I completed the exercise from the hand out Julie Carpenter provided in her “Drawing and Sketching Nature in Pen and Ink” demo.

I’ve found several tutorials to watch on YouTube while I wait for the book to be available from the library.

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Another double demo day

This past Sunday (4 June) I had another double demo day at Daniel Smith.

First up is Ann Breckon. This time she talked about her sketchbooks. The demo was using titled “sketch journaling in sepia”. She did show some of her color work. While she uses Arches watercolor exclusively in her studio work, she sketches in many different kinds of books. They are all 140 pound paper but otherwise she likes the challenge of different kinds of papers. These are done en plein air over 2 – 3 hours.

Most of the painting is done with Daniel Smith walnut ink in a water brush. She also uses Pitt pens in shades of brown. For water soluble media she has used Windsor Newton watercolor markers.

Three of us were Urban Sketchers. Carolyn had carpooled with me. Dave was there also. We all had the same idea to pack a lunch to eat between demos.

More Urban Sketchers arrived from Gail’s morning 10×10 Workshop for the afternoon demo.  This was Julie Carpenter presented “Nature Drawing in Pen and Ink”. She had a good handout and discussed the large variety of tools she uses. She demonstrated both waterproof and non-waterproof pens.

Julie continued on to show us how she builds tone with hatching. Hatching is in a single direction. Cross hatching adds lines in another direction.

She recommended a book…it’s old but not out of print. Once home, I discovered the King County Library had it so I put in a request. It is Rendering in Pen and Ink by Arthur Guptill. There are good exercises for practicing line density (shading) and textures.

One of the other attendees, whose name I’ve forgotten, had the brilliant suggestion of taking a photo of the scene with your cell phone camera, edit it to be black and white, and using that to help see the values.

Up until now I haven’t been interested in drawing just in pen. But this demo was inspiring and I’m going to give it a try.

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Sheep to Shawl

Yesterday was Crafts of the Past: Sheep to Shawl at Fort Nisqually. I skipped the group lunch after the Urban Sketchers Tacoma outing to go straight on to the Fort. Arrived in time to see one of the rams being sheared and to do a sketch.

More photos:

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At the pier

Urban Sketchers Tacoma met at the pier for our sketch outing yesterday. I’d sketched the big red fire boat before so I was looking around for something else to catch my eye and interest. Then the cafe on the landing put out its big pirate skeleton!

He became the basis for my montage of the location. Next I stood with AJ on the pier to sketch the fire boat from a distance. Lastly, I sketched a view of the rest of the pier.

I was trying the Stillman and Birn Beta sketchbook again. I’d partially filled it on a trip late last year. With that last sketch, I felt like I was fighting the paper to get the effect of reflections on the water. So many USk’ers like this paper/sketchbook. I keep trying but there is no love. Back to real watercolor paper.

In an effort to fit into a smaller bag and carry less, I finally filled my Pocket Palette. It does work well.

I wanted extra mixing area so I also clipped on this cheap, plastic mixing tray.

We had a good sized group:



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Sketching together in the garden

Carolyn R. has recently moved here and even more recently joined the email group for Urban Sketchers Seattle. I moderate requests and started a conversation with her, especially because she lives near me.

She hasn’t yet gone on a USk sketch outing so I invited her to go out with me today. We waited until it warmed up in the afternoon and the sky cleared a little. I suggested Soos Creek Botanical Garden as it was fairly close.

We enjoyed a pleasant afternoon sketching, talking about sketching and just soaking up the natural environment in the garden.

Here’s her not quite finished sketch and our selfie “group” photo!

used with permission

I focused on the bird sculpture in the lily pad pond.

We have some plans to go out again and to carpool to upcoming USk outings.  It’s nice to have a new sketching friend who lives so close to me!

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It smells like York

My two large Yorkshire Rose (rosa alba semi-plena) bushes are blooming.  These are old roses that only bloom once but while they do, the scent is gorgeous!  Made a journal page today.  Cut off 2 blooms to put in a tiny cut glass vase.

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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 )

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.

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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.
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!

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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:

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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.

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