I spent half the day in a group workshop. Frances had the idea to study art books and techniques and invited a few friends to join her. Today was our first meeting, at which we reviewed the content of Steven Reddy‘s book, Everyday Sketching and Drawing.  He’s a local Seattle artist and I’ve sketched with him at USk Seattle outings.

Then we went to our places to begin drawing.

I’d brought my own still life components: Pelicans. I am a “Companion of the Order of the Pelican” within the Society for Creative Anachronism.  Think of it as the international award for service to the organization: “Members of the Order of the Pelican have given of themselves to their kingdom, usually for many years and without thought of reward. They are chosen by the Crown in consultation with the Order. Their insignia is a ‘pelican in her piety,’ a pelican piercing her breast to feed her young with her own blood”

As we do in Urban Sketching outings, we had a “throw down” to share our day’s work:

5×7, ink and watercolor wash

8×10; ink and watercolor wash

Any Pelicans of my acquaintance want one or both?

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New Burke

Yesterday, Sunday, January 19, I joined Urban Sketchers Seattle at the newly re-opened Burke Museum. The old museum had been torn down and in it’s place was this 3 story, massive building.

Since I wasn’t sure when I might be back, I spent a good deal of time looking through the exhibits. It’s almost overwhelming. A new feature of this museum is the glass that gives visitors the ability to watch staff as they work on the artifacts. I was particularly amused by this sign: “T Rex pelvis (we hope)”!

At end we were quite a large group.

As I spent most of my time wandering, I only did one sketch. Though there was no information about this specific canoe, all the types of paddles were identified. Since only pencil was allowed in the gallery, once I finished the pencil sketch I moved to the Off the Rez cafe to continue working on my sketch with pen and watercolor. I tried some fry bread.


More photos here


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Today’s theme is “coffee”.

While waiting for a shop to open in my suburb, I stopped in at a new-ish local coffee shop, Boon Boona.  It’s East African.   I was glad to see it so full on a weekday morning.

I’ve given sketching with a ball point pen the old college try.  I don’t like it.  So I decided to use pencil.  It’s a Faber-Castell B I got in Germany… it has a fancy cap that includes a sharpener. This is a Stillman & Birn pocket Epsilon.

After my errand, I drove on to the Museum of Flight for a Member’s event: “Coffee with the Curator.”  They had scheduled it into a large room and it was nearly full! Perhaps because this was our first opportunity to meet the new curator, Matthew Burchette.   This issue of the Museum’s magazine, Aloft, has an article about him.  The topics included discussion of the planned “refresh” of the World War II gallery in the Personal Courage Wing to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII this year.  At this event there were also WWII artifacts on display from the archives.

And since it would have been my 4th cup this morning, I didn’t have any coffee with the Curator!


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Despite heavy snow in some areas, most of the usual group of artists came to Cosplay Drink and Draw on Wednesday night. We had one artist attending his first session, too.

This is Sara @per_fekshen as Hawks from My Hero Academia. Dynamic poses and wonderful hand made felt wings!

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Jointly at McMenamins

Urban Sketchers Tacoma hosted Urban Sketcher Seattle in a joint outing at the new(ish) McMenamins Elks Temple in Tacoma. It is a unique venue with so much to sketch. This was my 4th time there this year as they opened in the spring. I was grateful for the large turnout from Seattle, given the unpleasant weather for the long drive south.

Thanks to Sean F. for taking the group photol

After wandering up and down stairs, I finally found my way back to this odd mezzanine. The ceiling height is much shorter than the rest of the building.

I have a pocket Pentalic Aqua sketchbook that is dedicated to the lamps of McMenamins…not just the one’s at the Elks Temple. Near the end of our sketching period, I sat with a couple other sketchers in the pub to do this ink sketch of some lamps.

This section of the hotel is unusual. There is a block of rooms inside a large, 2 story space. While it was being renovated, I watched on the construction company’s FB page the installation of this magnificent chandelier. I talked with a young woman who is a housekeeper there but also an artist. I gave her the USk card, of course She told me McMenamins has one person whose sole job is to by lamps for them, scouring estate sales, antique stores, etc! This is my favorite sketch of the day.

A few more photos here.

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Busy Sunday

This past Sunday (5 January) I did 2 sketches before 10 am and then finished one started earlier in the week during Social Watercolor at Daniel Smith

I’d started this “last year”, “in the previous decade”!  Actually, it was just 12/29, on the previous Sunday.  I was early to a demo at Daniel Smith and decided to stop to sketch this building, raised as though it was going to be moved.  I’d noticed a couple weeks before but nothing visible had changed.  It used to house an antique shop.  I’ve always liked it for the yellow Vespa scooter on the roof!  I got the ink drawing done but ran out of time to paint.

A passerby stopped to look at it with me.  He seemed to know the situation, told me a winery had bought it and was putting in a proper foundation.  It had originally been built on dirt.  It’s nice they decided to save and renovate an old building.

(Stonehenge Aqua 140#, 100% cotton, paper; Platinum carbon black ink in a Lamy fountain pen; Daniel Smith Watercolor)

Then on this past Sunday I was intentionally early on my way, again, to Daniel Smith, for Social Watercolor.  I wanted to check out Brother Joe cafe in the Georgetown neighborhood.  It’s much more than a coffee shop and seems to have a good menu.  I just had coffee and a biscuit with jam….and got a bit of jam on my tiny sketch.  I liked the large rhino head sculpture on the wall.

(Stillman & Birn Beta pocket; Bic ball point pen)

The first sketch of the morning was my first in the Inktober 52 challenge:  an ink sketch a week done to the prompt issued.  This first week was “Flight”.  Certainly lots of people drew birds and airplanes.  I drew a hero.  Dick is one of my favorite people at the Museum of Flight (where I volunteer, also, if you remember).  It’s always a joy to see him, which I usually do at least one Thursday a month when he comes in to do Storytelling.

(Stillman & Birn Nova tan; various inks and markers)  I’m planning to do this challenge mostly on toned paper.

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First Dogs

These are another group of sketches done from the Instagram account of Kitsap Humane Society; sending to them to use as they wish. Though they were done at the end of 2019, they are being sent to KHS in 2020.

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2019 notebooks and sketchbooks

As the year draws to a close, I’ve gathered the various books I’ve filled in 2019. Based on the properties of the folders into which I’ve saved the scans, I’ve done about 208 Urban Sketches and 159 others, of various types. That’s 367. There are some more that I know I never scanned, mostly from Drink & Draw…so just a little more than one per day on average.

Journals and notebooks

Since March 2019 I’ve been using ordinary composition books as my journal. I mostly get them at the UW bookstore as they have a graph grid rather than lines. I’ve been covering them with scrap booking paper that is either of colors and designs I like or fits the month. I don’t care that the paper is probably not archival. I don’t keep these more than two or three years. After about a year or so I digitize and then shred them.

For example, for June and October, for those covers I made maps of the trips I took during those months.

They are what’s known as “commonplace books”. The entries are a combination of some of my thoughts, a record of the day, as well as bits of ephemera and clippings.

At the top are my Field Notes everyday books. I have three sets. At left is the Every Day Carry (EDC) in my purse in a home-made Traveler’s Notebook like cover with Traveler’s Notebook inserts. In the middle is a notebook that stays in my art bag. On the right is the notebook for the Museum of Flight with Apollo covers since we had the “Destination Moon” exhibition from the Smithsonian. Not pictured are the notebooks for my Star Wars costuming group and for Fort Nisqually as I’ve not participated much this year. In summary, I keep a separate Field Notes book for each endeavor.


For Urban Sketching, I mostly use disc bound notebooks in A5 and US Letter size. They are Circa Sliver books from Levenger.

I use the Circa punch to insert the pages, remove them as the book gets full, and archive them in envelopes.  The paper is mostly 100% cotton, 140 pound Legion Stonehenge Aqua. I also have some Canson Mixed Media for ink or pencil drawings that have little, if any, watercolor.

However, for the trip to Michigan in June I made 3 small bound books with cardstock covers, each with one signature. They are at top right. Below them is the last page of a sketchbook which held the 2 year long Project Welcome Home series. This was the Museum of Flight’s endeavor to build a Viet Nam Memorial Park which I documented in sketches.

For the Drink and Draw modeling events, I use a variety of sketchbooks, mostly mixed media. I also use these sessions for testing paper, as I’m doing with the Moleskine watercolor book at top left.

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Old Cannery Christmas

Urban Sketchers Tacoma returned to sketch the Christmas decor at the Old Cannery. We’ve been twice before but not, apparently, since 2016.

There were so many interesting things to sketch. Our host brought their new puppet mascot, Caboose the Moose, for someone to sketch. Carolyn added him to her scene.

I choose to do a montage.  A few of us did both the nutcracker statue and the piggies.

More photos here.

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Gabi’s show

Gabi Campanario has a show in a small gallery in Bothell, WA.  He is the Seattle times editorial artist who also has a column in the paper known as “The Seattle Sketcher”.  He is probably more famous as the founder of Urban Sketchers.

A few of the members of Urban Sketchers Seattle went to the opening yesterday. It is at Tsuga Fine Art and Framing in Bothell, WA. If you think you might want to buy something, hurry in as about half the paintings sold yesterday!  They are all originals and prints are not available at this show.

Note the many blank spots on the wall!

(a couple more sketchers arrived later but not in time for this photo)

Some of us sketched the event. My monkey is commenting on this sketch but I won’t write it’s trash talk here. 😉 Ball Point Pen in a pocket sized Stillman and Birn Epsilon.

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