Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Sketching in Aztec, New Mexico

Mistakenly considered to be Aztec in origin by early white settlers, the site actually contains the ruins of a 12th-century Ancestral Pueblo settlement built by people associated with Chaco Canyon to the south. The Ancestral Pueblo people, formerly known as Anasazi, were ancestors of the modern Pueblo Indians. They lived in multilevel communal dwellings constructed of sandstone, mud, and stones.

100 degrees outside at Aztec Ruins, New Mexico
On this sweltering hot hilltop, my granddaughter and I sketched as fast as we could and escaped into the cool indoors to add color later.

A section of the ruins at Aztec, New Mexico.
Aztec Ruins National Monument, archaeological site in northwestern New Mexico, U.S. It is situated on the Animas River, in the city of Aztec, about 10 miles (16 km) south of the Colorado state line. The national monument was established in 1923 and designated a World Heritage site in 1987 (along with Chaco Culture National Historical Park to the south). It has an area of about 320 acres (130 hectares).

Looking east across the Animas River from the ruins. 
From another viewpoint, I got most of the color before I couldn't take the 100 degree "dry" heat. At least my watercolor washes dried quickly. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Summer Island Vignettes

A view of Mt. Baker and Jerlyn sketching in Bonnie's Garden
Today, I spent a wonderful afternoon with the Anacortes sketchers at the home of one of our artists. The summer air was fresh and warm, the garden bountiful and the hospitality warm and welcoming. After roaming the house and garden, I found a shady spot with a view of Mt. Baker. Cloud shadows played across the mountain's shapes, creating a variety of undulating rhythms.

After a meander through the glade with its own pond and tiny island, we came back to the table where fresh flowers and chocolate tempted us. Everywhere you looked, there was another path, a grouping of potted blossoms or a place to sit and muse.

I spent a lot of time today just soaking it all in. I think you would have, too, if you had been there.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Giant Coffee Cups to Jackalopes - in Fremont, of course

The Fremont sketchcrawl:
Gail gave an overview of the area as sketchers arrived at the back patio of the Way Station Coffee House. There was a plethora of eclectic subject matter for Seattle Urban Sketchers to choose in the Fremont district on this warm, breezy Sunday morning, June 14, 2015.

The Burke-Gilman Trail runs right along the middle of today's four block area. There were plenty of cyclists, walkers, etc. out this morning.
As I sketched my backyard view of the Way Station, I realized the scale of my coffee cup went from a Giga-Grande to an espresso, relatively speaking. There are enough other sketches out there on the USk Seattle blog with proper scale, if you need it.

Next, I took a walk northwards up the street and was stunned by the exterior of  Drunky's Two Shoe BBQ! Horseshoes in the pavement, a "Road Window", big Western Style false fronts on the building and a shiny Airstream in the back. This part of Fremont isn't as polished as the area down by the Fremont bridge, but it is every bit as eclectic. I think it has a kind of  60's vibe.
The top of the Air Stream sported a TV antenna and an olive green matte finish.
Mike, the Pit Master of Drunky's BBQ, says that the Air Stream in which he now lives was once the first place where Drunky's sold their BBQ. A few of us went back to the restaurant for lunch after sharing our sketches.
I played peek-a-boo with a couple of chickens fenced between the patio and the sidewalk.
A racoon modeling a box of Cracker Jack, gas mask, emergency water and possibly Howdy Doody.
There were too many things I wanted to sketch as I gazed upwards during lunch. I managed to sketch the crocodile head and the jackalope, then wrote a short list of things to sketch next time:
  • Chainsaw Chandelier, see Tina's and Gail's sketches from lunch, Kate did the fern with a horse jumping out of it
  • Wall mounted taxidermy: bass, mountain sheep, deer, pheasants
  • O'Keefe style cattle skull
  • Chicken (live)
  • American Flag with 13 stars
  • Velvet Elvis
  • Velvet Elvis with Jesus
  • A Dodge grill, possibly from a pickup truck
  • A canoe on the roof, but over the doorway
  • Bronze rooster and pink flying pig
  • Bear Trap
  • Pig on a tire swing hanging from a ceiling fan
  • Oh, and the bar has tractor seats.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Grey Morning at Fishermen's Wharf

The morning started out a bit cold and nippy with overcast skies for the Friday Ad Hoc meeting of Seattle Urban Sketchers today.

I started out with the stone Qingdao Eagle monument on the west end of the dock. This sculpture commemorates the relationship of the Port of Seattle with its sister port of Qingdao, China. I used my Pentalic Aqua Journal, Micron pen and my DYI Altoids watercolor kit.
By now, my nose, ears and fingertips were becoming a bit cold for comfort, so I walked around to the south side of the nearby building.
Options for sketching indoors resulted in my choice of Wild Salmon Seafood Market. The sandwich board outside advertised the fresh selection of the day: Trout, Halibut, Black Cod, Tuna, Swordfish and Petrale Sole.

Lavender light from an overhead sign beckoned me over to the scales atop the counter. Overflowing a tray on the scales was a beautiful fresh King Salmon weighing 14.45 pounds. Workers behind the counter told me that it was fresh from our Pacific NW coast. They were kind enough to leave it there long enough for me to sketch it. I may have gotten carried away with the lavender lighting, though.

Now that I was warmed up a bit, I moved back outside to continue my counterclockwise circuit. I had enough time for one more sketch. It was a grey day, so I looked for one more subject with a subdued color palette. The crab traps piled high on the nearest boat fit the criteria. By the time my sketch was finished, the sky had cleared up, the sun was out and it was time to share our sketches.

A lively discussion while sharing our sketches in the sun.

Note: I had to correct the date on my sketchbook. June is the 6th month, duh!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

My 2015 Sketchbook Project is coming to Texas and California in June!

Here's a quick peek at my 2015 Sketchbook Project! Come and see it in person to read the pages and see all the fold outs. 

Find my book by the code number below, Title, or my name, Michele Cooper (one "L")

1. “My Pacific NW” - #S146463

Project: The Sketchbook Project 2015

June 19-21 / Austin, TX
  • South Austin Social 

    • 409 Jessie St - Austin, TX 78704
    • June 19: 1:00 — 5:00pm
    • June 20: 12:00 — 4:00pm
    • June 21: 12:00 — 4:00pm

  • June 26-28 / L.A., CA

    • LACMA
    • 5905 Wilshire Blvd - L.A., CA 90036
    • June 26: 4:30 — 8:30pm
    • June 27: 3:30 — 7:30pm
    • June 28: 12:00 — 4:00pm