Monthly Sketch Outing

Next Monthly Sketch Outing Sunday, July 12, Georgetown Garden Tour +. Meet at Bank of America.
See more info on the Monthly Outings tab.
Also MAKE IT A SKETCH WEEKEND - join us in Tacoma on Saturday, July 11. More info..
See Adhoc Outings for additional sketch events during the month.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

A bit of Nature at Ballard Locks

We had such a perfect day at the Ballard Locks on Friday, July 3rd.  It was the perfect place to tolerate the hot sun, with pleasant breezes from the Sound offering relief.  Most of us chose to do some version or viewpoint of the huge iron lifting railroad bridge the spans the entrance to Puget Sound.  And so I found a view that catered to my bias for Nature, as I was able to sit behind some fireweed.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Salmon Bay Bridge

7/3/15 Salmon Bay Bridge from the Ballard Locks

Although I’ve sketched at the Ballard Locks a few times on my own, and although I think Urban Sketchers Seattle has gone as a group at least a couple of times, it had been nearly three years since I had joined them there. I vividly recall that sketch outing in September 2012 for at least a couple of reasons. For one, I had joined USk Seattle only a few months before, and I was dazzled and stunned by all the amazing sketches I saw at the outings being casually tossed down at the sharing time alongside the likes of mine! (Not much has changed; I still feel this way.)

Secondly, Tommy Kane had been visiting Seattle, and Gabi had organized the Locks outing for him. I had long admired Tommy’s quirky blog and unique take on urban sketching, so I was looking forward to meeting him, but I figured anything he chose to sketch would be way beyond me. Indeed, Tommy had sketched the Salmon Bay Bridge, a view that I had found so utterly intimidating that it was easy to dismiss it for another time. Way later. Maybe years.

During my visits to the Locks since then, including as recently as May, I somehow managed to evade the more challenging scenes and subjects. It’s easy to do because there are always people, birds and other smaller subjects hanging out at the Locks.

This morning as I greeted the other sketchers, I didn’t give myself any particular challenge as I sometimes do. In fact, I wasn’t thinking about any of this. The year-round breeze that makes the Locks chilly much of the year was a welcome relief in the soon-to-be blazing sun (the temperature is 89 now at 3 p.m.). It was summer sketching at its best. Walking a few feet from our meeting location, I spotted a great view of the Salmon Bay Bridge. I knew it would be challenging – indeed, intimidating – but I was feeling too good to care.

Like I said: Summer sketching at its best.

It was a great turnout this morning! Happy 4th of July holiday!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Inner-tubing on Green River and a Haircut in Tangletown

Green River Shrub
We spent last weekend (and will this coming weekend, too) floating all day on Green River in inner-tubes. We took a sketching break when we needed to get into the shade.

Then after spending too long in front of the computer recording and editing the Kickstarter video for my new book, I followed Donna to her hair appointment in Tangletown so I could get a drawing in. The beautician moved around too much for my plodding drawing style so she didn't make the cut:

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Traffic Box Wrap Entries

I entered a contest to wrap one of our city's traffic boxes with art. 
Check it out. The entries with the most "likes" wins! 20 in all.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Greenwood Car Show 2015

This year's Greenwood Car Show was a Hot One!
I got caught sketching the low rider in this group that I am posting.
I used to feel timid about plopping down in the middle of the street but
now I feel a little more comfortable about it.

Lookout Terrace

Had to leave early on Friday from the ad hoc meet up at Kubota Garden but managed to do a couple of drawings of the recently completed Lookout Terrace. This one is from the dry-laid stone base looking back at where several others were drawing.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Dry Stone Wall

Last year, the Seattle Urban Sketchers Friday ad-hoc group visited Kubota Garden  to see stone masons Junji and Suminori Awata and Tetsuro Tanabe, a master stone splitter.  They came from Japan to build the 8-foot tall ishigaki or dry stone stacked rampart base for the new Terrace Overlook.

We returned today to see the result of the stonemasons' work.  The timber pavilion was built by local carpenters.  It overlooks the koi pond. 

Four of us sketched nearly this same view! 

I was delighted to meet Jennie, a visitor from Michigan via Australia!  She is living in Michigan not very far from where I grew up.  The Midwest Urban Sketchers group is quite spread out, so she sketches with the Melbourne Sketchers when she goes back to visit her home town in Australia!  We also welcomed Martha, a new local sketcher to join us.

The Shelter, Greenlake neighborhood.

Met with the Sketch Pistols, the sketch group organized by Dave Adams, at the just-opened Shelter in my Greenlake neighborhood.

Wrong time, wrong, no! Right Place

So I decided to bike from my Greenlake area home down to Kubota Gardens to join the Ad Hoc sketchers at Kubota Gardens.  I thought it was at 10 AM, so I set out at 8:40 AM...well it's about 11 miles? - and I'm 67, so...on the way, I "discovered" the Chief Sealth Trail, a nicely paved off-road bike trail that would take me right to Kubota Gardnes.  But as 10 Am neared, I came upon this view - this AMAZING view!  When I called the group to say I'd be late, I discovered they had met at 9 AM. What a perfect excuse to stay right where I was, and sketch this scene - which does NOT look like I was actually within Seattle City limits!! - but I was, and only 8.5 miles from NE 50th St.

Kubota's Terrace Overlook Completed

6/26/15 Kubota Garden Terrace Overlook

Nearly a year ago, the Friday sketchers met at Kubota Garden to sketch a team of rock wall-building masters and their students cutting stones for a structure that would become the garden’s Terrace Overlook. The overlook was dedicated in May, so it was time to return.

6/26/15 Sketched from the terrace.
I found the same spot where I sketched last time (see last year’s sketch at bottom of page), which was mercifully shady on this warm morning. Starkly beautiful, the platform is made of boulders that were hand-chiseled and assembled with a dry-stone stacking method – nothing gluing them together – which is a 10,000-year-old Japanese technique. I remember the clinking of their chisels as the craftsmen worked, amazed that every stone would be cut by hand. In my sketch from last year, a crane was on the premises moving some of the largest foundational boulders. Although you can’t see it in my sketches, the terrace looks over a large koi pond below.

For my second sketch, I walked over to the Terrace Overlook itself, sat in its shade and sketched a small sculpture of stacked stones that welcomes visitors there. Even a gardener’s noisy mower nearby couldn’t spoil the serenity. 

Sketched 8/8/14

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Crosswalk is a Symbol

6/24/15 E. Pike Street and 11th Ave., Capitol Hill neighborhood

When I first saw media photos of a freshly rainbow-painted crosswalk yesterday, I assumed it was a temporary decoration for Pride Week. But it turns out that the 11 rainbow crosswalks in the Capitol Hill neighborhood are permanent, according to The Seattle Times.

Fabric banners and other rainbows are commonly seen on Capitol Hill, but knowing that these crosswalks were a permanent investment by the city gives them greater meaning. Sketching near the intersection of East Pike Street and 11th Avenue, I felt proud of Seattle for displaying these bold rainbows in the street.

Less than a week ago nine people were murdered in Charleston for being black. I would like to believe that Seattle is a safe place for people of all colors, beliefs and sexual orientations. Given that the particular intersections were chosen for these crosswalks because they had been the sites of violence against people based on their sexual orientation, I’m not sure how much confidence I have in feeling that way. Still, the crosswalks are a symbol of where we stand as a community.

In the wake of the Charleston murders, the controversy rages on about whether the Confederate flag should be removed from the South Carolina state capitol. Many people feel strongly that the flag represents their southern heritage; others point out that that heritage includes slavery and racism.

Symbols do matter.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Big Apple Barbecue Block Party

It's been a busy time these past couple of weeks - lots of sketching and not much time to post anywhere except instagram. I got to work at the 13th Annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, an annual fundraiser for the Madison Square Park Conservancy.  Since my son-in-law was an official pit master and my daughter, his events coordination manager, I was fully immersed in smoke and ribs.

Starting on Friday night with the "Brisket Sessions" a panel discussion by six pit masters representing some of the best BBQ joints in the country and continuing (non-stop for the pit crew) through Sunday afternoon. Here's a few highlight sketches.

Signs for the Skylight Inn owned by Sam Jones of Ayden North Carolina.
"Where I come from BBQ is the great equalizer between the class divide."

Hometown Barbeque tents beneath Madison Avenue arches.

That guy in the green shirt on the left is the legendary Mike Mills of 17th Street BBQ - Murphysboro, Illinois

The rest of the story can be found on my blog.

Fremont Solstice Parade!

6/20/15 Nude bicyclists lead the parade!

Although Greg and I have always loved the Fremont Solstice Parade, weve skipped it in recent years because we tend to avoid crowds. But yesterday was such a gorgeous day that we didn’t want to be left out of Seattle’s annual celebration of the sun and the official start of summer! We decided to brave it.

Hopping on the bus to avoid the nightmare of traffic and parking, we arrived in Fremont just in time for the beginning of the parade. We managed to find a terrific spot high above the parade grounds in a small parking lot near the Aurora Bridge, where we had a great view of the nude bicyclists streaking by in the hundreds! Once the rest of the parade got going, we moved further down the parade route to get a closer view. It’s difficult sketching marching bands and bicycle-powered floats as they go by, but I attempted a few minimalist gesture sketches with a brush pen. Below are a hoola-hoopster, a unicyclist (clothed!) and a man wearing a top hat and ostrich costume.

Happy Solstice!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Let the Sketching Adventures Begin...

One of the very best things about Urban Sketchers is being a part of a world-wide community of people who like to sketch as much (or even more) than I do.  As luck would have it, my travels in Italy this summer happen to overlap with the amazing Montreal sketcher Marc Taro Holmes and his wife Laurel.  We all sketched together as part of a group last summer in Brazil after the Paraty symposium and enjoyed it so much, we will also sketch together as part of a group in Cambodia after this year's Singapore symposium. Someone pinch me, this is all pretty amazing!

I am now spending a few days sketching in Venice with my husband and Marc and Laurel. Marc just finished teaching his workshop in Cortona, and I will start teaching my workshop in Civita di Bagnoregio this week.  

It always takes a few days to warm up and find the right feel in a new place, but here are some starting sketches on location for the trips this summer...

If you want to follow these sketching adventures, I invite you to check out my blog and flickr page too.  Happy summer sketching, all!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Sketching on Leary Way

It was great to see so many people at last Sunday's sketch outing. It was a beautiful day to get out and draw some scenes from Fremont's industrial area. The star of the show had to be the tug boat under construction at the Western Towboat Company.
Of course, there were plenty of other sites as well. I was particularly intrigued by this old warehouse building with giant windows for lighting. The window trims were painted a distinctive red that drew my eye to this otherwise  bland building.
Thanks to Way Station coffee for allowing us to use their space to meet. They had great breakfast sandwiches. I also loved the paintings by Henry on display in the space. I look forward to seeing everyone at next month's outing.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Gray Sky Studios

I'm doing a series of drawings of artist's workspaces for my upcoming book. Laura Van Horne​ and Corrie Ebel​ kindly let me sit in their studio for a couple of hours and draw the tools of their trade. They even let me choose the Pandora soundtrack (Blood, Sweat and Tears) as we chatted and worked on our separate projects. Thanks, Ladies! Check out their work here: