Monday, October 9, 2017

Sunshine, Horsechestnuts, Sketching, and Hugs

Our host, Tom Bradley led us to the lovely sketch-out on the first Saturday of October at the Wright Park Conservatory. Everyone seemed so happy to see all the other Urban Sketchers that beautiful, breezy morning. Afterwards, a good number of us enjoyed a great lunch and lots of interesting friendly conversation at the  Hob Nob Restaurant on 6th. Ave, across from the park.

Walking to and from the restaurant, I picked up a handful of beautiful, shiny, mahogany-colored  horse chestnuts as well as several of their prickly yellow-green 'seed pods.'  Their parent trees were all along the path at the edge of the park.   I think the chestnuts and the seed pods will make a great combo for a sketch.  I'll save them and will turn them into a little 'indoor still life'  some rainy day.

Besides these future still life items, I also brought home my sketch from the morning.
For the last week or so, I've been using scraps of various colors of mat boards instead of my sketchbooks.  The mat boards all come from the center pieces cut out when cutting mats for a picture. I've  been 'painting' on the mat boards with white or grey gesso, as a new way to do sketching.

My first experiments were using very big oil painting brushes or foam brushes to slather abstract patterns of gesso onto a mat board, followed by drawing with sticks of charcoal on that base, after it dried....then adding more many layers as desired. First was a sketch of a sleeping friend, followed by a sketch of a model in a Figure program. (Gesso allows for lots of corrections when figure drawing....which are to be expected after not doing it for quite awhile!)

Saturday,  I did the above linear sketch of the building and plants of the Conservatory using  grey gesso with  a small brush on black mat board. After that dried, I added a bit of color with some pastel pencils.

I plan on doing more sketches using gesso plus 'who knows what else' along with it. I believe all of this particular experimentation means I'm edging ever closer to getting back to doing some painting with other love besides Urban Sketching. It's not exactly common....but, it's also possible to do Urban Sketches in oil. One of these days.....

Here is Andrea's photo of the group:

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The intrepid four

When we planned the Urban Sketchers Tacoma sketch outing for today at the Pt. Defiance Marina, it was at the height of the long, hot, dry, summer. We forgot that it would one day rain again. The venue had no rain cover and, of course, it was pouring rain at the time the sketch outing was to start.  

Only four intrepid sketchers came. We agreed to disperse to our shelter of choice. Roy and Dennis went to the Boat House, where we'd sketched last month. Frances and I preferred warmer shelter and went to the Antique Sandwich shop.

The statue, Colombo, was carved for the 1893 Columbia Exhibition in Chicago using Italian Carrara marble, which is the same used by Michelangelo. The owner of the sandwich shop bought it at auction.  I searched but couldn't find any information about the statue under that name.  

(World's Columbian Exposition [the official shortened name for the World's Fair: Columbian Exposition] also known as the Chicago World's Fair and Chicago Columbian Exposition)

Monday, September 18, 2017

October 2017 Outings

Here they are, all in one place.  Remember, if you want to check again at any time, they are also on the Monthly Outings page:

First Saturday October 7th, 2017: Wright Park Conservatory

316 South G Street, Tacoma, WA 98405

We’ll meet in front of the Conservatory at 10:00 AM.  Limited parking is available on the circle in front of the conservatory, otherwise there is ample parking on the streets surrounding the park.

Wright Park is 27 acres of arboretum, ponds, play/spray grounds and botanical gardens surrounded by some fine old neighborhood architecture… plenty of interesting sketch sites.  In case of rain, we will be able to sketch in the Conservatory where there are lots of strange plants. 

At 12:30 PM we’ll regroup for sketch sharing and photos, followed by lunch at the Hob Nob Restaurant across from the white lions’ entrance to the park at 716 S. 6th Avenue for those who wish to stay for lunch.


Second Thursday, October 12:  Cathie Johnson’s home in Gig Harbor

Cathie Johnson has graciously opened her home to us to sketch on Thursday October 12, at 10 a.m., rain or shine.  Harbor, water, and garden views are waiting to be sketched from inside or out of her lovely home. 

Bring a packed lunch or enjoy one of the many restaurants in Gig Harbor.

Directions on Hwy 16 W from Tacoma:
Cross the Narrows Bridge
Exit to Gig Harbor City Center/Wollochet Dr.
Go straight through intersection and down hill on Stinson
*At the bottom of the hill turn left onto Harborview
Continue around the harbor past Anthony’s
Turn right at the T (Vernhardsen/96th NW)
Turn right on Randall (2nd R)
Fifth house on the right
Directions on Hwy 16 E from north:
Exit to Gig Harbor City Center/Wollochet Dr.
Turn left at exit/cross over freeway
Turn left on Stinson at light; go down hill
*Proceed as above


Third Wednesday, October 18:  Watson's Nursery

6211 Pioneer Way East, Puyallup, WA 98371

This is an indoors-outdoors sketch outing, depending on the weather.   

We will meet at 10 a.m. in the covered area outside the front doors to the store. 

For early birds: Watson’s opens at 9 am.

Anton’s CafĂ©, inside Watson’s, is an option for lunch.  Details to follow.     


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Parlking Day

Yesterday, Urban Sketchers Tacoma participated in the Tacoma Park(ing) Day.  It was just one of many locations participating in International Park(ing) Day.

"Park(ing) Day is an international event in which artists, citizens, and businesses will temporarily transform a metered parking spot into temporary public space. Park(ing) Day’s mission is to call attention to the need for more urban open space, generate discussion and debate around how public space is utilized, and to improve the quality of urban habitat."

I was joined by Frances, Feather and AJ.  Only got a photo of Frances and me:

We met several people who were very interested in joining us for outings in the future.  I hope we see them soon.

During the 4 hours, I managed to do one sketch of the corner of the Children's Museum across the street.  I stopped many times to talk to visitors to our park!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

A pleasant campus

For our First Saturday (Sept 2) outing, we gathered at University of Puget Sound. It is a beautiful, "red brick" campus with manicured lawns and tall trees. I found the architecture very appealing.

 It is a 4 year liberal arts college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It was  founded in 1888. They are the "Loggers".

As usual, we (Feather & Carolyn carpooled with me) arrived early and had some time to explore the campus. I decided during this walk through that this spire and the fountain would be my sketch subjects.

Sharing sketches and the group photo

We had planned for lunch in a cafe off campus but, when called, they thought they might be too full to accommodate a group. Fortunately, during our walk around, we found the university cafeteria. It was a good place for lunch with many choices and lots of room for our group to sit together.

After lunch, a few of us went into the library to see the exhibit "Mare Made", featuring a retrospective of the art books by local artist Mare Blocker.  We also encountered a small exhibit of a group of Chandler O'Leary's prints.

Only as we were leaving did I see the observatory. I hope we'll sketch there again next year and will remember that I want to sketch this next.

Monday, August 28, 2017


At the beginning of August, several sketchers from Urban Sketchers Tacoma took part in a 2 day workshop held in Mount Vernon, WA, that was lead by UK sketcher, Pat Southern-Pearce. She is a very talented and well followed artist as well as an excellent instructor. We were fortunate to have been among the few who were able to secure spots for her first ever Pacific NW visit.

Following each demonstration, we were encouraged to go out and utilize what we had learned in sketches done in 3 various garden settings. Each garden had so many interesting vantage points and we all spread out to find what caught our attention the most for drawing. Easily, I could've spent a week sketching in the final garden with its wide array of garden 'rooms', fanciful chicken coops, greenhouses and iron sculptures. It was a little slice of heaven.

I was able to utilize my Sailor bent nib fountain pen, Prismacolor colored pencils and white gel pens on toned paper and get pleasing results. I'm interested in seeing how some of the techniques Pat shared with us will influence the way I already sketch. Future drawings will show!


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Point Defiance Marina

We met this morning to sketch around the Pt. Defiance Marina. There were so many scenes that interested me I decided to do a two page montage.  The sketch on the far left I didn't like, so I did another one and made it a patch. 

More Photos: