State Capitol

It was a sunny but chilly morning at the State Capitol in Olympia, WA. Our Urban Sketchers Tacoma group was small but intrepid as some of us sketched outside.

I started inside with the corridor in front of the Governor’s office. I’m surprised there isn’t more security. There was no x-ray scanner or metal detector to pass through upon entering the building as there is in the Federal Building in downtown Seattle. The only visible protection were a few State Police officers, one of whom was sitting at a desk just inside the Governor’s suite.

Dozens of school children passed by on tours led by Capitol staff.  “turn off your cell phones; remove your hoods; no photos allowed in the Governor’s office….”.

I wandered around the building a bit and then headed outside for a view of the dome. I only had about a half hour left so limited the sketch.

Sharing sketches and the group photo.

We’re missing one or two who had to leave early.

More photos

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Vikings Begin

Every couple months I meet some former co-workers for lunch. We choose a different venue each time and I suggested the Nordic Museum’s cafe. I had an ulterior motive in that I wanted to return to see “The Vikings Begin” exhibit.  These are Treasures from Uppsala University, Sweden.

I dared the “Via-Doom” trip. Google sent me on an odd route to avoid I-5 via 4th Ave. downtown. But I arrived in relatively good time, given the horrible traffic jams predicted by the closure of 99, the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

When King 5’s Evening did a show from this exhibit, they said this helmet has a beard.  No, it’s just chainmail that’s been fused together.

I had enough time to wander the small exhibit, take some photos and start a sketch. I made another attempt at using Procreate on the iPad. To be honest, I am not enjoying this method of sketching. One frustration is that the colors from the color picker do not seem as vibrant when applied to my sketch…and I do have saturation turned up all the way.  I’ll investigate other settings on the brushes and get the screen overlay that adds a bit of paper-like tooth.

The helmet and sword are from the Vallsgärde boat graves, 7th century.

More photos (these are full resolution and available for download).

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SS Pen Pal

There are still rumors that the Country Village in Bothell will be sold and torn down for development. Since this is another beautiful weather day, I drove back to Bothell to sketch there again before that happens.

I’d intended to take the iPad along with my usual sketch kit.  But I left the bag with it at home.  Hmmm….. unconscious resistance?

In mid-afternoon, I stopped for coffee at the Dollhouse Bakery.  Turns out the baker is Christopher Doll and he is also an artist!  He had hung in the bakery some beautiful casein paintings of the Country Village as well as some fantasy art.  He said he’s illustrated some Sci Fi books.  I asked him about the status of the place and he said it’s rumored the deal to sell it fell through.  Seems the shop owners might not even know what’s going on.

I decided not to sketch the giant chicken again. I didn’t find a view I liked better than the one I did a few years ago. I did notice this time that there is also a giant egg!

I hoped the SS Pen Pal pen shop would be open but it wasn’t. I’m 0 or 3 on that.  The two women on the bench left while I was sketching but I’d finished them, having taken the “sketch first what might move” approach.   A little while later two women came up behind me to look at my drawing.  Then one said, “Is that US?”  I looked around better and sure enough, it was them!

More photos

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Procreate Workshop

About a year ago I bought the new (cheaper) iPad 2018 and Apple Pencil. This gave me the option to use Procreate for sketching. My very old iPad couldn’t even load that app. However, there were so many options and commands, I just never figured it out.
Yesterday (Saturday, 12 January 2019) I went from nearly 0 to 45. I’m not at 60 yet but I have a good start.  I took Gabi Campanario‘s Procreate workshop.

Gabi took us systematically through the basics of drawing with Procreate. We did exercises at each point that helped solidify the concepts and techniques. I definitely ended the day feeling more confident in using this app.  I would emphatically recommend this workshop to anyone wanting to start learning Procreate!

We imported a photo and reduced the saturation so we could draw over it, using layers. That first one was a selfie. Not gonna show it! But here is one from a photo I took in Germany.

We went out to sketch on location in the afternoon. It was perfect weather: about 55 degrees and sunny. We walked down to Bothell City Hall where we found some sculptures. Gabi told us the charming sculptures are by Georgia Gerber, who also sculpted “Rachel”, the pig at Pike Place Market. All had been given scarves to wear.

Gabi demonstrates

My sketch there had to be the otter.  I think it’s much better than the other Procreate attempts I’ve made prior to this workshop!

Back at the studio we learned a few more concepts. One difficulty I find is the slickness of the screen. It feels like I don’t have enough control of the Apple Pencil.   I draw on watercolor paper and am accustomed to quite a bit of drag from the tooth of the paper.  Gabi recommended a screen protector film that adds a bit of paper-like friction.  It’s “PaperLike” 

As we ended, Gabi took a group photo.

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Wednesday evening was Drink and Draw at Luther’s Table.  This evening we had Rachel modeling in her Rey costume.  This is the main character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Here is a selection of the sketches from the session.  We start with 1 minute gestures and finish with 20 minutes, when I can use watercolor.

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Monday at the Mothership

I’m catching up on posting sketches…

Sunday, January 6th I went to Jodi Steele’s Social Watercolor at Daniel Smith, Seattle, which I call “the mothership”.

Sadly, after February, it’s going to be the only ship.   The Bellevue/Redmond store is closing.  Their lease is up and they’ve decided not to renew.

I was there early so I sat in my car and sketched the view in front on me.  That’s the dashboard and the painted sign on the wall of the DS building

During this demo, I didn’t work on the suggested project.  I’d brought one of my photos from Germany from which to paint.  This is another view of my former “home” castle, Burg Lichtenberg in the tiny village of Thallichtenberg.

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Holiday window

It’s chilly and raining outside so I’m sketching from my own photos.  I’ve selected a few from the Germany trip.  This is a window on a narrow street in Nuremberg that led to our hotel.

It’s on a larger sheet of Bockingford 140# watercolor paper.  I gave the rest of a pack away at the Brenda Swenson workshop last summer.  She likes it but I have a new favorite.  It buckles more than I would expect from the weight.  It’s also not 100% cotton.

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End of 2018

Here are my collected notebooks, journals and sketchbooks… mostly.

These are my Every Day Carry (EDC) notebooks, mostly Field Notes brand.  I have one each for my art/sketching bag, the Museum of Flight and my EDC purse.  The larger grey one is a sketchbook.  The top ones were filled during the year and the bottom ones are still in use, though it looks like I’m missing the current art notebook.

These are the sketchbooks.  The envelopes at the top hold the loose pages removed from my disc-bound sketchbook.  One Field Notes sketchbook filled and one Stillman and Birn Nova also completed.  The lower ones are those still in progress.  The largest one in the middle is the one I’ve reserved for sketching “Project Welcome Home” at the Museum of Flight.  That should finish sometime this spring.  Based on the sketches scanned, I made 328 sketches this year.

Finally, the journals filled in 2018. They are UW Composition books, Midori A5 blank journals and Leuchtturm1917 softcover large books.  My journals can best be described as a combination of a record of daily thoughts and events and a Commonplace Book.    I think there is one missing here, though. 

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Hello and Goodbye

Hello and Goodbye at the Museum of Flight.

It’s “goodbye” to the Apollo exhibit, at least for now, though I don’t know in what manner it will eventually return. Its dismantling will start on Jan 2 as it comes down to make room for the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibit, “Destination Moon”. That means the Museum of Flight will have for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing the real Apollo 11 Command Module which orbited the moon!

I did a quick, loose montage sketch of various sections of the exhibit. One section is focused on Pete Conrad and Gemini. They have several of his belongings and memorabilia, the oddest of which is his “bite plate” from Mercury in 1959! That’s the red bit next to the space suit.

The blue edge on Pete Conrad’s spacesuit cover looked like ric-rac to me. I’m sure it’s much more sophisticated.

Also in the sketch are: Apollo Command Module 
Above it the Apollo 17 Lunar Module Ascent Stage Mock up

It’s “hello” to a new sculpture of Amelia Earhart. It was installed a few weeks ago but this is the first chance I’ve had to sketch it. Behind it is the Electra which was built at the same time as hers and has been reconfigured to match hers as closely as possible.

People are encouraged to sit on the bench with her.  And they do.

And goodbye to 2018. Happy New Year!

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Germany: Overall impressions

Overall Impressions:

My cell service provider is Google Fi.  It works great in Germany! Not a single problem. I turned on “international calling” and was able to make calls to German numbers. I ended up using a lot of data due to poor wi fi in our hotels. But Fi has a max cap on the charge: 6 gigs for $60 and after that its free. But our final hotel had perfect wifi and we could stream programs from our home DVR! (# we’re living in the future!)

We could have made this trip about a week less. Winter days are short and while the Christmas markets are beautiful at night, there really isn’t that much to do. We’re not much for going to bars and clubs at night.  Once we’d had dinner in a restaurant, we were done.  Many of our favorite places were closed. Burg Eltz is our favorite castle in Germany (followed very closely by our home Burg Lichtenberg) and it was completely closed until April 2019. That was the case for the Rick Steves recommended Mosel village of Bielstein. Every single place was closed until April. We couldn’t even get lunch!

Several times I had the thought, “this is the last time I’ll see this place”.  It was rather bittersweet.  Given our ages and our future travel plans, we probably won’t repeat this trip.  I missed the opportunity to visit my former work place as we couldn’t get through the military security.

Everywhere we saw huge windmills on tops of hills, solar panels on roofs as well as fields of solar collectors.  It’s much more visible there than here in western WA.

Toward the end of the trip, even daytime temps were about freezing. It was just too cold to sketch outside.  I’d brought a minimal sketch kit, I was satisfied with it, and didn’t feel the need for more.  However, I’d say I was “coping” and I’ll probably go back to my usual large pack!  I often bring extra items due to being an admin for Urban Sketchers.

Most German locations playing music played the most awful of “pop” American Christmas tunes. I need to listen to my collection of Metropolitan Museum of Art traditional Christmas Carols as an aural palette cleanser,  so to speak!

One last thing.  The Germans could be said to over-engineer things.  I started a sketchbook page for “uni-taskers”, to use Alton Brown’s term. I thought I’d see more as I can think of some items from when I lived there but I didn’t encounter them again. The thing on the left is used to crack open the top of a soft boiled egg!


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