An Angel arrives

The Museum of Flight was given the permanent loan of a recently retired Blue Angels #2 F/A-18.  It was no longer air worthy so it was trucked from Florida!  The Museum kept us informed about its progress and then announced an ETA of this morning about 0900!  Of course I wanted to see its arrival and the unloading.  Unfortunately, I had other commitments today so couldn’t stay to watch the reassembling.

Ken Yohe, long time fan of the Blue Angels, has a 2015 Mustang he painted Blue Angles blue.  While they are here for Seafair, he adds the stickers for an Angels motif.  This year, he said he added the #6 in honor of the aircraft and pilot that were lost earlier this year.

I suspected there would be a bit of a wait to off load it as they moved smaller parts off the truck.  I took that opportunity to do a sketch.

And then they put a sling under it and off it came, easy as pie.

More info about this particular aircraft.  It flew here in Seafair for 10 years.

King5 news coverage

KOMO coverage

Geekwire coverage

I shot many images and 59 of them are here:

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West Coast Sketch Crawl

Urban Sketchers Tacoma hosted the 4th Annual Urban Sketchers West Coast Sketch
Crawl over this past weekend, 19-21 August 2016.  The team was led by Frances Buckmaster.  Kate Buike,  Mark Ryan,Rom LaVerdiere, and Darsie Beck made up the rest of the main team.  Leading up to and during the event many of the Tacoma sketchers were volunteers.  The event could not have run so smoothly without so many pitching in to help.

The planning started in earnest about 9 months ago.  In the final week leading up to the event there were several tasks to do and several Tacoma sketchers helped.  We stuffed 200 goody bags on Monday.  Then on Thursday we set up our venues for Friday night and Saturday morning.

The team stuffed 200 goody bags in Frances’ studio on Monday: Mark, Alison, Jane, Frances, Feather, Beverly (and me, behind the camera!)  These are about half of them.

Alison & Jane do the flower arranging for the Friday evening Meet & Greet dinner.

By the numbers:  There were 134 sketchers and guests who came to dinner.  About 150 were sketching on Saturday.  They traveled from all up and down the west coast, Vancouver BC to San Diego, CA.  There were also a few from much further away:  Arizona and Missouri.  One person who RSVP’ed was from Ottawa but I never did discover whether she actually came.

The event started with dinner at the Picasso’s.  It was the ice breaker and a chance to meet people informally. After a delicious meal, we did 5 minute portrait sketches of each other.  Frances had gone above and beyond to obtain donations from sponsors for door prizes and goody bags.  After the drawing came the drawing!

The founder of the West Coast Sketch Crawl, Jim Bumgarner, welcomes the sketchers and guests.

5 minute portrait sketches

Eric won the door prize grand prize, donated by Daniel Smith Art Supplies, which was a set of all their watercolor sticks.

More photos of the Friday evening Meet & Greet

The next morning our event began in earnest at 9 am.  Sketchers poured into the auditorium of the Washington State History Museum after picking up their goody bags filled with art supplies… also wrangled by Frances.

Jim’s opening remarks included the hashtag for the event.

We sketched until 11:30 am when we met on the plaza near the Museum of Glass for sketch sharing and a group photo.  There were about 150 sketchers there that day.

Sketching views of the history museum and Union Station (now a court house).

Becky and others sketching on the Tacoma campus of the University of Washington (UW).

The Headquarters information table was inside the cool, air conditioned, Museum Lobby and was staffed by Tacoma volunteers.  All the locals wore red shirts.

morning sketch sharing

The 11:30 am group photo, with the Museum of Glass “hot shop” tower in the background.

We broke for lunch.  Tacoma sketchers played host and led groups of out of town sketchers to various lunch venues.  The day was very hot, by Washington standards, hitting a high of 95 degrees.  Some sketchers spent at least part of the afternoon sketching the view from inside an air conditioned location.

We met again at 4pm for more sharing, in the shade, and another group photo.

More photos of Saturday Sketching

Sunday brought another early start with a meeting at 9 am outside the Tacoma Museum of Art.  A few announcements were followed by the founder of Urban Sketchers, Gabi Campanario (at left), joining us.

Gabi, Frances and Jim; photo by Pam Jenkins

We dispersed to sketch around the area.  This day was unseasonably chilly.  Many were not prepared for 58 degrees in the morning after yesterday’s scorcher!  Again, there was sketching from inside but in this case in order to stay warm. Today I took a break from photographing the event to do one sketch.

We met at 11am at Tollefson Plaza, directly across the street from the Tacoma Art Museum.  It was announced that the 5th Annual Urban Sketchers West Coast
Sketch Crawl will be held in Vancouver, BC.  A date has not yet been set.

Becky (left), Jim and Astor announce Vancouver BC as the location for the 5th Annual West Coast Sketch Crawl!

More photos of Sunday

Many accounts of the event and sketches are shared in the Facebook group:  and in our flickr group:

We were covered by the local newspaper:

Hashtag is #usktac4

See you next year, in Vancouver BC!!  

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Prepping not sketching

Along with a team led by Frances Buckmaster, I’ve spent months preparing for our Urban Sketchers Tacoma group to host the 4th Annual Urban Sketchers West Coast Sketch Crawl this weekend (19-21 August, 2016).   This week just prior to the event starting today was the most intense.

On Monday a small group met to pack so many donated items into the bags supplied by Daniel Smith Seattle Store.  Mark, Alison, Jane, Frances, Feather, Beverly made short work of stuffing the 200 Goody Bags. Those pictured are about half of the bags.

Frances Buckmaster worked hard for months to obtain donations for the goody bags.  I’d say her hard work paid off…..

Many companies and organizations contributed to the Sketch Crawl.

Daniel Smith Art Supply store in Seattle was a major donor.  They gave a high value item for the door prize drawing as well as 200 watercolor dot cards and sample watercolor sticks for the Goody Bags.

Yesterday (Thursday, 18 August) another group of volunteers met at our main venues to do set up prior to the event.  First, we stopped at the catering venue, Picasso, which hosts our  Friday night night Meet & Greet dinner.  There have been 153 people who have RSVP’ed for this dinner! Debbie, the owner of Picasso, was the only restaurant or other venu in Tacoma willing to arrange a dinner for us without a deposit, as our event has no budget.

I’ve been the “dinner registrar” so have been taking reservations since about February, corresponding with those how have RSVP’ed, editing reservations as requested and making tickets for meals.  I’ll be glad when every one is in and seated tonight, ready to be served!

Alison & Jane do the flower arranging for the table center pieces.  The blooms came from Frances’ garden.

Frances Buckmaster wrangled so many donations from art supply companies.  These are the “over $100 value”  items ready for the door prize drawings.  Those people who did an early-bird RSVP prior to Aug 5th get a ticket for these special items.  There are many more items for the under $100 value door prize drawing.

Next we dropped off 200 Goody Bags at the History Museum.  These will be distributed during registration for Saturday’s sketch crawl. There are 120 sketchers who RSVP’ed for the event.  We expect many more will “walk-in”.

And when it comes to the actual sketching event?  I won’t be doing much, if any, sketching.  I’m the designated still photographer.

There will be an additional report Monday or Tuesday, once I’ve recovered!  We’re expecting 95 degrees this weekend.  That might sound too bad for those of you in the warmer areas of the USA but it’s much too hot for western Washington!

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SLU Park

The Friday ad hoc group of the Seattle Urban Sketchers met Friday (Aug 12) at South Lake Union Park.  While the afternoon temperature climbed to over 90 degrees, our morning sketching time was sunny and comfortable.  It was another perfect Seattle summer day (oops, shhhh, don’t tell anyone; we don’t need more people moving here!).  We welcomed Tina back from cold and rainy England!

I used my new Orca card for cheaper fares for the first time today! 🙂

I did a quick wander around the section of the park I’ve not walked before.  There is construction of a new Wooden Boat Center education building going on.  The art on the banners looked very familiar…..

It’s by our own Stephanie Bower!

I first sketched a view of the bridge.  Earlier, during my walk around, I’d seen a Great Blue Heron on it!

By now it was 1145 and getting warmer.  I sat in the shade to do this quick sketch of some bright flowers with a bit of the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) in the background.

Sharing sketches and our group photo (taken by John):

More photos, including some pretty flowers:

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Brenda Swenson workshop

This is how much I was looking forward to this workshop… I registered in early December 2015, 9 months early!  For the past 3 days I’ve been in Brenda Swenson’s “Sketching Techniques with Watercolor”. I’ve followed her blog for quite a while and I especially like her journaling sketches.

It was an excellent experience.  Brenda is such a good instructor.  She has the knack of giving gentle but very helpful feedback.  She comments on both what works in a sketch and also has very constructive comments for how to make it even better.

We started each day with contour drawings, choosing items from a large supply of objects brought in by the participants.  My contributions were my dad’s hammer and pliers, a large yellow duck, a lightsaber hilt, a decorated hat, robot dog, and a large Starship Enterprise model.

She showed us about leaving open edges in a contour drawing and then blending colors between objects.

Some quotes:
“Sketching is a ‘Happy Meal’.  Studio painting is Thanksgiving dinner”.
“The mind can only absorb as much as the behind can endure”.

We practiced putting frames around out sketches: square, portrait, landscape and panorama.

When she does location sketching, she is not bound by what is exactly in front of her.  She composes her scene from elements taken from the entire view.  We practiced this using photos.  Across the bottom I rough sketched the elements I would use.  Then we did three small sketches, putting those elements in different compositions.

Tuesday afternoon we worked on vignettes.  It is a small, unfinished watercolor sketch that is simply defined: postcard sized; does not extend into any corners; design should touch the sides at least once; cruciform composition.  I did two from my own photos:

On Wednesday we received feedback on our sketches using elements and on the vignettes.

Then we moved on to “What if”, trying 3 drawing tools we don’t normally use. I tried water soluble pencil, pen with cross hatching and watercolor with no ink drawing.  I liked the water soluble pencil sketch the best.

She shared some of her sketchbooks and journals. Art falsities that pertain to working in an illustrated journal:  “Art has to be ‘nice’ or ‘good’.”  We can use our journals to work out life’s trials and troubles.  “Art has to be for sale to be of value”.  It is valuable, even if only to ourselves.

It is always wonderful to see the originals.  Much of her journaling work is done in a Stillman and Birn Beta.  She also makes her own spiral bound sketch books using Bockingford 140# cold press watercolor paper from Cheap Joe’s. Brenda thinks it is nearly as good as Arches at 1/3 less the cost of Arches 140lb.

I did these sketches scanned here on Arches watercolor paper.  In the past I have not liked using it. Now I do!  So I bought a sheet to tear up for my disc bound sketchbook.  I think my way of working in watercolor has changed over time so now I like good watercolor paper.

On the final afternoon, we worked on what she called a sketch collage.  I had brought in several scenes from Fort Nisqually which I composed into a collage.

Thus ended an intense and wonderful 3 days!

OH! And Daniel Smith now stocks Platinum Carbon Black ink!!  I no longer have to mail order it.

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Art Show

This was an all day event for Urban Sketcher Tacoma.  First, we had a sketch outing in and around the main library in Tacoma.  I hung around the library and only went outside to do one sketch.  This is a small gargoyle guarding the Clock Tower Square.

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

Then we held the opening reception for our Tacoma Urban Sketchers show in the afternoon.  There were 26 artists and 81 framed sketches! When I first walked through in the morning I was so impressed by how good it looked!  There were a number of competing events around the region but we did get a steady stream of people dropping in to look around.  Several seemed interested in joining us for sketch outings in the future.

My “Astronauts on the Town” project poster and a couple Museum of Flight magazine article featuring my sketches were in a case.

My group of sketches (we were allowed 3 each)

There are lots more photos of smaller groupings of the framed prints here:

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At the Junction

Urban Sketchers Seattle met at the West Seattle Junction.  As seems to be usual, I was there early so I used the time to explore a bit.  I scouted 2 locations for sketches.  I still had some time before meet up at 10, so I sat on a bench and started my first sketch.  I liked the plaza and all the perspective angles of the 4730 California apartment building(s).

I was using my handy perspective tool and a passer by asked me whether I was “orienteering”.

My next scouted location was a cafe table with a view of Easy Street records. I couldn’t quite see the entire corner from my comfortable seat, so I just zoomed in on the section that interested me the most, which was the sign.

There were 3 new people and Anna, a visitor from Las Vegas!  At least one person left early. Anna is kneeling next to me, second from right.

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August Adventure Day 5

I sketched much of the day today… about which I’ll post soon.  So I didn’t have time to do a new sketch for the Doodlewash August Adventure.  The prompt for today is “Favorite Animal”.

It’s a toss up between dogs and horses.  But I had a least as long a relationship with horses, though I do not hang out with them now as I became allergic.  :(    This is a sketch from a couple years ago at the State Fair, in the draft horse barn.  This is a Clydesdale but, really, my favorite horse is the Arabian.  I’ve never sketched one as an adult.


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I’ve been Doodlewashed!

have a guest post on this watercolor blog:

Ive Been Doodlewashed 800x800
















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Today it was predicted to be and did reach 83 degrees. So I was on my way at 7am to sketch during the coolest part of the day.

I stopped first in Black Diamond.  The bakery is locally famous and I had a small breakfast there.  I’ve sketched outside and in several times.  So today I strolled down to the Historical Museum and sketched the old locomotive.

Then it was on to the small town of Enumclaw.  Mt. Rainier looms large over it as the main road to the park starts at the edge of town.  Not surprisingly, it was once a logging town.   This is the memorial to the loggers.

I parked the car in the large, free all day lot and walked the charming streets of the small down town.  I stopped in at an art gallery and an independent bookstore.  This lamp post with its riot of flowers was just outside the gallery.

Finally, I had lunch at The Mint.

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