Saturday, May 26, 2018


Since I returned to sketching, it has been my tradition to sketch and meditate on the cost of our freedom and democracy at Tahoma National (VA) Cemetery on a day close to Memorial Day.

For this year's sketch I chose the grave of CPL Frederick Talbert, Killed in Action during WWII on March 2 1945. I now wish I'd taken a photo of the marker as I cannot find any record of him buried at Tahoma though he clearly is. I'd hoped to find more information about him but even a web search turned up nothing.

--  Kate Buike
A more extensive post is on my personal blog.  

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Blue! Poppies

This was my first time at this event.  Urban Sketchers (USk) Tacoma was there two years ago but I wasn't.  As one of the sketchers said, "those poppies really are blue!".   Blue Poppy Day is held once a year at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden in Federal Way.  

This was an "ad hoc" outing and just a few sketchers attended.  There are two missing from the group photo. 

I decided on a montage. The tree on the left "hosts" what looks like a bird feeder. But I saw many bees going in and out. To the right is the bell in the gazebo. Lower left is the Garden Pond. That bit was rather rushed as it started to sprinkle. Last, but certainly not least, on the right side is the Blue Poppy.

More photos of pretty flowers are here. 

--Kate Buike

Friday, May 18, 2018

June 2018 outings

First Saturday, June 2: Private Dock At Foss Waterway

Go to the Foss Waterway Museum
705 Dock St, Tacoma, WA 98402

Then make your way to the SE Corner to find Dock A.   Our host will meet us there to unlock the gate.  Of course, we are welcome to sketch around and in the Foss museum.

Life preservers are required wear on the dock.  There are enough loaners available for everyone.  They are light and minimally restrictive. 

 Second Thursday, June 14:  Gig Harbor Waterfront

Meet at 10 am at the new facility on Harborview.

Directions:  Rt 16 W , 3rd exit, City Center/Waterfront right at top of ramp onto Pioneer, down hill to Waterfront, turn left onto Harborview, Park, watch not in a limited time spot!

Rt 16 E to City Center exit, left at top of ramp continue over Rt 16 and follow directions above.


Third Wednesday, June 20:  Annie Wright School 

827 North Tacoma Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98403

It's been 3 years since we first sketched at this school. One of our members teaches there and generously arranged for us to have access.  Meet at the front door.  There is free street parking.  

Lots of photos from the previous outing

Thursday, May 17, 2018

TAM Again

We have had several previous outings to the Tacoma Art Museum (TAM). I always find something new to sketch. This time I didn't even go into the Museum galleries.
There was a good group today, with a couple new people.  Welcome!

Since it was nearly perfect weather I walked back north on Pacific Ave. to Union Station/Court House. I've always wanted to sketch the statue there but the conditions have never been right: too cold, too hot, too rainy. Today is perfect. Officially, this is titled "New Beginnings" by Larry Anderson. It was commissioned to celebrate the centennial of Tacoma (1884-1984). However, I like the title my friend called it: "The Constant Traveler".

There was over an hour left so time for another sketch. I went back to the Museum to go to the third floor public area. I've sketched from there before but today was nice enough to go out on the patio. This is the view over the planter to Union Station and the old buildings on Pacific Ave.

More photos here. 

---by Kate Buike

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Help us bring free USk workshops to everyone, everywhere!

The global Urban Sketchers 10K + 10K Matching Fund Campaign will fund free workshops to bring urban sketching to schools, organizations and communities that have not had the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of on-location drawing.

With your help and commitment, we hope to raise $20,000 by June 8. Please spread the word among friends, students and fellow sketchers. We believe the future of the organization is to continue to engage the world by promoting the educational and social value of drawing on location. See more information about the campaign.

To contribute, please identify your donation as “USk 10K+10K” or “USk Matching Fund Campaign” to on PayPal (choose the “Friends and Family” option) or send a check to:

Urban Sketchers
PO Box 95724
Seattle, WA 98145

Thank you for your support!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Windmill Gardens

It was a perfect sketching day. We met at Windmill Gardens in Sumner. I think this was at least my third time there and I always find something new to sketch. Our group photo in front of the gazebo and said windmill.

I sat inside for my first sketch of a display of potted plants.

This charming garden art was, appropriately, in front of the Tea Madame shop.

My favorite of the day was done the fastest, with just 20 minutes left. I got the drawing done and colored it after.I've sketched this shed before but this is the better of my two attempts. 

--by Kate Buike

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Sketching in the Gog-le-hi-te Wetlands

Fellow Urban Sketcher, Rom LaVerdiere, and I went out sketching today with only a 'generalized' plan. We were  hoping to do some sort of maritime scene in the Port area, thinking: old fishing boats...or, a tug boat...or, some derelict, half sunken boat---that sort of thing. That didn't work out too well, meaning BEFORE  we head out again with that agenda we need to do more research, or, take a map of the Port area, or, ask our sketcher & photographer friends where we might find our preferred scenes.

Nevertheless, we did profit from our random wandering. We saw a dirt track leading into a scrubby, woodsy area not too far from one of those old iron bridges near the Port and not far from downtown Tacoma. (I still don't know which old iron bridge it was, or what street we were on). It was a bit of a  Hansel and Gretel moment. A dirt road tempted us. We parked in what might have been a small parking lot. A dirt path tempted us.... and we saw a sign. We were in the  Gog-le-hi-te Wetlands. It sure didn't look like a wetlands...but...the trail went on...... 

PAUSE: Since I didn't read the sign,  I turned to  Google:
"The Port of Tacoma’s Gog-le-hi-te Wetlands are located along the Puyallup River. A former city landfill, the wetlands now support a healthy ecosystem with thousands of plants, hundreds of birds and a variety of mammals, fish, reptiles and amphibians.
A dirt path connects the parking lot with space for seven vehicles to the viewing platform."

So, there you are. Or, I should say, there we were. We heard lots of birds singing and a small snake crossed the path as we walked along. We passed the viewing platform, noting that the tide must be out as the water was very low inside the wetlands. A bit further on: 'TA-DA'---we had  our sketching spot, right beside the Puyallup River with a great view of that old (mystery) bridge!

I'd love to sketch there again sometime....IF I was with one or more other sketchers...and IF I could find it again. Rom and I were feeling a little isolated. He discovered a nearby pile of clothing,  scattered court papers, and, miscellaneous other possessions of someone who had been residing in the area, but didn't appear to either have plans to return for the scattered gear...or else, was a sloppy 'house keeper.'

We sketched in the sunshine, found our way back to streets we recognized, went to lunch, and headed home. A great sketch-out day!

May you also  have many beautiful sketching days ahead, with mysterious places to discover and time to bask in the sunshine as you strive once more, like all sketchers, to improve your sketching skills.


 I used two sizes of micron pens (.01, .08) and a limited palette of tube watercolors: Sap green, Burnt Sienna, Sepia, Ultramarine, and Yellow Ochre. I also had Quinacridone Fuschia on my palette, but the only place I used it was on the side of my left hand, when I accidentally hit it when not looking.