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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Def Con and More

2017 0728 Friday Def Con:  Himself registered the day before for Def Con. I went over with him this morning in order to go to the vendor room. I got lost a couple times in the huge-ness that is the Caesar’s Palace casino. I hung out in the shops area until I could use His badge. Did this sketch of the fountain while I waited.

Trying to get into the vendor room was awful. There ended up being 25,000 people at the conference and I think all of them were in the hall that morning! The upward bound escalator kept breaking down… I think due to the weight of all those people.  I eventually got into the room but it was too crowded to see anything!  I paid my EFF membership, got my EFF swag, and left!

Himself had driven the car over since the con validated parking so it was free. I left about noon and took the BSides provided shuttle back to the hotel. Had to wait an hour – probably the driver’s lunch period – in 106 degrees in the shade. Did this sketch of the Planet Hollywood sign near where we waited.

2017 0730 End of Def Con; Cirque du Soleil “O””  After the convention was over, we went to In n’ Out one last time. As we drove away, I noticed the contrast between the jam packed, standing room only, no place to park that was In n’ Out and the McDonald’s a block away that had 2 cars in the drive through and no one inside the restaurant!

We attended the 2130 performance of Cirque du Soleil’s “O”. It’s the last show that we’ve wanted to see that we’d so far been unable. The last time I went to Def Con with Himself, the show was dark/on hiatus.

2017 0731 – 0801 Drive home:  The drive home was, again, long and boring. We took an hour’s longer route from Vegas, along I-84, through Salt Lake City, in order to have a route with more services and cell coverage.

Lots more photos.

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Attending “BSides”

Badge, “lanyard” and tote bag. The SWAG.

2017 0725-6 Tuesday and Wednesday at BSides Las Vegas

This gets a bit technical as it comes from my notes.  Since my badge was free, I decided to find something to attend. I chose the “I am the Cavalry” track. It was mostly about how cyber security “researchers” (good guy hackers) interact and team with both companies and the Federal Government to identify vulnerabilities. Most of these sessions were about the lack of security in medical devices.  One of the presenters was an MD from the FDA who specialized in medical devices.

It’s rather scary. Some quotes from these presentations:
“If you can’t afford to protect it, you can’t afford to connect it”
Meaning you shouldn’t connect a medical device to a network if it isn’t protected.
“Only 85% of hospitals have a cyber security specialist on staff” and most of those only have one.
“Cyber hygiene…. many medical devices are still using Windows XP or Windows 7″… meaning neither of these OS’s receive security updates/patches as they are no longer supported by Microsoft!

I attended one session called “Banking on Insecurity”. The message is still do not do
on-line banking! Some quotes:
“Every day we learn something about Windows we don’t like”
“Compliance is not security”
“China has bought Africa”
“Brazil is the epicenter of banking malware”

They had the largest coffee urn I’ve ever seen!  It was at least 3 feet high, if not more!

In the early morning, before it got so very hot, I did a sketch of the dry fountain outside the hotel.

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Outbound to Las Vegas

I’ve been mostly off line for over 10 days for a trip to Las Vegas.  I went along for the ride as Himself attended Def Con 25   It’s a “cyber security” (hacker) convention.

2017 0723 (Sunday):  Outbound to Twin Falls.  We were up and on the road by about 0800. Uneventful, but boring trip, arriving Twin Falls about 2030. Long stretches of wide open land. And very hot… 106 degrees. We entertained ourselves with listening to podcasts: mostly “Hidden Brain” from NPR, Malcolm Gladwell’s “Revisionist History” and a couple NPR Science Friday.

2017 0724 (Monday) Twin Falls to Vegas:  We left Twin Falls about 0730. Google had told us the shortest route was straight south. Turned out to be a 2 lane road through rather desolate countryside with very few services. There wasn’t even cell phone coverage most of the way! One of the pit toilet “rest stops” had a sign warning to beware of rattlesnakes.

Once checked into the hotel, we made it straight for In n’ Out Burger! It is THE BEST and we haven’t had any in years as they are only available in California and a couple neighboring states.

Over a couple days I worked on this journal page about the trip.

Also did a postcard to send to a friend:

A few more photos: 

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Sketching the Fort again

This time I’m there as an Urban Sketcher, not as a volunteer interpreter!

Roy, Carolyn and Feather carpooled with me to Fort Nisqually. While we were still on the freeway, Carolyn asked, “are we headed to those clouds?”.  As we arrived, the Pt Defiance park was covered with clouds and chilly. It didn’t take long, though, for those to blow away and the sun to shine on us.

Fort staff (Tracy B) was so kind to let us in early so we could start our sketch outing at the usual time. Everyone quickly spread out around the grounds.

I’m an occasional volunteer there and in that role I’ve done so many sketches of the buildings and grounds. So I thought about what I could do differently. I climbed to the top of the “gallery” and saw a view of one of the Bastions I’d not sketched before. I needed my trusty tool to get the perspective line correct along the fence.

“A bastion is a projecting part of the fortification offering a safe haven in danger. It was a precautionary policy of the Hudson’s Bay Company to build stockades and bastions around their posts to protect property primarily from theft and, if necessary, for defense.”   Fort Nisqually was not a military installation but an outpost of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

With about an hour left, I went over to the bright red poppies I’d noticed upon arrival. They stand in front of one of the (un-used) outhouses!

We shared our sketches in the shade of the Factor’s House porch, then had our group photo.

More photos here:

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Sunday Dancing Lines

Dancing Lines workshop on Sunday started in the Atrium of Pike Place Market. My group left to follow KK to a corner opposite the classic view of the Public Market sign. He demonstrated his sketching method.


When it came time to do our own sketches, I discovered the ink container with the sponge had leaked all over the plastic bag holding it and my nalgene bottle with ink. I was not going to open it so I couldn’t sketch with ink and stick today.

I just did two sketches on the street with my usual tools.

I’ve been intimidated by the Public Market scene. I’ve only sketched it once before. Today’s sketch is my favorite of the two I’ve done. I sketched the crowd of people using a method demonstrated on his YouTube channel by Teoh Yi Chie.

After lunch my group was with Melanie. She spent some time at the table in the atrium teaching more about drawing people and crowds. I rather struggled with this. I started about 4 sketches. This is the only one I’d consider sharing….

We gathered in the Market extension to share sketches.


On the light rail home, the young woman in the seat next to me was either completely absorbed in her phone or asleep, so I got out my sketch book to draw some people.

A few more photos:

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Dancing Lines Saturday

We met at Seattle Center for our first day of instruction in the Dancing Lines workshop. My subset spent the morning with Melanie Reim.  I learned how better to use my brush pen! She emphasized making a plan with a thumbnail. She also taught about drawing the figure on location… seeing the body as a group of shapes. She is an excellent teacher.

I used both the brush pen and a thick sign pen to do the drawings.

Our afternoon was spent with Kiah Kiean Ch’ng (KK). He started with distributing the drawing sticks his father prepped for us! Then he showed us how to carve the point of our own sticks. After that he provided us with some of his ink to try in our drawings. I didn’t get any though as I gave my container to another sketcher who didn’t get one last night. So I drew with the India ink I’d brought.

I really struggled with these tools. I got the hang of drawing with the stick though it required constant dipping. The tone made by dry brush from the ink on the sponge was a real hassle. The sponge dried out too much (it’s supposed to be a little dry0 and I could hardly get the kind of tone I wanted. He’d said to buy cheap oil painting brushes but maybe the ones I got were too cheap.

In case you can’t tell, it’s a section of MoPoP (formerly, EMP).

Our subsection, Group A, took a group photo.

More photos:

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On Friday night (7/14) I attended the meet & greet and Keynote presentations for the Dancing Lines Urban Sketchers workshop. Daniel Smith mothership (Seattle store) was kind enough to host it for free in their gallery classroom. We had pizza and veges. We picked up our badges which sorted us into our groups.

As we ate, Jane had us all introduce ourselves by sorting out who came the furthest and from where. These two came from Costa Rica!! Aside from one of our presenters, KK, who came from Malaysia, they came the furthest!

KK (Ch’ng Kiah Kiean ) gave an introduction to his sketching methods and tools.

Melanie Reim, from New York City, spoke about her inspiration and her approach.

(interesting that I photographed them making the same gesture)

KK generously brought small ink containers, ink and drawing sticks for everyone! The sticks were cut and shaped by his father.

One of the Daniel Smith managers kept the register open so we could buy supplies before we left!  I bought a large bottle of India ink.  I’ll need more ink than I initially bought for this workshop.  I also recently learned that it will work better with dip pens than the fountain pen ink I’ve been using.  I’ll use it for my volunteer interpreter work at Fort Nisqually.

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