Susie Short Demo

Tuesday seemed an odd day for a demo at Daniel Smith, Seattle.  They are usually on the weekends.  Susie Short, though, was passing through on her way home, so we had a demo today.  She’ll be back in October for 2 sessions of 3-day workshops:  one each at Daniel Smith Bellevue and Seattle.

She demonstrated mixing and painting with a split primary palette.  She uses 3 warm colors and 3 cool colors:  Hansa YUellow Medium (c), New Gamboge (w), Phthalo Blue (c), French Ultramarine (w), Quinacridone Rose (c), Pyrrol Orange (w).

Following are some tips and tricks that I found particularly useful.  We were joking that these were “worth the price of admission”.  Of course, the demo was free, so these are actually worth far more than the price of admission!

Mix a “dirty water solution” of neutral tint.  Use it as a wash over a completely dry section of a painting that you want to tone down, or send to background.  Not only the paint must be dry, but the back of the paper has to be completely dry.

When filling palette wells or pans, fill only 1/3 at a time.  This prevents cracking.

This was the head slapping wonderful suggesting….. How she makes a palette chart:  Use the Daniel Smith color chart!  Cut out each color used in the palette and tape to the key for your palette colors.  In using the chart, the technical details on each color are also there!

That was a “coulda had a V-8″ moment!

Using a flat brush for evergreen trees.

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Angels on the ground

The Blue Angels arrived late yesterday afternoon/evening at the Museum of Flight.  They will be based there during SeaFair Weekend.   PR Guy at the Museum made a video of their arrival.  They showed off a bit before coming in for landing.

I went over first thing this morning to do a sketch of the aircraft. They are kept behind a fence topped with concertina wire and further barricades at the secure Boeing Military facility next door. Because of the additional barricades, we can’t get as close to the fence as last year.


This is F/A-18 #1 and the C-130 known as “Fat Albert”.   The logo on the tail is a bit of photo-collage.

A woman joined the team in September 2014 and flies the C-130!  She is U.S. Marine Corps CPT Katie Higgins.  She flew almost 400 combat hours in support of numerous operations and exercises in Afghanistan, Djibouti, France, Greece, South Sudan, Spain, and Uganda.

Museum of Flight’s Aloft magazine cover courtesy of US Navy Blue Angels

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48th WWSCD in Olympia

Urban Sketchers Seattle and Tacoma joined together for the 48th World Wide SketchCrawl Day in Olympia.  We met at the “Legislative Steps”… the large stairs into the Capitol building.

This facade is so impressive but I found it a little overwhelming in its architectural grandeur.  I sketched a side view with the dome from across the street.

As I’d arrived, staff at the Visitors’ Center told me that there would be a wreath laying ceremony at the Korean War memorial this morning.  It was in commemoration of the anniversary of the end of the war.  I was a bit late getting over to the site and the ceremony was all but over.  However, I had time to pay tribute with a sketch including the wreaths.  The flags are at half mast in honor of the military killed this past week in the shootings in Tennessee.

On the way back, I stopped for a moment of remembrance and honor at the Viet Nam memorial.  This is my era.

We met back on the Legislative Steps to share our sketches.  I’d seen Michelle taking photos at the Korea memorial and she stopped by to look at our sketches.  She took the group photos:

Then we went on the the Olympia Farmers Market.  It is the second largest in the state.  There is much more there than simply produce and they have a permanent structure.  We ate from the many food booths.

While we were having lunch together, Tina told us that the 2016 Urban Sketchers International Symposium will be in Manchester, England!!!  I am so excited.  I am already planning to go!  I’d just said to Tina yesterday, somewhat jokingly, “I wish they’d have it in Yorkshire”.  Well, Manchester is definitely close enough.  And USk Yorkshire will be helping in the hosting efforts.  Himself has already said he’ll go with me so we’ll probably make it a 2 or 3 week trip.  That way, we can see the friends we have in London and Wales.  These are friends from when I lived in Leeds, West Yorkshire,  a very long time ago!

At the Farmers Market, I again found the scene too  large and chaotic.  I followed Jane’s advice and just sketched a portion of one of the vegetable stands.

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Salty’s on Alki

The ad hoc outing met at Salty’s on Alki.  This venue offered the opportunity to sketch pieces of the (now scrapped) historic ferry,  Kalakala.

The traffic wasn’t as bad as expected, so I arrived at 9am, an hour early!  I found my 19th (of 25) Astronaut on the Town on the porch of Salty’s restaurant.  I settled down to sketch it while I waited for the sketchers to arrive.

Aquarius by Xavier Lopez, Jr.

Other than the astronaut, I really wanted to see and sketch the remains of the Kalakala.  I got as far as getting the ink drawing completed when it started to rain.  I tried using an umbrella but it was broken.  I finally gave up and sought shelter in Salty’s for a beverage and a snack.  Michele and Marvin had the same idea so we sat together, talked and sketched the scene out the windows.

Marvin, before the rain, also sketching the Kalakala

Teri sketching the lobster sculpture; this was her first sketch outing with us

A woman came up to us to ask, “are you Urban Sketchers?”.  Why, yes, we are!  Hopefully she will join us in future.

Fortunately, the rain stopped when it was time to share sketches.

Group inside the Kalakala:  standing:  Marvin, Michele, Frank, Suzanne, Teri, Kathleen; kneeling: Tina, Kate (Gwen, Linda and perhaps another sketcher left early) Teri was new today…. welcome Teri!

view of Seattle skyline from one of the Kalakala portholes

After lunch, I finished my Kalakala sketch with a suddenly very hot sun beating down on me.   This image of the sketch shows the special name badge I made for today:  “Singapore Pity Party”  a joking commemoration of our missing the Urban Sketchers Symposium happening now in Singapore.  Frank shared his experience of having ridden on the Kalakala in 1966!  He also told me the hunk of metal next to it is the piston and a bit of the crank shaft next to it.

More photos here

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Museum press event

There was an important announcement at the Museum of Flight today. It was a big press event, too.  The Boeing Company and the Boeing Family have donated $15 million each to the Museum of Flight Education programs.  More here

More about the programs and the impact this gift will have can be found here

I did a quick “reportage” pen sketch in my Field Notes scribbler to document the moment.

All the ACE (Aerospace Camp Experience) campers wore these special shirts today.

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View from the bench

I sketched this while interpreting at Fort Nisqually yesterday.  I sat on a bench in the shade in front of the “Large Store” building.  The white house in the background is the Factor’s House, where the manager of the installation lived.

For a Wednesday, there seemed to be many visitors.  I interacted with a few but nothing remarkable.  It was a very peaceful, quiet day.

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Show at AFK on Thursday (tomorrow)!

I’ll have my sketchbooks on display, as will others who regularly sketch at the Drink & Draw! If you’re free, come to AFK for a drink, a snack and a look at our show!  This is a reminder.

AFK Gallery Night

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Blue Bottles

After seeing a film at noon, I was a bit early for the Farmers Market.  The Red House is a tapas restaurant in Renton, near where I park for the Market.  So I stopped to do this quick sketch in my Pentalic Aqua pocket watercolor sketchbook.

Oh, yes.  The film.  It was “Mr. Holmes”.  Sir Ian was brilliant and the film was wonderful.  If you like Sherlock Holmes, it’s a must see.

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Limited palette demo

This noon I braved the heat to attend a demo at Seattle Daniel Smith
by Ann Breckon.  The subject of the demo was “Painting with a Limited Palette”.

In a little over an hour, in sweltering conditions, she produced a beautiful painting with just 3 primaries.  Both of these paintings were completed during a demo.  The one on the left today and the one on the right yesterday in Bellevue.  Today she painted with the cool primaries and yesterday with the warm.  She made mixing all these colors seem easy.  That’s the decades of watercolor experience on display!

This is the group of paints she used:

I think I might try this limited palette.  I didn’t buy this boxed set as I think I have all these colors.  I’ll make a palette of full pans in a mint tin.


I have a few notes on specific tips and tricks I found useful.
* Magic eraser sponge might remove stains from palette
* Ox Gall Liquid breaks surface tension of watercolors on the palette, making washes easier and more fluid without adding water.  I bought some.
* “Clean the palette” Black:  brush out all the different colors “contaminating” each palette color and squeegee the brush full of color onto the a section of palette.  This will produce a dirty brown.  Add some ultramarine blue and presto, a gorgeous mix of black!
* Paint birds’ bodies directionally; have the birds always fly into the painting, not out of it, to draw the eye in. Direction of the slant of the bird’s body determines direction of flight.

She had a handout of many workshops and classes still available in 2015.  I found her prices exceptionally reasonable.  I’m tempted by ones in Federal Way but I won’t set foot in Hobby Lobby.  The ones at Daniel Smith conflict with my volunteer shift at the Museum of Flight.  Maybe I’ll look into location-based workshops in 2016.

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Occidental Park

Today’s Urban Sketchers Seattle Friday ad hoc outing was to Occidental Park in the Pioneer Square area.  I’ve been there perhaps once before but today I had more time to explore.  I satisfied myself with one good sketch and then walked around the area.

I must credit Vivian with spotting this view first!  She didn’t stay to sketch it so I did.  She moved on to a beautiful, ivy covered entry way.   This shows the view looking up from Occidental Park.  That’s the Columbia Center tower on the left and Smith Tower on the right.

But first, I am still enjoying the use of my “scribbler”.  My first sketch of the day was on the bus.  It’s a small Field Notes limited edition notebook with good paper.  My bus ride to the Light Rail was so short I only had time for this one sketch.  Squiggly lines = bumpy ride.

It was almost time to meet up again.  The band started up for the free concert.  Tubaluba (Jambalaya Brass Rock) performed.  It was loud.  The bass notes of the Tuba were rumbling in my chest.  But I stood to the side to get a quick sketch of the tuba player!

On the other side of the page is a sketch inside McCoy’s Firehouse Pub with firefighter memorabilia on the wall(s).

We met up to share sketches and get a group photo.

Me, Susan, Peggy, Michele, Frank, Tina, Vivian, Gwen (in back), Kathy, Susan, Marvin (in back), Sue.  Both Frank and Marvin were back with us after some absence.  Great to see them again!

I wandered all over a 2 block area.  On the basement level of an arcade, I found Ars Obscura Bookbinding and Restoration.  They were closed for the week.  So now I must go back sometime!     I peered through the shop windows and it looked wonderfully archaic!  (Do Not search for the website.  I’ve removed the link as the site has the logo of another organization and “Hacked by….” and other languages overwritten the text of the original site!)  The shop does have a blog which seems safe (as it’s hosted on another platform)

I found relatively acceptable German food. Late this evening I found this blog post, shared by a friend who also spent many years living in Germany.  “Why you will never be the same after living in Germany”.      The food at Alstadt was pretty good. I had schnitzel Wiener art with a side of Käsespätzle.  I would go back if I’m in the area again.  I took at least half my lunch home for Himself for dinner.  He liked it well enough, too.

Just as I was leaving, I encountered this painter who said he was there to paint the Piano in the Park.

All in all, a very pleasant day.

Lots of photos are here.

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