Friday, October 31, 2014

Day 31 of Inktober 2014 - I did it!

For the last three ink drawings of Inktober I chose to draw windows, from inside looking out. Each one is a window from the building where I taught my watercolor class that day.

For Wednesday, I chose a view across the rooftops and beyond. For Thursday, I chose the window display at the gallery and through to the outside. For today, I looked out the second floor window of Kirkland Arts Center and down to the rainy street corner below.

All done! 31 ink drawings in 31 days! See my Instagram for the entire collection. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Windows, Looking from the Inside Out

At the beginning of the month, the weather was as lovely as fall can get and I drew windows from the outside looking in. Now at the end of October, it is windy and raining in earnest. I decided to draw the last three days of Inktober from the inside looking out of windows.

One day to go for my Inktober challenge!
I drew this one from inside the gallery where I teach my Thursday watercolor classes. Then I went out to get a photo from the street side. Mark A. Ellinger's blown glass is too beautiful to leave in black and white.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Inktober Sketchbook Spread

3 more days of "Inktober"
We've returned from attending a family wedding in California recently. I wasn't sure how I could do it, but I managed to keep up my daily ink drawings for Inktober* while we were away. Here's a page from three days.

1. An early morning view from our hotel window.
2. A bottle of Scotch from our son-in-law's collection.
3. The strawberry jam that our daughter made. We brought home two jars. Should have sneaked a few more into the's scrumptious!

*Counting down from today, there are three days left and I will have completed 31 ink drawings in 31 days of Inktober!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Announcing 20th Annual Studio Open House

Pear with Grapes-Original Watercolor

Our 20th Annual Studio Open House takes place on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. Hours: 10am-7pm

5-7pm: Wine, Cheese, Nibbles and a drawing for $100 worth of Art from Michele's NW Studio

We are excited to show new works and welcome artists, students and friends. Enjoy some nibbles, conversation and perhaps take home a painting, DVD or just the experience of visiting a real working art studio.

Save a spot on your calendar and come on over!
Contact me for map and directions. Send email to michelec12 at gmail dot com

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday sports for Sunday Painters

What sports do you play on a weekend? Are you a participant or a bystander? Either way, you have lots of subject matter from which to choose: action sketches, figures, outfits and sports gear. I am sure an easy warmup sketch of a simple volleyball could get you started! 
I like the official uniform. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Busy Broadway Farmers' Market

Late Post from Sunday with Seattle USk.
The red brick plaza on the SE end of Seattle Central Community College began filling up with Seattle Urban Sketchers a little after 10 am. People from Mt Vernon to Issaquah joined the locals to sketch at the Broadway Neighborhood Farmers' Market. Summer produce gave way to harvest time crops like beets, French carrots, fennel, mushrooms, and freshly made artisan cheese, cider, cookies, pickles and jams.
My busy page reflects the lively and crowded market.
Samish Bay Cheese offered samples of "Arugula Ladysmith" with calendula blossoms and "Black Mambazo" an aged cheese with cocoa, chipotle and black pepper coating. I sampled Woodring's Black Currant Lemonade and fresh pressed cider. Chao Chang Garden just kept piling up the fresh fennel, flowers, beets and gigantic French carrots.

I think everyone came outdoors, knowing that this is probably the last beautiful fall day with sunshine for awhile. 
(I had an outing with the Anacortes Sketchers to post on Monday and my regular "Sunday Painters" feature for today, Sunday the 19th, so this is posted on Tuesday.)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Gordon's Skagit Farms with ASk

This is the second year and the third time I've been to Gordons. It requires at least an annual visit just to see what clever, inspirational and artistic way they are arranging their bounty of the season. (See my blogposts from last October to compare.)
I decided to make my drawing of the day for Inktober 2014. You make 31 ink drawings in 31 days and post them to your blog, FB, Instagram, Twitter, etc. and tag them with #Inktober or #Inktober2014. I decided to post mine here and on my Instagram since I am quite pleased to have reached Day 20!
Doesn't this look like an ice cream sundae with a cherry on top?
This is as far as I got with my color sketches of the day, since I was distracted by chefs arriving, hunting down sketchers for candid photos, misplacing my sketchbook, and various other feather headed things. I have to say, though, that I was enchanted by the way the pumpkins and gourds were stacked up like wedding cakes or the best 6-scoop gelati from Florence.

See more about today's outing on the Anacortes Sketchers Blog.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Do you remember that charming and witty painting called "Life is just a chair of bowlies?" I still think it is one of my all time favorite plays on words. (And you know how I like plays on words!)

So this week's challenge for you Sunday painters is to take a season, like fall, and instead of painting the autumn leaves, AGAIN, find things around the house, garage or garden that are fall colors. Use them as props for your newest attempt at painting autumn color.
Tip for beginners: Start by drawing from an overhead view. Don't worry about getting a perfect circle, it looks forced and unnatural in a live drawing.
Watch out for camera perspective problems
It's best to paint from life. You may practice, though, by using these photos. Just be aware that the camera does not have binocular vision like we do and the further out to the edges you get, the more problems there are with perspective. (See the window frame leaning toward the outside edges?)

Update: I went sketching with Seattle Urban Sketchers this morning and plan to be with Anscortes Sketchers tomorrow. This morning's sketches will be posted on Tuesday.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Williams' Farm Pumpkin Patch

Today I drove around the corner after my class at A Guilded Gallery to find the sun shining across the pumpkin patch owned by Williams Farms. Melissa, a family member, has everything set up beautifully in the little shed. She has a display of "Exotics" with a friendly scarecrow on top of a giant power line spool.

My sketch for the day in my Pentalic Aqua Journal
A panorama opens up for you, from the water truck, to the eye line displaying every kind of tree, the old house nearly buried under blackberry vines, the distant hills on the coastline, the corn maze on your right, and most of all-the pumpkin patch! If there ever was a time to use a full spread panoramic sketchbook, this it!

We are all welcome to sketch there anytime!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


As you know, a global project is underway for artists, called Inktober. 31 drawings in 31 days. Draw something in ink and post it each day on FB, TWITTER, YOUR BLOG, INSTAGRAM, etc. View mine by using the Instagram button in the right hand column. There are half marathon and quarter marathon options.

I chose one of my unused sketchbooks that had enough pages to hold all 31 drawings. On average, I plan to draw two or three per page. Each collection over those days will have some sort of continuity. Usually they are placed consecutively by date. The current page on Monday was where I planned to draw number 3 of a series on balsamic vinegar bottles.  And then........... 

As you can see, I've taken some liberties with the models.
I visited a private home with some of my sketcher friends and was inspired by their collection of raven carvings, sculptures and objets d'art. 
What other traits do ravens have? The middle one goes in tomorrow.
Each piece in their collection was as individual as the artist who created it. After observing them for awhile, you notice this about animals and wildlife, too. For my sketchbook and daily drawing, I plan to do a page on ravens. Three ravens and three personality traits, highly exaggerated: the somewhat threatening, aggressive quality they sometimes have, (tbd) and their humorous character.

By the way, the two out on the power lines came and went on another sketching day and I dropped them in for balance. We have lots of trees in our neighborhood, but underground power, so our crows and ravens just walk around in the street.

Monday, October 13, 2014

My day on the "Tea Deck" at Alexander Beach

Looking out over Burrows Bay
The owl "whooo" has no name and I sat on the "Tea Deck" at the home of friends of ASk on Alexander Beach today. First, I painted the boat with a bit of red paint left on it, pulled up on the near shore of Lake Chiquita. Then "who" should I paint next, but the wood carving of the owl. It was inherited with the house, so no one knows the story behind it. We sat together quietly for a while, just gazing at the beautiful view.
My sketch journal of the day's experience
Then came the ducks, reflections, the little aqua blue boat on the far shore of the lake and trees behind.
I finally went inside and was permitted to use the carving of a raven for my Inktober drawing of the day. See Instagram link in the right hand column to view more of my 31 ink drawings for October.

My chair on the tea deck, view of the "partly red" boat, and wooden owl sculpture

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Three signs of Autumn Rainy Season

You know the Autumn rainy season has begun here in my part of the Pacific NW when these three signs appear from our front porch:
  1. The neighbor's maple tree across the street changes color overnight.
  2. I need my Sistine umbrella for a trip to the mailbox.
  3. Spider webs collect their strings of crystal beads in the rain. (Zoom the hedge area to see the diagonal line of raindrops on the web.)
Fall color in the trees, a spider web with raindrops and an umbrella. 
What are three signs of the season where you live?  Take a Sunday morning or afternoon to express those one at a time in your watercolor sketchbook. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Foggy Weather

It's that time of year again here in the Pacific Northwest. The fog comes in during the night and it's there when I wake up, filtering the morning sun. I think it's beautiful. Somehow, it makes me feel cozy, like having a big fluffy down quilt wrapped up around my ears. Sounds are muffled and the world is simplified into big shapes of midtones and darks. Fog turns the whole landscape into a watercolor painting. 
The sky is almost a gunmetal color on foggy days.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

It was a Yummy Day!

I should have posted this yesterday, but I was interrupted by life. Here is my sketchbook spread from our Anacortes Sketchers outing to Skagit River Produce.
My friend, Sylvia, gave me the title for this post. It truly was a yummy day!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

ASk at Skagit River Produce

It was a yummy day! The weather on Monday was perfect, the bakery outdid itself with fresh pies and homemade soup, and the sketchers worked all over the property, making beautiful sketches of everything in sight.
SOME people made several pages in more than one sketchbook!
The first crop of sketches.
As various people trickled in, we got to share our sketches. If we missed you in the the first two photos, maybe we caught you in the collage! Welcome, new sketchers!
Sketchers, squash, pumpkins and armloads of fresh sweet corn!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Looks like a Teapot

This is one in a series of three teapots that I drew for Inktober and posted on my Instagram.

Although the first two subjects were real teapots, this one is one of my favorite clay pieces. It's made to look like a teapot but only functions as an art piece. All drawn from life.
I used my Lamy pen with Noodlers black ink and a Niji waterbrush.

Monday, October 6, 2014

It was a Yummy Day!

I sketched at Skagit River Produce today with the Anacortes Sketchers. We had some new ones from all over the countryside, Anacortes, Marysville, Mt. Vernon, Whidbey Island, Camano Island, Snohomish, and more! We even met a Canadian art teacher who was on his way home from the marathon in Portland.
Back in the bakery, Lauren baked fresh pies and the air smelled like peaches, rhubarb and butter all the way in from the parking lot. The pies were still hot when we ate them for lunch. Yummmmm!
My sketches (zoom)

I think Sylvia and I were the last to leave.....we just kept finding things to add to our sketchbooks....and the light just kept getting "yummier"!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

300 Followers on Instagram

I've only been on Instagram for 6 weeks and reached 300 followers today! Big thanks to those who read my blog and follow my Instagram. I am encouraged by your words of appreciation and your loyalty. It makes me glad that I have shared my art world with you.


Sometimes watercolor painting does require a delicate balance, but this post isn't about swordplay. It's about finding your subject right there in your own neighborhood. Take a walk around the block today and see the individuality expressed in the creative way your neighbors have built their gates and fences. Before you know it, your subject will be calling to you and you'll be rushing to get out your paints and have a go at it!
Use a gate or a fence as the starting point for your next painting. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Welcome to Autumn

Love all the bumps, knobs and color changes this one had
So many vibrant subjects to paint, so little time. Today felt more like summer than fall, but the nights are taking their toll on the summer garden.  Good thing there are crops like gourds and squash that are made to last! 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Mad Art at UW and Burke Museum

From September 13th – October 25th 2014, the University of Washington welcomes MadArt’s newest public art installation, Mad Campus, onto its grounds. In this exhibit, temporary, site-specific works are displayed in various outdoor locations on the UW campus. Inspired by their locations, from hidden nooks to well-frequented vistas, the selected artists have created new sculptures designed to be interactive.
Some of the "bird relics" that drew my attention.
Evan Blackwell's work is fascinating. His installation called "Relics of Experience" is located outside the Burke Museum in order to inspire a dialogue of inquiry and wonder about collecting as it relates to nature, history, and living experience. The piece is made up of a series of ceramic boxes that are filled with responses to and representations of various artifacts from the Burke’s collection.

I hopped on the floating bridge ($4.90 toll by mail....Thank You!) after teaching my class at Kirkland Arts Center. The campus chimes rang two o'clock as I reached the installation at the Burke Museum. I got $12 refund for my $15 parking at the kiosk on my way out at 2:45.
I made these sketches with my Micron, Lamy pen, Pentalic sketchbook and a few watercolor brushstrokes.

Seattle Urban Sketchers were there this morning, sketching Mad Campus. Can't wait to see their sketches!
Update: I got the date wrong for the sketchers, they are meeting up next Friday! It's not too late for you to join them!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Inviting Barrier

 Vintage Violet Whimsy
Inviting Barrier.......Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it? Although a gate or fence is meant to keep you out, who wouldn't want to come closer, just to enjoy the whimsy of it?

I am just itching to sketch it! Life has interrupted my plans to visit this spot for the last two days, but I am determined to get back here right away.  In the meantime, I'll share this little gem with anyone in my classes who wants to sketch it, too.  And you, there, reading my blog. :)

PS. My Inktober sketch for the day is on Instagram. See the link button over there in the right hand column? 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

But wait, there's more!

I know I was planning to go back to Vintage Violet today, but it was too hard to resist getting in on a challenge to join "Inktober". It's an online challenge to make an ink drawing a day for the month of October. The rules are simple:
1. Make an ink drawing each day of October.
2. Post it each day on Instagram, Facebook, Tumbler, your blog, etc. 
3. Hashtag it #Inktober.
1 down, 30 to go.