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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Muppets at MoPop

Friday sketchers met at MoPop…The Museum of Pop Culture (formerly known as EMP…Experience Music Project).

Since I hadn’t seen it yet, my first stop was the Jim Henson exhibit. I looked forward to sketching muppets and I wasn’t disappointed. There was an interactive Muppet design station for kids. It demonstrated how Sesame Street would make a new puppet for a background character, or “extra”. A variety of features could be stuck on in many different ways to create a new character. These were called “Anything Muppets”.

The sign for the exhibit is a bit of photo collage.

Tina sketches a Muppet.

I’d already viewed, and sketched, the Star Trek exhibit. I went again and this time sketched costumes from my favorite Star Trek: TNG (“The Next Generation”). The signs are all  photo collage.

We were few in number today. Perhaps that’s due to an important sketch outing tomorrow for the 10th Anniversary of Urban Sketchers. (Natalie is missing)

More photos:

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Visiting USk Port Townsend

During a previous visit, I’d walked through the Palace Hotel in Port Townsend but didn’t take the time to sketch there.  When the Urban Sketchers Port Townsend announced a Wednesday outing there, I thought it would be a good time to visit.

I convinced Himself to go with so we’d have a chance to stay together at the Chevy Chase Beach Cabins.

As we left on Tuesday, we traveled over the Narrows Bridge on the very date it collapsed during a windstorm in 1940. The rebuilt span is on the right and the recent addition is on the left.  All went well with this trip over the bridge!

We got settled into our small cabin and we took a walk around the property.  Here’s our charming cabin with a view.

It was sunset and I quickly did a simple sketch of the view from the hill above the beach.

On Wednesday morning, I went in to town to join the sketchers. It was good to meet the group and a fun time sketching this historic location.

With so many choices, it was difficult to settle on a subject.  I liked the globe and lamp that Mel was sketching, so I composed an alternate view, including him.

Then I sat on the stairs to sketch the entry door used by hotel guests.

Sharing sketches:

Group photo taken by one of the others.

More photos here:

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Two Art Shows

Up and out by 8:15 this morning to get to the Museum of Flight by 9am for a members only Artist Meet and Greet with Jim Dietz. His show, “Wood and Canvas: WW I Aviation Art” is at the Museum until 1 January 2018. There is also a book available in the Museum store.

He did a talk about his career as an artist and some specifics about some of the paintings. The originals are large, one as large as 30 inches by 60 inches. He uses his own reference photos as well as models, most of them amateur. He paints in oil.

I found the shading technique in these preliminary sketches interesting.

During the Q&A, I asked whether he ever did location sketching. He said he sometimes does when traveling. He found watercolor difficult and seemed to consider his results mediocre.

Of course, I did a sketch as I listened to his talk. This is in the tiny 3×5 sketchbook. I drew  while we were waiting and then quickly added him in once he started.

Next it was down to Foss Waterway in Tacoma again. Ken Fulton was there for the “soft opening” of the show he shares with Darsie Beck.

Ken in front of his wall of paintings, with his daughter and wife.

Several sketchers from Urban Sketchers Tacoma were there and some sketched. I did not. I left relatively soon as I’d been informed by Himself that it had started to snow on our hill.


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There’s always a first time

As a group, we’ve never been asked to leave a venue. Today was a first. One of us had called last week and we thought we had permission but there was obviously a misunderstanding.

The pub we’d planned to sketch in and then have lunch could not host so many of us, which was about 18-20. So we left abruptly just after 10 am, our usual start time.

I joked, “Now we’re all REAL Urban Sketchers as we’ve been kicked out of a place”. “Kicked out” was a little over stated but the joke stems from a time when one of our number was standing on steps of a building and was told he couldn’t stand there to sketch. So he moved to the sidewalk!

Frances suggested we go to Foss Waterway Seaport Museum. We’re so welcome there that they’ve given us free memberships! It turned out to be the perfect solution.

That gave us a chance to get an early viewing of the show by our members Darsie Beck and Ken Fulton. It looks great!

I did a montage focusing on young students’ assemblages about cleaning up our water. The bottom right is a goofy looking flounder covered in nets with plastic trash around it. Above him is a section of a 5 foot long salmon made of recycled plastic milk  jugs, surrounded by fish made out of various bits of plastic. And last was a hand made of plastic bags over a chicken wire frame. It holds a bowl of plastic bottle caps, each indicating a visitor’s promise to make one change that will help clean up the water.

Here is the group, though I learned later 3 or 4 stayed behind at our original venue and at least one went home.

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Witness to Wartime

When I first heard about this new exhibit at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma I knew I wanted to see it, preferably sooner rather than later.

Witness to Wartime: The Painted Diary of Takuichi Fujii is open until January 1, 2018. “Takuichi Fujii drew and painted throughout the three and a half years of his imprisonment, from his forced removal in May, 1942 through the closure of Minidoka War Relocation Center in October, 1945.”

Tina got there fist and wrote a poignant account of her family’s experience and her observations on the sketches.   This time period was a dark stain on US history.

While the Japanese were by far more effected, I only learned recently that a small number of German nationals and German-Americans were interred but it was on a much more individual basis. It explains even more why my father changed the pronunciation of our name to sound less German.

Nearly all the paintings on display were completed while he was interred  first in Puyallup and then Minidoka, Idaho. I was surprised he could obtain paints but I noted that the larger watercolors were done on cardboard.

I was most interested in the diary. We might call it a sketch journal now. On display were many pages from a blank book that was about 5×7 inches. On one side was a diary entry, written in Japanese and on the other was a watercolor or ink sketch. It shows a personal and intimate view of what he experienced in the camps.

Tina had sketched the sculpted portraits of Fujii and his wife. So I chose to do a very small sketch of the diary itself. The image on the right side is a bit of photo collage.

Photography was allowed so here are some of the pieces that interested me most:

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Happy Fountain Pen Day 2017

I use a fountain pen every day.

I write my journal with a black Lamy Safari with De Atramentis Document Brown ink.

I sketch with fountains pens, usually a Lamy, and always using Platinum Carbon Black ink.  It’s the best for ink and watercolor sketching.  I dries fast and is permanent.

My favorite for both writing and sketching is the German made Lamy.  I can be hard on a pen as I have been known to drop them while sketching.  The Lamy has easily interchanged nibs to I can just replace one I’ve damaged without replacing the entire pen.

So Happy Fountain Pen Day.

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Inktober Final Week and Two Days

It’s a wrap!  The final stretch to the finish.  October 22 through 31.

On Sunday, October 22, we were still in Portland.  Before leaving, I made a dash to pick up some VooDoo Doughnuts.  I found these mobile units in the parking lot.

On Monday, 23 October, I used a blank page I’d had stamped at the “End of the Trail” Oregon Interpretive Center in Oregon City last Friday.  I drew from my photo of one of the exhibits there.

For Tuesday, Oct 24, I drew from a newspaper ad I’d saved.  There are 3 dancers wearing coronets in the original photo (by Angela Sterling) but I chose the center one as I liked her coronet the best.

I did most of this with a dip pen but after I got a second large ink blob on it, I switched back to fountain pen.  I cleaned up the blob with wite-out and then edited it out some more in Photoshop.  Grrr.  I need to do some practice to figure out how those blobs happen.

On Wednesday, October 25th, I was on my way to the Andrew Wyeth exhibit at the Seattle Museum of Art (SAM).  I had 5 minutes before the bus arrived and I liked those colorful trees.  I quickly drew the scene.  I refined it later, adding hatched shadows and the bit of color.

BTW, the Wyeth exhibit is excellent.  While I liked his work a lot when I was in High School, I hadn’t really researched it, or him, much (no internet in those days).  I was surprised by some of his watercolors.

Thursday, 26 October and Halloween approaches.  I’d saved this photo I found a couple weeks ago and now I don’t remember where I got it.  I’ve interpreted it in ink with a pop of color for the pumpkin.

On Saturday, 27 October I was at Swanson’s Nursery with Urban Sketchers Seattle.  Before I painted it, I photographed the ink drawing of these topiary deer for Inktober.

It’s more pumpkins for Inktober #28 on Saturday, October 28.  These are from my photo taken at Watson’s Nursery in Puyallup last week.  The ones in front where white gourds with decorative vegetation attached to the top.

On Sunday, October 29, The Museum of Flight became the Museum of Fright.  I volunteered as the photographer and later did this sketch from one of my photos. This is the Living Computer Museum’s table with old computers and a robot.

Next to last… feeding my Star Wars fandom.  This is someone from my Rebel Legion Base (Alpha Base).  Jim used to be a Stormtrooper in the 501st Legio, Garrison Titan but now he’s Poe Dameron. The character is in Ep. VII, The Force Awakens.  It would seem we converted one from the dark side.

Last day of Inktober!  Star Wars and Halloween!  This large Yoda plushie is ready to greet the Trick or Treaters.  The porch decor is Star Wars this year and it’s time to go get dressed!

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