Monday, April 20, 2015

Green, Not Pink

4/18/15 Platinum Carbon ink, Platinum brush pen, watercolor, Caran d'Ache Museum colored pencils, Canson XL 140 lb. paper

Exactly a month ago on the first day of spring, I sketched at the University of Washington Quad, which was a glorious field of pink blossoms – in the air and on the ground. On Saturday during the Burke sketch event, I have to admit: I kept looking out the windows at the sunny day, itchin’ to get outdoors. After it ended at 2 p.m., I made a beeline to the Quad. Those huge old cherry trees had given up their pink petals weeks ago, but I didn’t mind. Dressed in their late spring and summer greens, they are just as grand.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

"Opening Day" at Seattle Chinese Garden

4/19/15 Platinum Carbon ink, watercolor, Caran d'Ache Museum water-soluble colored pencils, Canson XL 140 lb. paper

At today’s Urban Sketchers outing, Gabi and I were chatting about the unbelievably beautiful weather – 65 degrees with a clear, blue sky – and how today’s event should be deemed “opening day” of outdoor sketching season!

The Seattle Chinese Garden in West Seattle was, indeed, an apt location for our opening day – a gem of serene, open landscaping with a traditional Chinese courtyard and pavilion at its center. I wandered around for quite a while trying to focus on a composition I could manage. With all the lovely plantings and peonies in bloom (though past their prime now), we had a lot to choose from, and I knew I had to select carefully or I’d end up overwhelmed.

The stone carp, a Dragon Seeker, grabbed my (and many other sketchers’) attention. According to a traditional Chinese tale, said the placard, “a carp that could leap the high falls of the Yellow River. . . would be transformed into a dragon.” This carp, which was donated by a Seattle couple, was made in Thailand more than 100 years ago. The main pavilion is in the background (my composition judiciously cropped off most of it so that I wouldn’t get bogged down by the architecture and all those tiles!). Halfway through my sketch, I paused to watch the drama of a tiny bird that chased a bald eagle out of its territory! I spotted the eagle several times throughout the morning.

After enjoying the garden a bit more, I settled on a wider view of the stones, trees and bamboo plantings (as well as a couple of sketchers) surrounding a smaller pavilion.

4/19/15 Platinum Carbon ink, watercolor, Caran d'Ache Museum
 water-soluble colored pencils, Canson XL 140 lb. paper
By the way, have you heard about Sketch Out/Loud? It’s an initiative by urban sketcher and landscape architect Richard Alomar. Working with the American Society of Landscape Architects and Urban Sketchers, Richard is promoting Sketch Out/Loud in April as part of World Landscape Architecture Month to encourage urban sketching among landscape architects, architects and designers worldwide. If you sketch parks, plazas, streets, front yards and other examples of landscaping this month, post your sketches with the hashtag #skol2015.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

An Urban Sketching Event at the Burke

4/18/15 Sailor Doyou  and Iroshizuku Kiri-same inks,
Caran d'Ache Museum colored pencil, Canson XL
Urban Sketchers Seattle enjoyed sketching at the Burke Museum so much in March that we went back for more. This time we were invited by the Burke to create an event that would encourage other visitors to sketch at the museum, too. The Burke provided sketching materials and a clothespin line where participants could hang their work. It was tough competing with 65 degrees and sunshine outside, but the museum managed to entice a few visitors indoors.

As usual, I spent most of my time hanging out with the bones – a sabertooth cat, a polar bear skull, and my favorite, the Brazilian Terror Bird. I also captured a girl sketching at a table near our clothesline “exhibit.”

Thanks to all the sketchers who volunteered today, and many thanks to the Burke for inviting us to this event! (For more photos of the event, see my post on the USk Seattle blog.)
4/18/15 Diamine Chocolate Brown and Iroshizuku Kiri-same inks, Museum pencil
4/18/15 Iroshizuku Asa-gao and Iroshizuku Tsukushi inks, Museum pencils
4/18/15 Caran d'Ache Museum pencil,
mix of gray inks
4/18/15 Iroshizuku Take-sumi and Kiri-same inks, colored pencil, copier paper
(I left this sketch of a skull fragment hanging in our "exhibit"!)

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Shady Needle

4/17/15 various inks, Caran d'Ache Museum water-soluble colored pencils, watercolor, Canson XL 140 lb. paper

My weather app said it was 64 degrees in the South Lake Union area this afternoon, and the blue sky and sunshine certainly seemed to concur, but the strong wind made it feel much colder. I was hoping to sketch the lake from the park near MOHAI, but it was just too windy for me. I ducked into MOHAI’s café and sketched the park and the shady side of the Space Needle through the café windows. It’s a less-detailed version of the sketch I made more than a year ago.

March Sketchbook Bound

My March sketchbook is done!
My March sketchbook is full and bound. I rarely choose pink for the covers, but since I couldn’t resist putting one of my cherry blossom sketches on the front, it was a rare opportunity to indulge. Also on the front cover is a sketch of Maple Leaf Park when the temperature hit 70 a few weeks ago. On the back cover is the doughboy memorial at Evergreen Washelli cemetery. The theme is clear: I’m sketching outdoors again; it must be spring!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Lamp Post

4/16/15 Caran d'Ache Museum colored pencils, Platinum
brush pen, Canson XL 140 lb. paper
After seeing a gallery exhibit in Pioneer Square this afternoon, Greg and I stopped for a break at Zeitgeist Coffee. We sat looking out the windows that face Jackson Street, where I wasn’t particularly inspired by my view. I do, however, like the old, three-globed lamp posts all around Pioneer Square, one of which was standing right across the street. With colored pencils and a brush pen, I decided to do a simple value study on this lovely sunny day.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


4/15/15 DeAtramentis Document Brown ink,
watercolor, Caran d'Ache Museum colored pencil,
Canson XL 140 lb. paper
I apologize in advance if this seems disrespectful of an icon intended to comfort the grieving, but the whole time I was sketching the angel statue, I kept wondering if she had been designed in the ‘70s: It’s that flipped-back Farah Fawcett hairdo. Back then, I spent a lot of time in front of the mirror with a curling iron trying to get my hair to do that, so I’m very familiar with the look.

Still chilly in the shade, Evergreen Washelli Memorial Park (where I’ve recently sketched a couple times) was quiet. With my back to the sun, bright sky above, and huge, fluffy, white clouds slowly drifting behind the angel, it felt like a sketcher’s heaven, indeed.

P.S. Below is the scene I’d really like to sketch someday, but I’m confounded by it. How do I indicate all those white grave markers without drawing or painting every one of them? And the pattern of those parallel rows on a slight incline . . . whew. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. But someday.

Yes, MiataGrrl took the top down!

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