David Chamness and I talked briefly to the five students, ages 10 through 15 and from several countries, in the classroom about our experiences sketching from life and showed them our sketchbooks and sketch kits. Then we all spent the rest of class time sketching in the area of Boren and Pine in the heart of downtown.

As I expected, the kids didn’t need us at all J – they all jumped into urban sketching with gusto. Engaged and enthusiastic, some were impressively aware of art, design and architecture in our urban world. Those bright young people will someday be our architects and urban planners – and hopefully urban sketchers, too. Like I said, I sure wish I’d had the Northwest School to attend when I was their age!

Instructor Lily Hotchkiss and two of her students

In true Urban Sketchers fashion, we all threw down our sketchbooks to share at the end of class!

Georgetown Classics

2016_07_10 USk Georgetown Hat and Boots

Last year when USk Seattle sketched at the Georgetown Garden Walk I drew the underside of a highway overpass. I know. But this year I went for Georgetown classics. These giant cowboy boots are part of a former gas station from the 50's. Restored, they are a funky addition to the neighborhood's Oxbow Park. The turreted Victorian below was also popular with the sketchers last year. So this year I made time for a quick sketch in brush pen and marker.

2016_07_10 USk Georgetown Victorian

Monday, July 11, 2016

What's a Gruyere Puff?

Stone House Bakery is a great location with lots of possible subjects. The antique stove caught my eye first. I arrived a little early and got right to work because I had to leave early. One of the perks of drawing on location is meeting terrific people like Patrick Choy, owner and fantabulous baker who served up a yummy ham and egg Gruyere Puff and a Fidalgo Mocha. Mm-mm good.
For the garden walk I saw this pile of bricklaying junk before I even got to the meeting place and parked myself there. I was a bit in the way of cars who used the alley to find parking but I held my ground. 


This was drawn at Trove Vintage Boutique in Ballard. I have a chapter in my first book dedicated to vintage stores and Trove makes several appearances. It was a bit of a reunion to go back after four years to draw it again. If you go visit (and I recommend you do!) tell Cyrena that Steve sent you.

Back to Georgetown gardens

Once again we joined the Georgetown Garden Walk.  It was cooler than last year yet I didn't get to many gardens.

I wanted to sketch a different view of the Hat n' Boots in Oxbow Park, as seen through the Georgetown P-Patch.

Then just across the street to the Gessner Mansion to sketch the wildly purple garden shed.  I wanted to sketch it last year but the area was a little "over populated".

Back to Oxbow Park for our group photo.  We welcomed Arthur, a visitor from New York.  And my Portland friend, Wanda, also joined us.

Arthur upper row, far right; Wanda standing right behind Gabi