Lest we forget…..

The day before Memorial Day – In remembrance of our war dead and their families……

Though I never want to deal the crowds on Memorial Day itself, for the past few years I have visited Tahoma National Cemetery in the days just prior.  I take flowers to put on grave sites without them and then I do one or two sketches while I think about the sacrifice represented there.

First, I stopped at some graves I’d visited before.  This time I knew to leave a penny as a token of visitation:

+ Medal of Honor Recipient Second Lieutenant Jesse T. Barrick (Civil War), 57th Regiment of the U.S. Colored Infantry, the only Civil War veteran buried there. (more about him and the effort to move his grave to a National Cemetery)

+ Sergeant First Class Nathan Ross Chapman — first American serviceman to die from hostile fire in the war in Afghanistan in 2002.   Sergeant Chapman was a communications specialist with the 1st Special Forces Group at Fort Lewis, Wash. I also left flowers as his grave had none.

But someone who knew him or had been in his unit obviously had visited, given the patch and the quarter left:

+ Andrew H. McConnell, whose grave I sketched in 2015 ( more info on him)  and then heard from his mother in 2016 when she saw my blog post with the sketch (see my comment recounting the interaction at the bottom of this blog post https://redharparts.wordpress.com/2015/05/24/memorial-day-2015/ )

There was also a quarter atop his headstone.

While looking for these graves, I left flowers randomly at the resting places of those KIA who had no flowers.  And I left a penny:

+ SSG Michael Lee Burbank  BSM PH KIA = Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heat, Killed in Action.   He graduated from Bremerton High School  More about him.
His obituary

+ SPC John Robert Sullivan BSM PH KIA More info here and here

+ PV2 Michael Andrew Baloga  Info about him   and here

I went this morning before it became too hot but I still sweltered in the sun as I sketched.  I knew I wanted to attempt the wide scene as The Mountain would be out!  This VA cemetery is situated such that Mt. Rainier can be seen over the honored dead.  And it was today!

While sketching a couple people came up to look and talk.  One was Laurie, whose son is buried here.  She started Lion Heart Heroes Foundation.  A couple men also stopped.  Like me, they knew no one buried there but just thought it was the right thing to visit and pay respects.

After I got home, I also painted a journal page using photos of two columbarium marker.

Posted in Studio | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

2 demos 1 day

Along with some other Urban Sketchers, I spent much of this sunny day inside at Daniel Smith, attending some demos.

First was “Seattle Waterfront in Watercolor” by Che Lopez.  The room was pretty full, despite it being a gorgeous holiday weekend.  Dave was another USk’er who attended.


Che teaches at Kirkland Arts Center and at Pratt.  He’s a signature member of the NW Watercolor Society and its current President.
website:  http://www.artofche.com/
YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/chemuco
Instagram #artofche

He demonstrated painting sunset sky and water, completing a gorgeous painting in a little over an hour.

Deciding what to do next.

He uses Arches 140# cold press, half and quarter sheets.  The larger the sheet, the larger the brush.  Let the washes sit for a bit before taking the hair dryer to them.  They’ll continue to blend.

He painted the dock and then took the spray bottle to it to create the reflection in the water, holding the board straight up to let the paint flow down.

He referred to the cranes at the port as “Seattle Dinosaurs”.  🙂   I noted he was very loose in painting both the cranes and the dock… very little exact detail and done in big strokes.  But they still “read” as cranes and dock.

We had about 1.5 hours until the next demo.  I’d brought my lunch so ate it
while I read.  Then I shopped a bit until it was time for Janice’s demo.  And more USk’ers arrived:  Tom and Harris!

“Playing with Daniel Smith Luminescent Watercolors with Janice Berkebile”.  She started by describing the characteristics of this series.  All have mica so they are sparkly.

Pearlescent:  adds shimmer
Iridescent reflect light and their semi-transparent quality adds a sense of depth
Duochrome has a sheen that “toggles” between 2 colors
Interference reflects light differently and shows better on dark paper.  Display a subtle sheen
Think of them as a blending tool.  Her favorite is iridescent electric blue and I found I had to agree with her.

We got to play around with them.  I tried a few colors on white paper and then on black. I thought they were most impressive on black!  I mixed them a bit.  These are not pigments I’m likely to use in my everyday kit… not really on-location sort of colors.  But they’d be good for imaginative sketches and journaling.

Thanks to both these artists for a great day spent at the Mothership!

Posted in Class | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Warm and sunny Folklife

Folklife is one of Seattle’s well known festivals and is held over Memorial Day weekend.  Through 46 years it has remained free of charge.  It completely covers the acres and acres of the Seattle Center complex (site of the World’s Fair).  The Friday sketching group of Urban Sketchers Seattle has sketched there for some years now, since 2014, I think.  Today was no different but the weather was amazing… sunny and almost too warm.  This Memorial Day weekend is predicted to be the hottest in 22 years, reaching 85 degrees.

I kept to shady spots to make several small sketches into a montage over my 5 x 8.5 sized page.  There was so much music in the air!  I met the weaver on the Monorail and asked her where she would be demonstrating.

We met for sharing and a group photo.  Tom is missing from the group.


A few more photos:   https://redharp.smugmug.com/SketchOutings/2017-0526-Folklife/

Posted in Sketch Crawl, Sketches, Urban Sketchers | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A delightful place for breakfast

I returned to the Stonehouse Bakery yesterday morning to replace a couple prints in my show with new ones.

While there, I took advantage of the beautiful weather and the view.  I sat on the patio and sketched the corner of the bakery in my small, handmade, book.

Posted in Sketches | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Summer in the Chinese Garden

Most people don’t realize Seattle has a Chinese Garden.  They are familiar with the Japanese Garden within the UW Arboretum but not with this garden adjacent to South Seattle Community College.  There is also a mid-sized arboretum.

This would be my 3rd sketch outing here.  I’ve already sketched the dragon carp twice, so I chose another scene.  Though I do love that sculpture!  He’s the size of a small car.

The weather was bright sun and very warm.  Some parts of the city might have hit 80 degrees today.  I picked a spot in the shade to sketch this quiet corner with a pond.

I next did a quick sketch of two statues of generals. They look like the Terra Cotta Warriors but, given their location and lack of protection, they must be copies.

There were a few new sketchers today.

Posted in Sketch Crawl, Sketches, Urban Sketchers | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Visual Journaling 10×10

Yesterday (Sat, 20 May) I attended the second of the Seattle 10×10 Workshops.  This was Visual Journaling taught by Michele Cooper.

I met her through Urban Sketchers.  I have long admired her sketching and the way she develops a montage on the page.  Many of them can be seen on her Flickr page:   Michele teaches prolifically and has an excellent reputation as a teacher… I’ve met many of her students who have joined Urban Sketchers because of her and they all speak glowingly of her.

I had occasionally planned my page spread to be a montage as I’ve seen Michele do on our sketch outings with Urban Sketchers Seattle.  This workshop was an opportunity to have formal instruction on how she does this.

What I learned:

The first exercise was 30 min.  I learned not to try to do it all in such a limited time!  I was frustrated in my hurry.

There are several ways to plan the page layout:  Linear, Modular, Path and Radial.  Use boxes to plan for use of space on the page.

Use more ephemera to add to the memory of the place.   For my final sketch, I picked up some pieces from the Starbucks Roastery to glue in.  At home, I also printed out the logo for the workshop and had left room for it in the sketch.

Write more observations on the page.  This creates the reportage.

Six stroke figures.  I’d seen her handout about this on her blog but it was good to watch her construct figures easily in 6 brush strokes!

My second montage sketch:

Posted in Class, Sketch Crawl, Sketches, Urban Sketchers | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

A Long, but fruitful, day

Friday, 19 May

The plan for the day started with the evening:  attend Roy DeLeon’s show at St. Placid Priory.  He’s one of 20 artists in a fund raising show at the Benedictine priory… a fair drive south.

Because the traffic southbound in late afternoon is so horrendous, I decided to go south earlier, especially when I learned that ThinkGeek was having a grand opening event for a new store in Tacoma Mall.  Then I would meet Urban Sketcher Frances Buckmaster and we would carpool down to Lacey, sketch in the area; have dinner; and then go to Roy’s show.  It didn’t hurt that it was finally a nice, spring-like day.

So, first activity was the ThinkGeek opening.  Even an hour after opening, there was a long line.  But I joined it as I had time before I needed to be at Frances’.  I was given a commemorative pin upon joining the line.  Once in the store, I didn’t see anything for which I was willing to stand in another long line to buy!  All the things plus much more is available in the on-line store.

But I did encounter the Jedi costumer to whom I’d given a lightsaber!  And three of her friends, all from Alpha Base (a regional branch of Rebel Legion).  We went to lunch and I had a great time.  I shared some of my “old timer” history on Alpha Base.

Once Frances and I were in Lacey, we drove around a bit and found St. Martin’s University and St. Martin’s Abbey.  We both sketched in the Father Prior Alfred J. Hulsoher, OSB courtyard, with it’s fountain.  In the background is what I think is the bell tower of the Abbey church.

I moved on to a garden near the Abbey Church to sketch the statue of St. Benefict…. with a raven on his shoulder.  I learned elsewhere:  “The raven is a symbol for solitude. It also symbolizes filial gratitude and affection, wisdom, hope, longevity, death, and fertility.”

After dinner, we were still a little early for the opening of the art show, so we walked the grounds and then sat in a peaceful spot at St. Placid.  I did another quick sketch… this was a small garden alcove in the corner of a building.

Roy had some beautiful paintings in the show.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of him with his display!


ThinkGeek opening:  https://redharp.smugmug.com/StarWars/2017-0519-ThinkGeek-store-opening-at-Tacoma-Mall/

St. Martin’s & St. Placid:  https://redharp.smugmug.com/SketchOutings/2017-0519-St-Martins-St-Placid/

Posted in Sketch Crawl, Sketches, Urban Sketchers | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lakewold Gardens

Yesterday, Wednesday, was the Urban Sketchers Tacoma outing to Lakewold Gardens.  I’ve been at least once before but don’t remember being quite so distracted by all the sketching opportunities.

And I certainly wasn’t aware of the Fairyfest!  There were dozens of small, individually created, fair houses spread throughout the garden.

I decided to make a two page montage.  I included 2 of the fairy houses, a moss covered chair with shrine in the Garden for Peace, and a small fishing monk statue.

We met back near the Garden Shop and entry point for sketch sharing and the group photo.

Afterward, a smaller group of us went to lunch.  I took my minimal sketch kit in with me and did this sketch of the Red Robin in my tiny sketchbook.

Lots of photos of the grounds and the fairy houses are here:

Posted in Sketch Crawl, Sketches, Urban Sketchers | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

In the International District

Though rain is predicted, the early morning was sunny but chilly.  I arrived early for our sketch outing in the International District.  I decided to make this sculptural fountain the sketch for the ID station in my series of public art in Light rail stations. As such, I added the blue and white symbol for the station.  I didn’t really like what was in the tunnel.  This is on the plaza over the tunnel station.  I successfully managed to simplify it by not including details of the buildings in the background.

Cascadia: A sculptural Interpretation of the Basaltic Lava Flows; 1999-2000 by John Hoge“The installation references the cataclysmic events that shaped the stark landscape of central and southeastern Washington.  The basalt formations in this region date to the Miocene period, beginning about 17 million years ago and continuing over a period of 11 million years.”  

On to our meeting spot at the Panama Hotel.  It is a National Historic Landmark for its association with the immigration of Japanese.  The Hashidate-Yu Sento, located in the basement of the building is one of only 2 surviving Japanese Public Bathhouses in the USA.

I’d long wanted to sketch the sign.  Since it still wasn’t raining, I seized the chance to do so.

More from the website:  “The Historic Panama Hotel built in 1910 by Sabro Ozasa, a Japanese Architect and graduate of the University of Washington. Through the years it has served as a home for generations of Japanese immigrants, Alaskan fisherman and International travelers.”

Natalie told me it is also a location in the novel, At the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.

And:   “The mystery of the Panama Hotel lies beneath its weathered lobby, at the bottom of 19 creaky wooden steps, beyond a heavy glass door.  In a dimly lighted basement, belongings of a generation are frozen in time: kimonos delicately folded in a heavy trunk; worn suitcases adorned with stickers from Yokohama and Kobe; and a 1942 copy of the North American Times newspaper with a blaring headline, ‘Evacuation of Japanese due within 10 days.’  It is an accidental time capsule, this dusty basement in Seattle’s International District.

The mystery of the Panama Hotel lies beneath its weathered lobby, at the bottom of 19 creaky wooden steps, beyond a heavy glass door.

In a dimly lighted basement, belongings of a generation are frozen in time: kimonos delicately folded in a heavy trunk; worn suitcases adorned with stickers from Yokohama and Kobe; and a 1942 copy of the North American Times newspaper with a blaring headline, ‘Evacuation of Japanese due within 10 days.’ 

It is an accidental time capsule, this dusty basement in Seattle’s International District. ”  More  http://www.panamahotel.net/article2.htm

I walked around the corner nearby, looking for a vantage point from which to sketch another interesting sign.  I saw this single shoe, left at the cross walk.  It made me wonder about the circumstances that resulted in it being left there.

Then it started to rain.  Time to go back inside the Panama Hotel Tea Room.

Steve and Tom sketching

Natalie sketching

We were a much smaller group today.

Posted in Sketch Crawl, Sketches, Urban Sketchers | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

On the Beach

What a beautiful day!  I think we are predicted to have one more of this summer-like weather before we cool down and have more rain.

I took advantage of it to go to a location I have on my list:  Tolmie State Park. I thought it might be a location for an Urban Sketchers outing.  After having been there, I’m not so sure.

The park is named for Dr. William Fraser Tolmie (1812-1886) who spent 16 years with the Hudson Bay Company at Fort Nisqually as a physician, surgeon, botanist, and fur trader.  He was also the Factor (administrator) of the Fort.

Posted in Sketches, Urban Sketchers | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments