Monday, January 25, 2021

Mystery Tent


Car sketching again this morning. I stopped at my PO Box at the Post Office in the mall. I noticed this tent. Many of these are used as "outdoor" seating for restaurants but this one is empty and far away from any of the mall facilities. It just occurs to me that perhaps it's going to be a mass vaccination or testing site? The interesting brown building in the distance is a parking garage.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

USk Talks challenge

 Fortunately, I awoke early this morning and was able to listen to the YouTube Live USk Talks. Season 2 has begun and will be live every Sunday at 7am Pacific time but it can be watched anytime later on Urban Sketcher's YouTube channel.

Two organizers for USk Paris were interviewed. Since they are back in lock down, the sketching challenge issued was "Show us what you see with direct painting, and add character with window frames too". Well I forgot the part about direct painting and used my usual ink and wash style. Oh well.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Tacoma Library Show

Sketch by Mark Ryan/Tacoma Public Library

From Correspondent Beverly Choltco-Devlin

We hope everyone got a chance to see the Urban Sketchers-Tacoma exhibit at Tacoma Public Library last winter (until March 14, 2020).  Then COVID happened. This past fall we moved the exhibit to our Handforth Virtual Gallery. We hope you caught it!

We had a successful virtual exhibit as well. In addition, in partnership with Tacoma Public Library we offered an Ink Sketching and Cross-Hatching workshop online with Tacoma Urban Sketcher, Mark Ryan, that was extremely well-received. (See his amazing sketch above from the Library's second floor done at one of our outings.)

Which brings me to this news. For a variety of reasons, largely related to the pandemic and the budgetary issues facing the Library and the City of Tacoma, I have chosen to retire from the library effective January 1, 2021. This means so will no longer be the liaison between the Library and Urban Sketchers-Tacoma. It is withgreat sadness that I end my career as a librarian and with great delight that I will be able to devote more time to my art. 

I have especially enjoyed the great partnership the Library has shared with all of us Urban Sketchers. We have had several in-person sketch outings and 3 exhibits at the library over the years. But now is the time for me to move on. The great news is I will now have more time for sketching and attending the outings when we are able to resume them. 

One final important point: If you had sketches in the exhibit from January to March and they are still at the library, please contact me via email at bcholtcodevlin ( to make arrangements to pick them up from the library. 

Ideally, if you could pick them up in the next week and a half that would be great, but if not we can make other arrangements after the first of the year. 

I wish you all a happy holiday season and cannot wait to sketch with you all again. 


Friday, December 18, 2020

Google Group


 Normally we don't include business items here on the blog but this problem warrants a mention.

Our apologies for those who have tried to join the Urban Sketchers Tacoma Google Group recently. See box in right margin. We  have just realized the function seems to be broken.  You may email mkbuike at (making the change to an "@" sign) to request I add you directly from my end.  

This Google mail group is how we communicate with our members.  Members may also initiate messages.  Despite the "join" function being broken, the email group still works. 

Unfortunately, the "contact us" link is broken, also, and has been removed from the right margin.

--Kate Buike

Image inserted for interest:  it's not a computer, it's a microfilm reader, but you get the idea. 

Monday, November 30, 2020

Double Double-takes


I found two oddball subjects to sketch today. After a rainy and blustery night and morning, it cleared for the afternoon. It's perfect sketching-from-the-car weather.

My first subject was going to be a new sculpture in central Renton. However, there is still so much street construction that I couldn't get a good place to park for a view of it.

As I drove back out of the central part of town, I spotted this odd little vehicle. I turned right back around to park to sketch it. The label on the back said . And there was a symbol on a round door at the back that indicated it was electric.

When I went to the website, it resolved to a different URL which is a mobility scooter company. This little guy is called a "mini-car mobility scooter".

Next I drove to a neighborhood near my home where, while on my way to an earlier errand, I did a double take on this little tree. It's a highly pruned stubby little tree or bush that's desperately trying to lend some holiday cheer with these large bulbs.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Glowing FFT


"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Space Shuttle". The Museum of Flight's Space Shuttle Full Fuselage Trainer has a glowing red nose. When I read about it on their social media, I just had to scoot right over to see and sketch it.

They wrote, "Santa's asked us for a little help delivering presents this year, so like magic, our Space Shuttle Trainer became
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Shuttle
Had a very shiny nose
And if you ever saw it
You would even say it glows!”
You can spot his shiny red nose through the window of our Space Gallery from 4PM-7AM daiy!"

I parked across the street to sketch from the car.  I started to rain hard enough that it was difficult to see in the growing darkness. 

Due to new WA state coronavirus restrictions, the Museum is again closed to the public.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

August/September travel sketches revisited

One thing I have come to appreciate during this Covid Pandemic lock down are my travel journal sketch books. Since January 2001 I have filled 85 Moleskine and Pantelic watercolor journals with images of my travels at home and abroad. Thanks largely to Urban Sketcher outings, artist residencies, teaching, travel in and about the northwest and abroad coupled with a passion for just plain sketching, I've managed to fill about 4.5 journals a year for the past 19 years. This year has certainly been an exception to that average. If I have learned anything from going back through my journals and recalling the things and places I've sketched over the years, it's how rich and rewarding my life is because I took the time to make record of what really moved me in that place at that moment in time. Here are some of the images  selected from past travels in August and September.