Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dungeness Spit

The Heron was drawn on the same trip. He was originally sitting on a log outside our timeshare in Victoria Harbour. Since this sketch lacked a focal point I took license.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Stalking it's prey.....

A lot of the farm land near Seattle (with few exceptions) has been paved over with industrial parks and warehouses. This morning I discovered a resting bulldozer after it had carved a new entrance onto one of those remaining fields with the farm sitting in the background. I picture Robert Duvall in a military uniform overseeing the site, " I love the smell of diesel in the morning, it smells"

Monday, December 7, 2009

Seattle Urban Sketchers on Local NPR Station KPLU

This link is to the sound bite KPLU did on Gabi and the Urban Sketchers during the last SketchCrawl at Volunteer Park.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Saltwater State Park - Des Moines, WA

This was done on a warm June afternoon at Saltwater State Park near Des Moines, WA. A rare occasion that I had the will power not to embellish with ink.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

World Wide SketchCrawl - Volunteer Park, Seattle

Did you ever notice how easy it is to get up in the morning for an activity you really enjoy. For me our Urban Sketchers get togethers are one of those events that I effortlessly rise for. We met on this cold and cloudy day at the Conservatory in Volunteer Park. When we were let in you are instantly warmed by the climate needed to preserve the tropical and desert plant life. OK, it was cold, but not that cold (40 degrees) I'm just a cold weather wimp.......

I did a couple of outdoor sketches that lacked any inspiration as soon as my fingers went numb. We had a great turnout (more than twelve) and joined by a reporter Florangela Davila from KPLU who interviewed most of us and will be airing a story about the Urban Sketchers sometime after Thanksgiving.

In a mad scramble (my time management sucked today...) and with help from fellow sketcher Tim Taylor, I met Tamra and Kiersten at the Key Arena to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert. The last sketch was done during the post-concert dinner at Fuller's (Pike Place Market) on the paper table covering of a gentleman eating dinner by himself and enjoying a good book.

A fun, long day...need to remind myself not to take it for granted.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Could Be The Dumbest Thing I've Ever Done

I'm putting down hardwood bamboo flooring in our house and was at the point of framing the fireplace hearth, this meant ripping floor pieces the long way on the table saw. Instead of a normal table saw we have a ShopSmith which gives you the option of using the lathe, joiner or the now dreaded table saw. Unlike a normal table saw, the blade under the cutting surface is exposed and after cutting the wood I reached under the table to turn off the saw and stuck hand into the running blade. As luck would have it, I just mangled the end of the ring finger of my drawing hand, it could have and should have been much worse.........

Down Time

We been dealing with a lack of Internet access and cable TV, seems our 23 year old cable connections no longer support the new technology. So off to the library to use their wi-fi and sketch. Comcast is in trouble, we are starting to get used to life sans cable....

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dad's 80th Birthday Celebration

With a lot of help from friends and family, Dad's 80th birthday celebration turned out to be a fun day of basketball and food. Reporters from a number of papers showed up to cover the event, the following link is to the Seattle Times article written about Pete still playing basketball at the age of 80. My thanks to all who participated/attended and donated to the Maple Valley Food Bank, you made his 80th a very special day.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sims Cabin View

It was very cold and any sketching involved trips back to the cabin to get circulation back into the fingers.

Mt. Bonaparte - Sketchers on the Roof

The Sims Cabin

It's a five and a half hour drive to the Northeast part Washington where Scott's cabin sits on a ridge high above the valley floor that Highway 20 wanders through (connecting Republic to Tonasket). Our mission this weekend was to roof the new shed/restroom building, a task none of us has any experience doing.....The final product was acceptable (just don't look too close).

We found lots of tracks near the cabin - bear, deer, cow and SUV....but only came across a few deer using Scott's property as a refuge during hunting season. It was bitterly cold at night and mornings, snow is coming and soon this area will be completely snowbound for the winter.

What ever the hardships, the view and serenity is so completely relaxing.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Meeting Alton Brown

Food Network celebrity Alton Brown came to Seattle to promote his new book 'Good Eats The Early Years' and by buying the book, I got two tickets to see him talk about it and get it signed by the author.

Mr. Brown didn't disappoint, his hour of discourse and Q & A was hugely entertaining (comedy club funny...) and no one seem to mind the wait to meet the author and get their book signed. Brown has lost fifty pounds over the last six months and an upcoming show will deal with that change.
It takes something special for me to miss Friday Night Basketball, yet, this was an worthy reason to miss one of my favorite activities.
The sketch above includes an onion and four of my favorite things in the kitchen, a mortar and pestle, hot sauce, wasabi and my Henckels chef's knife.
Weird fact - we share the same birthday (July 30th) For a Foodie - this was a good day.........

Wild River - October Seattle Urban Sketch Crawl

This month's sketch crawl took place at Seattle Center. This sketch was done looking at Paul Allen's EMP (with the Fun Forest ride Wild River in the foreground). No rain today.....

Monday, October 5, 2009

McCoy's Firehouse Pub

This pub was a firehouse and is decorated with all sorts of fire equipment from the past, some antique, some recent. Tamra and I stopped here during the October Art Walk and enjoyed a libation and some nourishment before heading back out to the galleries and studios.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Pioneer Square Pergola and Totem Pole

Took the bus into Seattle early to sketch before the Art Walk. It is my goal to loosen up a lot with my sketches - for one thing, it's getting colder! Who wants to stand there that long?

- In 1889 local businessmen returned to Seattle from a trip to Alaska with a Tlingit totem pole and gave the Puget Sound it's first landmark. In 1909 an iron pergola was built as a shelter over an underground restroom, known as "the finest underground restroom in the United States" (so we got that going for us...). The Pergola and the totem pole still stand, along with a bust of Chief Seattle. This tiny park is at the heart of Seattle's historical district. - Enjoying Seattle's Parks by Brandt Morgan

Bart Smith's Times Article - A journey of thousands of steps

This Seattle Times article is about a good friend's college roommate and his quest to hike all of the National Scenic Trails in the US. Bart has gone on to become an accomplished photographer with at least one published coffee table book to his credit.
Bart's website is eye candy and worth the visit.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Restricted Clearance

This sketch was done underneath Highway 405 looking through a railroad trestle at the skate park in downtown Renton. I had walked from Maplewood Golf Course to Renton on the Cedar River Trail.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Puyallup Fair

Tamra and I spent the morning at the Fair. Not much changes and if you go every year and I think you run the risk of losing the excitement going to the fair should create. We were given exhibitor passes and were able to get in early in the morning without the public, a completely different world.....calm before the storm.

We walked into a livestock barn and discovered a whole pen of Sheep Superheros - masked and caped (body blanket) animals who seem intent on concealing their identity. I learned later that the owners who show these animals deck them out in these outfits to keep them clean.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Waiting for Coffee

Told my wife I was just running down to get us coffee, sat down to do this sketch and got back an hour and a half later. Told her it was a really long line....she knows better. If I do sketch at a strip mall near our housing development, am I just a suburban sketcher?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Our good friends Tom and Jackie live just off the Ferry dock on Anderson Island in the South Puget Sound. Through a gap in the trees, you look over the walkon parking lot and across the water lies McNeil Island Penitentiary, former home of Charles Manson ('61-'66) and Robert Stroud (The Bird Man of Alcatraz). The second sketch is from their balcony looking East over the Sound toward Dupont and Steilacoom.

SketchCrawl - Ballard Locks

Ok, we were due for a rainy SketchCrawl. This was drawn from the middle of the locks looking West toward Elliott Bay. The rain held off till I was putting in the sky, I kind a liked the salt effect rain had on the sketch. I was amazed at how many times the bridge went up and down - Lot's of boats going to the UW/USC game....and at least three long freight trains.
Pretty good sketch crowd for a rainy day and enjoyed the lunch discussion (about all things sketching) at the Lockspot Cafe with Tim, JP, Susan and Gabi.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Catanzaros Produce

Drawing at Pike Place Market. It was so busy it was tough to find a spot to sketch that wasn't in someone's way.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fremont / Gas Works Park

This was an odd day of sketching. I came into town to be part of the Seattle Plein Aire painting event and was befriended sometime around noon by an intoxicated self admitted drug addict who calls Gas Works Park his home (he lives in one of the old industrial structures that make up the park). The work on my second sketch virtually came to a halt as he realized I was a captive audience (pack, chair, and easel - I wasn't going anywhere) and lectured Hopper-esk (Dennis not Edward) to me for most of the afternoon.

I was trying to be nice and didn't tell this guy to go away, but I should have - he caught me completely off guard when he wet his fingers with tears (he was recalling a family tragedy then walked over and started painting on my sketch with his wet fingers....then he grabbed the sketch
book and walked away with it to a table of associates he had been drinking with earlier. I didn't get the book back until I gave him a pen to do a drawing with. I was trying to be diplomatic and violence isn't my style (and did I really want to mix it up with a drug addict?).

I pulled out an half used inexpensive watercolor tablet and exchanged it for my sketchbook, told him to keep the tablet and the pen....He told me he was going to do a drawing for me and showed me where I could find it the next time I came back to the park. Strange days.....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Jet City Tree

This great big tree grows out from underneath the gas pump island - how long does that take? Tamra and I had a late night and early morning so we snuck off to Jet City for a coffee and a sketch.

Monday, September 7, 2009

City Frame

It was a grey gloomy day, so I tracked down some local colorful buildings to generate some interest. City Frame is located in downtown Kent (Seattle area). I found a picnic table across the street and though it didn't rain on me I did have to contend with the occasional SUV parking in front of me.

Friday, September 4, 2009

It's just a lean to the left.....

Trattoria Mitchelli's, an Italian restaurant in Pioneer Square has been there for some 30 years and sadly I've read that it will be closing it's doors soon. This breaks my heart, for it was a good place for a bowl of pasta and strong cup of European coffee. Taught our daughter how to slurp noodles there.....

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Laundry Mat

A very interesting culture all to itself - life at a laundry mat. There are the cagey veterans, the clueless newbies and those of us who fall somewhere in-between. There are the people who talk to everyone (whether they are listening or not) and those who don't say a word (but don't miss a word that is being said) and everyone else in-between. There's the mom with four small children and enough laundry in the mini van to bring the front wheels off the ground or the single traveler doing his backpack full of laundry and those of us who fall in-between....

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hot Zone - Jet City Revisited

This is the shelf above the barista's head at Jet City Espresso. A rusty old tuba, odd collection of cups, etch-a-sketch, a Bob Marley & the Wailers album and a base drum. Sat here on a Sunday morning sketching, drinking coffee and listening to A Prairie Home Companion...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Seattle Urban Sketchers - Gas Works

Gorgeous day and a sketch celebrity joins us for our monthly get together at a Seattle site. Thomas Thorspecken (seated in front with Gabi) is an outstanding artist from Orlando visiting the Seattle area with his wife. Great fun. Check out Thor's Blog, he has posted some great sketches of their recent travels around the Pacific Northwest.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I can't drive past old (vintage) cars and trucks without wanting to stop and get out the sketchbook. This was one of those times when I had the time to sketch. This old guy (sans engine) has literately been put out to pasture...Remind me not to lose my engine.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Gas Works Park w/ Seattle Urban Sketchers

Lived in the Seattle area all my life and had never been to Gas Works Park. What a great place to draw! Had a great time with the group and seeing the work created this morning. A fantastic learning experience, to see how others visualize and put to paper some amazing sketches.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I told myself I shouldn't start drawing the UPS truck because it's bound to pull away at any minute. I lucked out, the driver must have been taking a break, a long break......

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Renton Boeing Plant/Lake Washington Canoe & Kayak

The Renton Boeing Plant sits right on the South end of Lake Washington. There is a fishing and recreation pier on the lake that parallels the aircraft plant. You can draw or fish and listen to Rosie the Riveter build airplanes. The fisherman at the end of the pier didn't move for the longest time, it was a tangled line or taking a nap...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Parenting 101

This picture is a few years old now. Notice the deep concentration on the father's face as he has no idea his child is playing in a fast moving stream.......I'll be right there, I gotta capture the light.....

In The News...

I've often heard the term "An isolated hot spot" mentioned by newsanchors describing some sort of conflict around the world, yet this was the image that came to mind.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Jet City Revisited

My panic over the demise of Jet City Espresso was premature. Seems the bad economy has put the breaks on the condo project that would have replaced this shrine to Fred Sanford and packrats worldwide. It started raining while drawing this sketch and that is a good thing. I'm a native of the Puget Sound and need a good downpour every once in a while or I get a little cranky. It hasn't really rained here since May 19th.....

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Jet City Espresso

I walked into this place a couple of weeks ago and my mouth fell open. It's an old gas station/garage now full of antiques and kitsch (I mean full!) inside and out, most arranged better than any still life I could have come up with (there are years worth of subjects to draw). Yesterday I made my way there for some sketching and a coffee.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Seahurst Park

Beach sketching on Puget Sound south of Seattle with Eileen Vanbronkhorst. Trying to get comfortable with using both pages of the sketchbook. Definitely more freedom.

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