Pt Defiance Marina

Urban Sketchers Tacoma met this morning to sketch around the Pt. Defiance Marina. There were so many scenes that interested me I decided to do a two page montage.  The sketch on the far left I didn’t like, so I did another one and made it a patch.

More Photos:

It was interesting to see the way the small boats are stored and then brought out to be placed in the water. They use an elevator.

Guys were cleaning fish at stations for that purpose on the dock.  They threw bits over into the water and the gulls were making a right racket and fighting over them.

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It’s not really waiting

Took a car in for its preventive maintenance this morning.  I decided to just wait for it rather than take the shuttle home.  It was supposed to be just 1.5 hours but was closer to 2.  That wasn’t a problem as I’d come prepared with my sketch kit.  I had a good view of the room.  So it’s not really waiting if you’re sketching!

I also listened to podcasts.  After the sketch was done, I watched a YouTube video about using watercolor pencils.  There was some good advice:  don’t use a “good” brush (natural or good synthetic hair) as they hold too much water.  Unlike traditional watercolor, you want less water so can use a less expensive, stiffer, synthetic brush.  She didn’t recommend a water-brush, either, for the same reason (too wet).

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Back to Bainbridge

On Sunday morning, August 13, I went back to Bainbridge Island. I drove this time as it actually takes less time. My goal was to attend the talk and book signing by Bill Hemp, the artist and author of “Bainbridge Island A to Z, which is on exhibit at the Museum of Art.

Since I was entering the island from the North end, I stopped first at Paula Ensign‘s booth in the Bainbridge Studio Tour. After over 50 days of no rain, it was pouring. A relief for certain, but it could have held off another day for the Tour.  Still, it did not diminish her wonderful work.  I learned a bit about her process.

I wandered around town and went into the shops I didn’t take time for yesterday. I found the amazing fountain pen store, The Lost Quill, but it is closed on Sundays. (Actually, it has rather limited hours: Tuesday – Sat, 12:30 to 1700).   Some others had gone in on Saturday and showed me photos.  I will keep it in mind for another time.

I took some time to listen and sketch some buskers.

Due to a confusion about time as listed on their blog, I was an hour early for the book signing. So I returned to the sketch I’d started on Saturday.

Mr. Hemp had brought some more sketchbooks and I enjoyed looking through them and talking with him about sketching.

#Pentalic Aqua Journal

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Bainbridge Island

Many of us would have been attending the 5th Annual Urban Sketchers West Coast Sketch crawl this weekend. However, several months ago it was cancelled. So we in Seattle decided to have a weekend of sketching anyway! This was the second of 3 intensive days held yesterday, August 12th.

We took the ferry together to Bainbridge Island. A couple people drove on but most of us walked. It was a short walk up a slight hill to the main village on Bainbridge Island, formerly known as Winslow. There were also local sketchers from the island and other(s) from Port Townsend.

This was my first experience of doing this though I’ve lived here 17 years! I can’t imagine why I never did this before! The village is charming and the entire experience delightful. Because I live south of Seattle, in actually takes less time to drive around than to take light-rail into Seattle, walk to the dock and take the ferry over. In fact, it took me 3 hours to get home because the ferry was late. That’s why I’ve never taken the ferry! Despite having been on Bainbridge a few times, I’d never gone to the main village.

Our base was the Bainbridge Museum of Art. It is a beautiful place with interesting exhibits. The front desk volunteers were so friendly. They were interested, even excited, to have us there.  We gathered there in the morning and then for the sketchbook throw down in the afternoon.

I wandered through town a bit. I just didn’t seem enough time to do justice to the number of sketching choices. I settled down on a patio to sketch this restaurant sign that caught my interest. I struggled with the sketch to the point that I really didn’t like the result and almost wasn’t going to post it. I’ve cropped it to show the part in which I was most interested. I learned (again) to decide on the focal point and zoom in on that.   I also think it might have been better had I left some areas unpainted.

The sign under the fork and spoon is a bit of collage.

Harris is missing from this photo.

After we gathered for sketch sharing, I stayed in the Museum while others went to see a Studio show further out on the island. I enjoyed the show of sketches by Bill Hemp, “Bainbridge A to Z”. Later I sketched the roof top garden.

A few more photos here:

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Many of us would have been attending the 5th Annual Urban Sketchers West Coast  Sketch crawl this weekend. However, several months ago it was cancelled. So we in Seattle decided to have a weekend of sketching anyway! This was the first of 3 intensive days.

Driving in and parking reminded me once again why I prefer taking the bus or light rail. I thought I’d found a good bus route to the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park. But because of construction, the home-bound stop had been closed and we’d have to walk further. I wasn’t sure of the route and didn’t want to inflict my lack on the two sketchers traveling with me. Despite traffic and the park’s lot being unexpectedly closed (again!), we arrived in good time.

Several sketchers enjoyed the cool weather as we sketched in this park close to Puget Sound. Except for the smoke still in the air (from the forest fires in BC), it was a perfect day.

My first choice of subject today was one of my favorite sculptures in the park: Wake by Richard Serra (2004). “The towering, curved-steel forms were achieved with computer imaging and a machine that once made nuclear submarines. Wake is composed of five identical modules, each with paired S-shapes—gently curving serpentines of convex and concave sections suggesting tidal waves or profiles of battleships.”

My other favorite sculpture is Echo by Jaume Plensa (2011) “Plensa modeled Echo on the 9-year-old daughter of a restaurant owner near the artist’s studio in Barcelona. The sculpture’s title references Echo, the mountain nymph from Greek mythology, who offended the goddess Hera. To punish Echo, Hera deprived the nymph of speech, except for the ability to repeat the last words of another. In this monumental sculpture, over 46 feet tall, Echo listens with her eyes closed or in a state of meditation. She faces Puget Sound in the direction of Mount Olympus, visible from land and water”

I’d sketched her once before. I’d hoped to find a view where I could both see some of her face and the view toward which she looked. I didn’t find it.

On my way to Echo, I’d stopped under a canopy with tables and chairs to look at The Eagle by Alexander Calder (1971). I returned there to sketch this unusual view of the sculpture. It was one that featured prominently in sketches today.

Sharing sketches

For our group photo, we’re standing in front of Curve XXIV (1981) by Ellsworth Kelly.  “Although its silhouette at first appears abstract, Curve XXIV suggests an autumn ginkgo leaf or a billowing sail.” It was Pam’s first sketch outing with us today!  (She is standing behind Kathleen and me, in the pink shirt).  Welcome, Pam!!

A few more photos:

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New Cafe

I’ve noticed this place while driving around the old Seattle neighborhood of Georgetown.  It’s a house on a residential street that’s been turned into a small cafe.  I’ve met for lunch with two former co-workers for about 6 years now.  We go to a new place every month or two.  I suggested this one as I’ve been wanting see what it’s like and sketch it.

It was getting hot but we had a cool spot on the patio under one of the umbrellas.  I liked my sandwich just fine and I think the others liked their lunches, too.

It is very close to the end of the runway for Boeing Field, so there is a lot of airplane noise.  That’s typical for this neighborhood.  It’s called “the Georgetown pause” when conversation has to stop to allow for the sound of air craft.

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I went out relatively early this morning to do this sketch while it was still cooler.  I’ve sketched this water tower in my neighborhood before but it was early 2012, when I’d just returned to sketching about a month before.  That one looks a bit stiff to me now.  And I wanted to do it again for the Urban Sketchers Flickr group weekly theme, which is “Water/Sewer Infrastructure”.   We do pick some unusual ones, don’t we?

I like our water tower as it is rather cleverly disguised.  The top is painted just the right color to blend into our often grey, cloudy skies.  So then the evergreen trees painted on it also just blend into the surrounding trees.  There have been times when I couldn’t even see it!

Now perhaps they could also disguise the cell tower as an evergreen.  I’ve seen cell towers made to look like palm trees in Southern California.

Oh, you wanna compare this to the one in 2012?   Go here. 

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Workshop second day

This is the second day of the Pat Southern-Pierce workshop held in Mt. Vernon, WA.

We again started under the shade in Sharyn’s garden. Pat taught about her letter form and we did exercises. Once she explained it, it was easily grasped. But I had not seemed able to do so from previous observation.  It is based on an Art Nouveau style. We added lettering to sketches done yesterday.

Then we moved to Scarlet’s magnificent garden. I could sketch there for days! Since I was really not interested in sketching on toned paper, I reverted to my usual watercolor sketchbook. But I used the lettering we learned in the afternoon.

The afternoon throw down

and the final group photo, taken by Scarlet’s husband.

All in all it was a delightful workshop. The setting made it so relaxing and friendly. Also, Sunday was only a high of 73 degrees, so it was also a welcome respite from the heat at home.

I’m going to order a broad nib for one of my Lamy fountain pens.  I’m not sure whether I’ll use it for drawing but I will use it for lettering.  I do like Pat’s line work in her sketches and will look at it some more and think about using a broader pen.  I’ve been using very fine nib pens up to now.

Lots of photos from the garden here:

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Workshop First Day

Pat Southern-Pierce is an English artist who lives in a village a few miles from Manchester, England. She taught art to primary school children and moved to Cumbria University to prepare teachers of art.  She now is a freelance artist and teacher. A couple weeks ago she taught at the Urban Sketchers International Symposium held in Chicago.   She doesn’t have a website or blog but only a Facebook page:

That’s her own garden in the sketch.

There were 15 of us gathered in Sharyn’s lovely back garden just outside Mt. Vernon. She provided us with a light breakfast before we started the workshop. We also had a chance to look around her amazing studio and garden.  We gathered under a shade for instruction.

Pat started by sharing her background and then her process for sketching. The workshop is about drawing on toned paper with dry media. To that end, she generously supplied us with an English Seawhite sketchbook in tan paper and let us use all her sketching tools!

Pat is an excellent teacher and I would recommend any workshop she offers.  She said she would submit a proposal to do a 3 hour workshop at next year’s USk International Symposium, which will take place in Portugal.

My reason for taking the workshop was to learn about her lettering style.  While I very much like her work, it’s not how I want to sketch. I do want to incorporate the lettering style on my sketches, especially those that are journal pages. Thus, I wasn’t so enthusiastic about the day’s exercises. The lettering seen on these sketches was done the following day.

Our exercises were to draw scenes with the sky in view. We drew in Sharyn’s garden and then moved to that of a friend near by.   We used watercolor crayons meant for children (Available at Barnes and Noble) but didn’t wet them.Also colored pencils and pen.

Roy DeLeon took this lovely photo of Pat demonstrating in Sharyn’s garden.

I’m not posting my first one.  These were done in the garden in the afternoon.

my favorite of the day

A photo by Sharyn of the group, taken in the other garden.

Lots of photos here

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To Mt. Vernon

The Pat Southern-Pierce workshop was Friday and Saturday in Mt. Vernon, WA. It’s about 1.5 to 2 hours north of where I live… perhaps even more if traffic is bad. I didn’t want to drive up during a weekday rush hour through Seattle so I decided to go up a day early in order to be rested for the start at 0930. I arrived about 1530. It was nearly 90 degrees so I didn’t feel like doing much.  There is a lot just around town that would be interesting to sketch but it was just too hot.

This cafe sign has appealed to me ever since I first visited Mt. Vernon.

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