Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Unexpected Sun in the Garden

Our Wednesday outing was to the Windmill Gardens in Sumner, WA.  I've been there twice before to sketch but there are always interesting subjects.  I'd thought of some options for sketching out of the rain.  But we had warm sun instead!

I was amused by "Don Dirt," the leafy sculpture that greets arriving customers, so I made him the subject of my first sketch.   He's very cool with his shades.  

There were several patio-like tableau around the garden center.  I picked this one for its pumpkin-colored chair.


We gathered in the gazebo to share sketches.

More photos:

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Travels With a Strathmore Toned Tan 5.5 x 8.5 Sketchbook

Last month, a few days after our 4th Annual West Coast Urban Sketchers Sketch Crawl, we left Washington state for a driving trip to San Francisco CA. It was great R&R for me, after the experience of some REALLY busy days leading up to our well-received event.

On the way to California and on the trip back home, Eli and I pretty much spent all of our time together. However, after we arrived in San Francisco, I had a lot hours alone during his attendance at an annual conference which is one of the highlights in his life each year. As a result of the two 'kinds of time': time together & time alone...I became aware that I enjoy both of the extremely different types of sketching I do under the two extremely different conditions within which I sketch .

Eli has come to understand what sketching entails...and, has learned he values my devotion to sketching and wants to support me in having time to meet as many of my sketching desires as possible. He always brings along 'things to do' when we're on a trip, because he is SURE I will want to sketch. He will  go off happily and sight-see alone, if I desire some 'extra' minutes of sketching time. It has become typical for him to say things like: "The last couple of days were pretty much to fill MY agendas, so, why don't we make tomorrow and the next day all yours to decide on locations and lengths of time you want to sketch." I know. I have a very supportive husband.

During 'together time'----On the way to San Francisco.
If Eli is across the table from me reading a newspaper and savoring a cup of coffee, and we plan to leave the shop fairly soon, I do a linear contour sketch. I begin with the contour sketch of one object and then I work, directly in ink, moving outwards from the first object, drawing  the location and size of everything else  relative to it. I have come to trust, that for the most part, this works...though occasionally things can get wonky. I'm o.k. with that.

15 minutes---Micron 03. Closest chair first.

20 min.-half hour---Micron 01 + Graphite added later. Eli first.

During 'time alone'----In San Francisco
When I'm free to sketch alone, without time constraints, I luxuriate....really looking intently at everything of interest, fully and intimately relating to it, while savoring the relationships between things. I decide up front what my composition will be. Because I work small when sketching in a sketchbook, I usually sketch 'tightly'...rather than doing several looser sketches in the same time frame. I like the peace of doing that...I get in the fully present to the subject. Details, cross hatching, taking the time to wait so I may draw the same person or animal twice, letting them function as a 'second person/animal' in the scene I am capturing.

45 minutes-1 hour (lots of  time spent waiting until the proper moment to capture in my memory what I needed for 'my cow' from each cow that passed me on the way to the milking machine.).--Graphite and white Prismacolor.  First I did a fast outline of first cow's 'pose' as my armature for the 'sketch' of my amalgam cow. They ALL wiggled constantly....and each looked as intently at me as I did at them.  :-)
Two hours...I intended to do ALL of downtown San Francisco that was in my view, but I needed to leave the 12th floor  restaurant so they could set up their tables for the dinner hour. RATS! Reality is so inconvenient at times. Drew the domed bldg. first...used it as a gauge for all other relationships. Micron .005 Intended to go back, but, was having too much fun sketching elsewhere.

 This took me however long it took me to stretch--out--eating--my--breakfast (food +coffee = rent) while I did the sketch....probably an hour +. None of the people were in the restaurant at the same time. No pencil sketch underneath the ink, so note the wonky perspective of the people and booths on the right. In ink, there's no going back. My advice: only show the wonky sketches to  your friends who have no clue about perspective. They will think your sketch is just fine...and you are too. Micron .005 + white Uniball Signo.

Hours: Two very long lunches on consecutive days at the same sidewalk cafe, on the second day, arriving an hour before the restaurant opened. The streets were crowded, so I had to wait for 'views' of my topic until there were moments without visual impingement by humanoids. A close-by group would entirely cover the scene. (Another lesson in perspective.) This was a very fun challenge....complex roofs....street going up diplomacy...people coming and sitting at my table to chat with me....letting interested folks know about Urban Sketching: an extrovert's dream. By the second day, as the sketch progressed, the waiters were really sweet to me. Nicely asking permission to stay longer (and big tips) will help smooth over commandeering a tip-producing table. Micron .005

Ahhh! The sketcher's life is usually, if not always, very satisfying. A sketcher's confession: my sketches are no more wonky than I am. Really. So may it ever be.


Frances Buckmaster

PS The rest of my sketches from this trip will be on our USk-Tacoma Facebook page and on our Flickr page.  ( (

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Urban Sketching, more than just a drawing...

My name is Daisy Abreu. I am a licensed psychotherapist working in the healthcare industry, a disaster mental health relief volunteer for the Red Cross and I am also an Urban Sketcher. I came across Urban Sketching accidentally in my search to learn more about art, watercolor painting and drawing. I have no formal art education other than a strong background in photography which I completed during my bachelor’s degree three decades ago in Puerto Rico. For many years I had wanted to learn watercolors and finally about a year and half ago after the loss of my parents I decided to embark myself in this fantastic journey. One thing led to the next as I realized that painting will require me to learn how to draw, what a discovery! In my search for some drawing instruction I came across some of my favorite urban sketchers such as Stephanie Bower, Paul Heaston, Hugo Rocha or Alfonso Garcia and many others. As my research intensified I came across the Urban Sketcher blog and website, searched for a chapter and to my surprise there was a local chapter here in Tacoma! I joined immediately and became addicted to urban sketching. I felt in love so much with this organization that became a volunteer working with the blog and helping in all I possibly can.

I believe that Urban Sketching has different meaning to every urban sketcher. To me urban sketching works as a process in which I can reach the “flow.” A concept developed by Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi that states creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives. He states that "When we are involved in [creativity], we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life." Flow is the creative moment when a person is completely involved in an activity for its own sake. To me Urban Sketching is a form of mindfulness practice that helps me be grounded, relaxed and experience joy. It teaches me patience and acceptance. It helps me see my mistakes and flaws in the drawing and embrace them as learning opportunities. This process translates into daily life experiences as well. Urban sketching also serves as a way to record time, place, experiences and my life as a whole. Life is like a fleeting thought, what is here today is no longer tomorrow. Everything changes and creating a record of our experiences thru the process of art is magical.

As follows I will share with you some of the sketches I have completed during the past six months with Urban Sketchers - Tacoma.

This is my very first urban sketch done at Chambers Golf Course in University Place, WA

This sketch was done from my car while having a lunch break. This lady and her children caught my attention as they were asking drivers from financial support.

Most of my sketching opportunities happen during lunch as you will see over time. This was done in Tacoma and this is Tacoma Community College or TCC.

This is a view of the Tacoma Dome from the Glass Museum during our West Coast Urban Sketchers Sketch Crawl.

 As you can see Urban Sketching has become part of my life and I hope to share this journey with you all along with the USk-T blog correspondent team.

Happy Sketching,


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Second Thursday, October 13: Java and Clay Cafe

Second Thursday, October 13: Java and Clay Cafe
3210 Harborview Drive, Gig Harbor, WA 98335

We will be meeting at 10am at Java and Clay CafĂ© on Thursday October 13th.  From there one can sketch the pottery area in the back, the Skansie Park construction site across the street, street views of downtown Gig Harbor.  There are lots of windows to sketch from the inside but please don’t spend the entire time in one spot as those places are for their customers as is the patio outside.  Go to their website (above) to see what you can do in the pottery section.  Looks very interesting!

Let’s support venues that are sketcher-friendly by partaking of their good food while we sketch their unusual and unique interior.  So be generous, be considerate of the establishment and their customers and show the world how sketching can help everyone to be happy!

There is limited parking on the street.  I’m going to presume there is a restroom available, but again, it is for customers.  There is a restroom at Harbor Landing just down the street.  We will meet back at Java and Clay Cafe at 12:30 for sharing and photo.  For those staying for lunch, there is a Mexican restaurant next to Harbor Landing.

Cross the Narrows Bridge
Exit to City Center/Wollochet
Turn right at the exit
Go down the hill (Pioneer) to the bottom
Turn left at the T
Java and Clay is about half way down the block on your left

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Fourth Thursday, October 27: Wilco Farm Store

Fourth Thursday, October 27:  Wilco Farm Store
3408 Hunt Street NW, Gig Harbor, WA 98335

Meet outside the store at 10 am

 From Tacoma take the gig Harbor city center exit off highway 16 and turn right at the stop onto Pioneer.  Take the first right onto Kimball and follow it around to where it bends to the left.  Wilco is on the right.
From Bremerton take the Gig Harbor city center exit.  Turn left over the bridge and you are on Pioneer.  Take the first right right onto Kimball and follow it around to where it bends to the left.  Wilco is on the right.

October 1st at Puyallup Farmers Market

First Saturday:  October 1st at the Puyallup Farmers Market

We’ll be “Doing the Puyallup’ at the Puyallup Farmers Market.

The Market takes place both indoors and outdoors at the 2 acre Pioneer Park located in the center of downtown Puyallup on S. Meridian between W. Pioneer and 4th Ave. SW.

324 S Meridian, Puyallup, WA 98371
The Market and surrounding area features many types of sketching opportunities: displays of locally-grown produce, flowers & artisan foods, entertainment buskers, food trucks, play areas (Spray Park and Jungle Gym), a statue of Ezra Meeker (a Puyallup pioneer), a Veterans’ Memorial, sculptures from the Downtown Outdoor Art Gallery, City Hall, a variety of restaurants, the Pioneer Park Pavilion, The Puyallup Library, the Activity Center, and Anthem Coffee & Tea.


We will meet outside the Anthem Coffee & Tea at 10 am.
210 W Pioneer Ave, Puyallup, WA 98371

The coffee shop is located on the Pioneer Ave. side of the park, in a corner of the Activity Center building.

Parking Options:
These locations often fill up early….and residential parking becomes ever more distant with time.
·        There is a free lot by the Puyallup Library.
·        There is  free on-street parking in residential areas near the park

Alternative you are welcome to use:·        In order to have fewer cars to park at the Farmers’ Market---You may carpool from Frances’ studio, 6 min. from the Market. Please either Message Frances on Facebook to get her address or email her:  fbuckmas AT ix DOT Netcom DOT com. Arrive for carpooling between 9:15-9:30.

Monday, September 19, 2016

October's 3red Wednesday: October 19 at Windmill Garden

Windmill Gardens 
3rd Wednesday October 19
16009 60th St E, Sumner, WA 98390

Meet at 10 am at or under the gazebo in the garden, near the windmill, as seen below: 

After sharing our sketches and having a group photo, we'll gather for lunch at The Bistro, which is on site.