Fifth Anniversary in Gingerbread

This is the fifth Anniversary of the Urban Sketcher Seattle’s Friday Ad Hoc sketch outings. It might not be the exact date, but it is the same event. It was 5 years ago that just 5 of us gathered to sketch the Gingerbread Village.

It was Nilda, Tina, me, Peggy H. and Carleen that first time. Once we decided to continue, the numbers grew. You might also notice there are no other visitors surrounding the Gingerbread display. In future years we decided it had gotten just too crowded to sketch there.

This year, though, the display moved to a larger area so the Gingerbread constructions could be further apart. We decided to give it another try. There were far more sketchers present, too!

As usual, I was at our meeting location early. In a previous outing, I had noticed this view out the upper story windows. So while I waited, and again at the end while waiting for others to converge back, I sketched that view. Tina told me the rounded building is called “the copulating paperclips building”. Ok….

I walked around all of the displays. The theme this year is ” 25 Years of Cheer: A Celebration of Seattle”. I found I did not enjoy them as much as the previous years’ Star Wars and Harry Potter themes. From previous experience, I decided to choose a smaller section to sketch. This is the “Historic North Seattle” scene designed created by CallisonRTK & Hargis with Chef Lee Baldyga. It depicts an sailor but it was the gull in matching shirt that appealed to me!

Tina pointed out later that one of the member of USk Seattle works at CallisonRTKL! My thought was that made it an even better choice.

The Gingerbread constructions were starting to get crowded so that was a good time to sketch something else. Last time we met in this building I sketched this arch. I wanted to repeat it today but with the Christmas tree. I see my holiday card for next year!

Photos of all the Gingerbread structures:

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Sadly, the last time.

This is the 3rd year I’ve sketched the holiday decorations at the Stonehouse Bakery. In talking with Patrick, the owner and baker, I realized that is each of the Christmas seasons it’s been open.

Sadly, this will be the last time at this location. I’ve so enjoyed this unique, field stone building and the warmth of the bakery. And Urban Sketchers Seattle is going to miss this place, too. We’ve enjoyed Patrick’s hospitality several times while sketching there.

Patrick opens Patrick’s Cafe and Bakery in White Center on January 5.

Bee & Dee are Patrick’s dogs.

A few more photos here:


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Just a bit of holiday cheer

I went to the mall today thinking I would sketch Santa’s area.  Southcenter’s was just the same as the previous two or three years.  I had sketched it a few times in those previous years from various angles.  So I wasn’t into that.

I noticed this new installation on the wall over the escalator.  I included the table with the people both for scale and to add the poinsettia for an indication of the season.

Normally I’m in and out of the Southcenter area by no later than 1000 on Mondays.  Today I was there until 1330 and it had become quite crowded and traffic was heavy.

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Flexible at the Freighthouse

For Urban Sketchers Tacoma’s First Saturday outing, we were scheduled to sketch in a children’s tea room. Tom had made the arrangements but when we arrived, it was locked up. He came prepared and called the owners, who had forgotten. They sent an employee from their main venue but he didn’t have a key that worked!

Where we were going to sketch.

Good thing Urban Sketchers are flexible and pretty much happy to sketch anything. The rest of Freighthouse Square was decorated for the holidays with lots of interesting scenes to draw. We just spread out and carried on.

I only got one sketch done as I spent a bit of time talking. First, I thought I might sketch some of the holiday decor. But I moved down to the food court and those neon signs just pulled me in! I’ve long wanted to sketch this Fish & Chips sign. I’m still working on simplifying complex scenes and I think I did OK with this one. That’s what has stumped me before when I wanted to sketch the sign.  Bonus: getting another sketcher in the image.

It was a fun day, despite the snag at the beginning. Three new sketchers to the group and so many great sketches at the throw-down. Most of us went to the food court for lunch and grabbed a very long table and had interesting conversations.

BTW, the children’s tea room had a party booked for 1330. As we left after lunch, it was still locked up. I’m guessing that’s gonna be a bad Yelp review!

A couple more photos here:

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Sketching at the Museum (again)

I went to Museum of Flight early for a security training. The presenter was a former special forces combat veteran and current Homeland Security agent. Good educational presentation. I learned the difference between education and training. The latter is physical rehearsal. So today was  education. The subject was “Active Shooter”. Rather serious stuff.

“Her other plane is a 767”.

Due to a start time mix up, I had time for a 15 minute sketch. This  view is from 3rd floor, looking down on this homebuilt acrobatic plane hung sideways, as though it’s in the middle of an acrobatic maneuver. Clayton Stephens designed the Akro for homebuilders who wanted a plane for competitive aerobatics. This one was built by Gary Zimmerman and became the first amateur built Akro to fly in 1971. It was flown by Joann Osterud. She holds an unusual aviation record: over 4 hours and 38 minutes flying upside down. Ms. Osterud was the first female pilot hired by Alaska Airlines and flew Boeing 767’s for United Airlines.

I’d planned to stay after the “education” to do some sketching. Since the weather was not bad… about 50 degrees and not raining… I sketched the new sculpture outside. The girl is holding a B747. The sculptor is Nick Legeros

In the background is the Lockheed 1049G Super Constellation… aka “Super G” or “Connie”. I’ve sketched it a couple times before.   Error in the caption:  the dedication should read, “D.W. Nyrop”….

And The Mountain was out today. Sort of.

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Not shopping on Black Friday

It would seem that sketchers don’t care much for Black Friday shopping. Our Friday group is often just 8-12 sketchers. Today we had almost 30. It might also be that many working folk had the day off.

I arrived at the Burke Museum about an hour early due to surprisingly light traffic. I’ve always wanted to sketch the UW Observatory. Given that it wasn’t raining and also not too cold, this seemed the perfect chance to do so.  “The Theodor Jacobsen Observatory is the second-oldest structure on the campus. Built in 1895, the Observatory with its 120-year old, 6-inch refracting telescope is still offering celestial views of the wonders of the Universe.”

My main goal for this sketch outing at the Burke was their new exhibit…exhibiting the staff at work! Last year the museum acquired a T Rex skull. I’ve been waiting for it to be on exhibit and now it is, in a way. In a room walled in glass a staff person works on preparing it for exhibit. When the Museum opened, there was no one there. I thought perhaps it was a day off. So I sketched the skull in the framework from a view I thought most likely to also show the worker, if they came in. And so, about noon, a woman arrived and began work. I hastily added her in to the sketch.

Meanwhile, I went outside again to sketch a view I’d noticed when I first arrived. In the foreground is the Northwest Coast Clan Pole. It isn’t historic as it was carved in 2006. Just behind it is the new Burke Museum, still under construction. Further back and to the left is one of the neo-Gothic University of Washington buildings. I liked the juxtaposition of an ancient style of art (the totem pole), the brand new building and the older building.

Two large tables were needed for the throw down of sketch books.

As I wrote, we were a much larger than usual group today.

A few more photos:

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Practicing Textures

I’ve had this book for years but haven’t done much with it.   “Creating Textures in Pen and Ink with Watercolor” by Claudia Nice.

It’s been so rainy that I decided this is a good time to start going through it.  So I worked on the page about some textures.

The one I found the most informative was how to create wood grain.  It’s done by scoring dampened paper!  This is the one technique I didn’t already know!

Something I learned from Jodi in Daniel Smith’s Social Watercolor demo is depicted in the blue, far right, second from bottom row.  It looks like salt but isn’t.  At just the right time while wash is drying, splatter some more water off the brush.

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Last Flight

One of the perks of being a volunteer for the Museum of Flight is knowing when interesting things will happen. These are not the events advertised to the public.

I was there a little more than a year ago when this aircraft first arrived at the Museum from Florida.

And I was there at 7:30 this morning to watch the same Blue Angels F-18 transported on a flat bed truck for one block and installed on the support structure in front of the entrance.

Actually, this experience started the day before. After my volunteer shift, I went across the street to the back of the Aviation Pavilion, expecting to just view the F-18 on the truck. It was to have been loaded at 7:30 that morning. But when I arrived about 1:45 pm, they were just starting to move it. So I watched for a while and roughed in a sketch.

Here it is, finally installed and equipment moved away.

Back to this morning. It was a very slow, deliberate process. It was finally secured on the support structure about 11:30 am, 4 hours later. That gave me time to do two sketches from different points of view.

Over 100 photos of the process can be found here:

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Cabela’s sketch outing

There had just been a significant wind storm yesterday. It is still blustery and raining today. The Urban Sketchers Tacoma Wednesday outing was further afield… all the way down to Cabela’s in Lacey, WA. So it was a smallish group today.

As usual, I was there early. This gave me a chance to walk around the store to decide what I might want to sketch. They already had their Christmas decorations up, which annoys me as it’s still a week to Thanksgiving.

I’ve sketched there before, on my own. Today I looked up and saw this carved figure canoeing in the ceiling!

I’ve also sketched this elephant before. As I wrote on the sketch, I’m ambivalent about this. Not only is this a magnificent wild animal killed and on display, it suffers the further indignity of a Santa hat. But, in my opinion, it rather speaks to the location. Cabela’s is an outdoor/sporting goods store whose major focus is on hunting.

As usual, we shared our sketches and posed for a group photo.

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A wonderful 10 years.

What an amazing day! Yesterday, at 1pm, Urban Sketchers from around the Seattle area began to gather at King Street (Amtrak) Station. We were there to celebrate the Urban Sketchers 10th Anniversary with a 24hr Global Sketchwalk. USk chapters from around the globe held sketchwalks in their cities to celebrate 10yrs of Urban Sketchers. We followed the sketchwalks on the USk Instagram account starting with the first chapter to see daylight (Auckland, New Zealand) to the last chapter to see the sunset (O’ahu, USA). Our time to be “live” on Instagram was 2:45 pm.

We used the hashtag #USkGlobal24hrSketchwalk .

There were more sketchers at this event than I think there have ever been. It was hard to count but my guess is about 50 people. Our group photo was one of the largest for that Instagram event.  Anya flew down from Alaska to participate!  We had visitors from Port Townsend, Tacoma, Vashon Island and elsewhere join us.

Thanks to Gabi Campanario! He’s an artist for the Seattle Times who who founded this group. April Wu had the idea to show him standing alone with an empty page in his sketch book to signify the “before”.  Her group picture is the “10 years later”. Wow.

I spent about half my time taking photos for the event to post on Instagram. But I did get two sketches done.

I sat in a corner of the upper floor to do a detail of one of the columns.

It has stopped raining long enough to sketch this view from the upper plaza. The Smith Tower is on the left.

A few more photos:

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