Thursday, January 18, 2018

February 2018 Outings

NOTE CHANGE OF DAY AND TIME for "1st Saturday":

2nd Saturday, February 10  Asian Pacific Cultural Fest

Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall
2727 East D St., Tacoma

Meet inside entrance at 11:00 am

This is a free event, though parking at the Dome may cost. 

Special Notes
Backbacks are prohibited.  Also, "Bags, including handbags and purses, may now be no larger than 13” x 15”. So consolidate your sketch kit!   More info on security measures

From our experience in 2014:  Bring ear plugs.  The sound system was at least twice as loud as it needed to be.  We could feel it, which means we were all sustaining some hearing damage!

Parking maps  

There is free parking at Freighthouse Square from which you will walk a short distance (.2 mile, less than a quarter mile) along D Street.  

Parking lots E and K are reserved for guests with disabilities and are van accessible and are sold on a first come first served basis. The parking fee for Tacoma Dome events is $10 - $30 per single parking space depending on the event. All Tacoma Dome lots are wheelchair accessible.


Second Thursday, February 8 
Gig Harbor Fire Department HQ

10222 Bujacich Rd NW, Gig Harbor

We have been given permission to sketch at the Gig Harbor Fire Department Headquarters located at 10222 Bujacich Rd NW at the north end of Gig Harbor.  There are historical displays and antique firefighting equipment to sketch, all located in a lovely wooded area which is also appealing if it’s not pouring rain outside.  There are several lunch options in the Gig Harbor North area – Panda Express, Qdoba Mexican, Subway, Wok Teriyaki.

Directions from the south:

Cross the Narrows Bridge on Hwy 16 W (heading NB) Exit at Borgen Blvd, ½ mile past mile post 14 (this is the exit to Costco)
Enter and stay within the traffic circle to go across the freeway
Enter the next traffic circle and go halfway around to stay straight to the T intersection
Turn Left onto Sehmel Dr NW
After the road curves to the Right, take the next Left on Bujacich Rd NW
Entrance is on the Right

 Directions from the north:

Exit at Borgen Blvd Turn right at the top of the ramp
Turn left onto Sehmel Dr NW
Proceed as above
Third Wednesday, February 21: Union Station
1717 Pacific Avenue,Tacoma, WA 98402-3200

We return to the site of our very first 3rd Wednesday outing back in March 2015! 

Meet in the rotunda at 10 am. 

Note:  This is a Federal courthouse so there is a security screener at the door.  Have your government issued ID ready and know that your bag will be searched. 

There is beautifully restored Victorian era decor.  There is Chihuly glass.

Schmidt House

We drove rather far afield to sketch the historic Schmidt House mansion in Tumwater, WA for our sketch outing yesterday.

Actually, the family named the mansion "Three Meter" but the reason for the name has been lost to time. It was built in 1904 for Olympia Brewing Company founder Leopold Schmidt and his wife Johanna.

The home has two floors open to visitors. However, our host, Don, took us up to the third floor. It has some beautiful and interesting architectural details.

The scenes of most interest to me were on the ground floor. I sat at a round table with other sketchers to draw the view out the window, which included the statue, "Industry". I added to the montage some details found on the ground floor.

Perhaps due to the distance, we were a small group today.

Jan, Carolyn, Ken, Kris; Becky, Kate, Frances

After sketching, some of us went to lunch at Terrace Falls restaurant where we had a wonderful view of the falls. I find painting moving water a challenge. I've got a collection of YouTube videos on the subject of painting water through which I'm working my way.


--Kate Buike

Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Northwest Room!

Yesterday was our USK Tacoma monthly sketch-out and the turn out was amazing. Close to thirty people attended and we all met at the Tacoma Public Library. What does it feel to sketch at a Public Library you might ask? Well, overwhelming i could say. The Tacoma Public Library carries a lot of history within its walls. The Carnegie building is the original 1903 Carnegie Library. The collections found in the Northwest Room includes Tacoma city directories dating back to 1885, early to current newspapers, record indexes, maps, photos, postcards, manuscript collections, architectural plans, etc. In addition if you are interested in doing genealogical research The Northwest Room is the place to go. They have an amazing collection of resources and this collection covers the U.S. and other countries.
The Northwest Room is such an amazing space with a dome that is beautifully decorated that brings warm light into its space. Even though I believe that my drawing in no shape or form gives it justice, this is the best I was able to do yesterday. When I sat and began absorbing the beauty of the place I was overwhelmed by it but eventually I drew what I saw and this is the end result.

Until Next one and Happy Sketching!


At the library again

We at the Tacoma Main Library yesterday.  Our wonderful host was Beverly, one of our members and the manager at the library.

I already knew I wanted to attempt the window in the "crow's nest".  It has intimidated me in the past but I'm fairly satisfied with the sketch I did.  The lower left corner was empty and I decided the composition needed something there to balance the right corner.  It might have been better if the figure was looking into the page.  But the windows were on what I spent most of my time and what I found challenging.

We were a really large group today.  I think we counted 35 people.  Several had left by the time the library media person took our group photo.

---Kate Buike

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

"My" Time of the Year

Many love this time of year, including me. My birthday was yesterday, boxing day in Britain. (A time in the past when the wealthy gave gifts of items and food to their staff, sharecroppers, etc.) My birthday has held an aura about it surrounded by dim lights, with colorful accent lighting, gifts colorfully decorated under a tree, the scent of cinnamon, ginger, chocolate and rich sugar cookies in the air. People talking more in hushed tones, as in collaboration on a surprise, and couples feeling romantic in the low lit atmosphere. It was like that again this year. We met friends at the Lobster Shop South on Ruston Way to watch the Tacoma Yacht Club's parade of boats decorated with lights and some had snowmen or Santas. Jim and I went 3 hours early so I could sketch. I am a glacial sketcher... if you haven't heard the term it's because I made it up... I am as slow as a glacier.

The first sketch I did was of couples seated in the bar talking softly to one another. They were dressed nicely and it looked like all were having a nice time. The parade began just before our friends came. The boats passed one at a time in front of the huge windows that face north onto Commencement Bay. I am not aware of rules regarding embellishing drawings, so the lady in the black military sweater with lots of glitter made me think of adding glitter to the drawing. So I did. I'm unsure, as I said, if that meets the USk caveats, but it is as realistic as I could do... .

I was rather stymied by the large plate glass windows. How does one make a window at night look like glass and not rain? I'm always open to help, as I need all I can get.

You will notice I'm embracing my minutiae style. It has taken me two years to address the fact that I'm not going to sketch like others in our group. If you are struggling with this, I am very empathetic. When the style on the paper isn't the one in my head that I love seeing, it was hard for me to accept. So I'd try to speedily draw something, then the darkside would merge... it would want me to add detail... more description to the picture... and I would. Before long my drawing speed was in compound low and I was hung up on details... now I draw knowing that I am that type of sketcher... perhaps sketcher is a wrong word, as I think of sketching as rapidly capturing the scene. Whereas I am more labored.

The second sketch was of the bar back and the ladies working. Sitting on my left was a single middle aged man who seemed enveloped in his thoughts. He nursed his third drink, played games on his phone, ate an appetizer and left. I hoped he was traveling to a loving family and had stopped for the night. He left me feeling a bit melancholy. BUT it is my BIRTHDAY MONTH,

 so it was a short-lived feeling, as we left the lounge to our table in the dining room, where 7 of us laughed our way through dinner. It was a wonderful evening.

Since I added glitter to the sweater of the first drawing, I decided to add large glitter to the garland on top of the bar back to simulate the lights... in person it does the job, not sure it is so effective via scan.  If you notice very white areas in the garland, those are the large glitter pieces meant to represent the lights. The two bartenders are Stacey on the left loading the dishwasher and Holly on the right putting away condiments.

I hope you had a great Christmas and that 2018 brings you joy, peace and prosperity.


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Holiday at the Hotel Murano

It's been 2 or 3 years since we last sketched at the Hotel Murano and we've never done so during the holiday season. The hotel lobby was tastefully decorated and the centerpiece was a very tall tree. Since I arrived quite early, I sat down to await others' arrival and sketched the tree.

I've sketched this horse twice before. It's such an odd thing:  a full sized horse sculpture with a lamp on its head. Today I chose a different view. It also had a wreath of blue bulbs. 

Completed in a Pentalic Aqua sketchbook

By 11am, it might have warmed up a bit. While the sun was warm on my back, the wind was quite chilly blowing straight at me. I did want to sketch this unusual structure at the hotel entrance. After hunting a bit, I eventually found more information about this on the website: It is..."Orizon, a monumental, 75-foot-tall curved steel and plate glass site specific sculpture that was commissioned for the hotel and designed for the site by famed Greek glass artist, Costas Varotsos"

For a Wednesday, we had a fairly large group.

A few more photos are here:

--by Kate Buike

January 2018 sketch outings

First Saturday, January 6:  Tacoma Main Library

Tacoma’s Main Public Library
1102 Tacoma Avenue South, Tacoma WA 98402 

Meet at 10 am in the main lobby of the library.   Sketch Sharing and Group Photo at 12:30, at a location noted during announcements.  Library opens at 9 am. (for early birds).

There is free parking all around the library on Saturdays (though no parking lot).  People should not pay attention to the parking machines in front of the library. They do not function on Saturday even though the sign only says Sundays are free. 

If you'd like to stay for lunch together, please bring a bag lunch as we'll have a room in which to eat and socialize.  

Special Note:  We have a wonderful, last minute, opportunity for an Urban Sketchers-Tacoma Sketch show at the Main Library in Tacoma! It will be a very easy show in which to participate.  Details are in the USk Tacoma Google Group message.   Please bring your entry to this sketch outing.


Second Thursday: January 11: Elizabeth’s home 

2218 55th St NW, Gig Harbor

Elizabeth has graciously opened her waterfront home in Gig Harbor to us to sketch.  Meet at 10AM rain or shine.  She has spectacular views of the South Sound and Vashon Island.  Bring a packed lunch or enjoy one of the many restaurants in Gig Harbor.


Directions from south:
Stay in the extreme right lane as you cross Narrows Bridge
Take first exit off bridge (airport)
Right at top of ramp
Left onto 14th Ave NW    
Right on 55th St
Elizabeth’s house is at the end of street through gates.

Directions from north:
Take 16 south to Olympic Drive
Left at top of ramp
Stay right in Center City lane and cross over Hwy 16
Just past mall with Cutters Point, turn right on Hollycroft Way
Right on Hollycroft St
Right on Reid Dr NW
Left at second 55th Street marked private road (NOT 55th St COURT and NOT Clovis View development) Drive to end and through gates


Third Wednesday, January 17: Schmidt House

 330 Schmidt Pl SW, Tumwater, WA 98501This is an historic house built in 1904 (with extension added in 1910) for the founders of the Olympia Brewing Company, Leopold and Johanna Schmidt.  Schmidt family members lived in this house and beautiful grounds through the 1970’s.  It is now a multi-use facility housing the treasures of the Schmidt family and brewery archives, rented out for weddings and other special events through the year, and is the home base for our Heritage Builders local history program (talks, tours, videos and special events.)  Entrance is free, although donations are gratefully accepted.

Meet at the front porch at 10am.



Plan ahead:   February's Saturday outing will likley move to the 2nd Saturday, Feb 10, so we can sketch at the Asia Pacific Cultural Fest in the Tacoma Dome Exhibition Hall