Monday, June 19, 2017

Post Workshop Studio

This morning in the studio I face the aftermath of a weekend in the mountains teaching a nature journaling workshop. We had a great time together making our own journals from the cover to the watercolor sketches and personal notes inside. See my new scarf hanging over the back of my chair? It's printed with a hand painted map of the North Cascades National Park. What a perfect souvenir!
Stay tuned for lots of photos here on my blog and in our Watercolor Workshop Flickr album as well as through the North Cascades Institute and Learning Center social media. Okay, so now back to unpacking!

Check back often as I have more of my sketches to add and will be adding photos that come in from students. I trust they will be sending finished pages from their journals and action shots they took along the way. I hope those who saw the bear captured it on their camera. Workshop students should ask for the private journal link for more than what the public sees in this Flickr Album.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

A Forest Discovery

At noon we took our sack lunches on a short trek to Buster Brown field. We spent a wonderful afternoon sketching in the meadow. On the return hike Sylvia and I discovered a bracket fungus growing near a woodpecker hole.

We have some growing on our birch trees, too. I actually saw and heard the northern flicker who made the holes in our tree when he did it.

The fungus in the N. Cascades National Park looked like a set of steps and with the moss covered "porch roof" over the hollow spot, reminded me of a fairy tale house that a tiny gnome might live in.
I added the sketch to my nature journal page for the day along with some swirly gnome-like writing. During lunch I sat on a fallen log, shared by some big black carpenter ants. I'm not sure yet if I'll add them to this spread.

Bracket fungus, lichen and moss share the bark on this tree in the forest.

Nature Trek to a Mountain Meadow

Handmade Nature Journals by my Watercolor Students
On the second day of my Summer Watercolor Workshop at the North Cascades Learning Center, we finished up our journals and took a sack lunch to Buster Brown field for some nature journaling and sketching.
Our naturalist guides Evan and Hannah, gathered our group together at noon and led us up the trail.
We all pretty much stopped in our tracks as the scene opened up and the overwhelming beauty of our outdoor studio revealed itself to us.  After I gave everyone a moment to explore I started my watercolor nature sketching demonstration.
I used my DIY Altoids mini watercolor palette, Fabriano Artistico 140 lb. CP watercolor paper and my Pentel Aquash waterbrush. As you can see this portable set up is easy to use while standing and slips into a pocket or day pack when not in use.
Here are my students working on their watercolor sketches at Buster Brown field. That's Pyramid Peak in the distance. More photos and stories here in my Flickr album.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A Visual Timeline at 4th and Madison with USk Seattle

It wasn't raining (!) and there were actual patches of blue sky among the clouds on Friday morning when the USk Seattle Ad hoc outing took place. It was a bit chilly (59/60°F) out on the 7th floor terrace of the 4th and Madison building. We had a fantastic panoramic view in any direction which included most of the iconic landmarks one associates with the city of Seattle.
Almost everyone succumbed to the easterly view of St. James Cathedral, so tiny compared to the monolithic skyscrapers framing it on either side. As I sketched, a Boeing Jet briefly appeared through the gap on its way to SeaTac airport.
I love the way we have buildings from so many eras standing side by side in the downtown core. I sketched the Seattle YMCA (1930), the cathedral (1907) and the Former First United Methodist Church Dome (1910) as well as the Space Needle (1961) and the Darth Vader building (1979). The original 120 ft. dome of St. James Cathedral collapsed in 1916 and was never rebuilt. The present dome of the First Methodist Church is destined to become part of the new SLS Luxury Hotel, slated to open in 2017. Oh, and I snipped the Smith Tower sketch off my business card and added that previously sketched bit since it's my favorite building anyway. It's the oldest skyscraper in the city. You could see it easily by looking past the south side of the terrace.
We had a great turnout for a Friday. I am always impressed by the hidden gems that urban sketchers find to explore in the city. This lovely public garden is certainly one of them. A personal touchstone for me was the joy of sketching in the terrace garden with my granddaughter who is graduating high school this month. It was her first time with USk Seattle but I trust not the last.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Sketching at Bay View Nursery

Sketching while standing in the greenhouse cactus garden.

I found a tropical blue cactus at Bayview Farm and Garden on Whidbey Island today. Had to look it up to find out the actual name, though. 

Pilosocereus azureus, native to Brazil in semi-tropical areas, forms arborescent specimens to 20' in height. Beautiful blue stems with golden spines along ribs. White nocturnal flowers that are pollinated by bats and sphinx moths. Beautiful specimen for landscape or patio in temperate areas. Requires porous cactus soil with adequate drainage. Bright light to full sun with ample airflow. Water thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch. Protect from frost.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Periscope Demo Today, Tomatoes

How many colors does it take to paint a tomato? Let's find out!
Live demo and discussion of watercolors used to paint tomatoes. 
Today I did a live broadcast on painting a plate of thickly sliced Roma tomatoes. Watch the replay at
Here's the result of my live demonstration in watercolor. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

My Finished Sketchbook Pages for the 10x10 Workshop

Sketches from the morning session
I was recently honored to be a Seattle 10x10 instructor for the tenth anniversary series of urban sketchers workshops. My workshop took place in two sessions on May 20, 2017, morning from 9-12:00 noon and afternoon from 2-5pm. This is a "dual reportage" of the morning with personal observations as well as a report on the workshop itself from my viewpoint as the instructor.

From the morning session: I'm leaving the original pencil outlines of my modular layout pattern so students can see how I used (or ignored) them. I added color later to the original 3 sketches done on site and added narrative, headlines and ephemera to complete my montage.

I collected 3 pieces of ephemera for the morning: a business card with earthy image from Terra Plata, parking stub for the day, and part of one of the ID cards I made for students.

Sketches from the afternoon session
From the afternoon session: I ended up with more of a radial layout this time, ignoring most of my penciled in layout frames. Again, I'm combining my personal observations with reportage of the workshop.

I added three pieces of ephemera from the afternoon: my USk business card, partial card from one of my students' ID badge, the demo page from my spiral sketchbook with the actual demonstration sketches done on site for the afternoon class, glued on.

Thanks, everyone, for being such an inspiring group of students. It was great fun sharing a few tips and sketching our "sunny" city of Seattle with you!

WIP My USK10x10 Visual Journal

Right now it's 84° in the shade as I work on the finishing touches for my Visual Journaling urban sketchers sketch book. I'm gluing in a few bits of ephemera and adding some narrative to the sketches I did while on location with my students at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle last Saturday morning.

I'm going to have to go inside where it's a bit cooler to finish this up and I will post those results as soon as possible.

For photos taken at the workshop, please visit my Flickr album. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Urban Sketchers Show on Seattle Artwalk, May 4

I'm pleased to announce that my sketches are included in the group show "Urban Sketchers 10 Years"  by the Seattle Urban Sketchers who are instructors of the 10x10 workshop series. 2017 marks the 10 year anniversary of Urban Sketchers worldwide, founded by Seattleite Gabi Campanario. 

Friends and family are invited to an opening reception at the Center for Architecture & Design (1010 Western Ave, Seattle) from 5:00 to 8:00 pm on Thursday May 4th for the Seattle Art Walk.  The rest of the time the exhibit can be seen during regular hours except when there is a committee meeting in the board room.  On Thursday light snacks and refreshments (wine and beer) will be served.  There is a larger exhibit ongoing at the center and so ours will be in the board room right off from the entry.

Prints of my sketches of Shilshole Marina & Sunset View Condos and Gasworks Marina Boathouse are in the exhibit.
There are a few spots left in my workshop on May 20.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

May Challenge Options for the Indecisive

I just have to post this option for those who want to join a drawing/painting challenge in May. Charlie O'Shields over at offers a set of unique prompts---textures. Something to capture the interest of the watercolor artist.

Hmm, maybe I will see how many of these I can combine with the ones Jutta Richter has on Flickr for EDM Every Day in May.

Can you do it? Be sure to add #worldwatercolorgroup if you post any of your efforts online! And have fun!