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:

September Sketch Outings

September will be a month with more opportunities as we have our regularly scheduled outings plus two Ad Hoc outings (so far)!  

First Saturday, September 2nd:   University of Puget Sound


We’ll meet at 10:00 AM at the low brick circle just to the right of Thompson Hall
Options for a campus map:

Parking lot (P4) is adjacent to the building off N. Union Ave at 14th Street (nearest GPS address is 1451 N. Union, Tacoma).

At 12:30 PM we’ll regroup at the brick circle for sketch sharing and photos. 

Lunch is at the Rosewood CafĂ©, 3323 N. 26th St. (just ½ mile away between N. Union & N. Alder).


Second Thursday, September 14th: Skansie Brothers Park

3211 Harborview Dr, Gig Harbor, WA 98335

Meet at 10am at the pavilion in Skansie Brothers Park. Sketching in Gig Harbor choices include waterfront, historical and retail sites.

Take route 16 to Gig Harbor City Center/Wollochet Drive

From South:
At top of ramp turn right onto Pioneer Way, continue to T intersection at water, turn left, park is on right in about 200 feet.  Park your car in marked spots, but avoid ones marked 30 minute limit.

From North:
At top of ramp turn left, cross over 16, Wollochet becomes Pioneer Way, follow above directions 


Third Wednesday, September 20: Breakwater Marina

 5603 N Waterfront Dr, Tacoma, WA 98407

This is a private marina to the right of the Vashon Ferry dock (as you enter toward the dock) at the entrance of Point Defiance Park.  There are many boats to sketch, some construction, views of the sound and the Vashon ferry.  

Meet at 10 am at the Kiosk next to the entry/parking for the Marina.   

Directions:  Do not enter the ferry line.  Take the "through traffic" street to the left of the ferry lane.  At the bottom of the hill, turn right to enter the Marina area.  However, there might be no parking there and it is restricted (see below).  Thus, turn left to park in the ferry parking lot. 

Staff at the Marina said that if there are spaces, we may go to the office (far end of the parking lot) to request a parking pass. If you park in the Marina lot you must get a pass or be towed.  If there isn't enough space for their customers, we'll have to park further away in the ferry lot.


 Parking Day - September 15th  (Ad Hoc outing)

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.

We'll set up between 9 and 10 am.  Our park will be open from 10 am to  2pm.  Location has not yet been assigned so watch this space for an update.  

We'll have tables, as above in the photo.  Bring chairs and your sketching kits.  We'll be talking about Urban Sketching with the people who visit our park.  

 September 23  Van Lierop Garden Market Ad Hoc Outing

1020 Ryan Ave, Sumner, WA 98390

We've been invited to sketch during an event at the Garden Market in conjunction with the wine walk. It is a delightful space where we've sketched before. The event is 3pm to 7pm. 



Tuesday, August 15, 2017


Back when the annual west coast urban sketcher event was going to be held in Vancouver my sketch buddy and long time friend Ken Fulton and I made plans to attend the event along with our wives. We reserved rooms at the University of BC Gage Towers and when the event was canceled we decided to make a weekend out of it anyway. As it turns out, at the last minute the Vancouver Urban Sketchers group put together sketch outings for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Ken and I attended the Saturday outing at the Olympic Park on the Vancouver waterfront while our wives enjoyed a shopping tour of nearby Granville Island.

The ships anchored in English sketched at dusk with a think layer of forest fire smoke. Also enjoyed sketching at the Asian and the Anthropology museum. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Back to Fort Nisqually

This time I'm there as an Urban Sketcher, not as a volunteer interpreter! 

Roy, Carolyn and Feather carpooled with me to Fort Nisqually. While we were still on the freeway, Carolyn asked, "are we headed to those clouds?".  As we arrived, the Pt Defiance park was covered with clouds and chilly. It didn't take long, though, for those to blow away and the sun to shine on us.

Fort staff (Tracy B) was so kind to let us in early so we could start our sketch outing at the usual time. Everyone quickly spread out around the grounds.

I'm an occasional volunteer there and in that role I've done so many sketches of the buildings and grounds. So I thought about what I could do differently. I climbed to the top of the "gallery" and saw a view of one of the Bastions I'd not sketched before. I needed my trusty tool to get the perspective line correct along the fence.

"A bastion is a projecting part of the fortification offering a safe haven in danger. It was a precautionary policy of the Hudson's Bay Company to build stockades and bastions around their posts to protect property primarily from theft and, if necessary, for defense."   Fort Nisqually was not a military installation but an outpost of the Hudson's Bay Company.

With about an hour left, I went over to the bright red poppies I'd noticed upon arrival. They stand in front of one of the (un-used) outhouses!

We shared our sketches in the shade of the Factor's House porch, then had our group photo.

More photos here:

Monday, July 17, 2017

August sketch outings

First Saturday Sketch Outing, August 5:  Point Defiance Park Visitor Center

5715 Roberts Garden Rd, Tacoma, WA 98407                               

The Visitor Center entrance is off North Waterfront Dr. (a continuation of N. Pearl St. once you’re in the Park).     

We’ll meet at 10:00 AM on the porch of the Visitor Center.  Free parking is available on the street.

There are multiple areas of interest to sketch, the Visitor Center itself was built in 1898 and  sets between the Pagoda building and the Rose Garden.  A little closer to the Park entrance from the Rose Garden is the Duck Pond (restrooms are located there).

At 12:30 PM we’ll regroup at the Visitor Center for sketch sharing and photos, followed by lunch at the Antique Sandwich Shop, 5102 N. Pearl St. Tacoma.
Second Thursday August 10:  
Home and gardens of local artist, Pat Rush

Gig Harbor WA 98335

We will be meeting at the home of notable local artist, Pat Rush on at 10am.  She is offering her property and gardens on Henderson Bay (which includes several unusual buildings and a view of Cutts Island) to both Urban Sketchers and Plein Air painters.  Bring a lunch to enjoy in her beautiful gardens overlooking the water.  Carpooling is highly recommended. 

Directions (from Tacoma):

Cross Tacoma Narrows Bridge on Hwy 16 toward Gig Harbor
Exit to City Center/Wollochet
Cross straight through intersection to Stinson, go down hill
Left at Rosedale (four way stop)
Proceed 2.9 miles
Left on Ray Nash
Just past Island View Market, Ray Nash goes to the left
Stay to the Right to cross bridge , road becomes Kopachuck Dr.
Pass Paul Dr.
Watch for green and white house number sign on a pole by mailboxes
Turn Right (Henderson Bayview Dr)
Right at the 3-way fork
Right at the 2-way fork
(If you come to Kopachuck State Park you have gone too far south)

Directions from north of Gig Harbor:
South on Hwy 16
Exit to City Center/Wollochet
Left at exit, cross over freeway
Left at next light (Stinson), go down hill
Proceed as above
 Third Wednesday, Aug 16:  Point Defiance Boathouse and Marina
5912 N. Waterfront Dr.,Tacoma, 98407

Plenty of free parking in front of the marina and between the ferry terminal and Anthony's Home Port.

Great water view sketching from this location. A very active recreational and fishing community. Nice shady spots to sketch from as well as handy tables and benches.

Coffee and snacks at the bate shop on the pier. Anthony's Homeport restaurant is also on the pier (a little spendy but good food and atmosphere)  the Antique Sandwich Shop is a short drive up Pearl st. and a fun place to gather with great sandwich menu.

Meet in front of the bate shop at 10 AM

Friday, July 14, 2017

Fort Flagler, Marestone Island

Fort Flagler State Park on Marestone Island is one of my favorite places to camp in the Northwest and a great place to sketch as well. The weather was on the chilly side and most of the time overcast affording me an opportunity to try and capture the essence of the ever changing cloud patterns. Pentalic's 140# watercolor journal pages are perfect for working wet-in-wet which is how using Derwent watercolor pencils the sky in these sketches were done. I wet the page first then with my waterbrush pull pigment off the pencil onto the page allowing the pigment to be manipulated just like regular watercolors. Derwent french gray, blue gray, deep indigo and ultramarine blue were the primary colors used for the sky.

For a brief period in the early part of the 20th century Fort Flagler along with Fort Worden in Port Townsend and Fort Casey on Whidbey Island protected the entrance to Puget Sound from potential enemy ships. The three forts were part of what was known at the time as the triangle of death. Now all three forts are part of Washington State Parks and wonderful places to explore and experience part of the military history of the Northwest.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

July 4th Parade in Bothell

Scenes from a July 4th celebration -

I sat down with a bunch of moms and their kids who liked waiting for candies thrown by paraders. It was a parade showcasing diversity. Muslim community, Mexicans on horses (sketch #1), Irish with their bagpipes, the senior community, kids of all shapes and colors. Everyone was enjoying America's 241st birthday.

I looked for lunch and had a burrito from a food truck and met Edgar and Crispin. When I looked for a place to sit, I saw an area in the shade where a black dad was humming and swaying her little baby girl to sleep (sketch #2). I asked if I can share the shade. He smiled as he nodded.

Then I went to a coffee shop for some brew and I sketched (#3) the outside scene with the inside scene.

I didn't see hatred, bigotry, racism. They're there. But today I didn't look for them. I looked for goodness, beauty, generosity, kindness. And I was richly rewarded.

The name of the food truck was Ambakity Cocina Mexicana. Ambakity is a Native American word for "best of the best."

Just like the USA of my heart.
Happy Birthday, USA.