Monthly Sketch Outing

Next Monthly Sketch Outing Sunday, September 20, Kobe Terrace Park and Danny Woo Community Gardens - near Maynard and Main, Seattle.
See more info on the Monthly Outings tab.

See Adhoc Outings for additional sketch events during the month.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Gas Works Park - From the Ground Up

Gas Works towers frame a peek-a-boo view of the houseboats, seaplanes and Seattle Ducks on Lake Union-sketch by Michele Cooper
Ground level, eye level and the leveling effect of art.
Several seaplane flights landed and took off over Lake Union Friday morning as USk Seattle ad hoc sketchers met on the grounds of Gas Works Park. Other individual watercraft such as kayaks and sailboats plied the waters on a lovely day at the end of summer.

At the summit of Kite Hill, there is an ornate 28 foot circlular sundial mosaic, created in 1978 by Chuck Greening and Kim Lazare. With it you can use your own shadow to tell the time.  From my vantage point atop Kite Hill, you could see the tourist boats like the Seattle Duck amphibious tours and the Seattle Ferry Service running the Sunday Ice Cream Cruise on Lake Union aboard the M/V Fremont Avenue boat.

Forecasts predicted rain, but it was warm enough to go without a jacket and I only felt two random drops. At least I hope those were raindrops. There were flocks of pigeons and Canadian Geese sharing the park with us today. 8.28.15
Kate and I, sketching at our waterfront table at Ivar's on Lake Union.
After sharing our sketches at Gas Works Park, Kate and I decided to have lunch at Ivar's Salmon House nearby. We looked for fellow sketchers who also planned to be there, couldn't find them and ended up at our own table out on the waterfront deck.
Looking under the University Bridge from Ivars-sketch by M. Cooper
If there's a better spot to be for lunch on a Friday on Lake Union, I don't know it. (I-5 crosses directly overhead on the Ship Canal Bridge, so the constant roar of traffic could be distracting until you focus on your sketch and enter the world of shapes, lines, tones and colors.)

University Bridge opening for a sailboat, the CycleSaloon paddle boat and Ice Cream Cruise
What a luxury! So many choices of scenes to capture! I finally decided to settle on a composition showing the south end of the University Bridge as it crosses Portage Bay. The drawbridge opened twice while we were there to allow sailboats with tall masts to enter Lake Union. The CycleSaloon paddleboat went by with passenger/paddlers under the awning. You can't drink and drive in Seattle, so here's the ultimate designated driver experience!

Gasworks Park

Though it was predicted, our Friday ad hoc sketch outing at Gasworks Park yesterday morning escaped the rain we had last time we visited.  In our last summer outing we had 7 sketchers, a smaller group than has been usual.  Perhaps it was the threat of rain.

Michele and I sketched the gasworks from atop Kite Hill.

Sharing sketches:

I positioned our group photo with a view of the Seattle skyline and Space Needle rather than of the Gasworks.  (L to R:   Kate, Gloria, Susan H, Susan M, Suzanne, Michele, Gwen)

Just Michele and I went to lunch at Ivar's (though Gloria would have joined us if we'd made up our mind in time!  Sorry, Gloria...we looked for you there!).  We sat on the patio and watched a wondrous variety of floating craft pass by.  I sketched a small bridge.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Late Sketches from Olympic Sculpture Park

2015_08_14 Calder Eagle

2015_08_14 Serra Wake

I just realized that I never posted my sketches from the Friday Sketchers outing at the Sculpture Park. Thought I would squeeze them in before today's sketches from Gasworks start going up. Anyway, Alexander Calder and Richard Serra in pen and ink.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Bradner Gardens Sketches, Color and Text Added

In my previous post on Friday, August 21, I included the ink line sketches that I did that morning with the ad hoc group. I said "I'm serving them up fresh out of the garden before I cook 'em with watercolor and garnish with text." Well, they're cooked and here they are!

I wrote notes in the sketches. Tap or click to zoom if you want to read them.

Although the story is true, my reportage took the form of a fairy tale to help our little great granddaughter remember the day.
As with any bride, the setting is as important as the dress. At Bradner Gardens, they have positioned her in a clearing of her own, backed by a screen of trees and flanked by a bed of pink cosmos.
Micron black pen, watercolor and watercolor pencils, logo collage.
I nicknamed the large P-Patch "The Garden of the Undead" The "scare rabbit" just looked like a zombie. He was the right color, for sure, and he had these "x" shaped stitches in his ears and on his pouch/pocket.
Power source at the ready, all we need now is a kite and some lightning.
I started in the Children's Garden, sketched the bride scarecrow in the northern P-Patch, toured the rest of the sculptures and ended with these two from the large P-Patch in the southeast corner of the garden.The rest of the ad hoc group of USk Seattle were sketching their own subjects around the garden. See all their great sketches in previous posts and on Flickr.
At the end of the meet up we met in the center at the Pavilion to share our sketches. -August 21, 2015.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Day at Alexander Beach on Fidalgo Island

Yesterday I took a day off and drove up to Anacortes to spend the day with my friend Meg at her cabin on Fidalgo Island.  It is beautifully located on Alexander Beach.  So after a nice walk and lunch we went out to her beach and had time to do this sketch before heading home.

Monday, August 24, 2015

University of Washington Shell House

Finally posting my sketches from a week ago...sorry for being so late.
  I was able to get inside and paint the grand space with all the different multi-colored boats, shells, kayaks and canoes.  

 Even the rowing oars from older UW teams lined against the wall.

A Day in The Life

Twenty minutes at Jiffy Lube. I've drawn this room four times now.
The school where I've taught since 1997.
Mama'a Mexican Kitchen, an authentic, original Belltown restaurant before it's torn down next month to make way for condos.
I visited my friends' boat as they readied it for their world tour. As they sailed away from the skyline, Heidi blogged, "So long Seattle... It's been fun but you've changed so much I hardly know you any more."

Saturday, August 22, 2015

More Bradner Gardens

Yesterday was a fabulous day out.  I started with the Seattle Urban Sketchers Friday ad hoc outing.

Bradner Gardens Park was such a wonderful find!  It's partly park and mostly P Patch.

There are so many whimsical sculptures.  I had to incorporate many of them in one wide spread.  The scare crows were so unusual!

I was not so happy with my second sketch, a view of the city in the distance.

We shared our sketches and had a group photo.

I ate my lunch on the picnic table under the shelter and then stayed to make more photos.  There are about 60 just of the garden!  Find them all here. 

Sketches from Singapore

Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Art Science Museum

We braved the heat and humidity.  Sketching in temperatures of 90 plus which you all had here in Seattle. However  accompanying that was the humidity!  It was like going out and spending a day in a sauna.

Painting and sketching in the morning helped.  It was still hot and muggy but a bit more bearable.  In the afternoon you want to find a shopping mall or go to your hotel room and chill in the air conditioning.  You always walk on the shady side of the street and near shops with their doors opened pushing out cold air.

I noticed after sketching a couple of hours my eyes would burn and I couldn't see very well.  I realized it must have been from the salt in my sweat that was getting into my eyes.  You were soaked without expending much energy just sitting and painting.  And watercolors would melt in your palette, at least the M Graham watercolors which boast of its creamy consistency.  Don't use it in South East Asia unless you use it directly out of the tube...just the amount you need at the moment.

It was an experience I am glad we had despite all of that.  Sketching with everyone, teaching at the symposium and actually meeting  facebook and Flickr friends  was all worth it in the end.

View of Marina Bay Sands Hotel from the Cloud Dome

This sketch of the bridge below was done in phases.  I sketched it it pencil on location which took at least 40 minutes if not more standing up on the bridge. It was very crowded and  narrow so I decided to do the finish painting off site.   I ended up inking the lines as well.

There were other sketches from of the Baobab trees and Super Tree Grove at night that were also done in pencil and later finished of site from photos.
Check out my blog for those.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Bradner P-Patch--Flowers, Funnels and Jello Molds, Oh My!

The arbor entrance on the East side of the garden at 29th Ave S.
Our Seattle Urban Sketchers Friday ad hoc meeting was at the Bradner P-Patch. It is one of 60 community gardens scattered across the city of Seattle. Originally started in 1987 as the Mt. Baker P-Patch, today Bradner has 61 garden plots of 200 square feet each.
The new year of 2013 was celebrated at Bradner Gardens Park with a new artwork on the trellis fence. It is a guardian for the bike rack on the basketball court. Artist is Clair Colquitt.
The official website has a list of the 7 themed gardens and the art installed in them.

I was instantly enchanted by the quixotic figures in the patch...they even have their own windmill!

As with anything for which one grows fond, I have my own nicknames for some of the "scarecrows" and sculptures that I sketched this morning. I even nicknamed a particular part of the garden, and you will see why:
The block headed gentleman with the yellow power tie seemed to be something inspired by Frankenstein, with nearby power lines to zap a bit of  life into him. The Zombie Rabbit (my nickname) may be a better figure for scaring crows than the usual man of straw.
Would this be Virginia the "Bride of Frankenstein" with her up-do of twig hair, dangling high heeled boots and pearl necklace? Perhaps she is named after the souvenir ashtray from West Virginia that creates her full lipped smile.

Fascinating and imaginative artwork can be found throughout the garden. Made with repurposed materials like scissors, clothing cast offs, toys, tableware, wheels, gears, broken garden tools, carved wood, teapots and jello molds, these creative designs enhance the atmosphere of a partnership in this garden  between man and nature.
I made the following sketches in a 7x 10" Pro-Art sketchbook with my Micron pen....As in life, no eraser, and I'm serving them up fresh out of the garden before I cook 'em with watercolor and garnish with text.

Actually, my first sketch of the morning was the "Cabbage Patch Boy" with his shiny tea kettle head, overalls and missing b̶u̶n̶n̶y̶  lambie slipper. I nicknamed him after the familiar doll-like shape and the red cabbage patch that grows at his feet. On the same page I drew what seems to be some sort of salmon shaped barracuda mutation with chainsaw spines, an army helmet gullet and a forked tongue. It swims in a bed of lovely pink dahlias, but they have teeth, too!
"The Bride" just wouldn't fit in one piece, so I sketched her twiggy up-do and pearl bedecked gown. Then, I continued with her dangling high heeled boots and nearby accessories of pink cosmos and a purse-shaped wasp trap.
My last two sketches were in the "Garden of the Undead" (again, my nickname, but perhaps this is where perennials grow?). The Zombie Rabbit and aforementioned sartorial gentleman seemed energized by the power lines running through the background. I wonder if they lead to a  plasma-ion generator or perhaps the solar array atop the community building.  (I'm sure there must be a bolt in his neck somewhere.)
All in all, the Bradner P-Patch Garden seems very appropriate for the Emerald City.

Bradner Gardens is Full of Surprises

Proposing a sketch outing at a location I haven’t been to before can be risky, but the photos looked inviting, so I took a chance on Bradner Gardens Park. Along with the other Friday sketchers, I was delighted to find this well-designed pea patch to be full of surprises.

For one thing, there’s a windmill, which I sketched first from my car while the morning was still a little chilly. It was already warming up by the time I finished, so I got out of the car and captured one of the many imaginative scarecrows populating the gardens. Dressed in a corporate shirt and tie (and fly unzipped), this scarecrow was apparently inspired by a former Seattle mayor, Kate had heard. (We both noted that the scarecrow has two faces – one on either side of his head! Hmmm.)

The gardeners who work this pea patch have so many luscious flowers and vegetables growing that I wandered for quite a while trying to choose one for my last sketch. The gorgeous green peppers near the restroom caught my eye – the shapes and colors so vibrant. 

Speaking of the restroom, I found a surprise there, too. From the outside, it looks like your typical drab, unattractive concrete box often found in city parks. But inside was a mosaic covering the walls with huge insects and other garden motifs. The wall placard said that the mosaic was made and donated by Friends of Bradner Gardens volunteers.