Monday, January 20, 2020

February 2020 outing

First Saturday, February 1: Artist and Craftsman Supply
616 St. Helens, Suite 102, Tacoma, WA 98402


Meet at 10 am inside the front door of the store.   When sketching in a business, please be mindful of not impeding customers.

Close by lunch options at Stink (sandwiches and cheese)
628 St Helens Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402

McMenamins Elks Temple

Parking:  Please do not park in their tiny lot.  Save it for their customers and those of a new restaurant next door. 

An easy place to park is the paid lot by the History Museum.  Or park at Freight House Square.  From either location, hop onto the light rail and get off at the Theater District stop. From there, though, it's several blocks, uphill, to the store.  There is also paid Street parking with a 2 hour limit. 

Third Wednesday, February 19:  Sanford and Son Antique mall

743 Broadway, Tacoma, WA 98402

Only web presence now is the Facebook page

Meet at 10 am at Bostwick Coffee
764 Broadway, Tacoma. WA 98402

Because Sanford and Son does not open until 11am, we'll begin by meeting at 10:00 am at the Bostwick to sketch and have coffee to pay our 'rent' for use of the space.  We can also socialize and maybe pass our sketchbooks around...then troop down to Sanford & Sons together for its 11 am opening and sketch to 12:30 pm. After sharing sketches, perhaps we'll have lunch at a local place.   

There are also several other antique stores nearby.  

Parking:  Easy parking is either the free lot at Freight House Square or the paid lot by the History Museum, then hop onto the light rail and get off at the Theater District trolley stop. That way folks aren't worrying about 2 hour parking or parking tickets. There is paid Street parking with a 2 hour limit.  If you take light rail, you can walk back down Commerce to 9th and then up the hill to Broadway. 

Friday, January 10, 2020

Jointly at McMenamins

Urban Sketchers Tacoma hosted Urban Sketcher Seattle in a joint outing at the new(ish) McMenamins Elks Temple in Tacoma. It is a unique venue with so much to sketch. This was my 4th time there this year as they opened in the spring. I was grateful for the large turnout from Seattle, given the unpleasant weather for the long drive south.

Thanks to Sean F. for taking the group photo

After wandering up and down stairs, I finally found my way back to this odd mezzanine. The ceiling height is much shorter than the rest of the building.


I have a pocket Pentalic Aqua sketchbook that is dedicated to the lamps of McMenamins...not just the one's at the Elks Temple. Near the end of our sketching period, I sat with a couple other sketchers in the pub to do this ink sketch of some lamps.

This section of the hotel is unusual. There is a block of rooms inside a large, 2 story space. While it was being renovated, I watched on the construction company's FB page the installation of this magnificent chandelier. I talked with a young woman who is a housekeeper there but also an artist. I gave her the USk card, of course She told me McMenamins has one person whose sole job is to by lamps for them, scouring estate sales, antique stores, etc! This is my favorite sketch of the day.

A few more photos here.

by Kate Buike

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Old Cannery

We returned to sketch the Christmas decor at the Old Cannery. We've been twice before but not, apparently, since 2016.

There were so many interesting things to sketch. Our host brought out their new puppet mascot, Caboose the Moose, for someone to sketch. Carolyn added him to her scene.

I choose to do a montage.  A few of us drew the nutcracker statue and the piggies.   

More photos here.

Friday, December 13, 2019


As some members of USk Tacoma know, I spent 3 weeks in England during October, specifically in Yorkshire.  A couple other sketchers have asked whether I posted to this blog and, obviously, I have not. 

Himself and I flew into Manchester and based ourselves in Leeds, York and then a final long weekend in Manchester.  We made day trips out from there.  I also had the opportunity to sketch with USk Yorkshire and with a few members of USk Manchester.

This is one of my favorites, sketched at Whitby Abbey.   

Three weeks of posts would take a lot of space here.  If you're interested in the entire story, follow these links below:

Week One, Leeds.

Week Two, Leeds & York

Week Three, York and Manchester

January 2020 sketch outings

First Saturday, January 4: Show and Swap 

7001 6th Ave, Tacoma, WA 98406

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 this past year.

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.

Ad Hoc, Friday, January 10:  McMenamins Elks Lodge 
Joint sketch outing with USk Seattle

McMenamins Elks Temple

565 Broadway, Tacoma, WA 98402

We've been watching the renovation and eagerly awaiting the opening last spring.  We'll join USk Seattle to sketch inside and out.  There are seven floors to explore. 

Meet at 10 am at the upper level off Broadway, on the patio outside of the Spanish Bar

Please support our sketcher-friendly venues by buying their food or beverages while sketching on their premises.  So be generous, be considerate of the establishment and their customers and show the world how sketching can help everyone to be happy!

Plan to allow time to find parking in the area as it could be a challenge since McMenamins has none of its own! 
One suggestion is to take the free Link Light Rail (trolley) to the Theater District Station and walk less than a quarter mile to the Spanish Steps.  Parking is free at Freighthouse Square and the trolley starts there.

Freighthouse Square
2501 E D St, Tacoma, WA 98421


Second Thursday, January 9:  Harbor Landing Mall

3226 Harborview Dr, Gig Harbor, WA 98332

NOTE START TIME 11 AM, Mall not open until then.
Indoor venue with pinball machines, books, restaurant, etc....
Thursday January 9th, 11 am

From South: 16W to Gig Harbor City Center/Wollochet exit, right onto Pioneer at top of ramp, Pioneer to Harborview , left park free anywhere without a time limit
From North:
16E to City Center/Waterfront exit, left at top of ramp, cross over 16 and follow directions above.


Third Wednesday, January15:  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.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Cat in a Hat

While driving around yesterday, I spotted this small Caterpillar equipment wearing a huge Santa hat! After meeting some friends for coffee, I drove back to the site to sketch it. I just makes me laugh. It's in Tukwila, on West Valley Highway, just east of Southcenter mall. 

With it's non-Santa buddies

Or maybe it's a Santa-pillar?

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Festive lobby

We met at the Hotel Murano to sketch the lobby's holiday decorations. Nearly everyone sketched the tree.

Jane sketching the tree

As I was on the bar platform a few feet above the lobby, several Air Force service members sat down to await their colleagues. These two, a LTC and a MAJ, seemed to be flight crew.

Canson Mixed Media; Daniel Smith watercolor

Of course, I sketched the tree, too.