Wednesday, January 16, 2019

State Capitol

It was a sunny but chilly morning at the State Capitol in Olympia, WA. Our group was small but intrepid as some of us sketched outside.

I started inside with the corridor in front of the Governor's office. I'm surprised there isn't more security. The only visible protection are a few State Police officers, one of whom is sitting at a desk just inside the Governor's suite.

Dozens of school children passed by on tours led by Capitol staff.  "turn off your cell phones; remove your hoods; no photos allowed in the Governor's office....". 

I wandered around the building a bit and then headed outside for a view of the dome. I only had about a half hour left so limited the sketch.

Sharing sketches and the group photo.

We're missing one or two who had to leave early. 

More photos

--by Kate Buike

Friday, January 11, 2019

Antique Airplanes

This post courtesy of content by Mary McInnis and Pam Jenkins:

Here we are at the first Gig Harbor Urban Sketcher's on the new year. We had a good turnout for the Point Fosdick Antique Airplane Hangar at the Narrows Airport. They have an impressive collection of restored airplanes and a bright, airy (get it?!) feel with a plethora of sketching opportunities. We will definitely have to return and it is well worth a visit even if you are not sketching.

posted by Kate Buike

Wednesday, January 9, 2019


From Sayulita, Mexico to Haines, Alaska, Kyoto, Japan and all the wonderful in-between places I've been blessed to immerse my sketching self in are represented in the above collage. Of course our sketch outings and those I could attend with Port Townsend urban sketchers only made the year that much more enjoyable. While I participated in both Foss Waterway Museum exhibits, I'm sad to say I was not there for the openings but not sad to say I was traveling and sketching in other great places at the same time. All in all 2018 was a great year and I'm looking forward to more of the same in 2019.

Reading Kate's recent blog and seeing all of her wonderful sketches made me want to journey there as well. A line in the blog about sketching in museums and only able to use pencil reminded me of our TAM outing last May (the image below the collage). Of course the same rule applies at TAM but here is where watercolor pencils come into play. Sketch away in pencil while inside the museum, outside the museum, add water and ...

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Germany in Winter.

My husband and I took a 3 week trip to Germany to see the Christmas Markets.  We were gone 27 November to 18 December.  This is a summary of the trip.  For the full account, see multiple recent posts on my personal blog, which include links to the photo albums, too. 

We lived and worked in Germany from 1981 to 1986 and we've been back a couple times since, though not for many years now.  One of the experiences we missed were the Christmas Markets so that was the motivation to travel at this time of year.

Departure day was 27 December.  The trip was not as bad as what some have experienced, but I believe this was our worst trip ever due to delays. I managed only one sketch at SeaTac.  I certainly could have done a lot of people sketching.  But I do not like flying and all this delay and anticipated missed connection gave me low level anxiety that just didn't have me in the mood to draw.


One of recurring themes was the prevalence of Lamy stores and displays!  I encountered a rather large display at the Frankfurt Airport.  They were also in every Karstadt (a department store chain).  Our first stop was Heidelberg and my first outing the morning after we arrived was the Lamy Flagship store.  Lamy HQ and factory are on the outskirts of the city but not open to the public.  

I got to pose with the big pen.  Lamy also sent one to The Goulet Pen Company and Brian Goulet posted about it on Instagram. It's taller than I am! 

My first sketch was earlier that morning out the window of our hotel.   The sky was clear and there were subtle colors of the sunrise.

We moved on from Heidelberg to Dinkelsb├╝hl, which is a walled city that survived the 30 Years War.  It is described as the German's Rothenburg as it is less touristy.  

This is our street and hotel.

After wandering around town, lunch at Weib's Brauhaus, which was close by. I did a sketch of the decorated window within view of our table.

The next day I sketched one of the city gates. And then sheltered under the porch of a shop as it started raining. That was looking down the street to the markt platz and the Christmas tree.

On the way from Dinkelsb├╝hl to Nuremberg, we stopped in Stein, the location of the Faber Castell HQ and factory.  There was no tour available for either the Castle or the factory.  But I did shop in the store.  If you want to read more about that, see this blog post. 

It was raining Tuesday morning, 4 December, so we waited until about 1300 to go out. I did a sketch of the view out our window while we waited for the rain to pass.

Walking through the shopping district, we passed a Staedtler Welt (World) store. In the window was a man in period dress making pencils in the old fashioned way. "The roots of the name can be traced back to 1662, the year in which references to Friedrich Staedtler as a pencil-making craftsman were made in the city annuals of Nuremberg."

 Later in the afternoon, I went to the Durer house.  

Our next move was on to Trier. Himself doesn't normally take selfies, but he relented during this trip and we took several.  But I'll only share one here: at the Trier Christmas Market!

The next day was predicted to be a rainy day, so spent a few hours at the archeological museum. I did a sketch of a famous 3rd century sculpture: The Wine Ship. As usual for museums, only pencil was allowed.  So I left the sketch as is.

We next moved on to the medieval Mosel village of Bernkastel-Kues.  Actually, it's two villages, separated by the Mosel.  We stayed in the less interesting Kues.  But it was a short walk over the bridge to the old town of Bernkastel.  

Monday, 10 December, was perhaps the best weather day yet.  Though it was only about 45 degrees, it was sunny.  I walked over the bridge from Kues to Bernkastel.  I sketched one of the most photographed buildings there:  the Spizhaeuschen from 1416.  I sat at a table outside a closed cafe.  This was my view most of the time:

With patience, though, I got it done.

On my way back across the bridge, I stopped half way to sketch the view back to town with the castle ruin above.  There was a convenient bench right there.

Next on our itinerary was Cochem, also a medieval town on the Mosel. It's most famous feature is the castle.  I've been in it before but now it was closed for the season.   I sat on a step that is probably part of a small dock or tie up location for boat(s). It was so cold, I only got part of it done before my fingers were frozen.

Back to the hotel to warm up and then went out again in the afternoon to finish. This is one of my favorite sketches of the trip.

The next day I made a sketch of a city gate from 1352.


The final stop was our former home area and we stayed just outside our town of Kusel in a hotel that was a favorite even then, 30+ years ago.  Part of that stay were two visits to our former "home" castle, Burg Lichtenberg.  It's one of the largest castle ruins in Germany by size of area.  There are two boundary walls.  This is standing on the inner one.  

Fortunately, our trip home was uneventful.  I look forward to seeing everyone at a sketch outing soon.  

Friday, December 21, 2018

January 2019 sketch outings

First Saturday, January 5, 2019: Sharing Session

Fern Hill Library
765 South 84th Street, Tacoma WA 98444

Our first gathering of the new year will be something different.  This is not a sketch outing, per se.  We'll gather in a library meeting room to share tips, tricks and art supplies.

Only if you'd like to do so, please share for about 5 minutes about a tip, trick or bit of kit that has been useful to you as an Urban Sketcher.

Also bring any art supplies, books, etc you'd like to trade or give to fellow sketchers.  Is there something you have that you don't like or just aren't using?  Perhaps someone else will like it more than you. 

Gather at 10 am near entrance to library
, which opens at 10.  We'll find our room and get settled.  We have it to 1pm.


 Second Thursday, January 10, 2019 Point Fosdick Antique Airplane Hangar

1108 26th Ave NW
Gig Harbor

There is a $5.00 entry fee. It is 3 buildings to the left of The Hub, which is a fun luncheon spot!

Directions: from south, first exit across the bridge, left at top of ramp cross over Rt 16, left onto Jahn Ave at T intersection, right onto Stone Drive, left just before underpass, on right next to PAVCO flight school.
From North: last exit before toll, just after Olympic Drive, at light turn left, follow road, it becomes Jahn Ave, same as above.


Third Wednesday, January 16: State Capitol,Olympia 

416 Sid Snyder Avenue SW
Olympia, WA 98504
We'll meet at 10 am just inside the Capitol Building - aka "The Legislative Building" on the "Capitol Steps" side (See map below).  The interior public spaces are richly ornate.

Parking at or Near the Capitol

There are over 600 parking spaces for visitors in various lots and metered parking spaces at the Capitol Campus. Information and a detailed map can be found at DES's "Parking for Visitors"

"Visitor Information Center Parking Lot" is the closest and easiest. 

The City of Olympia also provides metered on-street parking just north (toward the water) of the Campus, and throughout downtown. In addition, Diamond Parking offers several hourly parking lots in the downtown area. View our interactive parking map on our Downtown Parking Options page. 

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Sketching in Kyoto Japan

 Sketchless in Japan could be the title for this post. Before my wife Chris and I left for our three week Kyoto adventure fellow sketchers, friends and associates said, "we can hardly wait to see your journal sketches from Japan." No pressure there!
Kyoto is a national treasure city full of beautiful temples and shrines, all set in spectacular landscaped environments. As a landscape designer with a history of designing and installing ponds, rock out-cropping's and gardens, I was beyond inspired by what I saw. On the other hand, as a sketcher who loves harbors, boats, mountains, expansive perspectives of sea and sky as well as historic city architecture, I was definitely in foreign territory.
After a week of little to no sketching, I really wondered what was wrong. After all I'm supposed to be an urban sketcher passionately capturing life on the move in any situation. I thought about what the portrait painter, teacher-philosopher Robert Henri wrote in his book, The Art Spirit, "What we need is more a sense of the wonder of life, and less a business of making a picture."  The Canadian artist Robert Genn titled one of his weekly blogs, Persistence of Wonder, where he opens by stating, "The making of art can be divided into three main camps: Subject driven, style driven and idea driven. He follows by stating, "Subject is a secure camp."
I finally let go of what I thought I had to do and allowed the experience of being in this magical spirit filled kingdom to take hold. And on our return, flying east into the morning sunrise, seeing the Olympic, Cascades and Puget Sound in the morning light reminded me of why I love living where I live and why it is so easy for me to sketch without thinking about making art and how for me, it is all about subject. Confessions of marine artist with a deep passion for the Pacific Northwest.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

December 2018 Outings

First Saturday, December 1:  Meeker Mansion

312 Spring St, Puyallup, WA 98372

Meet outside the entrance just before 10 am to collect the entrance fee. It is at the side, just under the portico, above.  

Thanks to Carrie for the arrangements.  Lori J. will be host for this outing.

Entrance fee: is $4.  Please come prepared with cash, preferably correct change. 

Their Christmas decor will up.


 Ad Hoc Saturday, December 1:  World Aids Day event with
Pierce County Aids Foundation (PCAF)

Washington State History Museum
1911 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402

The theme is again "Remember. Hope. Act."

Meet inside the Museum at 6 pm.  Host for this outing will be Frances Buckmaster. Admission is free for this event.  

We sketched at this event the last 2 years and they would like us to attend again.  The lobby will be filled with many historical art projects and archives for people to peruse before and after a formal program around 7 pm.  There should be ample and varied scenes to sketch.

Most interaction will be during the reception / mingling from 6-7, and the formal program from 7-8 might be a good time as well. After that, is just more mingling, and people should feel free to leave as needed. 

Second Thursday:
Gig Harbor sketching is on hiatus until January


Third Wednesday,December 19: Old Cannery, Sumner

Address: 13608 Valley Ave E, Sumner, WA 98390

We will gather for announcements at 10 am between the Ye Olde Fudge Shoppe and the Elvis statue. (There's seating there.) 

There are free hot beverages available close to our meeting area.

There's ample parking, by the front door and in huge parking lots across the street.
Large furniture showroom with playful elements like a fudge maker & an overhead toy train. And lots of holiday decorations!