Monthly Sketch Outing

Next Sketch Outing Sunday, May 17 at Bothell Country Village.

See Adhoc Outings for additional sketch events during the month.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Abandoned House

This house, two blocks away, caught my eye soon after we moved to our new place near Greenlake, but I waited for a sunny day to draw it. It's clearly abandoned and overgrown, yet it's on a prime corner overlooking Green Lake. Curious as to how such potential just goes fallow.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

late afternoon

Our afternoons in Seattle have been lovely; 
my focus was to begin to catch the late afternoon light in the backyard.

My Sunday's are busy with teaching; 
I seem to miss those sketch outings with all the talented urban sketchers!
I will aim to attend more in the future.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

I wanted to sketch everything!

Once again, Urban Sketchers Seattle met at a place I'd never been: The Country Village Shops in Bothell.  There was a scene I wanted to sketch everywhere I turned.  I'd go back every day if it wasn't 30-90 minutes away (30 min on Sunday; 90 minutes the rest of the week!).

The property started as a farm, with the original farmhouse built in 1901.  Since then, the property has had a checkered existence, declining to a "den of thieves" in the mid 1960's.  It was saved by Rod Loveless, a residential land developer, in 1979. 

When I looked at the site on the internet, I knew right away my first sketch would have to be this crazy chicken!  It was built in 2006 when Rod decided the Village needed a mascot.  It is made of recycled chunks of styrofoam and fiberglass.  The chicken is 16 feet tall.

Though it looks old, the Courtyard building was completed in 1994.


I had just 10 minutes before meeting back up with the other sketchers.  I dashed off this sketch of the frog fountain in my pocket sketchbook.

There were several new people today.  We shared our sketches and then had a group photo.

I have more photos of sketchers and from around the property here.

Bothell Country Village

The secluded bench was tucked within a lush section of the village under a mature maple and next to a bubbling fish fountain. I couldn't help but appreciate that the bench was on axis with the clock tower. 
This shop, The Chic Boatique, made my day. It had a way of reminding me to laugh a little and to not take life so seriously. 

Country Village Outing

The first sketch I drew was of one of the passenger cars.  It had been turned into some kind of office space out in the back parking area.

The train car wheels were laying nearby instead of under the train.  This area was next to the miniature train depot where the young families were waiting for the depot to open for rides..

Finally I captured one of the wind mills and the Fabric Shop on the main road into the village.

Bothell Country Village Mall

An overcast day so the lighting wasn't optimal, but a great turn-out with many new faces, including students from both my classes at Gage, and from my on-line class.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

May Sketch Outing

Sunday,May 17
11:00AM - 1:30
(Shops open at 11 on Sundays)

Bothell Country Village
23718 Bothell Everett Highway
Bothell, WA 98021

Meet just outside the Village Eatery and Tea Company

Better late than never.

I cannot believe it has been almost a month since we were at the Seattle Chinese Garden. Hope you enjoy these sketchers. New ones to come soon.

I look forward to seeing everyone at the Bothell Country Village this Sunday.

Mother's Day Mariner Game

Beautiful day, great seats and the M's won, not bad....The sea of pink was a Mariner promotion because Felix was pitching on Mother's Day.

Pen and ink with watercolor and a pink highlighter in a watercolor Moleskine.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tucson to Denver Road Trip

I recently spent a week driving back roads from Tucson, Arizona to Denver, Colorado. It was about as different from Seattle as it could be. Brilliant sun and dark shadows. Flat straight highways and jagged mountains on the horizon. Also, admittedly, not very urban. But very sketchable!

Saguaro National Park, Tucson, Arizona

We started at Saguaro National Park near Tucson. I can always draw more Saguaro.

Silver City, New Mexico to Taos

There were a couple long days of driving and sketching the view from the passenger seat. At a rest stop I could not resist drawing the sun and the great shadows through the trees.

Ramona's Cafe, New Mexico
A good diner in Lordsville, New Mexico.

Rio Grande Gorge

And I finished the sketchbook at the Rio Grande gorge outside Taos, New Mexico.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

There's no place like home.

I took the bus downtown and walked from Pike Place to south of the viaduct, back up through Pioneer Square and Belltown. Then took the bus back to Wallingford to wander along 45th to the University district (where I bought for $3 a second-hand copy of Saul Bellow's Herzog because of a review in the current New Yorker), finally through Ravenna and around Greenlake. In the end, I came home and drew my studio.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Main Street Gyros

I've had my eye on this former Taco Bell (you can see the old bell logo design in the stucco) for a while, and meeting the sketchers in Pioneer Square was the perfect opportunity to knock this out. Somehow this little eatery has survived many incarnations and is now a Mediterranean/Greek place. It reminds me of Edith Macefield's place in Ballard, dwarfed by modern towers and busy traffic. It was a bright sunny day and over the hour and a half I sat near the curb drawing I sunburned the backs of both my hands.

Klondike Park

Friday sketchers from Seattle Urban Sketchers sketched in and around the Klondike Gold Rush National Park in Pioneer Square, Seattle.

It was such a summery day, that about half the sketchers elected to sketch outside rather than in the Museum/Park.

I was early, so sketched the Park building from across the street.  I later added the National Park's stamp.  At various spots inside the Museum there were "embossing stations".  Each one was different.

Since I had never been to this tiny National Park, I thought I would look around.  I liked the full sized prospector's cabin.

There was still a little time left.  This odd, full sized horse sculpture was placed from the second story of the building.  The place is a piano bar now.  But I thought this might be a sign for a past business.  The volunteer in the Park knew about it.  It had been a saddlery. The original cast (bronze?) statue is gone and this is a fiberglass replacement.

We set out sketches on a bench in the Park/Museum.

Steve, Anne, Gordon, Evelyn, Vivian; kneeling Kate & Tina

After lunch, I went to another place I've never been:  Waterfall Garden park.  It was only a block away.  The sound of the waterfall drowns out the sounds of the city, creating a pleasant, natural oasis.

A Horse, Some Cranes, Firemen and a Waterfall in Pioneer Square

5/8/15 An old saddlery sign's bronze horse at Second and Jackson.
Although the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (actually a small museum) was the main destination for the Friday sketchers, the “good weather contingency plan” was anywhere in Pioneer Square. I decided the day was too sunny to sketch indoors!

While waiting for others to arrive just outside the Klondike museum, I sketched the three-dimensional horse sculpture that used to be the sign for a saddlery back when there were as many horses as vehicles going through Pioneer Square. The building owner had the good sense to save the horse, which now stands over the 88 Keys Dueling Piano Sports Bar.

With my warm-up done, I moved on to my objective for the day: The construction site for 200 Occidental, destined to be “155,000 square feet of office space, underground parking for 68 cars and 15,000 square feet of retail” next to Occidental Square. OK, OK, I know progress marches on, but I’m saddened that this view of the Smith Tower, one of my favorite Seattle buildings, will soon be blocked. Someday I’ll come back and sketch the “after” view.

5/8/15 200 Occidental construction site
A short distance away is Waterfall Garden Park, a little gem of an urban park that you could easily miss walking by if it weren’t for the sound of rushing water from the 22-foot waterfall. I used to eat my brown bag lunches there during the summer when I worked downtown a long time ago, but I hadn’t been there in years. Wouldn’t you know it – the same construction cranes from 200 Occidental were visible behind the waterfall.

After the meetup to share sketches and after lunch with Kate, I still hadn’t gotten enough sketching on this gorgeous day (70 degrees by then!). I went back to Occidental Park to sketch the Fallen Firefighters Memorial made up of four life-size bronze figures (the dude at left is not made of bronze). Erected in 1998 for the four firefighters who died in an International District warehouse in 1995, the memorial honors all Seattle firefighters who have died in the line of duty. And ha! – there are those same cranes again! (Even when I’m not sketching them, I’m sketching them.)

5/8/15 Waterfall Garden Park
5/8/15 Fallen Firefighters Memorial

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Urban Sketchers Symposium

Singapore 2015

Registration is still open for the International Urban Sketchers Symposium in Singapore July 22-25.

Join the amazing faculty for top-notch programming open to sketchers of all levels, experience, and backgrounds!

Workshop passes and Sketching passes are still available – standard registration is open through May 31.

For more information about the Symposium including schedule and registration information, please visit    The link is also found on the right hand margin here... just click there on this logo.  

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sketching OUT/LOUD at Seattle's Chinese Garden

We chose the Chinese Gardens for our April outing for a couple of reasons. It's been on our wish list for a couple of years, awaiting further development. Also it seemed a perfect combination of structure and landscape to participate in Sketch Out/Loud 2015 (SKOL), a month-long celebration of landscape architecture introduced by Richard Alomar, an urban sketcher and landscape architect in New York City.

I did a little research about SKOL2015 and the Chinese Gardens, so I had my hashtag and mental preparation. When I sat down to sketch, however, I forgot all about the landscape aspect and just honed in on the main gate to the courtyard.

It was a lovely day and the shadows were strong, nice for value range and strong contrasts. My first piece started as a thumbnail, but I just don't have the hang of simple thumbnails.

The few peonies that were still in bloom were lovely. Would love to see the whole garden in bloom. 

My last piece I used a bamboo pen -- pretty much the same as using a twig. I thought it fit the subject matter.