Newest McMenamins

This was my first visit to the restored and renovated Elks Temple in Tacoma. It was a multi-year project by the McMenamin brothers (more here). Urban Sketchers Tacoma met to sketch inside and out of this new property which just opened April 24.

I don’t think I have enough superlatives to describe the amazing work they’ve done here. It’s seven floors of spectacular. I’ll need to go back again and again. I’m sure I could fill several sketchbooks just with the variety of lamps!

There were many sketchers today, only 3 of whom had been here since it opened on April 24.

After sketching, I wandered around some more and got my Passport stamped. I filled it but didn’t see a prize I wanted. So I’ll hold onto it and check back to claim something I like more.  Elks Temple is the page on the left.

There was work going on at the front, where I wanted to sketch the restored elk’s head.So I went up to the first landing of the Spanish Steps, outside the Spanish Bar to sketch a detail of the exterior.

An hour later, the workers seemed to have taken a break so I had a view of the elk’s head and the amazing antlers.

I didn’t sketch any of the interior as I’ll save that for bad weather days.

Lots of photos here

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Waiting and exploring

Another mundane chore:  took one of the cars for its scheduled maintenance.  It didn’t need much, so just waited at the dealership.

Besides, I wanted to see the new Toyota Corolla Hybrid, just out this month.  We have a 2002 “1st gen” (or, as Himself calls it, “classic”) Prius.  The hybrid batteries are long past their warrantied life so I’m concerned they could fail.  We don’t like the “new” Prius hatchback models.  The Camry hybrid is too big.  So when Toyota finally announced the Corolla Hybrid, we were interested.  We’d seen them in Germany, so we knew they were made.

However, the ones listed on the dealer’s website two days ago are already sold.  The sales rep. said they are selling very fast.  Well, I guess that means there was a lot of interest… about which Toyota finally got a clue.  I’d been asking about it for years.  I looked at the standard models, as the rep said the car is the same.

I then read my new camera manual.  Once I was finished with all of that, I turned to my sketch kit.  This is in the pocket Stillman and Birn Beta.   Mom was giving pieces of banana to the baby.  I liked the little one’s energetic sprig of hair!

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Hidden Gem

Urban Sketchers Seattle met at a second floor public patio in the financial district. It certainly was a hidden gem of a location. We had a good view of the oddly shaped Rainier Tower and the surrounding structures and construction site(s). One sketcher quipped that the Tower looked like beavers had been working at it!

A few sketchers had already left by the time we took the group photo.

Nearly all of us sketched the tower and the nearby crane.

Since I had over an hour left, I decided to take on the architectural details of the upper level of the Cobb Building next door.

Found on line:  “The Cobb Building was dedicated on September 14, 1910. The New York firm of Howells & Stokes designed the building as part of its master plan for the University of Washington’s “Metropolitan Tract,” managed at the time by the Metropolitan Building Company (succeeded in 1954 by Unico). It is the first building on the West Coast built specially to serve physicians and dentists and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. In 2006 Unico converted the Cobb to luxury apartments.

John Mead Howells and I. N. Phelps Stokes designed the building with the assistance of local architect Abraham H. Albertson.  The Cobb is regarded as one of Seattle’s finest buildings in the Beaux Arts mode, which is distinguished by its classical proportions and elaborate ornamentation. The facade features large terra cotta cartouches incorporating a stylized Indian chief’s face in full headdress. These are attributed to craftsman Victor Schneider and were supposedly inspired by the photography of Edward S. Curtis”

A few more photos.

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Lots of Green!

Last night was another session of Cosplay Drink and Draw.  Our model was the amazing Kelsee dressed as a Harpy.   There were so many feathers, I decided the best approach was to be a little abstract.  My two favorites from the evening:

Note the skull.

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What went wrong?

One more garden stop with our visiting friends.  The Kubota Japanese Garden is close by and just the ticket for a quick morning visit.

This sketch just looks wrong. But when compared to the record photo I took from the spot at which I sketched it, it looks just as lopsided. Huh?

I couldn’t find much about this bell. Only this, from the garden’s map: “Bell and Drinking Fountain – ring the bell with your knuckle to let the spirits know you are in the garden. Refresh with a sip of water from the drinking fountain designed and built by Gerard Tsutakawa”

Later in the afternoon, they were off on the train for the journey home.

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More with visitors

Out and about with our visitors again today.  We went to the Seattle Chinese Garden.  While they walked around, I went straight to the Dragon Seeker. This is the 3rd time I’ve sketched it.

The reason our visitors are here was to see the Destination Moon exhibition at the Museum of Flight.  While they toured it, I went across the street to sketch the relatively newly installed statue of the returning airman.

“The 8.5-foot bronze statue of the airman represents all those who returned home from combat. The American flag that he carries represents all those who gave their lives in the line of duty and did not return home.”   The sculptor is James J. Nance, who was also an Air Force pilot, after graduating from the United States Air Force Academy

I was fortunate as the tall cyclone fence had been removed, replaced but a low barrier fence.  So that made it easier to see.  Major construction seems to be done.  The dedication will be on May 25.

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Mountain is out

A busy day with friends started at the Black Diamond Bakery for breakfast.  The Mountain was out.

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Air Filled Astronaut

On the way to Social Watercolor at Daniel Smith this morning, I passed on the far side of the Museum of Flight.  Across the runway, I saw this large figure.  I had time, so I turned around and drove over to the Museum.

I’m not entirely sure why this Air Filled Astronaut is there.  It’s probably to do with all the space related activities around “Destination Moon” exhibition.

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Strathmore Watercolor Travel Journal

First impression of the Strathmore Watercolor Travel Journal

The Strathmore Watercolor Travel Journal was announced about a month ago on Strathmore social media outlets.  It was reported to have 100% cotton, European milled paper in a portrait format. I had such high hopes. [I’d share a link but the Strathmore website has been down all morning.  I’ll add it if I can get connected.]

Amazon still doesn’t have it. I’ve checked all the on-line art outlets I frequent. I finally found one to buy at Dakota Arts store in Bellingham when I was visiting there last weekend. I got it at a discount as they had a sale going on.

I bought the 5.5 x 8 inch version. There is a 7 x 10 one plus 2 sizes of pads.

The Good:
It is very light weight. That would be good for travel.
Paper seems acceptable, but I haven’t used it much yet.
Rounded corners are a nice touch.

The Bad:
Not very many pages: 10 sheets, 20 pages. You’d likely need several for a trip of any length, easily spending $100.

It seems expensive for what it is. It’s 10 folios sewn into one signature, covered by card stock with a list price of $24 (US). The sewing looks like it was done on an ordinary sewing machine and the thread is an annoying blue-green color. White would have been better.
Compare that cost to the Bee Creative Watercolor spiral bound book, also 100% cotton paper with 30 sheets, 60 pages for $12 (on Amazon, so not a perfect comparison).

Quite frankly, I can fold some paper, add a card stock cover and sew it together myself for a tiny expense.  I even have a cutter to round the corners.

A silicone band is provided. It needs to be as once opened, the book won’t stay closed. A binder clip is required to be able to draw in it.

I won’t be buying this again, even at a discount.

The 8×10 pad might be a better choice, if I want to work on loose pages. I don’t remember what I paid at Daniel Smith for the folder of 12 loose 8×10 sheets of Fluid 100 (similar paper at 140#, 100% cotton, cold press). Other retailers on line seem to charge about $20 or so. The Strathmore Watercolor Travel pad of 12 sheets was $13 at Dakota Arts.


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