Tuesday, September 1, 2020

August/September travel sketches revisited

One thing I have come to appreciate during this Covid Pandemic lock down are my travel journal sketch books. Since January 2001 I have filled 85 Moleskine and Pantelic watercolor journals with images of my travels at home and abroad. Thanks largely to Urban Sketcher outings, artist residencies, teaching, travel in and about the northwest and abroad coupled with a passion for just plain sketching, I've managed to fill about 4.5 journals a year for the past 19 years. This year has certainly been an exception to that average. If I have learned anything from going back through my journals and recalling the things and places I've sketched over the years, it's how rich and rewarding my life is because I took the time to make record of what really moved me in that place at that moment in time. Here are some of the images  selected from past travels in August and September.


Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Of the Post Office and Dinos

 I drove out this morning for another session of windshield sketching.  I needed to drop something at the Post Office so checked around back for any mail trucks.  They did keep coming and going so I sketched these quickly.  I also found a sign on the fence. That and the PO logos on the trucks are bits of collage. 

The sign says, "the Eagle always faces forward". 

Then I drove to the central part of Renton with the plan to sketch more houses but I happened upon an event that was perfect for the USk Flickr group's weekly theme:  "masks".  The Chamber of Commerce was giving away PPE to small businesses.  They had some people in dino costumes to attract attention!  However, they moved a lot and then packed up and left before I was finished.  So my sketches of them were very quick. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Urban Sketching in Our Backyard Jungle

I did this sketch in a shady area of my backyard garden during two weeding-trimming-watering rest breaks, both at about the same time of day, on consecutive days.

Layer One: A quick line drawing (Uniball Vision pen-has waterproof ink) of the tables, fig tree, grape arbor, various plants, gardening equipment and the path.

Layer Two: (Both layers 1 & 2 thanks to the Steven Reddy sketching techniques) Created grey-scale layers of wash, using diluted (black) waterproof India ink and a #8 brush. Time was up for that rest break!

Layer Three: The following day, same time of day, I decided to try out adding color to my sketch using my small Prima watercolor set.

I learned several things doing this sketch: Just doing ink line and grey scale is fairly fast; I could let the ink dry in one area while inking other areas; the ink-value under-painting could have been the final step for my drawing to be a ‘finished sketch’; the India ink values ‘disappeared’ into and became the values of the glazes of color I applied.

For the next time: I’m curious to see how many greens I could mix from this little Prima set. Not having checked that out prior to using this paint set, I found it difficult to create any subtle greens while speed painting during gardening rest breaks!

Happy Urban Sketching!


Thursday, June 18, 2020

Sign of the Primes

Dozens, maybe a hundred, parked Amazon vans may be a sign of this Quarantime.

This is another spot where I've wanted to sketch for a while now. I first noticed all these Amazon Prime vans a few months ago. They are in a large, otherwise empty, lot on the edge of the center of my suburban city. There must be at least a hundred of them! With more people not going into stores, we're buying on line for delivery. Amazon is obviously a big part of that. In addition to the gray Prime vans, there are dozens of white Herz rental vans.

On my way back from an errand, I decided to stop to get this sketch done. I found a nice shady spot to park the car with a view of this line of vans. From there I did a "dashboard" sketch (tm Steve Reddy). I didn't get a hero shot as the vans all got driven away before I'd quite finished. As I often do, I didn't think about doing an in-progress photo when I saw the drivers gathering. It was a good thing I didn't plan on putting a lot of detail into the further vans as I'd only just gotten the first wash laid on when they all drove away!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Weekly Theme

Are you looking for a source of drawing prompts? While we can't yet meet up for a sketch outing, we can still draw together. Gabi Campanario started Urban Sketchers on Flickr and there still is a global USk group there. Each Monday a weekly theme is posted. I've done this, on and off, since 2012. It is found in the discussions section of the group: https://www.flickr.com/groups/urbansketches/discuss/ 

Even if you aren't on Flickr, you can share your sketch of the weekly theme on our Facebook group.  There's also no reason why you can't explore past weekly themes and post your sketches. 

Here is my very first weekly theme sketch, which was boats.  I hadn't done any drawing in about 40 years at that point! (Throw back to Stephanie Bower's challenge from USk Talks!)

This week's theme is "your nearest public transport stop ". I did a dashboard sketch (thank you, @steve_reddy for the term) from the safety of my car.  The parking lot behind the bus stop is for a gas station, coffee stand, and a food truck.  It was just a little too busy for me to want to sit outside to draw.  

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Old Silo

Off SW 167 in Auburn, WA is an old barn and silo that I've wanted to sketch for a long time and never got around to it. It's at the exit for Emerald Downs racetrack. One of the most interesting buildings has already fallen down during the period that I've thought about stopping to sketch.

My car hasn't been driven much and the battery has suffered for it, so I took a long drive on the freeway to charge it up. I thought this could be a good day to get off at this spot to do a dashboard sketch of the silo from the car. There was no one around so I could have gotten out of the car to sketch but it was raining quite steadily.

I finally remembered to take a hero photo.

--by Kate Buike

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Stephanie's Challenge

During her wonderful appearance on the Instagram live USk Talks show with Rob Sketcherman, Stephanie Bower issued a challenge: "Post any early sketch paired with any recent sketch (doesn’t have to be the same location), and talk about what you’ve learned along the way. Any Ah-ha moments? Be sure to pat yourself on the back for all your hard (but fun) work!! So rewarding, isn’t it? Why do you sketch?"
(FYI, USk Talks is Sundays at 9am PDT live on the USk Instagram account, linked above)

I drew constantly as a child, teen and young adult. I stopped after college when I got my first good camera, which then became my medium. Thus it was over 35 years since I'd last drawn regularly.

I discovered Urban Sketchers in early 2012 after retiring in August 2011. I went out sketching a couple times before I attended my first outing on 26 February 2012.  I'd had some colored pencils from a class I'd just taken.

Very first sketch upon returning to drawing, 23 Feb 2012
Sketched during my first sketch outing at the Stinson Mansion, 26 Feb 2012

This isn't very recent but I considered it one of the better perspective sketches I'd done (though I can see some issues with it now).  It was done during the open sketch outing which was on the last day of Stephanie's "Good Bones" workshop.  When I put it down, a couple of the students asked how I learned to do that.  My response:  Stephanie's workshop 2 years ago! 

I think in my early training and practice I didn't do many perspective scenes.  I've learned so much from other Urban Sketchers... in workshops, online and in everyday sketch outings.  

I learned to take on a complex building like this bit by bit. I never would have attempted this in 2012.  I started with a big shape and built it out from there, so to speak!  

For another comparison, here's a sketch of my local water tower, done for the USk Flickr group weekly theme. 8 March 2012  By then I had a set of Koi watercolors (which I later ditched as quite unsatisfactory).

That theme came around again in 2017

I've belonged to only 2 or 3 groups in my life where I've felt I'm among "my people". So much about Urban Sketchers is wonderful. It's welcoming, accepting, encouraging, nonjudgmental and willingness to share attitudes are its good characteristics.

Urban Sketching has made my life better. I've met wonderful people.  It's provided so much enjoyment in my retirement. 

-Kate Buike