Sketching the Fort again

This time I’m there as an Urban Sketcher, not as a volunteer interpreter!

Roy, Carolyn and Feather carpooled with me to Fort Nisqually. While we were still on the freeway, Carolyn asked, “are we headed to those clouds?”.  As we arrived, the Pt Defiance park was covered with clouds and chilly. It didn’t take long, though, for those to blow away and the sun to shine on us.

Fort staff (Tracy B) was so kind to let us in early so we could start our sketch outing at the usual time. Everyone quickly spread out around the grounds.

I’m an occasional volunteer there and in that role I’ve done so many sketches of the buildings and grounds. So I thought about what I could do differently. I climbed to the top of the “gallery” and saw a view of one of the Bastions I’d not sketched before. I needed my trusty tool to get the perspective line correct along the fence.

“A bastion is a projecting part of the fortification offering a safe haven in danger. It was a precautionary policy of the Hudson’s Bay Company to build stockades and bastions around their posts to protect property primarily from theft and, if necessary, for defense.”   Fort Nisqually was not a military installation but an outpost of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

With about an hour left, I went over to the bright red poppies I’d noticed upon arrival. They stand in front of one of the (un-used) outhouses!

We shared our sketches in the shade of the Factor’s House porch, then had our group photo.

More photos here:

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Sunday Dancing Lines

Dancing Lines workshop on Sunday started in the Atrium of Pike Place Market. My group left to follow KK to a corner opposite the classic view of the Public Market sign. He demonstrated his sketching method.


When it came time to do our own sketches, I discovered the ink container with the sponge had leaked all over the plastic bag holding it and my nalgene bottle with ink. I was not going to open it so I couldn’t sketch with ink and stick today.

I just did two sketches on the street with my usual tools.

I’ve been intimidated by the Public Market scene. I’ve only sketched it once before. Today’s sketch is my favorite of the two I’ve done. I sketched the crowd of people using a method demonstrated on his YouTube channel by Teoh Yi Chie.

After lunch my group was with Melanie. She spent some time at the table in the atrium teaching more about drawing people and crowds. I rather struggled with this. I started about 4 sketches. This is the only one I’d consider sharing….

We gathered in the Market extension to share sketches.


On the light rail home, the young woman in the seat next to me was either completely absorbed in her phone or asleep, so I got out my sketch book to draw some people.

A few more photos:

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Dancing Lines Saturday

We met at Seattle Center for our first day of instruction in the Dancing Lines workshop. My subset spent the morning with Melanie Reim.  I learned how better to use my brush pen! She emphasized making a plan with a thumbnail. She also taught about drawing the figure on location… seeing the body as a group of shapes. She is an excellent teacher.

I used both the brush pen and a thick sign pen to do the drawings.

Our afternoon was spent with Kiah Kiean Ch’ng (KK). He started with distributing the drawing sticks his father prepped for us! Then he showed us how to carve the point of our own sticks. After that he provided us with some of his ink to try in our drawings. I didn’t get any though as I gave my container to another sketcher who didn’t get one last night. So I drew with the India ink I’d brought.

I really struggled with these tools. I got the hang of drawing with the stick though it required constant dipping. The tone made by dry brush from the ink on the sponge was a real hassle. The sponge dried out too much (it’s supposed to be a little dry0 and I could hardly get the kind of tone I wanted. He’d said to buy cheap oil painting brushes but maybe the ones I got were too cheap.

In case you can’t tell, it’s a section of MoPoP (formerly, EMP).

Our subsection, Group A, took a group photo.

More photos:

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On Friday night (7/14) I attended the meet & greet and Keynote presentations for the Dancing Lines Urban Sketchers workshop. Daniel Smith mothership (Seattle store) was kind enough to host it for free in their gallery classroom. We had pizza and veges. We picked up our badges which sorted us into our groups.

As we ate, Jane had us all introduce ourselves by sorting out who came the furthest and from where. These two came from Costa Rica!! Aside from one of our presenters, KK, who came from Malaysia, they came the furthest!

KK (Ch’ng Kiah Kiean ) gave an introduction to his sketching methods and tools.

Melanie Reim, from New York City, spoke about her inspiration and her approach.

(interesting that I photographed them making the same gesture)

KK generously brought small ink containers, ink and drawing sticks for everyone! The sticks were cut and shaped by his father.

One of the Daniel Smith managers kept the register open so we could buy supplies before we left!  I bought a large bottle of India ink.  I’ll need more ink than I initially bought for this workshop.  I also recently learned that it will work better with dip pens than the fountain pen ink I’ve been using.  I’ll use it for my volunteer interpreter work at Fort Nisqually.

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Workshop Weekend

I’m getting my kit together for a weekend workshop. I’ll be in the “Dancing Lines” sponsored by Urban Sketchers. Kiah Kiean Ch’ng, from Penang, Malaysia and Melanie Reim, from New York City, will be teaching us about lines.

Kiah Kiean Ch’ng (known as “KK”) will be showing us his method of drawing with sticks!

Melanie is known for her calligraphic style and drawing crowds of people. We’ll certainly have the chance for that as we’ll be a Pike Place Market on Sunday!

In addition to what I usually carry, these are the items on their supply lists that I will add for the weekend.

Tonight is a meet and greet with the Key Note presentations. We will have out of town attendees so I’m looking forward to meeting new people.

I’m glad that Saturday and Sunday will not be as hot as recently predicted.  I’ll post a followup after the workshop, though it might not be until early next week as we’ll have long days.

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Vehicles in the garden?

Urban Sketchers Seattle met to sketch the for the Georgetown Garden Walk 3rd year in a row. It was also just a few days before our 8th anniversary as the fist sketch outing in Seattle was on July 19, 2009.

After the 10 am meeting, I parked at Oxbow park. My intention was to make my way south and east as other years I’ve gone the opposite direction to find open gardens. But an open teardrop trailer across the street immediately distracted me.

I found young Hannah there selling cupcakes and other baked treats to raise money for Endangered Wild Cats. After meeting her mother, Brie, I asked permission to sketch. I had a lovely chat with them both and felt a little like Gabi, who in his role as “The Seattle Sketcher” interviews his subjects. I learned the tiny teardrop was home built by Brie’s great grandfather. She and her father restored it and they use it for camping now.

After finishing that sketch, I thought I might continue with my original plan. But no… I remembered in other years I’d wanted to sketch the big, old, Mack truck that serves as a mobile art gallery. It’s been there each of the three years we’ve sketched. I decided this was the year I would finally sketch it.

So….. I went to a Garden Walk and only sketched vehicles!

Well, not quite. I’d gotten there early and stopped at one of the many traffic circles the residents decorate with plantings and sculptures. This is the circle at Flora & Warsaw.

As usual, we met to share sketches and have a group photo.

But my day wasn’t over yet. I zipped over to Daniel Smith for an afternoon workshop: Drawing and Shading with Pen and Ink taught by Julia Carpenter. It was part of the Summer Drawing Class series. It was basic but that’s really what the series is about… learning to draw. I did pick up a few new – or re-enforced – concepts. Julia is an excellent teacher. I also rediscovered how much I like my “blue pumpkin” nib.

doing line and texture exercises

A few more photos:

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Making sketch books

Today was finally the day for the rescheduled book making workshop. Frances hosted us in her studio. I first demonstrated making the book. Then I walked the group through each step together. That barely took an hour! So there was more time for everyone to make at least one more book. There were some creative ideas for changes and additions.

One of the creative ideas:  Carolyn used some lace brought by another artist to add to the cover:

We had the obligatory group photo though this time everyone held the sketch books they’d made

After lunch, most of us sketched in Frances’ beautiful garden. Just to be silly she brought out a skull to put in the planter. With the long blossoms, it looked like a head with arms and a torso. It was, of course, the subject of choice for some of us!

Carolyn quipped something about “keeping an open mind”!

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Sketching the New

The Friday group of Urban Sketchers Seattle got together to sketch the new section of Pike Place Market this morning. I didn’t think about how crowded the Market would be during high tourist season. Fortunately, our goal today was the newly opened extension. It has more room and, perhaps, fewer people know about it being there.

I wandered around quite a bit before settling down to sketch. I knew I wanted to sketch the Pig, but a couple sketchers were already there. So I went down to the lower level and did a sketch looking back up, with the high rise apartment buildings looming over the Market. The building just on the right houses Artist Studios but they are not open to the public.

Then I went back up to sketch the newly relocated pig. By then, a young man was staffing a table to sell items for the Pike Market Foundation. A pig footprint in brass set into the patio of the Market requires a $5000 donation!

This pig is sitting, so not as conducive to climbing as the standing Rachel the Pig.  The kids tried anyway.  She is Rachel’s younger cousin, Billie  who has been relocated from lower down on Western Ave.  She seems very tolerant.

We shared our sketches in the shade.  Thanks to Greg for taking the group photo.

A few of us gathered after for lunch.  While waiting for the food, I did a quick pen

sketch of the interior of Pike Brewing.

More photos:

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This is another location that has been on my list for a while. I stopped on my way some where else early this morning, before the day got too hot. The place is delightfully shaded, too.

This little outing gave me a chance to trial a new pen case.  Actually, it holds all my tools.  I like it a lot, mainly because it can stand up and fold over to make the pens more accessible.   I got it from Jet Pens.

This is the labyrinth at St. Stephen the Martyr Catholic Church. I’ve lived near it for 17 years but only recently did I realize there was a labyrinth on the grounds. That was earlier this year when I went to sketch the church for the weekly theme.

In the 1990’s I became aware of walking the labyrinth as a meditative or prayer practice. There was an influential book Walking the Sacred Path by Lauren Artress.
And an organization, Veriditas.   from the website:
“The labyrinth is not a maze. There are no tricks to it and no dead ends. It has a single circuitous path that winds its way into the center. The person walking it uses the same path to return from the center and the entrance then becomes the exit. The path is in full view, which allows a person to be quiet and focus internally.”

Walking the labyrinth inside Grace Cathedral San Francisco helped me make a major decision about 10 years ago. I had a difficult choice between two positions at work, both of which were offered to me.

There was a woman seated at the edge, mostly writing in a book.

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Chilly beach

After yesterday’s scorching (for Western WA) heat, it was a surprise to be so chilly on the beach at Brown’s Point on Commencement Bay in Tacoma.  Peter D. opened the gate to the park for USk Tacoma to have convenient parking to sketch.  Thanks, Peter!

There was a brisk breeze and cloudy sky so it was really quite cold as one sat still to sketch.  Tom had the right idea to stay warm:

We look a little cold as we’re sharing sketches

A couple people are missing.  The simple lighthouse is just visible between the tree branches behind us.

I’d sketched the lighthouse the last time we were there, a couple years ago.  This time I chose the Light House Keeper’s cottage.  Many others sketched it, too.  There is no longer a keeper and the cottage is now a vacation rental.  It dates from 1903.

I walked down to the beach to view this massive stump.  There was a small boy playing there, supervised by an older man.  The boy threw stones into the water.


More photos:

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