Saturday, November 22, 2014


11/22/14 India ink, twig, Canson XL 140 lb. paper
The afternoon turned out drier than expected, so after lunch with a friend, I drove through the Crown Hill neighborhood looking for a sketch.

Although most of fall’s colors are gone, and I certainly miss them, I also love the stark beauty of bare trees – and I love to sketch them. The 5-Day Black & White Challenge a couple weeks ago taught me that making monochrome (or mostly monochrome) sketches of bare trees forces me to stay focused on the harsh, brittle shapes the trees form against the white sky. I sketched the same tree twice – once with India ink and twig, and once with a cool gray ink and tan colored pencil.

11/22/14 Pilot Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun ink, Caran d'Ache Museum water-soluble
colored pencil

October – November Sketchbook Bound

Rain – it’s in the forecast as well as the hindcast and the currentcast. A good time for binding my October – November sketchbook. On the front cover are maples at U-Village to remind me of fall’s splendor (the yellow covers and orange binding thread complement the colors); on the back is a different sort of tree – a moss-hairy one from our trip to the Olympic Peninsula.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Not that Bride Again!

11/21/14 Diamine Sargasso Sea ink, Caran d'Ache
Museum water-soluble colored pencil,
Canson all-media paper
With dismay, I walked into Gage’s life drawing open studio this morning to find that the same model I had sketched more than a month ago was again wearing the same bridal gown in the same pose. I’d forgotten that the Friday morning long-pose sessions were still reserved for “Artist’s Choice,” so the same artist was still working on her painting. But I’d driven over in the pouring rain – why not stay and make the best of it?

Despite the model’s mundane pose, I had to admit that the dress was a fun challenge – all those voluminous folds of fabric were good practice. I sketched her three times – once each in water-soluble pencil, fountain pen ink and India ink with a twig. By the fourth sketch, I was bored with her; I turned 90 degrees and sketched the other artists.

(This makes 53 sketches for NaNoDrawMo!)

11/21/14 India ink, twig, Canson all-media paper
11/21/14 Caran d'Ache Museum water-soluble colored
pencil, Canson drawing paper
11/21/14 Diamine Chocolate Brown ink, Museum
pencils, Canson all-media paper

The Sketch Pistols Come to My ‘Hood

11/20/14 Diamine Chocolate Brown ink, Canson XL 140 lb. paper
For a strong introvert like me, very few things will get me out of the house to meet new people on a rainy November night when I could be curled up in my recliner reading a good book and sipping hot tea. Sketching is one of them.

I’ve been in the Sketch Pistols’ Facebook group for more than a year now, but they always seem to meet in neighborhoods outside of the driving radius (about a mile) that I’m willing to go on such a November night. But last night the Seattle chapter met at the Green Lake Bauhaus Books & Coffee about five minutes away, so I had no excuse.

A fun and lively group showed up for drinking and drawing. I noticed that the women sketched other people in the café, while the men sketched imaginary people in their minds. A diverse group, indeed! Thanks to Dave Adams for organizing us.

11/20/14 Diamine Chocolate Brown ink
11/20/14 Diamine Sargasso Sea ink

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I’m on the Urban Sketchers Blog!

My guest post is live on the international Urban Sketchers blog! My thanks to Suhita Shirodkar on the editorial team for inviting me to blog about my urban tree sketches!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


11/19/14 Diamine Sargasso Sea ink, Canson XL 140 lb. paper
You know I’m not the kind of sketcher who shies away from ugly or unpleasant subject matter. It’s not that I seek out things like cell towers or dead bunnies, but sometimes the unappealing still has a story to tell.

At the Wedgwood Starbucks this afternoon, I was enjoying sketching a young man’s hand, which he repeatedly put back in the same place against his face after taking sips of coffee. His overgrown hair was a good shading opportunity, as was his T-shirt. Overall, he was an ideal model – seated in good light, close enough that I could see him well yet unaware of me sketching him, and staying stock-still most of the time.

I was fully into the sketch when I saw that a good two or three inches of his butt crack were exposed above his jeans. Repulsed and yet somehow compelled, I couldn’t resist. What I was really tempted to do was take a picture with my phone and show it to him as I walked by to leave. Instead, I’m just posting this sketch of him on my blog.

On the upside, I’d forgotten how much I like using icy Diamine Sargasso Sea ink, especially during the cold months. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

So Ugly It’s Ugly

11/18/14 various inks, Caran d'Ache Museum water-soluble
colored pencils, Zig markers, Canson XL 140 lb. paper
A while back the Urban Sketchers Flickr group theme was “So Ugly It’s Beautiful.” Several candidates had come to mind besides the one I ended up sketching then – an electrical substation in my neighborhood. This morning after an errand in north Seattle, I took the opportunity to sketch another candidate high on my list – these twin cell towers on Aurora Avenue North. A nearby Home Depot parking lot gave me a suitable view of these ubiquitous towers that are somehow even more unattractive than standard utility poles.
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