Sanford and Son

Tacoma Urban Sketchers meet for our 1st Saturday outing at an antique shop, Sanford and Son.  It was 3 floors packed with things to sketch and I was a bit on overload.  I walked all three floors and finally picked this old, curving staircase to a library balcony.

As is typical, I had about 45 minutes left.  I wandered a bit more and found this odd painted mannequin in the Vintage Record shop.

We gathered in the large, open bottom floor to share sketches and have our group photo.

Then I went on to see Chandler O’Leary at a craft fair in King’s Books.  It was fun to catch up with her…. I first met her at a Seattle USk outing in Edmonds.   I really enjoy her sketchbook blog, Drawn the Road Again!

She had so many of her great prints there

More photos here.

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Furney’s Nursery

After attending an event at Furney’s Nursery in Des Moines, WA last fall, I intended to go back to sketch some more.  This seemed like a good day to do that.  I had a number of errands, the last of which took me just north of the Nursery.


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Aces magazine

A few months ago, the editor of a Museum of Flight published magazine, American Fighter Aces, asked me for any sketches I had of WWII aircraft.  He also asked whether I could do some more for the magazine.  I thought he wanted to use them to illustrate an article.

The magazine came out this week.  I knew a sketch was going to be on the cover.  What I realized only when I looked at the printed edition was that there was an entire article about my sketches!

The bio has a small error ( I never finished studies at Leeds; my degree is from Michigan State).  I also wouldn’t characterize myself as a “long time” volunteer or member.  It’s been about 4 years for both.


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Along the Cedar River

It was a beautiful, sunny, day, though a bit chilly at 49 degrees.  I determined to go out to a park near one of the Boeing factories and at the south end of Lake Washington.  My first sketch was the view north up the lake.  I’ve labelled it as “View of Seattle”.  However, it’s not.  It’s probably Bellevue.  Oh, well.

I was fascinated by this bridge over the Cedar River.  It’s not for cars…. it is for airplanes.  Specifically, airplanes from the Boeing factory.   They taxi on it over the river to the runway at the Renton Airport.  Normally, a small city like  Renton would have a small, general aviation, airport.  But the runway is much longer than needed because it’s used by Boeing to test it’s large airliners!

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Lion Dance

My town has a branch of Uwajimaya, the local Chinese market.  Every year, they bring a group of Lion Dancers sometime near the Chinese New Year.  Sunday was the day!  It is a Lunar New Year celebration to bring good luck and happiness for the coming year.

Feather and I met there. We arrived an hour early in order to sketch the special displays.  We sat at a cafe table and both sketched this display with Lion masks.  We gathered some on lookers!  A mother and son were particularly interested.  They had questions and we had fun talking with them.



Once the Lion Dancers arrived, we packed up and went outside to watch.  I brought the “good” camera…. the Canon DSLR.  I put that puppy on continuous shooting (in a film camera it was called motor drive!) and fired away during the Lion Dance.  I came home with 160 images, which were culled heavily down to 26.  I also shot video with my Nexus 5 (phone).  All the photos are here.

They went into the store and paraded up and down all the aisles.

Once that excitement was over, I went back into the market to sketch the large dragon sculpture that hangs from the ceiling.  He is there all year long.

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Sharing and trading

The Friday ad hoc group of Urban Sketchers Seattle met at a Ravenna area library branch.  This was our third annual “Gab and Grab” and our only non-sketching event during the year.

We started with going around the table, sharing our favorite bit of kit we’ve used this year.  I shared my mega case from Jet Pens, the Molotow masking pen and my board with hole cut for a water bottle (a la Leslie Fehling)

Darsie shared the Field Easel bag he designed.

John was new to the group today.  I met him at the Museum of Flight back in October when I was sketching in the WWI gallery.  He shared his amazing MacGyver’ed sketch kit, based on an old cigar box.

They we put all the art supplies out on the table to share and trade.

I traded with Steve Reddy a big tray of colored pencils for a big tray of watercolor pencils.  And I gave away a lot of things I no longer wanted.  Leftovers go to Tinkertopia in Tacoma!

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Children’s Museum

Tacoma Urban Sketchers had an outing to the Children’s Museum yesterday morning.  It sounded like a good idea at the time.  There were lots of interesting structures to sketch.

I arrived early… no surprise there!  I set myself up in a coffee shop across the street and sketched the interesting view through the window.

Once there, I realized this place is more indoor playground than Museum.  There were a few dozen pre-schoolers inside. The noise level was deafening…. quite literally at the level to cause damage.   I managed one quick sketch of the structure I most wanted to see and then left the building!   My ears hurt.   But this is the “Voyager”… front end looks like an old fashioned tall ship and the back end like the Star Ship Enterprise!   Of course, it was that back end that I liked.  This might not have been the best view, but I was pressed tightly into a corner to be out of the way of running children!

I again escaped to the coffee house across the street and sketched another view out the same window.

We met back inside the museum but in the cafe area so it wasn’t as noisy.  We shared our sketches and had a group photo.

If we do ever sketch here again, I’m bringing the best ear plugs I can find!

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Abandoning Art

I’ve not been posting many sketches recently as the weather has been unpleasant.  While our winter is not as bad as other places, chilly and wet is not conducive to watercolor sketching.  I may be a wimp in comparison to Shari in Montreal, who sketches from her car in frigid temps!

That doesn’t mean I’m not creating.  My latest fad is making small, handmade, books.  I’m leaving them in various places, participating in the Art Abandonment movement.   Unfortunately, the group is only on Facebook:

I use printed card stock sold for scrap-booking and sew in some Canson MultiMedia paper.

Then I leave somewhere, with a note that it’s left for someone to freely take and info on the Art Abandonment group.

I’ve also left some watercolor note cards as well as some of my photography cards.

From today:

Here’s an album with most of what I’m made and dropped.

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Rain, TV & Movies

We’re having some rain again.  I’m feeling lazy and unmotivated to get out to sketch!  I stayed home to get caught up on some of my favorite shows… current season of Downtown Abbey on DVR and Season 8 Foyle’s War via Netflix.  And I sketched some TV and movies, as well, from photos I’ve been saving.

The second sketch might be a spoiler for the new Star Wars movie..  If you don’t want to see it, stop reading now.  However, probably not much of a spoiler as I think there’s been enough publicity about the look of the characters

First is a Wesen character from the TV show, Grimm.  It’s been one of my favorites.  If you haven’t seen it, the 1st season is good; the 2nd is not;  3rd better; current season is getting weird but I’m still watching.

Now here’s that second sketch, a character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.   I won’t say much other than that I liked her.  She reminded me a bit from Hetty in NCIS LA.  I’m pretty sure she was a CGI character as she was voiced by an actress.   I messed up the shading on her face a bit by using pen strokes.

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Prior to the start of my volunteer shift couple weeks ago, the morning’s volunteers were escorted to the basement to see the newly arrived Boeing P-26 Peashooter.  It was still in pieces.  It is on loan from San Diego Air and Space Museum for Boeing’s Centennial.

I got the word that it would be assembled in the Well of the Great Gallery today.  I dropped in after my sketch outing (see previous blog post).  Fortunately, they were still at work on it and I got a chance to sketch it!

More about the aircraft:  It was the first American all-metal production fighter aircraft and the first pursuit monoplane used by the United States Army Air Corps. Designed and built by Boeing; the prototype first flew in 1932, and the type was still in use with the U.S. Army Air Corps as late as 1941 in the Philippines. There are only two surviving Peashooters, but there are three reproductions on exhibit with two more under construction.  What I don’t know and will ask is whether this one is an original or a reproduction.

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