Meet the Correspondents

Frances Buckmaster

I drew a lot as a kid.   I was asked to create costumes for my friends' cut-out dolls.  My teachers asked me to do bulletin boards. My junior high art teacher said, "You should major in art." So, I went to Cass Technical High School in downtown Detroit a college prep student, majoring in Commercial Art.

I entered college (Wayne State University, Detroit MI)  as a fine arts student, but quickly decided I would need to focus upon a more ‘practical’ course of leading to a profession. So, I changed majors,  earned a teaching degree, and then taught junior high English, Social Studies, and Communications. I married, had kids, became a single parent, and eventually decided to change careers. First, I worked on a graduate degree in Business. Then I entered seminary in Vancouver BC and earned a Master of Divinity degree. I was ordained a Unitarian Universalist minister in Vancouver, B.C.. I served three congregations in British Columbia and later, three more across the United States.  It was very fulfilling work, but art had disappeared from my  life...and even from my horizon....or, so I thought.

In Tacoma, I retired from ministry, remarried, and my husband almost immediately encouraged me to explore art options.  I renewed my early art skills by studying drawing, painting, and printmaking at Pacific Lutheran University. Then,  I showed and sold some of my art. After we moved to Puyallup I rented a large downtown studio and joined the Puyallup Main Street Association as a ‘business member.’ They commissioned a drawing to celebrate their downtown re-development program: As a result:  My first 'urban sketch' (actually a very time consuming drawing) was of the old Liberty Theater which I illustrated using calligraphy: 

 For several years, I taught art classes and hosted workshops in my studio. I also held a weekly long-pose figure studio program which attracted artist members who enjoyed drawing and painting in community.

Eventually, I went to some outdoor sketching and plein air painting outings in Seattle, and almost accidentally attended Seattle’s very first Urban Sketchers outing at the Fisherman’s Terminal in July 2009. I had no idea I was at its historic first outing...or that  it was the vanguard of a global movement founded by Gabi Campanario. He's to my left in the photograph below:

  Two of my sketches from Fishermens Terminal.

I attended quite a few of the Seattle Urban Sketchers' outings, but I-5 traffic eventually caused me to think: "It would be great to have urban sketching opportunities a bit closer to home!" As a result, I started Urban Sketchers-Tacoma in 2013, with a lot of help: First from Gabi Campanario (founder of the global Urban Sketchers movement) and Jane Dillon Wingfield--Olympia. Co-administrators Kate Buike--Renton, Rom LaVerdiere--Bonney Lake, Mark Ryan--Kent, and Darsie Beck--Vashon Island and I began to build Urban Sketchers-Tacoma, along with support from our Blog Correspondents Feather Hilger and Beverly Choltco-Devlin.  

 Our first sketch-outing was in downtown Tacoma on a rainy day in June, 2013.

 Urban Sketchers-Tacoma has become inextricably woven into my life. I thoroughly enjoy sketching in our ever-growing sketching community as well as sketching alone. I’ve lost count of how many urban sketches I’ve accumulated since 2009. Art is once more central in my  life Now,  I rarely go anywhere without my sketchbook.
 (March 3, 2015)

Kate Buike
It was May 2013 that I met Frances Buckmaster at an Urban Sketching workshop in Seattle.  It was as a result of a discussion there that I joined her and Rom in working to get USk Tacoma going. 

I originally discovered Urban Sketchers on 21 February 2012 when Gabi Campanario appeared on a local show promoting his book, The Art of Urban Sketching.  Right then and there I said to myself, "That's what I want to do".  That Sunday, 26 February, I attended my first Sketch Outing with the Seattle group and I've missed few since.

I had  just retired in August 2011.  Though I have a couple volunteer activities and lots of interests and hobbies, there was room for more.  Urban Sketching has brought me back to the practice of art and sketching that I enjoyed when I was young(er).  I had a some training and showed my art a little but after getting my first SLR camera in 1974, all my artistic expression went into photography.  Until that February in 2012.   It had been decades since I drew or painted and I have enjoyed renewing my skills.  !

I was born and raised in Michigan.  I’ve also lived & worked in England, Germany, Southern California and now Washington. I have a Masters Degree in Social Work and I’m a medical Social Worker with a past specialty in Oncology.  I've been married for 35 years.  My husband is a computer professional. 

I live in south King County but have found it's easier most days to get to Tacoma or Puyallup than through Seattle! 

Here is a recent sketch, done at Fort Nisqually.  I've recently begun combining my sketching with being a volunteer interpreter there.  

My Blog: Red Harp Arts
My flickr page:  RedHarp

 (May 26, 2015)


 "Eye" 5x7
scrachboard 2015
    I began my creative endeavors as a photographer in my teens. I went on to spend the majority of my career in photojournalism, advertising, publication and fine art. It built good habits of laborious rigor and studious devotion to carrying a camera where ever I went. Once the world went digital it was like asking an architect to become a landscaper so after 25 years I retired from being a photographer. It was then that I made a severe shift from a collector of "shots" to what felt like more of an engaged participant in life. As famous photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson once said. "Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing is a meditation."
Typical example of the many "working" sketchbooks I
I use simultaneously from day to day. 
Much like the "carry a camera wherever you go" motto of a photojournalist, I kept sketchbooks in abundance. I carried one wherever I went and drew everything I saw. Working only from life I was convinced that learning to draw would lead  me to advance in my art technique. While most of my friends thought me odd to draw all the time, I felt it was a necessity that I was not willing to sacrifice if I hoped to become a better artist. More importantly I was strengthening the relationship between eye, mind, heart and hand.
Burnesque Castle Germany
 5x7 graphite 2005
   As objects became easier to draw, my sketches began to morph more into scenes, like memories, to collect. When traveling, to sit and sketch something  was the most comprehensive way to absorb the environment's sights, smells, sounds and often meet the locals. For me, I would rather spend an after drawing at a cafe then seeing how many tourist destinations that I could check off a hitlist resulting in a handful of images that I would have no substance to support for any experience in visiting these places. This mindset carried over into my everyday life.
 1st sketch with Central
Park Sketch Group
Ballpoint pen 2009

 In 2009, when I lived in NYC, if I wasn't painting in the park with my pup then I was out with co-artists doing plein air,,, just to get out of the studio on the weekends. Spending so much time in the studio, working outdoors was like a vacation. I did short studies on the bus, during my lunch break... any down time I could before I finally joined my 1st "on site" drawing group, Central Park Sketchers.. A few years later when I left New York I got connected with my local plein air group but it wasn't quite the same as- sketching for half an hour, sharing your sketches, sketching another hour, sharing sketches... maybe it was the sharing but I missed my sketch group. I chatted with the local artists about going sketching together and was lucky to get one or two of them to join me every few weeks. For the most part, I went back to sketching alone.
1st USK Tacoma Sketch
Asian Pacific Cener
Watercolor 2013
   Before the Urban Sketchers Tacoma group even began, I met with the founder Frances Buckmaster. We swapped art ideas about community groups, made suggestions to one another about local sites and soon after she launched the group. Co facilitating the Penesula Art League's plein air group, I could not attend yet by fall I had become fascinated with enjoying the variety of other artists sketchbooks online. So when I finished my plein air group responsibilities in October, I went to my 1st outing in Nov. 2013. After sharing sketchbbooks, I learned that  this group was much like my NYC group and again I was able to enjoy the benefits of sharing sketchbooks- USK was a natural fit and I became an enthusiastic regular attendee. As time flew by, I was invited to share my passion for drawing with it's members as a writing correspondent on the blog. Being no stranger to sharing my support for the artist's sketchbook and the importance of drawing, I agreed... and the rest is history.
 Nissan Car interior 2014
4x5 shellac plate etching
    Although I am a retired photographer and don't work in the medium any longer, I do find the magic of image making through printmaking, painting and sketching. Like most artists much of my finished work has been made in the solidarity of a studio, Working outside the "4 walls" has been something that has led me to groups like Urban Sketching and Plein air. My on site sketch work includes pen &ink, graphite, charcoal, shellac plate etching, conte, ballpoint pen, scratchboard, oil paint, watercolor,,, to name a few. I enjoy experimenting with different mediums and playing with mixed media in my artwork. You may enjoy more of my sketches and artwork by visiting my personal blogs:

(June 24, 2015)

Beverly Choltco-Devlin

We live in a region rich with possibility for sketching, for experience, for inspiration, and for reflection.  Since making the radical move here two and a half years ago after 31 years in upstate NY, I am struck by surprising similarities between the two places; for me, the Pacific Northwest, unique, majestic and of a grand scale like few other places on the planet, somehow seems familiar to me.  This may seem sacrilege or a stretch to many, but I ask you to each consider my perspective.

The city of Tacoma, where I now work, has a temperament and authenticity akin to that of Utica, NY, where I worked for most of those 31 years. Tacoma and Utica, industrial cities, are each decidedly overshadowed by nearby Seattle and Syracuse, respectively, in terms of acclaim. But each also have so much to recommend them, include incredible natural spaces, a thriving artistic milieu and a caring unpretentious population.   And, looking east from each of those four cities, two major mountain ranges provide a strong and welcome counterpoint to urban life: here the majestic Cascades and in the east the venerable Adirondacks.   Additionally, my former home back east and my current home here were sited on the the brink of those wild places.

What has this to do with urban sketching, one may ask?  I feel home here in the Pacific Northwest. Though the dramatic move at first seemed as if I had dropped through a rabbit hole, I now sense a deep continuity in my life and art.  It is no accident that I am drawn in work and play and life to those spaces that both represent the excitement of the city and the grandeur of the mountains.

I often wonder where urban sketching ends and my love of the mountains and nature begins. I believe it doesn't matter all that much.   I appreciate that "urban sketching," while originating in an urban environment, is more about experiencing, recording and, most importantly, expressing life and place in situ and in context, rather than having to actually take place within the "city limits" or reflect entirely urban themes.

That being said, I offer here some recent sketches, all technically drawn within city limits, but each representing the natural world in some way.  I questioned whether the simple drawing done from 3600 feet above sea level in a hot air balloon over Woodinville qualified as an "urban sketch," but  decided that if we think of such political boundaries, a decidedly human invention, in three dimensions, it works.

I am still trying to decide if I will add color, but offer humbly here what I drew in the basket of that balloon for some brief minutes of  that exquisite hour. I am inclined to leave it in its state of immediacy as a primal representation of the excitement and awe I felt then, tempered with a teeny bit of fear. When I think of how terrified I was 20 years ago of flying, this simple little drawing gives me great joy! Each time I view it, I remember that I was floating through the amazing natural world of the sky that few get to experience, while relying solely upon a basket, some fabric, a propane torch and, ultimately, the trust I placed in the expertise of our pilot. The simultaneous view of the Cascades and Seattle and Woodinville and even Victoria was incredible.  While most assuredly not the best sketch I have ever done, this is one for which I feel great pride.  Such a sublime melding!

To an extent, this is what urban, and in fact, all sketching and artistic endeavors mean to me: i.e., the blending of human constructs, and the natural world that give us both joy in its pure state and, also, the resources with which we build our cities and the roads to the mountains, and the paper upon which we draw, and the computer we use to create these posts. Most importantly, sketching and drawing reflect the human experience, my own and that of others.   I have done many truly "urban" sketches (in that strict sense of the word) of buildings and architecture and denizens of the inner city, but, for today, I post images of those places that reflect the bridge between the wonderful worlds of city and the wild.


Daisy Abreu

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,

(Oct 8, 2016)

Pat Graham
Hi, my name is Pat Graham and I'm just getting my feet wet as a correspondent here on the blog. I've been a sketcher of some sort for all my life. I honestly can't remember a time when I wasn't drawing on backs of discarded paper in the waste basket at my grandparents home or in sketch books purchased from the local art supply store. Art instruction was offered in abundance in the public schools throughout my formative years and I also took semi private lessons on the side as a youngster. As a partially deaf child, being able to express myself through art was a saving grace! I can honestly say that, too, because it became my way of understanding the world around me. It was always my desire to earn a living using my artistic abilities in some form or fashion when I grew up, so I immersed myself in commercial art training after graduating HS and worked in that field for a number of years. On the side I also studied fine art and enjoyed doing commissioned portraiture.

Fast autoimmune disease started to interfere with my eyesight and I gave up art for a decade, at which time I was able to have a series of surgeries that helped restore some of my visual clarity. Of course, I picked my best friend, ART, back up again and took off running! Fine art and Urban Sketching have been my focus as of late and I'm enjoying myself completely. Getting together with the local sketching group offers a wide assortment of locations to meet up at, get to know other like minded folks and sometimes enjoy lunch, too, after we sketch. The laid back atmosphere allows for all levels of abilities to participate with ease - I love that attitude of inclusion.

I encourage anyone who would like to try their hand at drawing to join with us and give it a try! Once you get used to it, many find the process meditative and soothing. I always say that art puts me in a 'zone' like no other - one that I return to again and again eagerly.

Below, you'll find some of my works, sketching and fine art, created post eye surgery. I hope to meet you sometime!


Roy DeLeon

Yes. I drive through brutal traffic sometimes up to two hours on weekdays to join you folks. Because I feel da luv when I do what I do with you: Sketching.

In 1972, I migrated from the Philippines where I studied 'commercial art' or graphic design. And until 2015, I worked as a graphic designer for engineering firms. I retired in September 2015 to pursue what's been my first love: drawing and sketching. And to use and abuse and misuse all my still growing stash of art supplies before I die. Like, I didn't know I have 2 Windsor & Newton Series 7 #5 Kosinski brushes. They still have a price tag of $20 each. Amazon lists it at between $84-114!

So I was lucky to join the 4th West Coast Sketchcrawl and got introduced to a few of you. I even won a raffle prize from that tall gentle lady with white hair named Frances. At the event, I met Alison and Beverly. I even got to draw legend Frank Ching during the icebreaker.

I am also an oblate of St Benedict with St Placid Priory. That means I commit to incorporate the Rule of Benedict in my daily life. One favorite Benedictine motto is "that in all things, glorify Holy One." So this is another reason I retired: to use my sketching gifts to spread da Luv.

Therefore, my sketches are more than lines and colors of urban scenes. They are my prayers in the sense that prayer is being with the Sacred. So when I sketch, I "listen with the ear of my heart" (another Benedictine mantra) for answers to "What is the teaching here for me? How does this relate to my life today? What is the invitation?"

Then when I post my sketches, I accompany it with stories that the heart brings up and the blessings that come with it. I hope my sketch-stories will help heal, awaken and open hearts, and help us see each other as brothers and sisters.

Check out my facebook page if you're interested to see my posts while I'm working on my blog. Also, Paraclete Press published my first book in 2009, Praying With the Body: Bringing the Psalms to Life (Active Prayer Series)  I am working on a second book, tentatively titled, Drawing Everyday Blessings, based on my FB posts.

Had enough? Ok. Here are a few of recent sketches.

At Country Village, Bothell

Brew Cafe, Bothell

He owns and lives in that house surrounded by new condos and retail stores in downtown Bothell.
When he saw my post on the Bothell Community FB page, he offered to buy it. 

Now I have a few house portrait commissions which will go to buying more art supplies.
"Always We Begin Again." - another Benedictine mantra:

Thank you for letting me sketch with you.
"Life is short - Sketch!" - Roy's mantra


KaCe Whitacre

Kathryn Cecelia "KaCe" Whitacre
I was born in Eastern Washington the day after Christmas during a horrible cold snap that froze the gas line in my parent’s car. My family was of pioneer stock, my grandfather was born in Washington Territory in 1886. I grew up as an Air Force dependent, living on Fairchild AFB, WA, Naha, Okinawa, Charleston, SC, Travis AFB, CA, & Elmondorf AFB, AK. I have one younger sister, Pam; a loving husband, Jim and a lovely daughter, Karyn. I am an artist. I like sumi painting, calligraphy, book arts and working with glass; I do wire work and bead work in jewelry and some sewn projects. I also enjoy sketching... because of Urban Sketchers/Tacoma.
My First Time with USkT 
My best friend, Peg, invited me to my first USk/Tacoma event in 2015. I have tried to make as many as possible. Then my cousin, Leith, challenged me to do 30 days of art. So I did. and I began to draw with purpose and to carve out time for doing it. Everyone in Urban Sketchers has their own unique style and I’m no different. I tried to be a minimalist, but you can see from my first sketch I was more detail oriented. So I took October of 2017 to come to accept that my style is detail and I’ll not be a more spontaneous sketcher. This realization came from discussions with other USk/T members and my friends. I needed to listen to who I am. It is a good thing to have people who will help you with these “Ah-Ha” Moments in your life. 


I attended two high schools both out of Washington. Then I came back here for college at Western in Bellingham. I studied Education and my major was languages until I walked through the Industrial Arts building. There I found my true calling. I love working with my hands and designing practical things. My father gave me this love of working with my hands by teaching me to use his table saw at 9 and how to tie flies at 10. When I was about 11 he helped me get into an architectural drawing class— making me my T-square and drawing board. I was taught by him that I can do or be anyting and so I do many things that are not typical for women. I’ve driven 18 wheelers, flame throwing tank, and taught juniot high general shop in Seattle’s John Marshall (no longer a school). Today I do wiring, plumbing, tile laying, wood floors and all manner of construction for our rentals. (I’m also an associate member of the NW Land Surveyors Association in Bellingham.

I have always drawn, but don’t know why. I’ve never really pondered that question but since I could hold a pencil, I’ve drawn. I have books that I’ve drawn in over the years. Below are two sketches from 1997 and 2007. Until I found USk/T I didn’t really think about others who drew. Now I know there is a whole cadre of like minded artists who capture what they see honestly and share their work. That is what I indend to do here. As an artist I have worked in warm glass (fusing), and sandblasting glass, calligraphy, Japanese sumi-e, bookbinding, bead work and wire worked jewelry, watercolor and printmaking. I may mention some of these from time to time, but Urban Sketching will be my focus here. I write about my art on FB at A2Z Studio. You are welcome to follow me there. I’m working on a wordpress website, but it is aways off. I love learning, and hope to learn much by posting here. You are always welcome to contact me. BTW, I go by KaCe short for my first and middle name. Pronounced KC.

A winding road in Scotland with trees lining roadway and a stone bridge over a creek.
On our way to St. Andrews Golf Course in Scotland 1997
Riding the express bus to Seattle to see a cousin. 2007.

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