Schmidt House

Urban Sketchers Tacoma drove rather far afield to sketch the historic Schmidt House mansion in Tumwater, WA for our sketch outing yesterday.

Actually, the family named the mansion “Three Meter” but the reason for the name has been lost to time. It was built in 1904 for Olympia Brewing Company founder Leopold Schmidt and his wife Johanna.

The home has two floors open to visitors. However, our host, Don, took us up to the third floor. It has some beautiful and interesting architectural details.

The scenes of most interest to me were on the ground floor. I sat at a round table with other sketchers to draw the view out the window, which included the statue, “Industry”. I added to the montage some details found on the ground floor.

Perhaps due to the distance, we were a small group today.

Jan, Carolyn, Ken, Kris; Becky, Kate, Frances

After sketching, some of us went to lunch at Terrace Falls restaurant where we had a wonderful view of the falls. I find painting moving water a challenge. I’ve got a collection of YouTube videos on the subject of painting water through which I’m working my way.

More photos:

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Another try

Just after 10 am I arrived at IKEA to make another try at returning my merchandise.  This time the Returns counter was at #21 and I pulled #33.  It was a relatively short wait but I had time for a sketch of the couple across a planter of plastic plants.  The heart with arms is IKEA’s returns graphic.

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Waiting at IKEA

It was not a good idea to try to return something at IKEA today.  In addition, I went late as I stopped in just before our sketching session in the cafe there.  It is a Federal Holiday, so the place was jammed.

The returns desk was working on #27 when I arrived.  My ticket was #78.  I stayed a while and did 2 sketches in my little Field Notes book.  But then I gave up when it was time to meet the other sketchers.

And I didn’t get lunch, either.  That line was ridiculously long, too.

Small child in a cart, also with a phone.

This was a small child eating in the cafe. That’s some sort of white stuff all over her mouth – it might have been ice cream.  Also in the Field Notes book but partially from life and partially from a photo on my phone.

I finished the painting of the stone house in Lindesfarne (Scotland).  This was done from my own photo.  I started it at Daniel Smith Watercolor Social yesterday.  It’s an 8×10 on Arches paper.

Finally, a very small (3×5) sketch from a random photo.  This is a pensive otter with its little paw up to its mouth.

Forgot to take a photo of the group today:  we were five.

I never did make the return.  I thought I was very clever in doing an algebraic equation, calculating the time it took to go through 5 numbers and making an estimate of when they’d get to #78.  I was wrong.  When I went back down, they’d passed my number.   Tomorrow is another day.

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Georgetown Steamplant

Yesterday I received an email about an open house at the Georgetown Steamplant today. It is open every second Saturday but it seems today was special as they would have a presentation on future plans. I’ve had it on my list for several years. One time I went but it wasn’t open. I think the monthly tours were closed down for about a year but have started up again within the past year.

I went but didn’t attend the presentation or take the tour. I read through the posters, though.  Seems they want to “partner with a local non-profit” to manage the operation of the facility.  One of those on their list was the Museum of Flight.  From what I know as a volunteer there for 5 years, this kind of place is most definitely not their mission! Some arts organizations were also mentioned. Whaaat?    But MOHAI was not.  How is that possible?  The Museum of History and Industry seems tailor made to run a place like the Steamplant.

It was built between 1906 and 1907 at a cost of $1 million, equivalent to $26 million today. It is a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark and houses the only two Curtis vertical turbine generators left in place in the entire world.

One of the boilers has been converted to natural gas so it can be operated when an engineer needs to renew their license.

one of many boilers

I sketched the building from the car before it opened.   This is my tiny 3×5 book.

Then I wandered the plant for about an hour, taking a lot of photos. It seemed very monochromatic so I decided to sketch this generator as it has a little color! It is a 10 megawatt alternating current generator made by General Electric.

Side note.  I’d watched a Thomas Schaller DVD from the library early this morning.  I applied some of his shadow mixing techniques in this sketch!

I culled 160 photos down to about 100. They are here:

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I’m both confused and a bit excited. While adding this sketch from 2013 to another personal album, I discovered it was added to the flickr album “in explore”.

Flickr Explore  is considered the height of recognition on flickr. It usually gets you thousands of views and hundreds of comments.

What confuses me is I don’t remember getting the invitation to Explore. And the sketch only has 338 views. So, did I miss the invitation and it expired? I’ll have to ask a couple sketcher friends who’ve been “Explored” more than once.  The group description doesn’t help.

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First Monday at Ikea

Via Facebook, I found my way to a group of sketchers in my area: South King County. They’d stopped meeting as they lost their Saturday venue. I know a number of Urban Sketchers from both Seattle and Tacoma that live in this area. So we joined the group, talked with the admin and picked a new day and time. Thus we met today at Ikea. We grabbed a large table to sketch, talk and eat! It’s not necessarily Urban Sketching, though some did sketch the view out the windows or other patrons.

I chose to sketch from a photo. It is someone else’s, taken at Fort Nisqually. I tried Judi N‘s technique of painting first and adding ink after.

It was fun so we’re going to do it again next week!

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Back to Tacoma Library

Urban Sketchers Tacoma met at the Tacoma Main Library yesterday.  Our host was Beverly, one of our members and the manager at the library.  She did an excellent job of hosting and had arranged rooms for us to use.

Between our opening meeting and talking with people new to Urban Sketchers, the outing was a half hour in before I went looking for something to sketch.  I already knew I wanted to attempt the window in the “crow’s nest”.  It has intimidated me in the past but I’m fairly satisfied with the sketch I did.  The lower left corner was empty and I decided the composition needed something there to balance the right corner.  It might have been better if the figure was looking into the page.  But the windows were on what I spent most of my time and what I found challenging.

We were a really large group today.  I think we counted 35 people.  Several had left by the time the library media person took our group photo.

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Patrick’s Opening Day

The day has finally arrived.  As Himself said, “our favorite baker moved so we had to find a new one”. Patrick Choy’s Stonehouse Bakery has moved and is now Patrick’s Cafe and Bakery.

The new place is in White Center, about 25 minutes from my home near the East Hill of Kent.  That’s not much further than it was to the Stonehouse.  As we drove up the hill, it looked familiar.  I later determined it is on the way to the Seattle Chinese Garden, which is less than 3 miles away.

Himself even went with me to celebrate opening day with breakfast at the new place. And several more of Patrick’s fans had the same idea!

My painting of the Stonehouse Bakery is on the wall, to inspire fond memories. But I’m hoping there will be many more happy memories to make here in the new place.  Patrick has done a good job and the inside is very inviting.  There is a small seating area.  Once the weather improves, we’ll enjoy the large patio.

We each had a huge bacon omelette croissant. It was delicious.  All Patrick’s usual pastries are available but he has expanded the menu.

Patrick was starting to put out the lunch items before we left. There was macaroni and cheese and a hot potato salad. He said there would also be soup and a vegetarian chili.

I did a sketch from one of my photos to commemorate the day.

More photos:

There is already coverage on the White Center Blog.  We saw the writer there.

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IKEA cafe

This was a very bright, sunny morning.  I went early to IKEA to have breakfast, sketch, and then shop.  The breakfast, with coffee, was $1.10!  Can’t beat that.  I chose my seat for the view I wanted to sketch.  **

I later bought some dish towels and new pillows for our family room futon.  We recently replaced the mattress and a new cover is on the way.  So new pillows are in order.  The old ones are nearly shredded!

** In case anyone reading this is in the area and is interested, a few of us in South King County are starting a new sketching group.  It’s not meant to be Urban Sketching, though we might sometimes sketch on location.  For starters, we’re meeting on Mondays at 10 in the cafe at IKEA Seattle, which is in Renton.  For now, there is only a private Facebook Group.  

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Monday was a holiday so today, Tuesday, I had lots of errands.  Two of which took me to The Landing shopping center in south Renton.   This view struck me… I liked the red and the structural elements.  Quick line drawing in the cold.

In the small, square, Pentalic Aqual sketchbook.

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