Friday, May 27, 2016

Coffee, Electric Cloud and Lenin's Boot

Gary and I covered quite a bit of territory today. We are still celebrating our 50th Anniversary with friends and family, but today it was just the two of us....and a few people in Seattle. Gary wanted me to try out a cool coffee shop in the Beacon Hill neighborhood. (See photos below.) We went there first, then over to Fremont so that I could sketch with Seattle USK.

Most drivers would feel a bit frustrated when the bridge alarm goes off just as you approach the Fremont drawbridge. It means about a 5-7 minute delay in getting where you were going. For me, though, it meant an opportunity to sketch the little coffee stand from the comfort of the passenger seat in the car. No distracting traffic in the opposite lane! I did the sketch in the time the bridge was open and finished the color later.
I managed to get two small sketches in before sharing with the Seattle Urban sketchers today.
Electric Cloud Coffee is a drive through stand located on the south end of the Fremont drawbridge. They are known for their breakfast burritos and hemp lattes.

My 5-7 minute view of Electric Cloud Coffee

Read about the history of the Lenin statue here

Workers on break in the square near the Lenin statue.

Lenin's boot in a rain puddle with sun breaks.
Columbia City pm Coffee Break
The Station Coffee House, Beacon Hill
 It was a true Seattle cultural day, with morning and afternoon coffee breaks, sketching in Fremont and lunch with the sketchers out on the sidewalk tables nearby at PCC.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Quick Sketch Break

Looking down Spring Street
I took a quick sketch break at 5th and Spring Street between classes today. 10 minute pen drawing and then watercolor later in the day.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

How to choose a minimum palette for painting on location


Urban sketching with my DIY Altoids mini kit 
I have had a recent request to describe my recommendation for a minimum traveling watercolor palette. Previously, in a post on minimum palettes, I listed the six colors in my DIY Altoids sketching kit.

The colors you use for this minimum palette can be any fitting a certain criteria:
Choose a warm and a cool version of each primary color. 
Choose colors that would allow for mixing dark tones.
Choose colors that will be pure and bright when used alone.

These choices result in the widest possible range of color mixing results using the minimum number of pigments.

After choice of primary hues, the next consideration is pigment properties. Watercolor pigments can be transparent, granulating, opaque, sedimentary, or staining. Choosing a set of more transparent colors helps to avoid muddy looking color mixes. If your style requires lifting off of pigment to achieve light values, then you would probably avoid the staining pigments. If you like high tonal contrast (strong light and dark relationships) you would choose colors that are already inherently dark. They can be thinned out with water to create paler tones. If you like the textural qualities of your subject, then granulating or sedimentary pigments will enhance that effect. 
Dining out with my Van Gogh Pocket Box
The location in which you plan to sketch or paint will help determine which unique and particular colors you might like to include. A tropical location, for instance, would require a slightly different set of primary colors than one in a more northerly location. Seasonal changes or subject matter may require switching out one or two convenience colors. It depends upon what you are painting; landscapes, still life, florals, portraits, etc. Most of the time, however, you can get by with the dual primary palette, plus one or two convenience colors.

What are warm and cool primary colors?
A primary triad of red, yellow and blue can be split into a warm and cool version of each.
You need two yellows, one that is "lemony" and leans toward green and one that is "sunny", that leans toward orange.
Reds could be described as somewhat purple, leaning towards blue (Alizarin Crimson) and somewhat orange (Organic Vermilion) leaning towards yellow.
A blue that leans toward blue violet (French Ultramarine) and a blue that leans toward turquoise (Phthalocyanine Blue, Green Shade) will give you a wide range of mixing possibilities.

My Van Gogh (12 color) Pocket Box is shown above in action with a few custom colors switched out to suit my style. http://handprint.com/HP/WCL/water.html  has a comprehensive section on watercolor pigments, artists' chosen color palettes with examples of their paintings, and much, much more!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Folded Sketchbooks and Altoids Mini Palettes

A week's work in their sketchbooks. All these palettes and folded books were handmade by my watercolor students recently. Then they filled them with daily sketches!
Can you see why I am so proud of my students? 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

EDM - Day 9

Someone you love and/or admire
The love of my life


Monday, May 9, 2016

Monday at the old Lincoln Theatre

Anacortes sketchers arriving at the old Lincoln Theatre
Behind the scenes at the old Lincoln Theatre-What to choose?
It was a perfect afternoon for painting outside on the sidewalk in Mt. Vernon today. The old Lincoln Theatre (established in 1926) just had their new sign installed and it's pretty fabulous. So that's what I thought I would sketch. I even got started sketching in a shady spot across the street.

It was tempting, but we had unusual access to all the interior and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to prowl around behind the scenes.

As I passed the old fashioned ticket booth under the marquee and entered the lobby, there was the concession stand. It still has original graphics on either end from the 1940's indicating which way to the Guys' and Gals' restrooms.

Monday with Anacortes Sketchers at the old Lincoln Theatre
I wandered all over, from the amazingly spacious auditorium with chandeliers hanging from truly high vaulted ceilings to the dressing rooms, carpenter shop, ushers' uniform closet, and a labyrinth of rooms, hallways and stairways. Someone was in the alley building a new set of steps for the cast entrance. There are still live performances staged at the Lincoln Theatre as well as classic, foreign,  independent and art films.

All that was missing was the sound of fresh hot popcorn and bubbles rising to the top of an enormus cup of Pepsi. That's how I reached the decision to sketch behind the scenes at the concession stand. The octopus-like tangle of tubes connecting the CO2 tanks to the soda dispenser, the Pepsi sign seen through the side of the popcorn machine, and the massive container (down to one third full) of popcorn kernels; all these were fun to sketch from my view at the base of a crooked set of stairs.

Thank you, Margaret, for arranging and hosting such a great opportunity and thanks to the staff at the Lincoln Theatre.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

EDM - Day 8

Boots
Micron pen, Tombow dual brush pen, black ink waterbrush, watercolor
I'm smiling to myself as I sketch these boots. I wore them to my watercolor class recently, because I needed something comfortable to patrol the room during an intensive and active series of timed drills that I assigned to my students. One student said, "From now on, if I see you wearing those boots I'm going to run the other way!" I'm happy to report that everyone survived and actually outdid themselves.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

EDM - Day 7

A Gadget Used for Cleaning
iRobot-My little sweeper roams around the hardwood floors, vacuuming up dust and crumbs, bumping gently into chairs and doorways. Undismayed, he nonchalantly backs up and simply pirouettes to continue in another direction. Invisible rays emanate from the two white towers, fooling him into thinking a wall is there. He makes a quarter turn and on he goes until he reaches my area rug with a dark border. He thinks it's a cliff and stops dead in his tracks. I let him think it over for a few moments and then send him back to recharge at his battery dock. 


Thursday, May 5, 2016

EDM - Day 5

Something seen in a park
My sketch kit on the bench of the British phone booth garden seat.
Jennings Memorial Park in Marysville, WA, has developed into a wonderful place for the community. There is a playground, a small fishing pond, the original Jennings Barn, an amphitheater and a Master Gardeners' garden. In the garden, there are various rooms with appropriate plantings. The English Cottage Garden is getting some color now and the most colorful object there is a garden seat made to look like a British telephone booth. That's my sketch bag on the bench.
An arbor leads into the English Cottage Garden at Jennings Park