Tuesday, April 21, 2015

First Post and Connections - Washington State History Museum and Seymour Conservatory

Good fortune visited me the day I discovered Urban Sketchers - Tacoma. Please bear with me on this, my first, somewhat lengthy post. My art endeavors in past years have been tied to the connection between experience and place. Having moved here two years ago, I was, of course, enthralled with the majestic and expansive natural world which bumps right up against and embraces our equally fascinating urban areas. On our first visit to the Pacific Northwest, I was especially drawn to Tacoma. I loved its artistic legacy and sensibilities, its fierce independence. For me, the City of Tacoma is authentic. Tacoma feels real.

The recent visit to the Washington State History Museum was almost overwhelming in its abundance of sketching opportunities. After wandering around in awe for a while, I settled on two primary subjects. 

The first is a sketch of the wedding dress of the wife of fellow Urban Sketcher, Peter Darling. He and his wife married in 1968 and the very stylish wedding outfit is now on display in the museum. The sketch does not reflect the beautiful creamy white of the dress and pillbox hat with veil, but does show the modern style.  It was a delight to show Peter my sketch at our sharing session.

I was also immediately drawn to the printing press which was used to print off the Freemen's Labor Journal during the early 20th century.  I studied printing in college and used to work in a printing company in San Francisco that used very similar platen press.  

The visit to the Seymour Conservatory in Wright Park also presented connections with personal import. I am drawn to these magical "fairy" glass houses, my term for them when a young girl.  It was a glorious, if cool, day and I set myself the task of painting the beautiful building en plein air. Though the image is small, I knew at some point it was shifting from being a sketch to a small painting.  At what point does this occur?  Does it matter?  

I am so thrilled to be a part of this friendly, talented, encouraging, and fun group. Everyone has made me very welcome. As Bonnie Raitt, Madonna and  Linda Rondstadt have all sung: "It feels like home." I hope you will join us.  


  1. I love Tacoma (and surrounding communities, also) and I love our Urban Sketcher group (movement?), so your first blog post is very touching for me. Thank you Beverly. I love your question--with my paraphrase: When does a sketch become a painting? Does it matter? What you created is beautiful.

  2. Lovely sketches, Beverly!

    - Tina

  3. What a charming 1st post! So heart felt and sincere... written like a true lover of the sketch. I too have wondered what the fine line between a sketch (or as the masters call it "a study") and a painting or piece. Like your visual entries, the masters did lovely works in just a matter of hours and never thought them as more then a sketch/study yet we artists use them as important learning tools in master studies. My golden rule is... if it is all done in a day (especially just a few hours) it is a study. So your nice efforts (in my books) are right in line with the Urban Sketcher efforts... but what do I know. Thank you for sharing!