Cap again

Jesse brought his Captain American again to Cosplay Drink and Draw at Luther’s Table.

It was a 5 minute pose during which I got the ink drawing done.  Then I took more time for the watercolor.

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Between the rain drops

A group of intrepid sketchers from Urban Sketchers Tacoma braved some occasional but brief showers to sketch around the Soos Creek Botanical Garden yesterday.

Carolyn had her own solution to rain protection!

During a rain shower, I sheltered under an tent in the vegetable garden area. I sketched what was in view: bright flowers and a horse trailer. Learned from the Master Gardeners who grow the vegetables that they donate what they grow to a local food bank. Today they estimated about 50 pounds of fresh fruit and veg was going out to them!

I couldn’t resist the little red wagons and pumpkins. It’s must really be Fall if the pumpkins are out.

Lots more photos, particularly of flowers.

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O is for Otter

It was a fun session of Mixed Media Play Day with Janice Berkebile today at the Daniel Smith Mothership!

As always, she brought “all the things”:  her many supplies which she generously allowed us to use. I tried the Faber Castell colored Pitt Pens.

The topic was “Letter Me This”. The idea was to use a sea creature in the creation of a letter. Her suggestion was to use elements of the animal as patterns and motifs: “say it without saying it”.  Her “U” below is based on a sea urchin shell.

But I couldn’t quite get there. My favorite wild animal is the sea otter and I couldn’t figure out how to make that into a letter so I just put her inside a letter.

However, I did work an element into the background. I designed an Illuminated Capitol as seen in medieval manuscripts. Then I got the wild idea to do a diaper pattern ** background. If you notice, inside the diamond shapes are the shape of the otter’s cute little nose and mouth.

**From the French diapré (‘variegated’), a diaper pattern is a repetitive geometric pattern. Although used as early as the eleventh century, it often acted as a background in GOTHIC illumination.

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Not She-Sheds

It was fun sketching today in the Queen Anne neighborhood around the library.

Ellie arrives by scooter.

Susan and Victoria had matching Lamys on a lanyard!

Many of us were interested in the old sheds in a nearby alley.  These were almost falling down.  Definitely not “She-Sheds”.

The throw down and the group photo were both inside the library as we had a meeting, today, too.  There were several sketchers new to the group….Welcome All!

Eric is missing from the above group.

Our meeting was a discussion of the experiences had by those who attend the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Amsterdam this summer. We also talked about experiences and lessons learned from other symposia.

Along with several others, I sketched those sheds.

More photos.  I only did one sketch in the shorter session so I took some more photos around the area.

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Back in August of 2013, Urban Sketchers Seattle had an outing specifically to sketch the Viaduct as it was to be torn down soon. Well…

Today we sketched at the waterfront where the viaduct is mostly gone. It has been demolished over many months and some Seattle Sketchers have documented the process. I have not visited there since the demolition started so I was surprised at how open the area is now.

There are some still sections left and it was a popular subject today. We had 13 sketchers who braved Friday the 13th as well as possible rain. At the end we gathered around a statue of Ivar and his beloved gulls (more on that later).

Most of the sketchers stayed to share lunch obtained from the walk up Ivar’s Fish Bar. Some of us went out to feed french fries to the gulls. Here’s Tina offering some to one of gulls perched there for easy pickings.


I got bombed by one of the gulls! I was throwing fries to gulls on the water below and one of the ones perched above swooped in, hit the paper plate and all the fries went flying. I felt it’s wings as it raced by. So, not such “dainty eaters”!

I sketched this viaduct section in front of Big Fish Games, in the Maritime Building across from the ferry terminal. Himself referred to it as a “via-chunk” when I showed him the sketch later.

As I walked down the way from the light rail station, I took note of some scenes I might want to sketch. This Ivar’s running clam weather vane caught my eye, out at the end of a pier. The Ivar’s Acres of Clams restaurant and the walk-up window are just around the corner.


More photos

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Gertie’s Ghost

I had an errand in Tacoma today but was there a bit early. I decided to find “Gertie’s Ghost”.

After a bit of driving around I found a place to park. Since it’s fenced off, I thought the best vantage point was from above.

The 40,000 pound sculpture references the Tacoma Narrows bridge or a giant octopus. Or both, since legend has it a giant octopus lives under the bridge, in the wreckage of Galloping Gertie, the famous bridge that collapsed in 1940.

Artists Sean Orlando and David Shulman created the work as part of Sound Transit’s Sounder commuter rail project.

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Sandy demos trees

I’ve gotten to know Sandy Allnock a bit and admire her art from Urban Sketchers Tacoma. Today she did a demo at Daniel Smith about painting watercolor trees.  She has an avid following on social media and her on-line classes.

She always starts with the sky and goes on to paint the lightest greens while the sky is still wet. This gives a soft edge.  The reference photo is on the iPad at right.

She related a quote from a teacher concerning painting large and loose so as not to get caught up too early in the details: paint the dog and not the fleas. So she uses a brush that is a size or two larger than what she thinks she needs.

As the painting was nearly finished, she got down to the “fleas”:  adding in some details of bare trees.

The finished painting

Some of her other paintings which include trees.

She’s teaching a workshop on this subject next weekend but I understand it’s full.  I would highly recommend it, though, if you can get a spot! Some other examples of her paintings are at that link, too.

I’m hoping she teaches painting water, such as streams, ponds, lakes, ocean.  I didn’t sign up for Trees soon enough but I’ll be sure to not make that mistake again.

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Chambers Bay

Urban Sketchers Tacoma gathered yesterday at a park adjacent to the Chambers Bay Golf Club. Chambers Creek Regional Park includes 930 acres along the shore of south Puget Sound.

I decided to use a long page to create a montage.

I walked across the bridge that spans the rail tracks to provide access to the beach. On it were many “love locks”. I sketched these as an inset.

Two sketchers had pointed out the osprey nest on top of a large structure.

Next was other structures. These are all left from the gravel mining operations. “Pacific Bridge was one of the two fledgling gravel mines operating on the site where the Chambers Bay golf course now lies. Subsequent owners over the next century enjoyed the rich gravel deposits found there. By 1992, Lone Star Northwest had merged all the gravel mining into the single largest producer of sand and gravel in the nation. Large scale mining continued until December 2003 when commercial mining ended and reclamation of the Chambers Creek properties began.”

More photos.

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Evening of the Fawn

Kelsee as Pearl the Fawn was our fabulous model at Wednesday evening’s Cosplay Drink and Draw.

I was really fascinated by the headdress, though this isn’t quite a portrait, you get the gist.


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Autumn is coming

I’m looking forward to cooler weather and more rain.  I live in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) for a reason.  I felt like doing a sketch but didn’t want to go out in the heat, so I just did this wishful painting from a magazine cover.

I’m also continuing to use the Bee Super Deluxe sketchbook.  It’s not watercolor paper but a well know local artist uses it exclusively as his sketchbook.  The sketch I made last Saturday of the caboose did not have a good result and I blamed the paper as I couldn’t get the washes to behave.  However, here, it’s all good.  So what is different?  I think it’s patience.  When sketching from the photo, I leave more time for the wash to dry.  The portion of the sketch of the caboose with which I was not satisfied had to do with a dry layer which may have been applied before the first layer was itself dry.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have an agreement with Kitsap Humane Society. I sketch from the photos posted to their Instagram and then give them the sketches to use as they like. It’s fun for me and helps them. They can use the sketches to auction at a fundraiser or give to those who foster or adopt the dogs.

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