Day of Art

Yesterday, my day of Art started early with a stop at the Museum of Flight to see the The Collings Foundation aircraft. It’s their 2018 “Wings of Freedom” on which they give tours and rides in the B-17, B-24 and B-25. I thought if I got there before the rides were to start, I could get a sketch.

The Seattle Times covered it. The WWII B17 pilot who is a volunteer was given a ride in the aircraft. This article says this is the first time he was up in it since he was its pilot.

The B-17 was actively being prepared for take off and loading the first group of passengers. So I chose another aircraft to sketch. I found a secluded location behind the newly constructed classrooms. I’d just gotten the drawing done when one of the Security officers came around the corner and said I had to leave. Though the classrooms were set to open the next day, they were considered a construction area so no one was supposed to be around them. I suppose Security saw me on camera!  Even being a volunteer with a badge didn’t permit me to be there.

This is the North American B-25 Mitchell “Tondelayo”.

The nose art is a bit of photo collage.

I need to find another paint to use on aircraft. These granulating and primatec greens are good for landscapes but not for smooth metal! Fortunately, I’m going to the Watercolor Social today so I can try out some pigments.

The rest of the day was spent at Daniel Smith. First was a demo by Bjorn Bernstrom, an artist from Stockholm, Sweden.  We were a room full of mostly “women of a certain age”. He said that in Sweden, the most popular activity for older women was choir singing. Second to that was watercolor painting. He does a 3 day workshop every month in Stockholm. For some reason, the belief there is that the brushes are the most important tool and paper is secondary. He contradicted that and I agree.


The afternoon demo was Joan Wright teaching us about Daniel Smith’s Quinacridone pigments. I admit, I got a little confused by the chemistry. But I enjoyed trying out all the mixes.

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Chilly Chinese Garden

Urban Sketchers Seattle haven’t sketched at the Seattle Chinese Garden in a while so we decided it was time to return. This was my fourth time there.

Throwdown and group photo in the Knowing the Spring Courtyard

Susan and Kathleen seem to share a sketcher uniform!

Despite Summer having officially begun yesterday, today was cloudy and chilly. There was quite a breeze as I sat atop a small hill to sketch the view of the north side.

The Dragon Seeker is my favorite thing in the garden. I’ve sketched it twice before so I sought a new view today. I don’t know what the characters carved into the standing stone mean, but I hope I copied them correctly.

According to traditional Chinese tale, a carp that could leap the high falls of the Yellow River at Dragon Gate (near Longmen, Zhejiang) would be transformed into a dragon. This Dragon Seeker was made in Thailand over 100 years ago. More recently, a Seattle couple had it in their garden in Kuala Lumpur. When they returned to Seattle, they donated him to the Chinese Garden.

A few of us went to lunch at Patrick’s Cafe and Bakery just a few blocks south of the garden. Over about 3 years, we had sketch outings to the Stonehouse Bakery. Patrick was the baker there but has now moved and has a full service cafe which he opened earlier this year. He was always so glad to host us when we sketched at the Stonehouse that we wanted to sketch at his new place.  He was equally gracious, giving us coffee and bringing a plate of banana bread to our table.

Tina called this part of our outing “munch and sketch”.  After a delicious sandwich, I sketched the corner of his new building from my table.

(banner is a bit of paper collage)

More Photos

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Fifth Anniversary

We celebrated the 5th Anniversary of the Urban Sketchers Tacoma’s first sketch outing on June 26, 2013. Oddly, there were only four of us today, less than usual and less then at that first outing!

We met at the Annie Wright Schools in Tacoma. Thanks to Jean Y. who teaches there and was our host as she’s one of us, too.


The first outing on June 27, 2013 (I wasn’t there).

I thought I’d wait for any late arrivals so I sketched this view of the school front from the shade across the lawn.  I included an inset with a seed pod, thinking of the botanical sketching demo by Janice Berkebile at Daniel Smith earlier this week.

I had about 45 minutes left and, as I often do, went searching for a simpler scene to sketch in that time.

More photos here.

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Stylized botanicals

Stylized botanicals was the subject of today’s Mixed Media Play Day at Daniel Smith. Janice Berkebile supplied “live” models (plants) for us to draw and suggested exercises in different techniques. As she usually does, she generously let us try her pencils and other art supplies.

Janice had two book recommendations:
Botanical Drawing by Penny Brown
Tangle Inspired Botanicals by Sharla R. Hicks.

I didn’t quite get around to the “stylized” part.

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Anderson School

The first time Urban Sketchers Seattle met at the McMenamins Anderson School in Bothell, it was relatively newly opened.  It was also cold and raining.  At the time, sketchers said they’d like to return when the weather was better.  We scheduled that return visit for today and the weather was perfect.

About 25 sketchers joined us, including some new people and those who hadn’t been in a while.

So many sketches to share!

At least one sketcher is missing.

As I gave my carpool partners a tour around the grounds, I noticed this archway I don’t remember seeing before.  I sketched it from the upper side as a private party was using the patio below.  I got the “McMenamins Passport” stamp from the hotel front desk.

I was delighted my friend Judi joined us from Whidbey Island.  I sat next to her to sketch and chat so sketched what was in my view.  (also her blog is here)

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At the Sculpture Park with a visitor

Riccardo Pastore from USk Milan contacted us about sketching during his visit to Seattle. Tina quickly organized an impromptu outing to the Sculpture Park. Despite the short notice, there was a nice group of sketchers to meet him. This is one of the many great features of Urban Sketchers. We have the chance to sketch with people from around the world both as visitors and hosts!

Riccardo… he’s a quick sketcher… completed 3 in under 2.5 hours!

I’ve been to the Sculpture Park a few times. Today I thought I would sketch Wake from a different view point. But before I even got a few steps, I noticed the freighter in view of the Calder Eagle. I had to get that before it moved. That’s Kathleen sketching in front of me.

Then on to Wake.

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Waiting for the streetcar

On my way, yesterday, to a business meeting about our local Urban Sketchers chapter.  The South Lake Union Streetcar had a 10 minute delay for departure from the Westlake hub.  Got this mostly done except for color.  Sketch of McGraw Square (mis-identified on the sketch).  That’s the Monorail overhead.

In the Fieldnotes Sketchbook.

Learned later about this small park:  It is one of the smallest in the city park system, is named for and features a statue of former King County Sheriff and Governor of Washington John Harte McGraw.

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Missed it. Again!

Arghhh.   I missed it… again!  I went to the Museum of Flight on Monday to check on the status of reconstruction of the B-52.  No big cranes.  I’d planned to go again yesterday (Tuesday) in the late afternoon, before an evening meeting at the Museum.  But about 1500, Museum posted to their Facebook page photos of the wings being installed.

I went over as planned and sketched what I saw.    I decided to add an insert, sketched from a photo.

There is still one crane there, on the right of my sketch.  I have a meeting in downtown Seattle today.   I think they might install the tail with that crane.  I’m going to check on the status in the morning.   I’ll leave my car in the back of the Museum and take the bus from there into the city.  Then I’ll be back in mid-afternoon to check again!  That’s my plan.  I thought this would be easier with the aircraft closer to home.

BTW, the meeting at the Museum was our regular All Volunteer meeting.  A very impressive group of new docents graduated.  Their bio’s included: pilot during Viet Nam war; pilot for Angel Flight (charity that flies ill people to doctor/hospital); first female pilot for an airline; Senior Executive Service FAA air traffic control; MS and PhD from MIT;  I was in awe.

The presentation was by Museum staff, Becca Harmsen:  “Warts and All.  Interpretation of War in Museums”.  Her talk was based on her Master’s Thesis, which, of course, I have found on line here. She outlined the difference between an exhibit which interprets and analyzes the war and one which commemorates.  The Museum of Flight has chosen to separate the two.  The commemoration will be the park on the far west side of campus.  There is an exhibit interpreting the history of the war already installed inside the Great Gallery of the Museum on the East campus.

I am cognizant of the possibility of strong emotional reactions to the Viet Nam Veterans commemorative park, of which this B-52 will be a part.   One docent shared her experience while giving a tour of the B-17.  A visitor on the tour said, “You tried to kill me”.  He was a child in Germany when the B-17 bombed his city.  I think her response was one to model:  “War is terrible.  Innocent people are harmed and killed.  I would be happy to talk more but for now, I’d like to continue with the tour”.  Afterwards, she said he told her it was the best tour he’d ever experienced.


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Twice the Gothic

Urban Sketchers Seattle met outside the Frye Art Museum today. We had many options for sketching: St. James Catholic Cathedral, O’Dea Cathedral High School, historic Trinity Episcopal Church and, of course, the Frye.

Many sketchers chose St. James as the subject. It was open so a good place to shelter from chill and rain.

I really like Gothic and neo-Gothic architecture. My first sketch was a view of the towers of St. James seen from the street corner next to Frye. The parking lot across the street will become an 11 story apartment building. Once that is built, this view will no longer exist, at least from street level.

It had started to rain but I had been protected by a large tree as I sketched the towers. I moved down the street to sketch the facade of O’Dea Cathedral High School. I shelter under the entrance alcove of the school office building across the street.

Note the two birds.  Aircraft were flying over regularly so I had opportunity to do a composite shape.  Then a large crow landed on the cross at the peak of the building.

A few more photos are here. 

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Putting it back together

After Sunday’s delivery, Omega Morgan started right up on Monday with the reconstruction of the B-52.  I went over today to check the status.  I found it was off the trailer and the crew was working on removing it from the support frame.  I’m glad I have ear plugs in my kit as there was loud banging and grinding.

I spoke with one of the crew when he stopped to look at my sketch.  He told me the plan on reinstalling the wings and when that might happen.  Since I missed the “wings-off” day, I hope to witness – and sketch – “wings back on” day.

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