Friday, August 28, 2015

Gas Works Park-From the Ground Up

Gas Works towers frame a peek-a-boo view of the houseboats, seaplanes and Seattle Ducks on Lake Union
Ground level, eye level and the leveling effect of art.
Several seaplane flights landed and took off over Lake Union this morning as USk Seattle ad hoc sketchers met on the grounds of Gas Works Park. Other individual watercraft such as kayaks and sailboats plied the waters on a lovely day at the end of summer.

At the summit of Kite Hill, there is an ornate 28 foot circlular sundial mosaic, created in 1978 by Chuck Greening and Kim Lazare. With it you can use your own shadow to tell the time.  From my vantage point atop Kite Hill, you could see the tourist boats like the Seattle Duck amphibious tours and the Seattle Ferry Service running the Sunday Ice Cream Cruise on Lake Union aboard the M/V Fremont Avenue boat.

Forecasts predicted rain, but it was warm enough to go without a jacket and I only felt two random drops. At least I hope those were raindrops. There were flocks of pigeons and Canadian Geese sharing the park with us today.
Kate and I, sketching at our waterfront table at Ivar's on Lake Union.

After sharing our sketches at Gas Works Park, Kate and I decided to have lunch at Ivar's Salmon House nearby. We looked for fellow sketchers who also planned to be there, couldn't find them and ended up at our own table out on the waterfront deck.
Looking under the University Bridge from Ivars-sketch by M. Cooper
If there's a better spot to be for lunch on a Friday on Lake Union, I don't know it. (I-5 crosses directly overhead on the Ship Canal Bridge, so the constant roar of traffic could be distracting until you focus on your sketch and enter the world of shapes, lines, tones and colors.)

University Bridge opening for a sailboat, the CycleSaloon paddle boat and Ice Cream Cruise

What a luxury! So many choices of scenes to capture! I finally decided to settle on a composition showing the south end of the University Bridge as it crosses Portage Bay. The drawbridge opened twice while we were there to allow sailboats with tall masts to enter Lake Union. The CycleSaloon paddleboat went by with passenger/paddlers under the awning. You can't drink and drive in Seattle, so here's the ultimate designated driver experience!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Bradner Gardens 3-The Zombie Rabbit

Sketches in progress at Bradner P-Patch
As I stood there sketching my last two of the day, I couldn't help but remember a familiar refrain from Irving Berlin:
Blue skies smilin' at me
Nothin' but blue skies do I see
Blue birds singin' a song
Nothin' but blue skies from now on
I never saw the sun shinin' so bright, never saw things goin' so right.......
"Blue Skies" by Irving Berlin

And yet.......
I felt like nicknaming this patch the "Garden of the Undead". Most of the seasonal produce had been harvested and perennials remained. (Get it? Perennials LOOK like they've died off, but they keep coming back!) Then, their ghoulish smiles and faded coloring lent these two scarecrows a distinctly "Frankenstein-ish" quality. Well, the Executive Scarecrow did anyway. In this photo you're looking at the back. I sketched him from the front. Ahem. FYI. XYZ.

The "scare rabbit" just looked like a zombie. He was the right color, for sure, and he had these "x" shaped stitches in his ears and on his pouch/pocket.
Power source at the ready, all we need now is a kite and some lightning.
Winding paths connect the seven ornamental theme gardens of Bradner Gardens Park: butterfly & hummingbird, fragrance, sensory, shade, xeriscape, winter interest and northwest native. Watch the bees buzz the 61 p-patch plots. Learn the alphabet under the watchful eye of the baby scarecrow in the children’s A to Z garden. Learn how to grow food crops in the Seattle Tilth and Urban Food demonstration gardens. Watch birds take shelter in the native plant habitat. See more than 50 varieties of ornamental street trees recommended for small spaces and under utility lines. Paraphrased and quoted with map from Seattle parks website.
Tap or click map to zoom.
I started in the Children's Garden, sketched the bride scarecrow in the northern P-Patch, toured the rest of the sculptures and ended with these two from the large P-Patch in the southeast corner of the garden.The rest of the ad hoc group of USk Seattle were sketching their own subjects around the garden.

At the end of the meet up we met in the center at the Pavilion to share our sketches. -August 21, 2015.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Bradner Gardens 2-"The Bride" and her Accessories

I've now added watercolor to my second page of sketches from the urban sketcher's Bradner P-Patch outing last Friday. This page is about the scarecrow bride and her accessories. More photos and original ink drawings were all posted that same day here.
As with any bride, the setting is as important as the dress. At Bradner Gardens, they have positioned her in a clearing of her own, backed by a screen of trees and flanked by a bed of pink cosmos.
Micron black pen, watercolor and watercolor pencils, logo collage.

Already a regally tall bride, her height is accentuated by her twiggy up-do and dangling high heeled boots. She's hung her wasp trap handbag on a nearby branch while posing gracefully with outstretched rebar arms. Clusters of ripening blackberries might have made a lovely bead necklace, but she has the non-perishable kind. Along with her "pearl" bead necklace, she has a tiara cleverly crafted out of plumbers' tape. Red reflector earrings, the built in wringer from a sponge mop used as a comb in her hair, I could go on and on.

"You look good from the back, too, girl."
A pair of green "nylon" ropes tie her boots on. I'm not certain whether the blush pink cloth draped around her shoulders is meant to be an old fashioned fichu or if it's her veil, blown about by the wind and tangled in her hair.

Needless to say, those skinny rebar arms could use a little protection from the elements. They're already a bit rusty.

It was a lot of fun guessing at the wardrobe allegories and metaphors.

Stayed tuned: one more page in this series to finish up and post.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Bradner Gardens One

On Friday, the Ad Hoc group of Seattle Urban Sketchers met at Bradner Gardens P-Patch. Our grandchildren came with me and toured the garden on their own as I went around the garden sketching. There were so many things I wanted to capture that I decided to forgo color in favor of getting as many line drawings as I could in the time we would be there. I posted those sketchbook pages the very same day here.

I added watercolor later. To help our little great granddaughter remember the day, I wrote notes in the sketches. Tap or click to zoom if you want to read them.
Although the story is true, my reportage took the form of a fairy tale.
Stay tuned for the rest of the story.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Paper, Scissors, ROCK your DIY Folded Pen

Sunday Painters, I haven't forgotten about you.

This is what I have been doing today and I thought you might like to try it, too! Recently, some of my urban sketcher buddies have returned from attending the 6th International Urban Sketchers Symposium in Singapore. One of the instructors there taught them how to make a Folded Pen from soda cans.

I couldn't wait to see if I could do it, so I combined a few references I found online and came up with my own process that works so easily! (See links to those references at the end of this post.)

On the premise that a picture is worth a thousand words, here are the materials and steps that I used to make my folded pens. Tap or click to Zoom photos.

Note: If you prefer a shiny aluminum nib, just fold the soda can back the other way.

Here are a few finishing touches and the results!
Please follow these links for printable instructions, templates and YouTube tutorials. Thanks, guys, for the inspiration!

1. Erica, at Paperwhite Studio, offers a free printable PDF with instructions and templates.
2. PopCanPen dot com has step by step photos galore!
3. Here's a video demo for those with a short attention span and lightning fast cognitive ability.
4. I love this video, which shows you how to use your new folded pen!
5. My Instagram post with a photo of my very first one! My grandchildren took it home with them, so I don't have it anymore.

And, finally, an apology to you professional calligraphers out there. I won't be taking over the lettering world anytime soon. I just want to play around with this and see how it might work with my sketches. :)
What are you waiting for? Get some stuff out of the recycle bin and get started!
Stay tuned for watercolor and folded pen experiments!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Bradner P-Patch--Flowers, Funnels and Jello Molds, Oh My!

The arbor entrance on the East side of the garden at 29th Ave S.
Our Seattle Urban Sketchers Friday ad hoc meeting was at the Bradner P-Patch. It is one of 60 community gardens scattered across the city of Seattle. Originally started in 1987 as the Mt. Baker P-Patch, today Bradner has 61 garden plots of 200 square feet each.
The new year of 2013 was celebrated at Bradner Gardens Park with a new artwork on the trellis fence. It is a guardian for the bike rack on the basketball court. Artist is Clair Colquitt.
The official website has a list of the 7 themed gardens and the art installed in them.

I was instantly enchanted by the quixotic figures in the patch...they even have their own windmill!

As with anything for which one grows fond, I have my own nicknames for some of the "scarecrows" and sculptures that I sketched this morning. I even nicknamed a particular part of the garden, and you will see why:
The block headed gentleman with the yellow power tie seemed to be something inspired by Frankenstein, with nearby power lines to zap a bit of  life into him. The Zombie Rabbit (my nickname) may be a better figure for scaring crows than the usual man of straw.
Would this be Virginia the "Bride of Frankenstein" with her up-do of twig hair, dangling high heeled boots and pearl necklace? Perhaps she is named after the souvenir ashtray from West Virginia that creates her full lipped smile.

Fascinating and imaginative artwork can be found throughout the garden. Made with repurposed materials like scissors, clothing cast offs, toys, tableware, wheels, gears, broken garden tools, carved wood, teapots and jello molds, these designs enhance the atmosphere of partnership in this garden  between man and nature.

I made the following sketches in a 7x 10" Pro-Art sketchbook with my Micron pen....As in life, no eraser, and I'm serving them up fresh out of the garden before I cook 'em with watercolor and garnish with text.

Actually, my first sketch of the morning was the "Cabbage Patch Boy" with his shiny tea kettle head, overalls and missing b̶u̶n̶n̶y̶  lambie slipper. I nicknamed him after the familiar doll-like shape and the red cabbage patch that grows at his feet. On the same page I drew what seems to be some sort of salmon shaped barracuda mutation with chainsaw spines, an army helmet gullet and a forked tongue. It swims in a bed of lovely pink dahlias, but they have teeth, too!
"The Bride" just wouldn't fit in one piece, so I sketched her twiggy up-do and pearl bedecked gown. Then, I continued with her dangling high heeled boots and nearby accessories of pink cosmos and a purse-shaped wasp trap.
My last two sketches were in the "Garden of the Undead" (again, my nickname, but perhaps this is where perennials grow?). The Zombie Rabbit and aforementioned sartorial gentleman seemed energized by the power lines running through the background. I wonder if they lead to a  plasma-ion generator or perhaps the solar array atop the community building.  (I'm sure there must be a bolt in his neck somewhere.)
All in all, the Bradner P-Patch Garden seems very appropriate for the Emerald City.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Buoys Near the Boats

Seattle Urban Sketchers brought the sun out again at the Waterfront Activities Center at the University of Washington. In contrast to thunderstorms on Friday and cooler temperatures on Saturday, we found ourselves shedding our layers and searching for shade during our monthly meetup this morning.

I wanted to compare the old shell house with the new one, each located on the shore at opposite ends of the boat launching area. I started with the Conibear Shell House on the north side of the shore. Rather than sketch the buildings, I turned my back to the shell house and chose a view across the lake towards Bellevue. Like a giant bee, a yellow helicopter buzzed through the scene. The floating bridge was closed today and I could see at least three cranes along the stretch visible in the middle distance. As I worked, a man launched a paddle board and set out on his knees for the arboretum, navigating his way between the two orange buoys. Now and then a canoe would emerge from the right, through the lily pads and marsh grass.
Looking east toward Bellevue and the floating bridge under construction.
After finishing my first sketch, I was ready to walk along the shady waterfront path, back towards the Canoe House. It was interesting to see fellow sketchers stationed all along the way, focused on their own particular subjects. Zoom to see larger.
Now on the south end of the water sports area, I walked around the back of the old shell house. Many of the sketchers are in the process of reading "The Boys in the Boat" by Daniel James Brown, and they wanted to be at the old shell house where the US. Olympic Champions did their training. I finally chose to draw the huge white bouys, specked with rust and tied to a tree.
A very nice couple stopped to ask if they could see what I was drawing. In an amazing coincidence, she turned out to be Helen, one of my former watercolor students out for the day with her photographer husband, David Barnes. They settled nearby to eat their lunch and I continued to draw.
I only had time to get the line work and a few tones in before I noticed it was time to share our sketches. As it turns out, David Barnes kindly agreed to take our group photo.
Color added to the "Buoys near the Boats." Watercolor Field Book by ProArt, Micron pen, watercolor and map collage.
I collaged a map section, showing the two docks; Conibear Shell House (in the red circle at the top of the map) and the Canoe House (in the lower right corner of the map, indicated by my arrow).

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Still Catching Up with EDIM

Barely a moment to catch my breath, much less find time to really get into sketching mode today. Lots of family staying with us and obligations to fulfill all over the county. All this required a few trips to our backup pantry for supplies. On one such foray I was reminded of a blank spot in my sketchbook for Day 22 of the (long past) Every Day in May 2015 challenge.
EDIM #22-- something hanging on your wall.
I thought that walnut ink and a steel nib were appropriately brown and pointy for my very quick sketch of the daddy longlegs spider, hanging on the back wall of the pantry.
EDIM 22--something hanging on your wall

One last Chance to see the Sketchbook Project in Seattle-Today from 11-3!

Today is the last day of the Seattle leg of the 2014 Sketchbook Project Tour. The Mobile Library will be at the Olympic Sculpture Park pavilion from 11 am–3 pm
The Mobile Library just before opening on Friday.
A line forms right away. You can check in by smart phone if you like.

The museum has tables and chairs set up under the pavilion roof.
We met this lovely married couple and asked them to pose with their books.

Here I am on Friday, checking out my book. Weather should be great today! Photo by MK Buike
 I went back for three consecutive days to sketch this three page fold out at Jennings Park in Marysville last summer. See the location shot I took while painting it last summer, here.

Update: 9:00 pm Saturday
I get an email notification whenever my book is checked out and viewed. Quite a few this tour. Thanks so much to those who took the time to pick out my book and view it. I trust you enjoyed wandering through my sketches as much as I did making them.

There are three more stops in the tour, one in Chicago and two in Ontario. Then it's back home to the Brooklyn Art Library. 

The Sketchbook Project is a Brooklyn-based, crowd-sourced library of over 32,000 sketchbooks submitted by people of all ages and backgrounds from 135+ countries. Each year the Project takes a portion of that collection out on the road in their Mobile Library which travels with over 4,000 books to visit museums, galleries, and other great spaces across the United States and Canada. Explore the collection or contribute to it while the Sketchbook Project visits the Olympic Sculpture Park.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Monday, August 10, at Sue Roberts' Studio

Approaching Guemes Island landing.
I am so glad that I decided to drive up early for our August 10th Anacortes Sketchers' outing! Missy kindly sent me a message about the rain, in case I wanted to wait until after lunch.

Our plan had been to walk on the 11:30am Guemes Island ferry (a 5 minute ride, sailing every half hour) and sketch on the beach while enjoying our own packed lunch. We had an appointment to visit artist Sue Roberts' studio after 1:00pm. I checked the weather and it looked like the rain would stop after 11:30, so I went early, as planned.

As you can see, it was still a bit overcast when I arrived at 11:15 am, but the rain had already stopped. Then I pulled over immediately after disembarking the ferry! Because here was a sweet little red "Gem" just waiting to be painted!
I thought this was the cutest, most colorful thing I would find on the island and set about sketching it immediately! I used my "perfect sketchbook", Micron pen, and my DYI Altoids Mini watercolor kit.
My sketch of the little red "Gem" parked at the ferry line shelter on Guemes.
I ordered fish and chips at the General Store for lunch. Janice and Bonnie were outside on the patio. What a view! It's right across the street from the ferry landing.  When my order came, the cook offered us an unclaimed order of crab and veggie summer rolls that someone had abandoned in their haste to catch the ferry. It was hard to get those two to wait for just a second while I sketched the crab rolls! Refinements added later.
The cook offered us free crab summer rolls with spicy sauce and ice water.
After sharing our lunch, we took off to visit Sue in her studio. I was wrong about the colorfulness factor! This being my first time at Sue Roberts' Tower Arts Studio, I had no idea what wonders awaited me!

Upstairs is a bedroom, converted from the original studio space overlooking the channel. Sue said it was too distracting. So she moved her major work studio down to the main floor.
Every piece of furniture is a delight to the eye.
I had half a man.....I mean, half a mind to cozy up in the reading nook.
 The beautiful color scheme and ceramic sculptures spill out into the garden and landscape outside.

As you gaze around the studio, there is no end to the imaginative collection of Sue's creations.
Everything is uniquely expressive.
If there is an earthquake here, heads will roll!
We got a tour of the studio from top to bottom and all around the grounds. Then we set to work.
So many choices of subject matter, both inside and out!
We tucked a couple of Sue's ceramic pieces in with all our afternoon sketches. Thanks to Annette for climbing to new heights for a great shot!
I stayed as late as I could to finish my sketches inspired by the afternoon at Sue's Tower Arts Studio. Color added at home.
Then, Sue gave us hot crab dip, chips, cool beverages and a homemade chocolate apple cake made just for us by Janice. Yum! Thank you, Sue, for an inspirational, fun and colorful summer retreat!