Monday, March 19, 2018

Life Long Learning

Those in Urban Sketchers/Tacoma know me as a person who is trying to improve my skills. I am willing to hear helpful criticism and often ask other members for their input on topics from values to perspective. I'm currently taking a life drawing class that is helping me with proportions and physical body characteristics. 

You can image my excitement when I read one day on our website that Gabi Campanario was going to teach all these things, in a workshop at the end of March, that I need to learn. So I thought I'd sign up. I called the number listed and asked if there was room... yes, there were 3 places left. Oh, my I thought. Only 3 and it's only 4 hours after sign up began. I was desperate to get in and asked her if I could pay in two increments... no. So when I hung up I didn't know what I was going to do... then my dear husband asked if I'd like to attend as a Valentine Present? Oh, yes! I said and called right back and got in. I didn't ask how many spots were open... I got in!!!

I received an email this past week asking me to send samples of my work. I looked thorough my sketchbooks until my eyes were blurry. I was to send in samples of my work so Gabi could see my abilities. Every now and again one has a sketch that is really great, but mostly mine are rather ordinary and a bit primitive. Thus my interest in the class. So I decided on the following three images…

I want the people I draw to look like the people I’m sketching. These kids do have black hair, but not sure that they look like the kids themselves. The scale of the stanchions and the perspective of them isn’t right they should get smaller the further away they are… so that’s why I chose this one.

This one I put in because it needs more difference in values. It’s too dark… and again my people look like paperdolls rather than people. I’m not all negative about my work… I like the glass in the windows, the detail and the composition. I’m not saying none of that couldn’t be improved, but I’m not dissatisfied with it.

This one had a lot of architectural features and two ladies talking… again there’s detail, which I really enjoy drawing, but my ladies are too flat to me, and some of my building angles may not be correct…. My scanner isn’t working so this is a photo of my sketches, which adds distortion from the pages bowing.

All of these are more recent, so he see my current work. (Less than a year old) So we will see what he says and hope that I can step up my game… 

I’ll report back when the class is over and post my work from the class (on site sketches) and how I felt about it. The way I feel now is excited and hopeful that I will be able to assimilate what he teaches. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Travel sketching with a fellow urban sketcher

This past week my long time friend and fellow urban sketcher Ken Fulton and I spent a week in residency at Centrum in Port Townsend. While I've been part of the Centrum residency program for the past 18 years, this is the first time I have participated in a shared residency. Our goal for the week was to create at least one or more sketches and or a painting every day and present our work at an open house at the end of the week. Fort Worden, Port Townsend boat yard and Marestone Island provided all the inspiration we required to accomplish our goal. It also helped to have an ad hoc sketch outing with PT urban sketchers as well as spending the day sketching on Marestone Island with fellow urban sketcher Mel Epling.
All my sketches were done in my Pentalic 5x8 watercolor journal using Derwent watercolor pencils. Each morning I packed my sketching gear, headed out the door of our residency cabin to run the two mile loop to Point Wilson and back, all the while looking for what would become my morning sketch. The last days early morning light provided a must-sketch spectacular view of Mount Baker. Derwent Cobalt Blue, Raw Sienna and Ink Tense Deep Indigo were the colors I used for this very simple sketch.
As grateful as I am for the places I've traveled, seen and sketched with family and friends, there really is nothing more satisfying than guilt-free sketching with a fellow sketcher.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Silence in the Library

We met yesterday at the UW Tacoma library.  It was such a sunny day, though still a bit chilly, that some chose to sketch outside. 

It was so nice that we displayed our sketches and took our group photo outside at the end of the outing. 

Thanks to Scott for taking the photo. 

I wandered across the sky bridge to the Tioga building, where I found this odd sculpture in the window. 

I next joined several sketchers in the Chihuly Room, which was another "silent" room.  Most of us there were sketching the Chinook Red Chandelier. 

A few more photos are here:

 Some people might recognize the title of this post as that of a Dr. Who episode.

--Kate Buike

Monday, February 26, 2018

Sometimes It's Hard to Sketch!

It’s not because of the challenges of complex perspective, or how to sketch successfully with a new medium, or where to draw outdoors in inclement weather when there’s no cover in sight. It’s not about being a slow sketcher when there’s only a short amount of time to sketch, or, about being in a location that is fascinating  but out of sight of anyone so we’re ‘a mark" (a woman or a man alone and it’s starting to get dark) and we must make the hard choice (it’s a really GREAT sketching spot) between  ‘good sense’ and ‘bravado’and,  we gradually realize what we’re going to do is be smart and wimp out.
Nope. I’m not too deeply daunted by any of those sketching impediments or losses. I’m willing to mess up a good page of paper while giving a try at conquering weird perspective problems..…and, for the most part, I tend to choose good sense over (at least some) silly or dangerous risks. So, it’s none of those things that make it hard for me to sketch sometimes. When I’m in that mode, my mental sketch page looks like either of the pages below:

A family member or friend or neighbor, or colleague is suffering.  Or, the newspaper & TV let me know frightening things that are happening to folks around the world—either from natural disasters or evils caused by other folks. Or, over dinner, between commercials, we learn 17 (more) kids were shot to death in school by a 19 year old with a military grade weapon (the most profitable gun that gun-makers sell)…OR, we learn about a local corporation fighting for the right to build their own success based on doing    things that could or will seriously harm the nearby local community……etc……………!
It’s hard some days to find the necessary liveliness to sketch.  On those days, I feel as if my inner ink well is dry…or, it’s overflowing…like black tears.
I read many books and daily newspapers to learn what’s going on. Eli and I are both news-junkies. We, like almost everyone we know, work to contribute towards positive change on several fronts, including voting in every election (…..etc…..) yet, there are still those black-and-white-empty- square-days.
Facebook, of all things, helped me out of one of those hard-to-sketch-day funks this week: They posted a one-year-old  sketch of mine, for ONLY my eyes (they said) unless I chose to SHARE (many of you likely know that drill too). They keep trying, and I usually keep ignoring them. But this time I SHARED. It appears to be ‘just a sketch' because it is,  'just a sketch.'

I HIT SHARE…I knew, instantly why: I did that sketch beside some kindred spirits during a rally for LGBT rights at UW-T in Tacoma! Then, I remembered sketching inside another crowd of children, men, and women wearing  pink hats with pointy ears--- kindred spirits. And another, where I sketched like mad to capture the feeling in the midst of the people marching, because Black Lives Matter. I am 'just a sketcher' making 'just another sketch' while fully energized and empowered by people working together to be a cause of good happening in this crazy world we live in. When our kids gather all around our country on March 24 (“Save Our Lives”), count me in.

Best to you,


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Station and the Library

As we arrived early, we sought a warm beverage at Anthem Coffee. I decided to try out the new Field Notes Signature sketchbook. This is an ink drawing with Lamy Joy (Platinum Carbon black) and a Pentalic brush pen. It ghosted a little on the back of the paper but didn't bleed through. The ghosting didn't show up in the scan so I haven't posted an image.

It was a cold and blustery morning as Urban Sketchers Tacoma gathered in the shelter of the rotunda of Union Station, which is now a Federal Court House. We spread out all over the building. There were views out the windows and Chuhuly glass sculptures.
Sharing sketches and our group photo, with Chuhuly in the background.

My first sketch was from the main floor, looking up to the walkway with an old clock and the large window with Chuhuly's installation, Monarch Window.


Next, I went down to what would have been "track level" when it was a train station. There I sketched a view of the Bridge of Glass that leads over to the Museum of Glass.

After lunch together, many of us went to the Tacoma Main Library to see the USk Tacoma show there. Beverly did a wonderful job installing it.

More photos of sketchers and avant-weird ones of the glass:

--Kate Buike

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

March 2018 Sketch Outings

  First Saturday, March 3: UW Tacoma Library

 1900 Commerce St, Tacoma, WA 98402
is the official address.  It's kitty corner behind the Bookstore.  Meet just inside the entrance.

The library includes a building that was once an industrial building.  Some of the equipment has been incorporated into the renovation and makes for interesting sketch subjects.  Just be aware that room is designated as SILENT.  

There is also a second floor glass bridge which offers views of campus.  

Parking:   In the lot next to the library which is entered of S. 21st St..  It is $1/hour with 3 hour limit.   Or park in the garage near Freighthouse Square and take the trolly.


Second Thursday, March 8:  Donna Trent’s Art Studio

4224 83rd Ave Ct NW, Gig Harbor

Donna Trent has graciously offered (after we asked!) her studio to Urban Sketchers Gig Harbor for the month of March.  Donna hosts regular classes and workshops at her studio as well as for Open Studio.  She also has a beautiful piece of property and a very large back deck, so we can sketch inside the studio or outside under cover if need be.  There is plenty of parking and chairs for our use, and we can bring a lunch (she has a microwave and a refrigerator in the studio). 

Directions to Donna Trent’s Studio

From the South on Hwy 16 (WB):Cross the Narrows Bridge
Exit at Olympic Dr.
Turn Left at the top of the exit light and cross the freeway
Stay on Olympic Drive through the intersection with Pt Fosdick Dr NW , then becomes 56th St NW
Turn Left at the T (Wollochet)
The road passes Artondale, curves to the Right and becomes 40th St NW – you are now heading West
Watch the street signs
When you come to 83rd Ave there will be what looks like two driveways next to each other on your RIGHT.
The first one is 83rd Ave NW
The second one is 83rd Ave COURT NW – This is the one you want.
Go all the way to the end of the gravel road through an open gate and park in the large parking area.
The entrance to the studio (the big building separate from the house) is on the left side of the building.

From the North on Hwy 16 (EB
Exit to Wollochet Dr/City Center
Turn Right at the light
Stay on this main road through several turns
Becomes 40th St NW – you are now heading West
Watch the street signs
When you come to 83rd Ave there will be what looks like two driveways next to each other on your RIGHT.
The first one is 83rd Ave NW
The second one is 83rd Ave COURT NW – This is the one you want.
Go all the way to the end of the gravel road through an open gate and park in the large parking area.
The entrance to the studio (the big building separate from the house) is on the left side of the building. 



Third Wednesday, March 21: LeMay Family Collection at Marymount

325 152nd St E, Tacoma, WA 98445

(This is not the the LeMay America's Car Museum near the Tacoma Dome.)

Sketch-Outing, from 10 AM-12:30.  Meet outside the front entrance at 10 AM.

There is a group rate of $10.  We’ll collect fees prior to entry, so please bring exact amount in cash. 

We will sketch until 12:30, then share our sketches & join in a group photo.

In 1998 the LeMay family collection of 1,900 vehicles was listed as the “Largest Antique & Vintage Vehicle Collection" in the Guinness Book of World Records.  By the year 2000, the collection included more than 3000 vehicles. While Harold was often cited as the collector of the family, Nancy was just as passionate about collecting as he was. Together, they collected, not only vintage cars, but also a great deal of Americana, from toys to signs to dental equipment.


Besides vehicles, there are many other collections in the museum, well as outdoor exhibits.

Driving directions  from the greater Tacoma area:
From Hwy 512,  go south on Pacific Ave.   Turn left(east) on 152nd.
Marymount will be on your left.  LeMay Family Collection, Marymount  

325 152nd St E, Tacoma, WA 98445

Country Rose Cafe
15803 Pacific Avenue S
Tacoma, WA 98444


Ad Hoc Saturday, March 31:  Roy's Booksigning

Roy De Leon is a member of USk Tacoma and one of our Blog Correspondents. He's now also a book illustrator.  The Pope's Cat is released this month and he is the illustrator.  Roy has said we are welcome to attend and sketch the book signing.  

Saturday, March 31 at 2 PM - 4 PM

The Neverending Bookshop
10123 Main Place St 2, Bothell, Washington 98011


Thursday, February 15, 2018

People Sketches

A collection of indoor sketches done since the new year. Most are from a Seattle Urban Sketchers gathering at Town Center Commons in Lake Forest Park.