Friday, May 19, 2017

Lakewold Gardens

Even though I've lived in Lakewood for close to 30 years, I have only been to the Lakewold Gardens a handful of times. Having the opportunity to go there with the Sketchers the other day was an outing I looked forward to. I've only sketched a few times over the past several months, so I noticed I was a bit slower than usual and only was able to complete one sketch. But, that didn't diminish the enjoyment of the drawing activity in the just reminded me of how much I love to lay ink and pigment to paper. Ah, yes. It felt like coming home.
I hope you can join us next time!


May Sketches

Took Light Rail into Seattle to attend a Photoshop lecture at the Adobe campus. These sketches were done on the commute.

Pen, ink and watercolor in a Moleskine watercolor book.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sketch Outings for June 2017

First Saturday, June 3, 2017:  
Marine Park / Les Davis Pier

3427 Ruston Way, Tacoma, WA 98402

We’ll meet at 10:00 AM by the park kiosk.  There are covered benches on the pier and restrooms at the kiosk.  Parking is free.

The site offers panoramic views of Puget Sound / ships / people fishing / diving.  Free parking / restrooms / snack bar / covered areas on pier.

At 12:30 PM we’ll regroup for sketch sharing and photos

Directions from I-5: Follow I-705 to N. Schuster Parkway which turns into Ruston Way (stay LEFT at both highway splits). The parking lot entrance is your 1st right after passing the red fire boat on Ruston Way.

Following the sketch sharing, we'll have lunch at the RAM restaurant (just south of the park on Ruston Way) if you’d like to.

RAM Restaurant & Brewery
3001 Ruston Way, Tacoma, WA 98402

Second Thursday, June 8, 2017: Rosedale Gardens

7311 Rosedale St NW, Gig Harbor, WA 98335


Becky the manager at Rosedale Gardens is delighted to have us sketch there.  We can bring our lunch and picnic there too!

Meet at 10am  Mary and Karen will be hosts.

Directions:  Route 16 west, Gig Harbor city center exit, straight through intersection at top of ramp, aim for Chevron gas station, second stop sign turn left onto Rosedale, go 2.1 miles is on right.


Third Wednesday, June 21:  Waterworks Studio

7012 Sw 240th St., Vashon Island, WA 98070

Meet at the studio patio at 10am.  Consider carpooling from the ferry dock at Point Defiance. 

Ferry sailing schedule:
In order to arrive at 10 am meeting time, it would be best to take the 9:15 sailing. 

Urban Sketcher Wednesday outings host, Darsie Beck, has invited us to sketch at his studio:  Waterworks is located on Maury Island in a rural pastoral setting. Great sketching in and around the studio and pond.

Parking just inside the entrance of the driveway or on the road of that gets full.

Bring lunch or some may enjoy The Hardware Store in the town of Vashon at the intersection of Vashon Highway and Bank Road. Another popular eatery is the Snap Dragon - great more relaxed atmosphere. The Vashon Roasterie (the Minglement) another great place to snack and sketch for lunch. They do not have a kitchen, just good refrigerated take away lunches.

 Ad Hoc:  Festival of Sail Friday, June 16

Foss Waterway
705 Dock St, Tacoma, WA 98402

It’s a rare chance to catch a glimpse, step aboard, and even set sail on some of the grandest ships of yore. Tacoma will be one of only a handful of Pacific ports that will host the historic ships. 

In addition to Tall Ships, the World’s Largest Rubber Duck will be on Foss Waterway.  

 Edit 5/22:  

Standby for a possible change in meeting location.  Don't buy your ticket yet.... unless, of course, you really want to go into the festival area.   We might meet across the water or at a park overlooking the area from above.

Meet at 10 am outside the front door to the Foss Waterway Museum, address above.  We'll likely be joined by USk Seattle sketchers. 
Event map:

This could be a bit of a challenge.  Parking will be an issue. There was some info about shuttles but it is not on the web page now.

There is also a cost:  $9 for a single day ticket.  It's best to buy tickets in advance in order to avoid standing in line.

Keep your sketch kit small as backpacks are not allowed.  "No backpacks are allowed in to the festival. Purses, diaper and camera bags will be subject to inspection at the entrance gates"   FAQ for more questions:


Lakewold Gardens

Yesterday, Wednesday, was the Urban Sketchers Tacoma outing to Lakewold Gardens.  I've been at least once before but don't remember being quite so distracted by all the sketching opportunities.  I did a lot of walking around before choosing subjects. 

And I certainly wasn't aware of the Fairyfest!  There were dozens of small, individually created, fair houses spread throughout the garden.  

I decided to make a two page montage.  I included 2 of the fairy houses, a moss covered chair with shrine in the Garden for Peace, and a small fishing monk statue.

We met back near the Garden Shop and entry point for sketch sharing and the group photo.

Afterward, a smaller group of us went to lunch.  I took my minimal sketch kit in with me and did this sketch of the Red Robin in my tiny sketchbook.

Lots of photos of the grounds and the fairy houses are here:

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


On a recent sketch outing with Port Townsend Urban Sketcher group I made a sketch of the maritime environment from the beach in front of Chetzemoka Park . Fort Worden, Point Wilson Light, Admiralty inlet, Whidbey Island and an incoming freighter were the subject of my sketch. It occurred to me as I observed the view and began to make record of it, seeing it from my perspective, time and place have stood still. The light house at Point Wilson, the wharf and buildings at Fort Worden have been there since the beginning of the 20th century. It appears nothing has changed, time and place have stood still. And then on the horizon behind the spit of land the light house sits on an incoming container ship loomed large and surreal against the historic foreground, spoiling the view and awaking me from my idyllic state of imagining this scene some 80 or 90 years ago. To keep my vision alive and historic, I converted the container ship to a more period freighter and finished the sketch. I know this is not in accordance with our urban sketchers manifesto, to be truthful to the scenes we witness but sometimes I just feel I have to make an exception. I've included a similar historic sketch of Point Robinson along with a pure and truthful sketch of ships in Commencement Bay.

For the record the top sketch was done in my Pentalic 5x8 watercolor journal using Derwent watercolor pencils. The sky and water were done wet-in-wet pulling pigment off the French Gray and Blue Gray pencils with my water brush. The middle and bottom sketch are both watercolor and ink in Moleskine water color journals.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Portable Sketcher

I am always looking for ways in which I can make Urban Sketching portable. I always carry a “purse” which is actually my art bag but that includes my wallet. In my “purse” I always carry a couple of sketchbooks, pencils, different types of pens and my watercolors among other things. In a future posting I will share what I carry in detail and how I prepare my sketch bag for my daily use. Trying to be compact but still having all I need to be ready to urban sketch lead me to find this new product, The Portable Painter. I came across this product thru  crowd funding site. It was started by Steven Padden and so far it has been very successful. I bought it for $30.00 and it arrived way faster than I expected, it took about a week!

But what is The Portable Painter? The Portable Painter is a palette with two wells and a brush. It is made of plastic and is very light. It comes with 12 half pans and I used some double tape to attach the pan to the palette to hold it tight. What I like about it is that it is so compact that it fits perfectly inside my “purse”/art bag, it is very light and you can even put it in your bag pocket. The wells slide perfectly to each side of the palette and you can place it on the ground, a table and even your thigh.

One well serves to wet your brush and the other to clean it. It comes with a double brush or you might be able to fit in a travel brush of your liking. I was able to get my size 4 Escoda Versatil, larger sizes on this brand are too thick.
So far I used it in the field on Saturday while sketching with Urban Sketchers and it was very useful. So I liked it and if you like to explore new art products and you are always on the go, The Portable Sketcher might be one to try. Here are the pictures of the product and my most recent sketch.

The Portable Painter right out of the box.

The palette has the double sided brush, two wells and 12 half pans.

The double brush has two sizes.

I added double tape to the half pans to make sure they don't move inside the palette.

And finally what did I sketched using this palette?
The Freight house Square in Tacoma!

I hope this was useful. Let me know if you have any questions and Happy Sketching!