Next Sketch Outing

Friday, July 26: Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park at Museum of Flight

Monday, July 22, 2019

Catching Up

I've been taking my Gage students around town for a couple of years now. Wallingford Center has plenty of seating and several different vantage points for interesting and cluttered views.

This was sketched under the awning at Cloud City, though a few stray drops blew in at an angle as I was finishing up.

My class has drawn at Suzzallo Library many times. With so many obvious verticle and horizontal lines, it's not my favorite location, but it's helpful for beginning students to have such clear structural landmarks.

There's a new Grand Central on 45th, so Donna and I sat outside with Tessa, a friend's dog she was dog-sitting.

This is on the second floor of King Street Station. There's a new gallery on the third floor, but no wet media is allowed, so I can't do my ink washes up there.

Two views on 45th street. I wanted to capture the old Guild before it's gone. The parking lot ticket booth was demolished the day after I drew it. You gotta be quick to capture our quickly changing cityscape!

Jefferson Park

It's been years since we met in Jefferson Park. An intrepid dozen sketchers braved the parking challenge created by a massive church picnic in the park. We also welcomed some sketchers new to the group.

The view of downtown Seattle skyline was a popular subject.

My favorite sketch of the day was of the "skateable" sculpture. While the park now has a proper skateboard park, this sculpture was installed in 2014 with the intent that it could also be used by skateboarders.

Friday, July 19, 2019


Every couple of years I present at the International Academy of Law and Mental Health Congress in Europe and try to visit several cities while there. In 2017 the conference was in Prague. As I am packing my stuff to go to the 2019 conference, I realized I have not drawn or posted since the 2017 conference after far too long being too busy with my non-sketching life to sketch and post. 

London phone booths from a street cafe

The Prague Charles Bridge from the canal

Madrid from the Tartan Roof at Azotea del Circulo

From a cafe in Toledo, Spain

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Fifth Year

This was Urban Sketchers Seattle's fifth time sketching the Georgetown Garden Walk. Sometimes I walk many of the gardens. This year my knee was hurting so I stayed close to Oxbow Park, our throw-down location.

There were quite a few sketchers at the throw down.

I remember this flutist from last year. I couldn't quite finish the sketch before they were finished. I got the figures drawn and painted and then did the structures around them after they left.  The woman is playing bowls which made a very meditative sound. They were in the shade of the Hat portion of the famous Hat and Boots.

The oldest, continuously operating grocery store in Seattle is no more. A baker and cake shop is in the location now. But I sketched the overgrown garden. While there, the former grocery operator came down the steps from the second floor. I engaged him in conversation... basically, they retired. They own the building and now rent out the shop space. They still live above, though, along with the 14 year old pug who used to hang out in front of the grocery. And keep a garden.  

Friday, July 12, 2019

Sketching First Hill

This is my first time out with USk Seattle in about a month due to travel following by a nasty cold. It was good to be out with the group again!

Since I was at the Convention Center quite early, I had time to see the Northwest Watercolor Society's Signature member show. It was really good.

We had a goodly group today:

Since I was there early, I managed three sketches. The first was table and chair at our meeting spot, as I sat waiting.  The Farmers Market was also happening.  

Then I followed other sketchers down the hill a bit to see Town Hall. It is newly renovated but we didn't get inside. In fact, from another view, they appear to still be working on it. At one point, there were four of us sketching a similar scene! 

During the walk back from Town Hall, I could see the top of this odd looking building, apparently a church. I discovered it was one of the buildings of the Seattle First Presbyterian church. It had a banner in front reading "Compass Housing Alliance at First Presbyterian". I was somewhat familiar with Compass as a Social Service Agency. From what I could find on-line, this is a 24/7 homeless shelter now..

Finally Summer on First Hill

7/12/19 Town Hall Seattle
Historically, it begins the day after the 4th of July. Following days of gray drizzle, it arrived lazily today a week late. With shades and sunhats on, USk Seattle welcomed summer with a sketch outing on First Hill.

When I first scouted the meetup location a month or so ago, Town Hall Seattle, undergoing renovation, caught my eye. Built in 1916 by The Fourth Church of Christ, Scientist, the Roman Revival building has been an event venue since 1998. As my first sketch of the outing, the building was a bit intimidating, so my intention was to make a value study as a small thumbnail. Fairly quickly, though, I changed my attitude to “what the heck,” and I went for a full-page sketch instead. It was a popular spot: Kate, Alice and Tim all did their variations of the same view.

Next I went to the meetup location at a tiny pocket park (defined as such by a few colorful tables, chairs and planters in the street) at Ninth and University, where the Pike Place Market opens a pop-up farmers market on summertime Fridays. With St. James Cathedral in the distance, the small, quiet market gave nearby Virginia Mason medical clinic employees a sunny respite.

7/12/19 Pocket park and pop-up market at 9th and University

Kate, Tim and Alice sketching Town Hall

Peeking over Tim's shoulder!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

SLO Town, Slab Town and parts unknown

It's been over 36 years but we used to live in San Luis Obispo on the Central Coast of California. We still have good friends there and periodically meet up here, there  or somewhere in between. In late May I had a good couple of weeks in the area staying with a friend and putzing around the county and points south.

Our friends own Sauer Adobe one of SLO's historic sites sitting just across the street from the Mission and just around the corner from the city's historic Chinatown district. Chinatown now consists of 3 buildings - Ah Louis Store, Mee Hung Low Restaurant and the brick candy store (now a real estate office.) The historic roots - Chinese, Native American; Spanish, of these few square blocks tell the story of San Luis Obispo.

Montage of SLO Historic Chinese District - not to scale

Chinese arrived in the area in the 1800's providing manual labor for two converging railroads. At one time there was a sizable Chinese population, but time and racism drove most of them out. The main identifier is the old Ah Louis store, founded in 1874  by Ah Louis of Hong Kong, as a grocery and general merchandise store, employment office, bank, post office and pharmacy for the Chinese population. Currently it serves as a retail outlet for an events producer.

The Del Monte Cafe is another charming site, sitting directly across the street from the Railway Station. The building opened as a barbershop in 1919 then served as the neighborhood grocery before a local family turned it into a thriving restaurant.


My friend and I took a mid-week drive up to Cambria, originally a Chumash Indian site that sits between San Simeon/Hearst Castle and Morro Bay. When logging and mining populated the area, the settlement was known as Slabtown because its first buildings were made from rough slabs of wood. Now named Cambria, probably after a Welsh town,  its a lovely village attracting visitors from all over the world.

There's been a lot of development for better or worse since we've lived in SLO. This little shopping center hosts the usual Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, a few little cafes but it was a perfect spot out of the cool spring wind to sit on a sunny bench and sketch. 

The other fun thing I did while in my old hometown was meet with some local sketchers. There isn't an official USk chapter there yet, but stay tuned.  I think we may have stirred the pot for the makings of one. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Selected Team Member

Every year for 15 years, Renny Doyle organizes an elite group of detailing professionals who volunteer their travel and time to come to the Museum of Flight to clean and polish the aircraft in the Aviation Pavilion.  Each year I go to sketch them as they work and I am so impressed with the service they provide the Museum.   

Doyle runs Detailing Success  and trains others. This group is made up of those he's trained. At least a couple hundred apply but only 60 are chosen.

Here is the  first of three sketches. I didn't get their names but they're working on the B-29.

Second sketch shows Tony polishing Air Force One. Other members of the crew came by to look: "you even got his hair". If I remember correctly from last year, only crew members who are veterans work on Air Force One.

Sketch number three shows King and Ryan working on the 727. An info board blocked the view but Ryan is not that short... he's on his knees working the nose of the aircraft. Most of them wear respirators, which must be difficult using all day.

More photos.

--Kate Buike

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Station No. 17 and Blessed Sacrament

7/6/19 Fire Station No. 17, University District
7/6/19 Blessed Sacrament Church
Several months ago as I was sketching Fire Station No. 17 in the U-District, I realized that the intersection of 50th and Roosevelt offers an interesting mix of architecture: the Seattle Landmark-designated 1930s station itself, the Carnegie-style public library branch, the (now doomed) Seven Gables Cinema, and the Gothic Blessed Sacrament Church around the corner. It seemed ripe for an Urban Sketchers outing location.

Several other sketchers and I all opted to start with the church before we lost our courage. While churches like this are a dime a dozen in Europe, we have very few in Seattle, so I took advantage of the opportunity for some much-needed practice. The mostly cloudy sky occasionally gave way, a few seconds at a time – just long enough to catch some shadows.

Next I went back to the fire station I sketched in February, but this time I stood at a different corner so that I could capture the tower. The two upper windows include white silhouettes of firefighters (artwork that was added during a 1987 renovation).

Summer historically begins on the day after the 4th of July around here, so the overcast skies the past few days have been disappointing. But with other parts of the country facing high heat and earthquakes, I’ve got nothing to complain about. In fact, it was 65 degrees and cloudy when I made these sketches, which means I needed neither sunhat nor Polartec! Hallelujah, summer is here!

Taye, visiting from Singapore (next to Tina), had to leave before the throwdown, so we took a photo at the morning meetup.

Throwdown on the library steps.

Also new today were Katie from Portland and Victoria!

Never too late

It has been awhile since I have posted sketches from the monthly outings.  Below is a selection from the Elysian Brewery in Georgetown, at the Pike Place Market and the Showbox, an adhoc Friday at the Rainier Tower / construction, a sketch of the Viaduct demolition and at the University District Street Fair where I sketched the Seven Gables / Grand Illusion Theatres.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Street of Dreams and Nostalgia in Greenwood

6/29/19 '68 Firebird

“My grandpa had a car like that.” “I learned to drive on that!” “My high school boyfriend had one of those!”

These are some of the exclamations I overheard while sketching “a mile and a half of classic rides” at the Greenwood Car Show. It’s one of my all-time favorite events to sketch, and I try to catch it every year. Last year I had a conflict and couldn’t go, so I was especially eager to get to it this year. I’ve sketched the show in rain and blistering heat, but this year the weather was perfect – temperatures in the high 60s and sunny! To top it off, Saturday’s event was even more fun than usual because USk Seattle met up for it.
6/2/19 '69 Mustang
Although the show doesn’t officially open until 8 a.m., I always arrive in the neighborhood by 7:30 a.m. so that I can find a place to park. Then I get coffee and a scone at Herkimer’s and warm up with a sketch of whatever I see from the venue’s handy benches outside. This time it was a gorgeous turquoise ’67 Mustang.

Five hours later I met the other sketchers in front of the library, where we all threw down sketches of fantastic vehicles on the street of nostalgia and dreams.

6/29/19 '41 Cadillac

6/29/19 '59 Corvette

USk Seattle at the Greenwood Car Show!
David Hingtgen was another early-bird sketcher!