The KEXP radio station broadcasts from within a glass room inside the “Gathering Space” which is a huge room. In one corner is the La Marzocco Cafe. It’s a good place to sketch as, in addition to lots of people, there are interesting things on the walls and around the room.

It was such a beautiful day that several sketchers chose to be outside.

We did the throw down and group photo outside, too.

At least 2 sketchers missing from this photo.

First, I sketched inside.  We had a long table at the back and this was in view.  I liked the energy of the Owl!

It was rather too warm inside and I went outside to cool off and do another sketch.

While outside, I saw these young women having a good time throwing leaves.

More photos. 


Posted in Sketch Crawl, Sketches, Urban Sketchers | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ink in color block

It’s my intent to go to every Mixed Media play day that Janice Berkebile offers at Daniel Smith mothership. What she does is not my usual art practice (USk, on location sketching) but it’s good to learn new things and new materials.

Today was making cards with color blocks and ink. Oh, I just love Janice’s line work and imaginative designs. It’s not something I do well. I think this is simple enough to be a good place to start working on that.

Janice’s sample book

She uses Pitt and Micron black, permanent ink pens for initial lines. Then she embellishes with a Pentel brush pen and other things.  She recommended keeping a notebook of good ink line designs that you develop.

Janice recommended working from life.  But she also collects some botanical and wild life guides to use as reference.

First we painted blocks of color on torn and folded sheets of watercolor paper. Once dry, we worked in botanical ink designs.  The front one with the large flower is my favorite and it’s already been mailed as a get-well card.


Posted in Class, Crafts, Sketches, Studio | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Corn and Watercolor

This morning was another fun time exploring watercolors with Jodi Steele at the Daniel Smith mothership.

I played around with some new colors. Then I experimented with the Black Lava Salt I got at the airport in Iceland. It does leave black specks after it dries on the paint.  It could have it’s uses in providing texture for painting of soil, sand, rocks but not for the usual uses of salt in watercolor.

Then I settled down to sketch an ear of colorful corn. Jodi had brought several she placed on all the tables.  This may become a Thanksgiving card for some people….

Posted in Class, Sketches, Studio | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Outside UW Library

Urban Sketchers Tacoma met at the library of the University of Washington at Tacoma. It was such a bright, sunny day that I didn’t want to sketch inside. Since I’d missed most of the brilliant fall color, I also wanted to catch what was still there.

There were two new sketchers. I’d guess it was about half and half as far as sketching inside the library our outside.

First sketch is looking up the hill near the U bookstore, as viewed from the light rail stop across the street.

Next sketch was on the walkway between buildings. The railroad signal initally caught my attention. While there are still tracks embedded, they aren’t used. There is also an art installation on the wall: “All the Rivers in the World, Tacoma” by Vaughn Bell, 2019. “All the river names included…were given by members of the UW-Tacoma community in ‘river gathering’ workshops. The Lushootseed word for the Puyallup river is located at the mouth of the river and the word meaning ‘mountain that is always snowy’ is located at the headwaters.”

Posted in Sketch Crawl, Sketches, Urban Sketchers | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two for one Inktober

Tonight’s Drink and Draw session brought me to a total of 31 ink sketches for Inktober.  We had the wonderful Sam, costumed as a “Vault Dweller” from the Fallout game.

My favorite for the evening:

Posted in Drink and Draw, Sketches | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Weekend in Portland

Right after getting home from 3 weeks in England, we packed again to travel to Portland. We arrived home on Tuesday and left Thursday noon-ish for Portland. Himself was to attend BSides, another computer conference.

I planned to sketch and hang out with Wanda, our long time friend. We’ve known each other since Germany in the 1980’s. We stayed at McMenamins Kennedy School hotel which was just a couple blocks from her home.

After dropping Himself at the convention center, Wanda wanted to take me to The Grotto. It is the Roman Catholic “National Sanctuary of our Sorrowful Mother” (Mary) operated by the Servite Friars in Portland, OR There is a monastery on the grounds…which are extensive.

The Grotto itself is carved from a rock hillside

The upper gardens are beautiful and accessed by a very tall elevator. That’s Wanda sitting on a bench below for scale.

Once up there, I sketched the view of the church dome below from the chapel with an entirely glass front.

We browsed the shop. I found the statue a friend wanted but it was far too pricey. I saw these dolls, which are the first of their kind I’ve ever seen.  The second one was a nun.

On Saturday, I again dropped Himself off. Wanda and I started at the Chinese Garden, one of my favorite spots in Portland. It was a sunny, crisp fall day with some color still left in the trees.

We had lunch in McMenamins Barley Mill, so I got another stamp in my Mcm’s passport.  It was quite the colorful place.  The women’s loo might induce a seizure with the rotating colored lights!

I’ve always wanted to sketch the St. John’s Bridge. Wanda found a good spot from which to view it in Cathedral Park.


The Grotto

Chinese Garden and St. John’s Bridge

Posted in Journal, Sketch Crawl, Sketches, Urban Sketchers | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yorkshire – week three


Wednesday, 16 October.  This was Museum Day.  We went to two plus a walk around inside the city wall.

In the Yorkshire Museum I was only interested in the medieval section and there wasn’t very much of that. We didn’t stay too long. It wasn’t the place that Don was remembering. Turns out that was the Castle Museum, where we went next. He wanted to see the recreated Victorian street again.

I didn’t take as long to go through, so I went outside  to sit on a bench in the sun and sketched Clifford’s Tower.  It has a dark history.  The present stone tower dates from the 13th century.

Then we walked through the Shambles and a bit around York minster so Himself could see them again.

Thursday, 17 October York-Manchester  This is the last leg of our trip.  On the way, we’d arranged to stop at the new home of an old friend of mine.  I knew Jan during the time I was at Leeds University.  We’d lost touch for many years but she recently found me via my blog!  We spent the afternoon in conversation, catching up on the intervening years.

We thus arrived in Manchester later than might have been best.  It was after dark when we got to the hotel in Manchester.  We missed a couple turns but got there OK, found a close parking spot on the street so we could unload. The room was very small and it was hard to fit everything and move around. But wif was fast and the shower was good.

So it was in the dark that we drove to Hertz car return at the airport. Again missed turns but still got there OK. Car turned it with no additional charges. Then we went by airport bus to Terminal 1, walked to the train station and caught the correct train.  It was another bit of a walk back to the hotel, navigating in the dark by GPS.

Manchester is not in Yorkshire.  Our last days there were so Himself could attend Ogg Camp, a computer conference, on Saturday and Sunday.

Friday, 18 October:  This was one of two days Himself had to explore Manchester.  As we walked to the city center, we stopped to visit the Turing Memorial.  More on that later.

We walked through the city center to the John Rylands Library. It was founded by Enriqueta Rylands in memory of her husband John Rylands. In 1889 the architect Basil Champneys designed the striking Gothic building, which took ten years to build and was opened to public readers on 1 January 1900.  The long reading room is lined with statues of famous men of science and letters.  I chose to sketch that of Gutenberg.

Neither one of us got a good photo of the long reading room.  There are lots of other images linked below.

Saturday, 19 October:  I’d made contact with USk Manchester and Monika organized a sketch outing.  Unfortunately, not many were able to attend.

I met Monika.  We sketched in the central library. She showed me the wonderful round upper room with a beautiful dome.

But I wanted to tell the story of the Manchester Worker Bee and there was a sculpture near the lobby.

“The Manchester worker bee is one of the best-known symbols of Manchester and has been an emblem for the city for over 150 years. The bee denotes Mancunians’ hard work ethic and the city being a hive of activity. It has also come to represent the sense of unity in our great city.”

Ann Marie met up with us later, at the art museum. And a friend and coworker of Monika’s even later. We sat in the museum cafe for tea and sharing stories of sketching adventures and our sketch books. I forgot to get a photo of us!

Afterwards, Anne Marie took me on a tour of the art stores I’d wanted to see! We went to Cass Art and then to nearby Fred Aldous. I’d thought I might get a Seawhite of Brighton sketch book but in the end decided not. It’s only 90#, landscape format, and not cotton paper. I saw Daniel Smith paints in Aldous.

Sunday 20 October:  While walking to other venues I identified some places I wanted to sketch.  However, as I was leaving the hotel, I encountered this interesting duo:  one live in the hallway and the other remote on a rolling screen.  It’s Ogg Camp here, after all.

I started with VIMTO“The high sugar level and the strong flavour works as a welcome energy boost after a day of no food or drink. Ramadan has begun and Muslims around the world will abstain from eating and drinking during daylight for a month – and a certain British soft drink will play a major role.”

I bought the two versions of VIMTO currently available: the still juice in a box and the fizzy version in a can.  They were both rather vile.  Himself likened the taste to Robitussin!

But it was a stop on the Manchester tour:

Next, I went to Sackvill Gardens for two sketches. It is described as being in the Heart of Manchester’s Gay Village. First is the LGBTQ+ Queen Bee. Remember, the Worker Bee is a symbol of Manchester. Designed and decorated by CJ Taylord Art and Ben Sedman Photography.

“The LGBTQ+ Queen Bee design is a symbol of LGBT Pride. The legacy and poignancy of Alan Turing’s life is mirrored in the eyes of this beautiful Bee. Street names and landmarks tell the story of Queen Bee’s new home at the heart of the Village. This sculpture inspires us to accept, embrace and celebrate life in all its glorious forms. The ultimate message is #LoveIsLove.”

From what I’ve gleaned, it was one of many bees placed around the city last year in the Bee in the City project.

Lastly, I sketched the stature which is a memorial to Alan Turing. “Unveiled in 2001, the figure sits on a bench, which is itself made of bronze, holding an apple which is likely meant to signify the biblical fruit of knowledge. Etched on the bench behind him is a rough cipher meant to look like the output of the infamous Enigma Machine which Turing helped crack. When decoded, the phrase reads, “Founder of Computer Science.” “

However, I’ve read something different about the apple: As the story goes, on 7 June, 1954, he committed suicide by eating an apple laced with cyanide. However, that might not be the whole story.   “Turing committed suicide after being legally outed for being homosexual making him an important figure in the LGBT community. The statue’s placement seems to reflect this as it is located near to Manchester’s gay culture center.”

During our final day in England we just took it easy.  I worked on photos, documenting sketches and other tasks.

Some collected observations:

Mt. Dew is stocked in the energy drink aisles of the grocery store.

When I lived in Leeds in the late 1970’s, everyone used “Ta, luv” as a greeting, a thank you, etc. No one says it now.  I had one store clerk say it to me the entire time.  Everyone just says, “Cheers” now instead.

Shop keepers, restaurant servers, etc say “Ya’ alright?” as a greeting that might mean, “can I help you?”.

Again, during the time I lived in Yorkshire, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding was ubiquitous.  I couldn’t find it on the menu anywhere during this trip!  The friend we visited did take us to The Carvery, an upscale buffet, that served it so we finally had some.

There are probably as many coffee shops now as tea shops. There weren’t as many Starbucks as I thought there might be.  Most of the coffee shops I encountered seemed to be independent ones.

At the University of Leeds, no one wore the traditional university striped scarves.  Nearly everyone did when I was there.


16 October York Museums

18 October Around Manchester

18 October John Rylands Library Manchester

19 October Outing with Urban Sketchers Manchester

20 October Sketching in Manchester


Posted in Daily Sketches, Journal, Photography, Sketch Crawl, Sketches, Urban Sketchers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Yorkshire – week two

Leeds, West Yorkshire

Wednesday, 9 October was a day for Himself.  While attending a talk at McMenamins Anderson School in Bothell, we met the brewmaster for Samuel Smith’s brewery in Tadcaster.  He invited Himself to get in contact if in England and offered a private tour of the brewery.  Himself made contact so today was the day for that tour.

Samuel Smith is the oldest brewery in Yorkshire, established 1758.  They use traditional methods to make their beer.

To my delight, our first stop was the stables for the mighty grey Shire horses! We met Sovereign, who is their oldest horse at 17 years. He will retire soon (1-2 years) and they have already found and are training his replacement. Horse master Simon brought out Prince for us to meet. He’s their largest horse at 18 hands. The horses haul a beer wagon and deliver kegs to Samuel Smith pubs within a 5 mile radius…every week day, all year round.  Simon later left a large horse shoe for me which was recently removed from Prince. It’s a great souvenir.

I agreed I wouldn’t share the photos I took inside the brewery. And it went too fast for me to do any sketching.  They still uses slate stone Yorkshire squares to ferment all its ales and stouts (except Sovereign and Extra Stout) and the same yeast strain has been used since the 1800s.

Because I remained interested in Yorkshire, I took note when the listed 18th Century bridge in Tadcaster partially collapsed on 29 December 2015 due to a flood. The town was cut in two to traffic, with the only crossing being a temporary footbridge.  The tan colored stones in the photo below is the repair. 

On Thursday, 10 October we had a bit of a rest day.  Himself had developed a cough similar to the one he had during the trip to Germany last December.    I did take the bus down to the university and wandered around a bit. I didn’t go very deep into campus. The student union is in a new building and has so many services. The market even had Krispi-Creme doughnuts!

I didn’t try to find the building where I had Social Work classes.  What I did learn is that the Social Work department is now housed in the new medical education building.

I did a sketch of one of the original red brick buildings, the Great Hall.

Leeds to York

Friday the 11th was a travel day which we also used to do laundry while on the move to York.  I identified a place not too much out of the way that had parking for the car.

We arrived at check in time at our hotel, which was just outside the city wall.  After unpacking, I went out to explore the area close by. I did a sketch of Micklegate, one of the many old gates through York’s city wall.

Micklegate comes from Mickelith, meaning “Great Street”. As the main gate into York from London and The South, Micklegate Bar has been the scene of much pageantry and many receptions for kings and queens. Also, the severed heads of rebels and traitors were once displayed here.

The view from near our hotel

Saturday, 12 October was probably the best weather day of the trip so far.  I decided to go to the Shambles, a famous, old, medieval street.  Himself still feeling poorly.  Since the weather was so good, I planned to do a sketch.  Bad Idea.  The street is very narrow and it was jam packed with tourists.  No room to stand and sketch.  I must say, though, the Shambles has become a bit of a Diagon Alley! That’s a Harry Potter reference.

Sunday (13th) was another lazy day.  I didn’t go out until the afternoon.  I walked around the wonderful York Minster (a great cathedral) prior to attending Evensong. There was a queue to get in. The sung service lasted about an hour. I had trouble hearing some of the speaking…. amplification was both not quite loud enough and the echo was such it made words indistinct. No sketching.

It was raining and I walked back to the hotel along the city wall.  The fall colors are very subtle.


Something new in the decades since I lived here: ” YorkyPud” It’s a Yorkshire pudding pastry used as a wrap around a pie filling of beef and vegetables. Lots of beefy chunks. It was good.

I had a plan of action for Monday (the 14th)!  At about 8am I left to go to the Shambles to sketch. It was a bit chilly but clear and dry. The Shambles was virtually empty so I had a good opportunity to sketch.

What a difference a couple days make.

Instead of going into the Minster at 0900 when it opened, I went to the larger of the two Betty’s tea rooms for breakfast. Had a pot of tea and a scone. I don’t think scones are for breakfast, but I did not care!  I’d tried to get into Betty’s on Saturday but the lines were out into the street!  No line and plenty of tables this am.

After getting warmed up by the tea, I walked around the Minster and found a good view to sketch that wasn’t toooo Gothically intimidating!

After a bit of a rest, we set out for the Railway Museum together. I did one sketch of a Royal train that wasn’t black! See link below for lots of photos.

Tuesday, 15 October.  We drove back roads to the North Yorkshire coast. To get there we traveled through the wild and desolate North York Moors National Park.

First we stopped at Whitby Abbey. It’s not a very big site so we walked around a bit and I did one sketch of a section of wall.  The ruins are that of a 13th-century Gothic abbey but it was first founded in about AD 657.  It was here that St Hild, a pioneering abbess, hosted the 7th century Synod of Whitby at the abbey, where church leaders decided the English Church should follow Roman rather than Celtic practices

This is one of my favorite sketches of this trip.

Then on to the quaint fishing village of Staithes. We had to park high up the hill and walk far down to the beach, where most of the quaint old town was. There were hardly any shops open.  There are lots of holiday cottage rentals. I didn’t see the classic looking-down-the-hill view. And I didn’t do a sketch. It was a long slog up the hill!


9 October Samuel Smith Brewery

10 October Around Leeds University

11 October Leeds to York

12 October York Shambles and Minster

13 October York Minster

14 October  York Shambles and Minster sketching

14 October Railway Museum  lots of photos

15 October Whitby and Staithes








Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Latest Inktober

I’m caught up for Inktober what with four more sketches I did in Portland this weekend (more on that later).

OK.  I’m done posting for today.  I need a nap.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yorkshire – week one

Leeds, West Yorkshire

We arrived at Manchester airport on Wednesday and the day was spent in travel to Leeds and getting settled in.

On Thursday, 3 October, I had a walk around the area and visited the place I used to live.  I had a fellowship year at the University of Leeds a few decades ago and lived on Bennett Road, just around the corner from our hotel.  The top window was my room.

In the evening, we walked down the Otley Road to the coffee shop where Joe Bean had his art show opening. It was quite good. The show as made up of sketches of the deconstruction and rebuilding of Headingley stadium. Several people were there. Afterwards, it was starting to rain so we took the bus back to the hotel.

We went to the Royal Armoury south of Leeds city center on Friday, 4 October. There are four floors of exhibitions, though not a lot on the 3rd floor. I started on the 2nd, where the oldest armor is. Swung through and then settle down to sketch a man and horse in armor from 15th century. It’s rather late period for my taste but it’s what was most appealing. The equestrian armor is from late 15th century German, or “Gothic” style. The horse armor was probably made in 15th century as well.

After lunch at museum cafe, I went up to 4th floor to sketch a massive model of elephant in armor! Both riders wore chain maile. And so many articulated plates in the elephant armor! This is, of course, from India and probably daes from late 16th to 17th century. This is the only known surviving example of a near-complete set of mail and plate elephant armor!  Later the USk Yorkshire sketchers said, looking at my sketchbook, “everyone sketches the elephant!”.

The long-ish bus trip back to Headingley was very long: the bus abandoned us in south Leeds! Driver’s replacement didn’t come so he asked us to leave the bus, he walked away and we were to wait for the next one. It was about 30 min later. We had a nice chat with a woman from suburb north of Leeds whose council is taking issue with such bus service. Eventually got on the next bus and sat in the front seats of the upper level so got a good view of the tour through Leeds. Saw the rail station, Queen’s Hotel, Leeds University Tower, Pack Horse Inn where I went to hear music, and Hyde Park.

Saturday, 5 October was the afternoon sketch walk around Headingley led by Joe.  Fortunately, on my way I ran into him. I was heading to the wrong point at the stadium. He said they’d indicated the cricket ground entrance but I hadn’t noticed that. It was about 4 blocks around the stadium to the correct location. Good thing I ran into him. We were about 10 people. The walk was 1445-1600, so not very long. Spent a lot of that time walking! We did do 3 15 minute sketches.

First at the stadium, where I sketched an off license across the street. As of this moment, I can’t find that sketch!  Then we walked over to the “Bear Pit”. It dates from late 1800’s but I’d never heard of it that I remember.

Joe took the group photo at this location, so he’s not in the photo.

Last stop was at an entrance to Hyde Park. I sketched a church steeple.

We shared sketches at a corner in the park.

Then we ended at the Coffee on the Crescent where Joe’s show is hung. We had a coffee and sat for about an hour, talking and looking at each other’s sketchbooks.

I joined the USk Yorkshire outing to Skipton on Sunday, 6 October.  The location was chosen for the Puppet Festival. I wasn’t interested in that though I did take a brief break from my sketch to watch the parade from afar.

My first sketch was of the parish church.

Himself and I then went into the Castle. I wandered around before settling in to do a sketch of one of the short towers. Talked with another sketcher, Jan, who, as it turned out, knows Tina from USk Seattle! They met in a pencil interest group. We went to lunch together and Himself joined us. I had the best pasty I’ve had in many years!

I got to the 1500 meeting spot at the pub just a few minutes late. They seemed to like the goodie bags. We shared sketch books around while having drinks (coffee for me, thanks). We mostly escaped the predicted rain so sat outside on the patio. I looked through many excellent sketchbooks. I had a perfectly lovely time and am very glad I went!

Himself took the group photo:

Then I did the driving home.  The route was on back country roads so I got comfortable driving on the left.

Monday’s (7 October) destination was the “historic market town” of Thirsk. It’s actually famous for being the real location of the home and surgery (veterinary practice) for the man who wrote the James Herriot “All Creatures Great and Small” series.  That was James Alfred Wight.  It was staged to look as it did in the 1940’s.   I sketched the front door to the surgery.

See link below for lots of photos from inside the house.  Our selfie in front of the statue of Dr. Wight

The place had the feeling of a small, country town.  Yet the high-tech 21st century was present in this electric vehicle charging station:

And the defibrillator on a wall on the street:

Finally, Tuesday, 8 October was an all day trip to the great Fountains Abbey.  It is the largest monastic ruins in the country with its history beginning in 1132. I’d made at least a couple visits there during my student days at Leeds.  I did two sketches, east and west views.

Photo albums:

Thursday, 3 Oct Around Headingley

Friday, 4 Oct  Royal Armoury

Saturday 5 Oct  Headingley Sketch Crawl

Sunday, 6 October  Sketch outing to Skipton

Monday, 7 October Thirsk

Tuesday, 8 October Fountains Abbey

Posted in Photography, Sketch Crawl, Sketches, Urban Sketchers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments