Sunday, September 27, 2015

Don Colley Workshop

Kate watching Don Colley illustrating people drawing through his sketchbooks.
I had a rare opportunity to be a student today at the Don Colley Workshop. We gathered this morning in the classroom at Daniel Smith, Inc.
But FIRST!! Look at the swag we got from Faber-Castell!
Thank you, Faber-Castell and Dan Smith, Inc. for the generous box of drawing stuff!

Don started us out with pages from his sketchbooks, demonstrating some fascinating techniques he uses with Faber-Castell marking pens. Check out his masterful technique through his video demonstrations here. Then we moved outdoors, to Alki Beach. Brrrrr!
Don teaching at Alki Beach.
I walked a ways down the sidewalk and saw two brave guys from the Fruit Chatter Box Food Truck who were setting up on the beach. I did my sketch while they set up and they took a photo of it when I was done!
I am told that as long as your head and chest are bundled up you can go ahead and wear your shorts, no problem!

It's 12:15 and our teeth are chattering by now, so we all walked down the avenue to Pegasus Pizza & Pasta for lunch. They fixed us right up, with delicious food and great service all at a big long table. Don decided to illustrate some basic measurements on the human head......his head!
Not forgetting about the Seahawks game that we were all missing, Don puts on his game face.
Back out for afternoon drawing on the beach! I had gotten accustomed to being warm during lunch and it seemed that the wind chill factor had inhumanely increased and whitecaps were really kicking up now. I couldn't believe that some people wore shorts and light shirts out there!
All the workshop participants had multiple layers on, but Tina and I still opted for another indoor venue.We got a nice hot coffee and a cinnamon roll to share at the iconic Top Pot Donuts. Ahhhh, bliss! Nothing better than being out on a sunny, albeit chilly, fall day, on or near the beach, learning something new!
Our instructor came in out of the cold eventually and he drew Tina and I while we were sketching.
See more of Don's sketches from today post workshop here. 
Tina's cup of hot coffee, our yummy cinnamon roll, one of the coffee pots displayed on the bookshelf wall at Top Pot Donuts and a 5 minute sketch of a customer from our pizza lunch. Oh, and finishing off the day with a little art supply shopping back at the "mother ship"!
Note: These are the raw sketches from our day at Alki. It will take me some time to try out all the new tools and techniques I learned today. When I do, I'll post them up and share my thoughts about working with all my new stuff.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sketching the old Fred Lewis Building Now

Monday I had such a great adventure! Anacortes sketcher friends and I walked on the Port Townsend Ferry at Whidbey Island for a ride across the sea and a day of sketching. We prowled the town, both "Uptown" and "Downtown" but passed up the opportunity to explore "Undertown".
The old Fred Lewis Building (1889) is great fun to sketch! This is inspired by Liz Steel's online class Sketchingnow Edges. Tap to see a larger photo and to follow my process step by step. 
I got a bit carried away with my two new pens on that last bit. Not sure that it needed the sidewalk.
This building is on the National Register of Historical Buildings. The top two floors have been vacant for many years. Problems with the building are nothing new. A piece of cornice fell onto the sidewalk in 1999, nearly striking the mayor, who happened to be walking by. More debris was apparently dislodged during the Nisqually Earthquake in 2001. People with babies in strollers have been asked to move on.
Good thing I decided to be across the street so I could view the whole building.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Cultivating International Culture at Danny Woo Community Gardens

I climbed a steep wooden staircase built on a timbered hillside next to Kobe Terrace Park.  A "mackerel sky" portended rain later in the day. A helicopter "whup-whup-whupping" overhead, the wail of a fire engine, the scent of fermented apples lying on the ground and the sound of chickens clucking; not all of these effects are usually expected right in the middle of a major modern city.
The theme that pervades the garden is "One Mind, One Spirit"
Today's outing for Seattle Urban Sketchers brought us to a unique community garden among the many that are part of Seattle's urban landscape. Danny Woo International District Community Garden is cultivated by people from China, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Korea and other Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants who helped make Seattle the city it is today. Preference is given to those 65 and older and the average age of the gardeners here is 76. Many don't speak English. 
A few snapshots from Danny Woo Community Garden
The purpose of this garden is to enable Chinatown/International District elders a garden in which to work, to feel the earth in their hands, to plant the foods they missed from their native countries, and, most importantly, to provide social connections. This morning I was happy to exchange some smiles and nods with a few of them as they tended their garden plots. I hope they know how much we appreciate their sharing it with us.
Watch this short video presentation to learn more about Danny Woo International District Garden.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Signs of Seasonal Transition

I love summer so much! I hate to see it go! My flip flops are still out by the front door should a warm enough day occur. I even wrote a haiku about it.
One positive thing about transitioning from summer to fall is that I get to paint with my students again. I'm having fun with my two new pens brought as a gift all the way from England! Thanks, RF. :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Country Views from an Urban Parking Lot

Having a blast painting from the parking lot at Marshall's in Smokey Point. Beautiful day, but a bit chilly. No problem, I sit in my comfy driver's seat in the car, roll down the window and do some quick studies on postcard sized watercolor paper.

My Instagram account is nearing 1500 followers, so I thought I would get ready to show my appreciation by running a giveaway! Make sure you follow me from your phone or tablet!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Home Arts at the Washington State Fair

The visitors to the Home Arts Exhibit were as many and varied as the pieces in the quilts displayed above their heads
Friday I was at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup with the ad hoc group of Seattle Urban Sketchers. I stood in the back corner upstairs near the elevator while sketching the handmade quilt display. It amazes me to think of the hours, weeks and even years of time that goes into these.

The center photo shows my viewpoint and sketch in progress. Tap/Click to Zoom
The table setting exhibit was set up behind me and to my left. The grand prize winner was a cowboy themed breakfast table full of nostalgic items like those my grandparents used every morning. Who uses a percolator on the stove top to make coffee any more?

I spent the majority of my morning just sketching right there in my little corner, as the apple and pear pie making demonstration progressed. During that time, three people working hospitality for the fair came over to offer me a chair (I almost always sketch standing up). After about an hour, I was ready to take them up on that offer, but I had already established my eye level. Speaking of eye level, there was an unusually large number of very tall people poking their heads above the display boards.
Here's how the two page spread looks together.
My way of sketching a series of events is to compile each impression into a combined happening. I want to express the effect of multiple sensory input and time compression to give the overall impact of having been a part of the entire experience.

The woodworking exhibit is new this year, with the star attraction (in my opinion) being the beautiful handmade wooden skiff. The workmanship was pristine and the color scheme made me think of fishing villages on the shores of Maine. There was a new place set up for woodworking demonstrations. I suppose I could have stayed for that, but I was anxious to go outside and see if I could find the rest of the sketchers.

Click here to see more about the left side of the spread. Spoiler alert! Dole Whip and Scones!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Ice Cream and Turkey Legs, the key to survival at Washington State Fair

Let's face it. You say that you go to the state fair to see the animals, or visit the arts and crafts pavilion, watch the rodeo or get Todd Cooper to sign an autograph. But you're really there for one thing: SCONES!

How delightfully convenient that the ad hoc outing of Seattle Urban Sketchers met at the Gold Gate at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup today. You can stand near the fountain, just inside the gate and within your view are all the signs: Elephant Ears, Fisher Scones, and a new treat, Dole Pineapple Whip.

If you want to get a table or even a place to sit down in this mob and enjoy your treats, your odds are better at a beer garden. Possibly 2/3 of the patrons milling around you are not old enough to get in.
Not only that, but we just had to see this: the world's largest "self serve" micro-brew experience: BEER HAVEN...and it's mobile! 
Good thing I like standing to sketch!

I wasn't allowed to draft my own beer, state laws, I think, but the Lemon Shandy was tasty and thirst quenching. Perfect on an 83 degree afternoon at the fair.
In progress--both lunch and sketch.

I have more sketches from the day to share, but I have a few tweaks to work out. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Watercolor classes registering now

My studio is transitioning from sketching pit stop into a place to plan my new fall watercolor classes! I already have some new, fun lessons in store for watercolor painters of all levels. See the Fall 2015 schedule on my website (link in right hand column). Registration is now open.

We still have some warm, sunny days ahead before colder, rainy weather sets in. I intend to take full advantage of all those outdoor sketching opportunities while I can. The lessons on color, atmosphere, and composition that I learn out there no doubt will find their way into the new lessons that I share with you this fall.

Here are a couple of spots to view examples of my watercolors and sketches: My Flickr photo stream with high resolution images from my paintings and sketches. 
My Instagram account where I post new sketches almost every day.