The big pen

After our sketching outing, I drove the few blocks to the Frye Art Museum to see the exhibit with the big pen that I wrote about recently.   Yup, it is big!

And there was a baseball in the end of it.

And I sketched it on display.

More Photos:

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Sketching bouldering

It’s been 3 years since Urban Sketchers Seattle were last at the Seattle Bouldering Project.  Most of those sketching today hadn’t been there before.  I had been on that first outing and today discovered they’d added a cafe to the layout.

Staff gave us a safety briefing prior to letting us loose.  He said, “most of bouldering is falling” as he warned us to stay well away from the walls!

As I did last time, I headed for the children’s wall.  It has more handholds and crawl spaces.  Also much more noise.  I’d forgotten that as well as my earplugs!  The kids were a little slower on the wall than adults upstairs.  I just waited for another child to make the climb to add to each sketch of a climber.

Next I joined the line of sketchers on the second floor balcony to sketch the climbers from above. For this one I remembered a lesson and drew a quick, gestural line of the climbing figure which I then filled in.

Sharing out sketches

Sharing out sketches

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Unusual art

This blog is usually about my own adventures in sketching.  Today, however, I want to tell you about something rather unusual in the world of drawing.

Vashon Artist and Cartoonist, Jim Woodring, has a very large dip pen with which he makes very large drawings.  It’s 7 pounds and 5 feet long.

unaccredited photo from the Frye web page

unaccredited photo from the Frye web page


It’s interesting to see him in action with the pen on last night’s Evening (a local TV show).

I knew I’d seen this before.  Gabi Campanario, “the Seattle Sketcher”, did a column about Jim, way back at the beginning of 2011.

Now there is a exhibit of the drawings done with the large dip pen open at the Frye  through 4/16

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Foss again

After two beautiful days of sun and relatively warm weather, it was just too much to ask for it to continue for our sketch outing to Foss Waterway Seaport museum.  We’ve sketched there before.  Though it is a large place with many artifacts, it just does not interest me that much.

Dee is dwarfed by this massive whale skull!

Dee is dwarfed by this massive whale skull!

But today I was interested in seeing the whale skeleton I’d heard the students at a local high school had assembled as a class project.  The “Stadium High School Articulation Team” put together this Humpback Whale!  It hangs dramatically from the ceiling and creates an equally dramatic shadow.

Once I finished it, there was still quite a bit of time left.  I wandered about trying out different compositions of collections in my head.

Shared sketches and group photo.

more photos:

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Two Record holders

I knew the Pratt-Read Glider was being assembled at the Museum of Flight today.  I dawdled at home in the morning and didn’t get there until 1100.  The efficient team already had it assembled and I met them on their way to lunch.

So I settled down to sketch it as it sat on the floor.  Tomorrow it will be raised to the spot where it will hang from the ceiling.

From the Museum’s website:
“In 1952, project pilots Larry Edgar and Harold Klieforth soared to 44,255 feet in a Pratt-Read, setting a new world altitude record for two-place gliders. The record endured for an incredible 54 years, until Steve Fossett and Einar Enevoldson flew over the Argentinean Andes to 50,727 feet in their modified DG-500, the Perlan I glider.”

The Pratt-Read that flew that record is joining the Perlan glider that also set a record.  The Museum has both aircraft in the collection.  The Perlan is the white one hanging behind the Pratt-Read (it almost blends into the ceiling).

More photos of the glider here:

I had another agenda item for my sketching at the Museum today.  The USk flickr group’s weekly theme is “parking lots” and I don’t have any in my sketchbooks.  So I sat in the comfort of the Museum cafe and sketched the view of the “Connie”  and the parking lot beyond.

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Spar Cafe

It was a beautiful day today for a sketch outing.  I’ve had the McMenamin’s Spar Cafe in Olympia on my list since I sketched at the McMenamin’s in Centralia.  I needed the stamp to get my prize!

McMenamins always has interesting art for their beer labels.

McMenamins always has interesting art for their beer labels.

It was a lovely drive down and I arrived at lunch time.  I chose a table from which to sketch while I waited for my meal.  The cafe is an Olympia Heritage site, built in 1935.  It has always been a popular meeting place.  Designed by Joseph Wohles.  Some of the booths had curtains, which can be seen on the left in my sketch.

I got both my McMenamin’s Passport and my sketched stamped.  With this last stamp in the section, I earned my prize, which was a T shirt.

More photos here, including some of the original Washington State Capitol Building.

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Gabi’s 10×10

This was the kick off for Urban Sketchers “10 years x 10 classes” or simply,  “10×10” series.  This is the 10th anniversary year for Urban Sketchers.  To commemorate, they are sponsoring 10 workshops, each group in one of many locations around the world.

So today the USk founder, Gabi Campanario led off the series with his “Pocket Urban Sketching” workshop in Seattle.  We met at what may be one of the quintessential Seattle places: the Amazon campus.  We were fortunate it was only chilly but not raining!  I’d dressed with 4 layers plus hat & gloves.

Gabi first gave a demo of his first lesson: mixing several sketches in one spread using a concept of large, medium and small images. This in a small Stillman and Birn soft cover sketchbook (about 3.5 x 5.5 inches closed).  (I used my own Beta version, but Stillman and Birn kindly donated a supply of Alphas & Zetas for the workshop!). Here we were around the Amazon plaza nicknamed “the Doppler plaza” for the adjacent building.  This per Shawn, an Amazon employee, our intrepid guide and “TA” for Gabi.

Gabi does a demonstration sketch

Gabi does a demonstration sketch

I chose the building across the street which reflected another behind me for the larger sketch.  The medium one was an interesting rain water drain.  Then the smallest was the sign for Skillet.  Discussing it with Gabi, I realized I could have focused in even more as it was the cast iron pans in the sign in which I was most interested, so I could have left off the section of roof.

We had a sketchbook “throw down”, just as we do at the end of USk sketch outings.  Gabi discussed the sketches and we asked questions.

The next lesson involved sketching an entire city scape scene. Again, Gabi gave a short demo, discussing how he lays out the scene in the book.  It’s all about that first line!

He even added the police van that stopped in front of us for about 15 seconds!

He even added the police van that stopped in front of us for about 15 seconds!

I really wanted to sketch the view with the Space Needle and the biospheres but I was tired of standing.  So I found a bench across the street and sketched what was in front of me, including the cars and the small tree.

It was a rewarding workshop and it has inspired me to use this tiny format more.  I can actually get an entire scene across the page!

We had lunch together but I didn’t stay long after.  I’d left my car with a flat tire at the Tukwila Light Rail park & ride.  So I left to deal with it.  Sarah and Kay, who live near me, kindly gave me a ride back there.  Unfortunately, the tire was a loss but it took the shop less than an hour to replace it.  I had time for another sketch… another full page spread!

More photos here:

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Private but Public

Something I read led me to this website listing private buildings with public spaces.  A few weeks ago I checked out the US Bank Center building.  Urban Sketchers Seattle met there today to sketch.  It has 3 floors of public lobbies with good views out the windows and interesting art inside.   We all agreed it was a great place to sketch, particularly on this chilly and rainy day.

I didn’t know it when we planned this, but one of our members, David Chamness, works in a firm in that building.  And the firm designed the building!

From my previous scoping visit, I knew exactly what I wanted to sketch first.  This is a cast stone arch restored from the Music Box Theater which had been on this site in 1928.  And, David told me, it is dedicated to Tony Callison, the founder of the firm where David works.   I also liked the juxtaposition of the old and the new… the new being the Starbucks sign (there were four of them in the building!)

I do like these older buildings with intricate decorations.  So my next subject was the end of a building but looking down an alley.  A modern Amazon building is in the background, above.

As usual, we met to share sketches and have a group photo.  David led some of the staff in his office in a sketching lesson over lunch.  He joined us later to see our sketches and show us his 5 (or 10?) minute sketch.

We also had a chance to see the view from David’s offices on the 24th floor!

More photos here:

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The organizer(s) for the first Saturday outings for Urban Sketchers Tacoma did a lot of work to arrange for us to have exclusive entry to the Pantages Theater for today’s sketch outing.

The interior was wonderful, if a bit dark.  I was wishing I’d brought my book light.  So I positioned myself under a chandelier in the theater in order to do my first sketch.  The overhanging balcony was a popular subject today as I was just one of many sketchers who drew it. In this balcony were 4 sketchers, all drawing the balcony on the other side of the theater.

There was a bit of time left so I next sketched this small ornamental detail in the lobby, with a bit of the stained glass skylight on the upper edge.

We were a large group today so it was a long line of sketches at the “throw down”.

Lots of photos here:

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Out of my element

Yesterday I made a sketch outing to Cabela’s, a large sporting goods chain.   I don’t know whether it will change but I wanted to see it before the buy out by Bass Pro Shops went into effect.  If found it not as visually interesting as Bass.  I took a lot of photos, which are all here:

I felt rather out of my element.  Even though I grew up in small town Midwest with a lot of hunters – my father hunted pheasant and ducks – I have never hunted.  Well, except once, as a small child.  I have a memory of my dad taking me and the dog out pheasant hunting.  Given the noise we made, I think this was more a “take them for a walk in the woods” outing than actual hunting.  There were an amazing amount of mounts, some of them exotic.

After a good wander around, I had some lunch in the cafe and sketched  the small plane from my vantage point.  By the way, menu items in the cafe include Elk or Bison burgers.  I chose something less unusual.

I’d decided to make the sketch a full page spread montage, channeling Michele Cooper!  I amuse myself by sketching animal rumps, usually horses.  Here I settled for a Zebra.  And then the elephant.   I thought it was unusual that no one stopped to look or talk while I was sketching.

On the way home, I stopped at Tolmie State Park.  I hadn’t brought my State Parks pass (in the other car) so I didn’t stay.  Though bright and sunny, the weather was also a bit windy and chilly for sketching near the water.  This is a place to which I’ll want to return.

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