The new greys

Brenda Swenson did a demo on “negative painting” which will be the subject of her four day workshop this week at Daniel Smith. BTW, it’s sold out.  She allows no photography of any kind so… no photos of it and I don’t have much to say about it without photos.

I’ve taken two other workshops from her and she is an excellent teacher.

So… I sketched. The first one doesn’t look like her, but oh, well.

And then I looked at the new grey watercolor pigments that are finally on sale now. We’ve been hearing about them for a while.  No, there aren’t 50 shades, just 7 plus Red Jasper Genuine.

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New and old at TAM

Urban Sketchers Tacoma gathered at the Tacoma Art Museum today.   As always, I was early and the Museum wasn’t open yet. The sculpture and the red wall enticed me. This sculpture of a bear and an eagle is called “Explorers”. This is the “old”.

Ink and watercolor in pocket Stillman & Birn Beta.   (from the website: “Scott Fife’s Explorers delights visitors with two endearing Northwestern creatures—an eaglet and a bear cub—arriving in the “urban wilderness” via raft. Fife is fascinated by how these species are reintroducing themselves into the new Western landscape.  Created in Fife’s iconic cardboard technique, made to resemble chain-saw-carved wood, and cast in bronze, Explorers is located outside the main entrance of TAM”).

We had a good turn out and Peter D. graciously arranged to allow everyone entrance to the galleries! Thanks, Peter!

We’re missing at least two sketchers:  Daisy and Peter.

I wanted to see the new Benaroya wing. I found this intriguing sculpture titled “Helmut and Hoist” from 1993 by Italo Scanga. I forgot to ask whether the card had a typo: “Helmut” is a name and the object in the sculpture is a “helmet”. This is the “new”.

Strathmore Series 500 Mixed Media sketchbook

“Leroy, The Big Pup” (created by Northwest artist Scott Fife). He’s 10 feet tall and made of archival cardboard, glue, and wood screws. I’ve sketched him every time I’ve visited TAM. Today I thought I would try a different point of view. He is placed in different locations around the museum but today he was back in the lobby, affording me a rear view. And this is the “old” also.

Edit 3/3:  We learned late yesterday that, sadly, the model for the dog, also named Leroy, died at 16 years old. He was the companion of the artist.

Strathmore Series 500 Mixed Media sketchbook

More photos

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On Tap

I was amused by the Kombucha on tap! I was also thinking of Andika, who posted a very detailed coffee house sketch this am.  I planned to add as much detail to the shelves as I could manage.

This was my second  outing with an informal local Renton group of sketchers.  They seem loosely organized around a specific watercolor teacher, but anyone is welcome.  Announcements are handled by an email list.

Today we were at a local cafe I’ve been wanting to visit.  They are Everest Tea and Coffee House (only on Facebook).   I was quite impressed with the service and menu.  Since it’s not far from my home, I will likely be back.  Today I didn’t sketch any people but it would be a good place to do so.

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So much pink and ruffles

Last night was our regular Cosplay Drink and Draw.  The model was Rhiannon, cosplaying Sylveon.  I’ve not a clue but those with one said this is a character from Pokemon.  I brought my tube of Daniel Smith’s Rhodonite Genuine as I knew I’d need a lot of pink!  It’s not normally in my palette so I just squeezed out a bit into a bottle cap.  I’ll keep it for the next time we have a costume with a lot of pink!

Rhiannon was so much fun.

We do poses from 1 minute to 20 minutes over the 1.5 to 2 hours.  Here are a some of my favorite sketches from the session.

And here’s that pink!

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We are rather riveted to the Cohen hearing today.  Sketch done from the TV screen.

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Journal workshop

As usual, I arrived early and was fortunate to find an all-day parking spot at Daniel Smith mothership.  While waiting, I did a sketch of my view.

After a delay due to the snow storm, today was the start of a four session workshop on Journal making by Janice Berkebile.  Today we made a double pamphlet journal with pamphlet stitch and decorative papers.

Janice brought some of her journals as examples and also provided some of the equipment.

She has a colorful collection of waxed linen thread.

My journal with decorative papers inserted.  I used watercolor paper.

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Music everywhere

There was music all over the host hotel hallways and lobbies! Urban Sketchers Seattle gathered for the 6th year in a row to sketch Wintergrass, a bluegrass festival held in Bellevue, WA.

We had a good turnout.  On the left is Marcia, visiting from Michigan!

While sketching the truck, below, I heard a flute! Once done with the sketch, I went to investigate. I found “Hall Crystal Flutes“. They’re made by James Hall out of glass
I was enthralled. Have a listen. My readers might not know, but I was a serious flutist when I was young and started college as a Music major. I nearly bought one but decided it would be best if I was playing my modern flute more before I add another flute to my collection (I also play – or played – Soprano Recorder). There would  be a learning curve to play the “D” flute, too. Sigh.

Right after starting I went up to the second floor to one of my favorite spots. I found a seat next to a group of musicians and sketched a couple of them.

Next I went to the end of the first floor hall to find the old truck that Loretta mentioned. It is a 1941 Chevrolet 3/4 ton long bed named “Hank”. A young woman stopped to tell me it is her family’s truck and is displayed as the company, FullerLiving Construction, is a sponsor of the festival. Just as I finished, the two guitarists were packing up. Stuart, on the left, is also an artist. I gave him a USk card.

Lastly I stopped by a large group and sketched just a couple of the players. I noticed Steve’s guitar only had 4 strings and he was playing the bass line. Normally, it would be a bass viol. I spoke with him briefly between sets and he said it was specially made for him by Taylor Guitars.

It was a good time. I’m going to think some more about that glass flute!

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Urban Sketchers Tacoma met today at the Seymour Conservatory in Wright Park, Tacoma. Some intrepid sketchers were outdoors but most of us stayed in the warmth of the indoor garden.

There are a lot of renovations happening. Finally there will be restrooms in the building but they don’t open until next week. More garden space is planned and another dome so more tall trees can be grown.

At least 4 sketchers left early.

I was going to sit in my car and sketch the outside of the building. But I’d already done that before. A convenient bench had a nice view of some bright blooms. Then I did a quick standing sketch of the spiky bromeliad.


–by Kate Buike

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Two day workshop

This was a 2 day workshop with Ann Breckon held in a room in an office building in Bellevue. We were a group of 8, smaller than planned but weather might have had something to do with it. There was some time for talking so I got to know the artists seated around me a little and found them to be very interesting people.

I’ve attended Ann’s demos at Daniel Smith and for a couple years have wanted to take a workshop with her.

We all worked on the same subject which was a tracing of a photo Ann took at Ruby Beach on the Olympic Peninsula. We used a second photo as a reference for a more interesting sky. My goal for the workshop was to learn to paint better skies and water.

I found Ann’s teaching method to be very conducive to learning. She demonstrated and taught as she made her painting in stages. Each section was a manageable amount for remembering and learning the techniques and process. We would watch her demonstrate and then go back to our own paintings to work on that section:  sky, background stacks (rocks) and mountains, beach and water, foreground stack, hillside with trees and background drift wood, foreground drift wood.

I filled a smaller palette with many of her recommended colors. Some I didn’t use at all but others I nearly emptied. I painted on a quarter sheet, which is much larger than I normally use.

I was happy with my painting.

I’d highly recommend Ann’s workshops and classes. She has that special touch in being able to offer both praise and helpful suggestions for improvement. Her website is not up to date so one would have to email her to get the 2019 schedule.  She responded promptly when I contacted her.  Registration is by mail.

More Photos.

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Snow dogs

As the snowpocalypse continued for more days, I stayed home and amused myself with various projects.  One of which was more sketches from the Kitsap Humane Society Instagram account.   All of these are packed up to be sent, along with the previous six, to the Society to use as they will.  Hopefully, the snow is done.


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