Next Sketch Outing

Wednesday, July 17: Fishermen's Terminal

Sunday, July 14, 2024

Recognized in Georgetown

 We met to sketch the garden walk in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle. We've been doing so since 2015.

It was too hot for me but the gardens were mostly shaded. It was gratifying that other attendees recognized us as "the sketchers" who come every year and were happy to see us!

I wandered around but there was either not room enough or too much sun in the gardens I liked.  I finally settled down to sketch alongside Joseph near the street but in deep shade with a little cooling breeze.  We sketched a bit of garden there that wasn't even part of the event. 

We met back in Oxbow Park where some sketched the Hat and Boots.  There were a few first-timers plus one visitor from Urban Sketchers Los Angeles.

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Landing at the Space park

 Urban Skechers Seattle and Urban Skechers Tacoma met in between at Kherson Park in Kent for an ad hoc outing to sketch the space themed playground. Susan, Ikuyo, Marlene, and Jen were there. Mike was also there but left early. Almost everyone sketched the lunar lander.

Of note, the Lunar Rover(s) were built in Kent by Boeing and 3 remain on the moon.

For those who might not be aware. Jeff Bezos's space company, Blue Origin, is based in Kent.

A year ago when I explored this park I sketched the moon buggy. This time I was one of the ones who sketched the lander. So many angles! 

More photos.

Saturday, June 29, 2024

Greenwood Car Show


6/29/24 Greenwood Car Show

One year, it rained. Another, it was so cold that I had to retreat to a coffee shop midway to warm up. On Saturday USk Seattle was treated to a rare day in June for the Greenwood Car Show: the ideal temperature for sketching under a mix of sunny and partly cloudy skies. It’s always a fun event – except for the pandemic pause, I think I’ve only missed one year since 2014 – and it’s even more fun to sketch with USk Seattle.  

My personal tradition is to arrive early before the show officially
opens, get coffee at Herkimer, and watch the cars roll in.
The tables outside Herkimer are a great place to catch dogs
waiting for their humans to come back out with treats.

Usually my approach is to make portraits of several cars that attract my fancy and one or two sketches that show more context. This year I took a comics approach by making multiple small sketches that show various views of this neighborhood show. The sketches are so small that they don’t take much time, so I cover more ground and capture more of the overall car show story – and history.

Owners love to talk about what they’ve done to their cars, how much it cost to do that work, and how long they’ve owned them. And passers-by have memories evoked by cars they see – old models owned by parents or grandparents, or the ones they used to learn to drive. My favorite story this year was written on a placard next to a 1966 VW Bug. Its original and current owner, Florence, had recently celebrated her 100th birthday, and a card was available for show visitors to write Florence a birthday greeting.

Florence's beautifully maintained '66 Bug

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Down on the farm

We met at Bellevue's Kelsey Creek Park this morning. There was lots to sketch: barns, animals, and people.

I made a montage but started with a spot I'd noticed the first time I was there. It's a cute bunny bench in front of a small barn.

Earlier I'd met Charlotte with her mother, Jane, when they approached our meeting place.  Mom asked whether they could join the sketching group and I assured her children are welcome to sketch with us with their adult present.  But they hadn't brought any supplies.  As I was sketching the bunny bench, Charlotte reappeared, paper and pencil in hand!  She sat on the bench to draw so I added her to my sketch.  We shared our sketches and posed for the standard photo together! 

The rest of the montage were some of the animals and one odd flower.  I was amused by the rabbit whose name was "Cinnabun".


Thursday, June 20, 2024

Summer Solstice at Bell Harbor Pier

6/20/24 Seattle waterfront and skyline from Bell Harbor Pier

After a couple of outings with rainy or iffy weather, USk Seattle enjoyed a rare treat: summer weather on the Solstice (we all know summer begins on July 5)! Bell Harbor Pier offers arguably the best views of the downtown skyline and waterfront, but a major drawback is that it has no shelter or shade. We run the risk of scheduling an outing there when the weather is either bad or too good. In fact, it was perfect this morning – not too hot but clear and with a good breeze.

Anticipating the skyline, I brought along a landscape-format Uglybook (I cut the image in half below so you can see the details). The skyline is changing so quickly that all the familiar profiles are being hidden by newer buildings. I labeled the ones I could still identify.

Next I turned in the opposite direction to grab the Space Needle (also nearly obscured), The Brothers highlighting the Olympic Mountains, and Mike sketching at his easel.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

An Oasis in the City, The Center for Wooden Boats


Visiting Seattle's Center for Wooden Boats is like being taken back in time. This collection of picturesque buildings connected by narrow walkways and docks over the water at Lake Union is a world unto itself...right in the middle of the bustling city. Thankfully, the dark skies never produced rain, but there was a chill and some wind. Great day to be sketching with Seattle Urban Sketchers!

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Northwest Seaport’s 60th Anniversary (Plus Bi-Bim-Bap)

6/15/24 Lake Union Park historic ships

Although the weather gods teased us with dire forecasts of rain, hail, lightning and thunder, they took mercy on USk Seattle this morning – windy but dry to the end! A good turnout of brave sketchers showed up for the 60th anniversary celebration of Northwest Seaport Maritime Heritage Center, which preserves and restores historic work ships on Lake Union.

To capture a survey of ships, I made small sketches of the historic tug Comanche, the Fremont Tugboat’s Dixie, and the lightship Swiftsure. Painted red, the 120-year-old Swiftsure is always popular among sketchers. In fact, I’ve sketched it myself several times, but this time I wanted a tall, narrow view to fit the space on my page spread, so I focused on the mast. (My current comics-like approach helped me see a composition I might not have chosen otherwise.)

6/15/24 Stone Korean Restaurant

After the outing, I joined a few sketchers for lunch at nearby Stone Korean Restaurant. Although I’ve had traditional bi-bim-bap, in general, I don’t eat Korean food often, so many dishes were new to me, like the delicious veggie pancake that the table shared. For my entrée, I chose a hot pot-style bi-bim-bap with crispy, toasted rice on the bottom – very different from regular bi-bim-bap and so delicious! Served in a dangerously hot cast iron pot, the food stayed hot for the duration of my sketch – an ideal sketch-meal!

I was so ignorant of Korean foods that another sketcher accused me of not being Asian, but now that she has educated me, I’m looking forward to enjoying more Korean meals.

Friday, June 14, 2024

USK spring meetups

Sharing a few of my sketches from some recent-ish USk Seattle events!

Centro de la Raza for Cinco de Mayo.

I often pass through this plaza, but it's almost always dead quiet -- so it was nice to experience it crowded & lively for the celebration. I always appreciate the extremely bright colors often used in Mexican crafts, like the ones the guest vendors were selling, especially on such a dark gloomy day like this one. I stood under a tent shelter, mostly out of the wet, and did a quick sketch in mixed media.

Chinese Garden @ South Seattle College

This is such a classic USk Seattle location to me. I enjoy the clean, white walls of the structure, which allow you to appreciate the landscaping in contrast to it. Using white acrylic, I got it to pop off of my gray toned paper.

 Couth Buzzard Books + Espresso in Greenwood

I stumbled onto this cute little bookstore after our share event at the library. It was too cold to draw outside, so I cozied up at a small table and captured the vibe while sipping a cappuccino. It was fun listening to people come in and ask the proprietor very specific book questions.

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Delridge Farmers Market

6/8/24 Delridge Farmers Market

Although USk Seattle has met at many community farmers markets over the years, the one in south SeattleDelridge neighborhood was new to us. In fact, it is fairly new; it was started during the pandemic by the African Community Housing and Development organization.

As far as markets go, it’s notable that Delridge gives priority to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Color) vendors. Long lines formed at a couple of booths that were giving away free produce and basic supplies to low-income neighbors. The market is held every summer Saturday morning in front of the Masjid Al Furquan Mosque (formerly St. James Lutheran Church).

I had the most fun sketching Queen Sugar Baking Company’s resident pug. I think it was in his presentation about sketch reportage that Gabi Campanario said something that has stayed with me: If a dog is mentioned (or sketched) in a story, Gabi said, a good journalist will learn the name of the dog. Check: The pug’s name is Ajax.

Kim learned a lot about the Delridge market from
its originator. 

Friday, May 24, 2024

Soggy Folklife

5/24/24 KEXP/Cafe Vita at Seattle Center

As rain dripped off our heads, Kim and I wondered whether we would be the only ones who showed up for the USk outing at the Northwest Folklife Festival. Before the pandemic, USk Seattle used to sketch at Folklife nearly every year. Although Memorial Day weekend weather is always iffy, I don’t recall rain ever falling on our Folklife outings. Well, there’s a first time for everything.

Busking drummer

Apparently the only sketchers intrepid enough to show up in the rain (never mind that we’re both admins leading the event), Kim and I retreated to KEXP radio station’s Café Vita on the Seattle Center grounds. In addition to being the actual broadcasting studio, it’s a huge venue that also hosts town halls and other community gatherings. As part of Folklife, the station was holding a panel discussion to help performing musicians, “Financial Fitness for Gigging Artists.” As I sketched, I learned a lot about business and financial issues that musicians face and how to resolve them.

Near the throwdown time, the rain had stopped, so we ventured back out to the Armory meetup location. I had a few minutes to fill, so I followed the sound of drumming and found a drum soloist busker. Listening to music through his headphones, he drummed along with it.

Kim and I were delighted that a few other sketchers did show up, and we high-fived for being among the USk Seattle hardcore.

Where da heck are the rest of the sketchers??!

The hardcore showed up for the throwdown!