Monthly Sketch Outing

Next Monthly Sketch Outing Sunday, November 15, Washington State Convention Center, 800 Convention Place, Downtown Seattle.
See more info on the Monthly Outings tab.

See Adhoc Outings for additional sketch events during the

Monday, November 23, 2015

From the Convention Center, this summer

I wasn't able to make the last Seattle Sketchcrawl, but I have recently done a sketch from the Convention Center.  This summer, I taught a quick workshop as part of the Northwest Watercolor Society's anniversary celebration activities. 

I walked a pretty large group up to this spot on the top floor, then turned and sketched the view out the window.  It was a super quick demo, but good for explaining the eye level and how the vanishing point works in sketching urban streets. Most of the NWWS folks are studio painters, so urban sketching was new to most of them!

I snapped a quick photo of the sketch before giving it to one of the workshop participants, who also took one of my Good Bones workshops, and traveled all the way from out-of-state. Thank you!

Washington State Convention Center

I am a little late in posting...

The first sketches was done in the atrium at the corner of 7th and Pike.  There is a wonderful installation by Ann Gardner called "Lebeg" and it moves which makes sketching more difficult.

I then captured the Native American head from the Cobb Building.

After the meet up I walked down to the corner of Howell and 8th Ave. to capture the different kinds of demolition equipment at the site of the old Greyhound Depot.  The weather was beautiful, but cold so I had to work fast.   This is the short window in which you will get this overall view of the buildings on 9th and Stewart from this angle.  In the next year the new buildings will rise out of the ground creating a new reality and a new view.

Here's an experiment I just completed that maybe of interest to other sketchers. I did a sketch of a  grainery like those that
dot Skagit Valley using a Pilot Hi-Tec-C .03 and applying some shading to create shape.

Then I copied the image to cold press watercolor paper and added color to enhance the image.

I learned that it's a workable concept but that I need to do better planning before execution. What are your reactions? Thanks.

Frank B

The Engine that Could

Last Thursday I arrived for my volunteer shift at the Museum of Flight only to discover a press conference was about to start and we were all invited.  Jeff Bezos was there to officially donate one of the F1 engines he'd found and recovered.  It was part of the Saturn V rocket that launched Apollo 12 to the moon for the second landing in 1969.

Since I didn't know it was happening before I arrived, I didn't bring a good camera.  News outlets covered it well, though:
Seattle Times
Burien Blog's post includes a lot of photos.
Geekwire's coverage includes the the short documentary about finding, salvaging and restoring the engines.

One of the fragments is temporarily on display until January 4, 2016.Of course, I had to go over to sketch it!  This fragment  is the injector plate.  In my sketch, I also included the upside down Space Shuttle model that hangs over it in the gallery.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Convention Center Planter

I had a hard time nailing the light since it kept changing, but eventually settled on a direction. I also thought it would be fun to re-imagine the scene at night, lit from below.

Friday Nov 27 Renton Library sketch outing

Skip the crowds and chaos of Black Friday shopping to join the Friday ad hoc group in sketching the newly renovated Renton Library

100 Mill Ave S., Renton, WA 98057.  There is ample parking at the library and in a free lot next door. 

The library is situated, like a bridge, over the Cedar river.  In season, salmon can be seen below.  The new renovation offers large window to view the scenery.  If the weather is good, there is a neighboring park that also offers sketching opportunities.  Across the street is the Art Deco History Museum and a fire station. 

Meet just inside the door at 10am. 
See above link for directions and other info.  

From 12:30 to 1:15 pm, we have Study Room #1 reserved for sharing our sketchbooks.  Meet back there at 12:30.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A View Down Pike Street

Despite the weather we had a decent turnout on Sunday at the Washington State Convention Center. Rather than draw inside, I sat at a table outside and drew this view looking west down Pike Street. The arched vault of steel and glass is what makes this one-block section of Pike Street unique.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday the 13th

The Friday the 13th sketchers sheltered from the downpour at Westlake Center.  We had good views of downtown Seattle's Westlake area from the 3rd floor food court.

I'd read an article in the Seattle Times this morning about the new Amazon building that will be using excess heat generated by all the servers at the Westin Building data centers.  One of the photos showed the new Amazon building.  I thought I could see it from our location.  It's the one with the colored windows.   And here comes the Monorail!

I had about 45 min left so I did a small sketch in my Pentalic pocket watercolor book.  This is a detail of the Nordstom building across the street with a couple Seattle Seahawks' 12's and Sounders signs.

We gathered to share sketches......

....... and have a group photo.   Peggy was new today.  She is 3rd from right, in the back. Welcome, Peggy! 


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

November Monthly Outing - Sunday, November 15

Convention Center
800 Convention Place Seattle, WA 98101-2350

Meet at 10 am near the escalators in the entrance lobby off Pike Street

 There are many interesting sketching opportunities, both in the Convention Center and as viewed out the windows.  The upper lobbies have windows with wonderful views of downtown Seattle.  If the weather is good, Freeway Park can be accessed from the Convention Center's South Lobby on the 4th floor.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Gates Foundation Visitor Center

Almost a month ago we met at the Gates Foundation Visitor Center on a blustery Saturday. It's a beautiful building with lots of long clean lines, but I had a hard time settling into a viewpoint. I tried the hallway and some people.


So I stepped outside, found a place out of the wind started with a thumbnail, then a larger view. 

The best part of the visitor center was the stories and displays of all the projects around the world. I hope to go back another time to read more of them in detail.  

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Bustle Caffe Lighting Studies

Did some digital paintings over at Bustle Caffe in Queen Anne. Nice thing about painting digitally is that it allows you to overlay different lighting scenarios over the same image.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Grand Central Arcade

10/30/15 Grand Central Arcade

Grand Central Bakery and its home in the historic Grand Central Arcade in Pioneer Square hold nostalgic memories for me. When I worked downtown in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, I spent a lot of lunch hours and coffee breaks there. If I wanted to hide from co-workers, or a friend and I wanted a private conversation, the quiet, upper-level tables were good for that. If I needed a quick cup of coffee with no time to rest, I could breeze through and still enjoy the brick interior, the archways and those domed lights that I’ve always loved.

Today while the morning was still blustery, the Friday sketchers stayed in the cozy interior, but eventually the sun occasionally peeked out, and a few ventured outdoors. I was a bit torn – the sun was tempting – but the Grand Central’s unique interior captured my attention for more than one sketch.


Three Icons

As is my habit, it seems, I arrived early for the Friday sketch outing.  I travel into Seattle by bus and light rail so I always leave early to allow for the time needed for public transportation.

I settled down to wait for the other sketchers and started sketch a view of the Bakery and Cafe in the Grand Central Arcade.  It's just on Occidental Park in the Pioneer Square neighborhood of Seattle.   Soon after, I saw Gail, who came for the first time today (she is second from left in the group photo below).  Welcome and hope to see you again! 

After a rainy and blustery start to the day, it turned sunny and warm by about 11am.  So I went out to sketch a view I noticed while walking over.  Here are three iconic structures:  on the left is an edge of the Columbia Center tower, the tallest in Seattle; in the middle is the "sinking ship" parking garage; at right is the lower portion of the Smith Tower, which, when built, was the tallest.

We met back to share sketches and pose for a photo

Kate, Gail, Nilda, Natalie, Tina, Gwen, Susan (Kaye had to leave early).

Monday, October 26, 2015

Hearing Voices

Really great to join Seattle Urban Sketchers at the Gates Foundation Visitor Center to mark the World Wide SketchCrawl day!!

I had the really good fortune to get to work on this project for over a year with Olson Kundig Architects.  After over 125 schematic design pencil sketches, it is really interesting and a true pleasure to go to the Visitor Center and see it in action.  Really brilliant design work on the part of OK team and that amazing Alan Maskin.

This is a view from the Voices Gallery.  Every so often, I'd turn my head as I could hear children's voices and people talking, only to realize it was a recording!

Fashion and Exercise at the Gates Foundation

Saturday I spent WWSCD at the Gates Foundation's Visitor Center with Seattle USk. But no Iron Lungs for me. In any museum or exhibit, I always manage to zero in on the clothing and textile pieces. Which, I suppose, illustrates the genius of the Foundation's PR department. The Visitor Center presents the various projects and missions of the Foundation in an interactive and approachable way, designed so there is something that will catch everyone's attention.

The health care workers' jacket by Chinese designer Han Feng, which I started with, was commissioned by the Foundation as part of a series to illustrate various medical projects. And the jacket is a pretty brilliant and wearable two-layer design using both traditional Chinese and western tailoring. The designer also incorporated practical elements like pockets and reflective tape, recycled fabric from military uniforms and modern embroidery.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

49th World Wide SketchCrawl at Gates Foundation

10/24/15 Iron Lung exhibit
For the 49th quarterly World Wide SketchCrawl, Urban Sketchers Seattle met at the Gates Foundation Visitors Center. This was my second visit there, and as I was last time, I was impressed by the varied ways in which the foundation is improving people’s lives around the world. So many things we take for granted, like having a flushing toilet, clean drinking water and contraception, are not easily accessible to many, many people. I always learn interesting things there, like the fact that smelly socks are used to trap and kill malaria-carrying mosquitoes!

10/24/15 window facing Fifth Avenue North
Although the foundation is inspiring in many ways, I admit that I wasn’t particularly visually inspired for sketching subjects. After wandering around for a while, I settled on the Iron Lung, which also attracted several other sketchers. According to the video loop playing nearby (which, unfortunately, we sketchers all had to hear many times and probably memorized by the time our sketches were done!), a polio patient would have to spend two to three weeks inside the Iron Lung until they recovered enough to breathe on their own. A stand was attached so that the patient could read a book, but someone else would have to turn the pages. A mirror allowed them to “see the world around them.”

After that sketch, I found a window facing Fifth Avenue North and sketched several maples shedding leaves on the sidewalk.