Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pacific Science Center

On a rare driving trip into Seattle (we were a large group) with family to see the Harry Potter Exhibit at the Pacific Science Center. The show was pretty slick, though as I noted, would have been too expensive (for what you experienced) if paying the non-member price. We got there an hour early which gave me time to sketch in the warmth of one of the other exhibits.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Urban Sketch Gathering - December

Pacific Place was decked out for the holiday season, they also had a fundraiser going on where artists embellished the Nutcracker theme with the large pieces to be sold at auction. The sketch above is of Jimmy H the nutcracker (I didn't check to see who the artist was).

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

2010 Ryan Christmas Card

Since my wife, 81 year old father and I are gymrats and get together every week to play hoops, this seemed like an appropriate card for the season.

Happy Holidays everyone.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Urban Sketch Gathering - November

The Seattle Urban sketchers got together at Pike Place Market on a very cold November Sunday Morning. Decided to sketch the entertainment, the guy with the guitar was very good, the guy with the accordion, I couldn't hear (drew him from across the street) and not quite sure what kind of costume the dog was wearing - statue of Liberty maybe..... Pen and ink, watercolor.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Beacon Hill Park, Victoria, BC

On a walkabout exploring Victoria, I came across Beacon Hill Park. What a beautiful place.....I sat down and sketched near one of the many ponds in the park.

Monday, August 30, 2010

BC War Memorial

My Ryan ancestors arrived here in the states via Canada from Ireland. Tamra through her genealogy efforts discovered a few years ago that I had a great uncle who served in the Canadian Military during World War 1 where he was killed in action shortly after arriving in France.

Holland Point, Victoria, BC

This was done on a great walk along the south (?) beaches of Victoria. Holland Point is a historical site of one the earliest settlements of the area. It was a beautiful day (as was most of the week) and sneaky warm with a breezy. Woke up the next day with a noticeable burn.....

Butchart Gardens

After finishing up school for the summer, Tamra, Kiersten and I spent last week at a Worldmark time share on the inner harbour of Victoria. A trip to Butchart Gardens was a must during this beautiful week of weather and was only jeopardized by a can of spray on sun-tan lotion going off in my art bag. A river of liquid lotion ended up on the floor of the public transit bus and getting off as quickly as possible to try and salvage sketchbooks and supplies, I found myself a couple miles from the condo and soaked down the front with lotion - yes, it looked bad.

I made it back for a change of clothes and cleaned up the art gear (the sketchbooks were spared) and got to Butchart Gardens with enough time to do four sketches before heading back to town to meet up with the girls.
If you don't like an audience while you sketch, the Gardens is not the place for you. People will get up close and stay there..... Some will like your work, some will be indifferent, and some will seem a little pissed that you made them interested enough to stop, but weren't creating anything worth stopping for.

Nature reclaiming Grandpa's car

A few weeks ago we took a road trip to Eugene, OR for a family reunion. Staying with Tamra's Aunt Cathy and Uncle Chuck on their farm just outside of city limits. This place offers up almost as many sketching subjects as Jet City Espresso and this sketch done in the 'Marty' book is of Grandpa's Lincoln (?) I never did go over and find out. Mother Nature is busy taking back that particular spot.

Monday, August 2, 2010

World Wide SketchCrawl #28 (7/31) - Lake View Cemetery

A cold and grey Saturday in Seattle was the background for our sketchcrawl at Lake View Cemetery (next to Volunteer Park). Met up with Tim Taylor, David Hingtgen, Allison and Sara and we spent just under three hours sketching the monuments and trees of this cemetery founded in 1872.

Yes, I did come across Bruce and Brandon Lee's Memorial site. Lots of flowers and well wishers gathered around.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Seattle Sketchers July Gathering

The Seattle Urban Sketchers got together on the Waterfront Saturday, starting out at the Bell St. Pier and getting back together at Anthony's Fish Bar for lunch. We had another great turnout (maybe 12-14) and cloudless skies to boot. Marty Bauer and I walked south and sketched near the Seattle Aquarium. Again the appeal of the 'not so perfect' industrial crane and barge moored at the pier seemed to call louder than the sailboats.

This is the last sketch in sketchbook #27. There is always a slight tinge of sadness when you put a sketchbook in the storage box, setting aside a constant companion.....

Ah, well enough of that sentimental crap, where's the new book..........

Pioneer Square Alley Door

Sketched this just west of the J & M Cafe. There is something about the 'not so perfect' part of the city that appeals to me. Pen & ink in a Moleskine.

Seattle Center-EMP and Amos Lee

What a beautiful day, now I'm embarrassed with all the whining I did during the 'grey period' (Winter and Spring '10). Tamra and I Metro'd into the Center to see Amos Lee in concert at the Amphitheater. Getting there a little early (yes, I was excited to see him play again), Tamra had time to read and I to finish this sketch started back when the crane was still there.

Always found it hard to draw
Frank Gehry's EMP, but then again, how could they tell if I got it wrong? This is drawn almost at the base of the Space Needle looking north. Pen/ink and watercolor in a moleskine.

And yes, Amos Lee and the Greennote benefit concert were outstanding.......

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A great new sketchbook!

A huge thanks goes out to my friend Marty Bauer who hand made me a beautiful leather bound sketchbook complete with sturdy watercolor and fountain pen friendly paper. This is a sweet book to sketch in and it seemed logical that a 'Jet City' sketch be the first. The horse is from a child's rocker.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Campus Sketch - The Mac Lab

Getting to class a little early provides the opportunity to sit and sketch. This is looking at the 'Mac' Lab where I take my two software classes this summer.

Fountain pen with water soluble ink, and watercolor in a Moleskine.

Back to School

Though I was dreading going back to school and being the 'really old guy' in class, I have discovered that I'm one of many really old people that have gone back to school. Homework has definitely cut back the amount of hours I spend sketching. This sketch was done on the first day of Summer Quarter looking West toward Vashon Island. This really is a beautiful campus, sitting on a hillside above Des Moines and overlooking the Puget Sound (that sketch will come soon).
Pen and ink, watercolor in a moleskine.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Went back to school this Summer, this and a resume were the first assignment.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

King Street Station from Caffe Vita

The back of a billboard isn't glamorous, but it did seem to frame the station tower.... Caffe Vita can be found in the Tashiro Kaplan Artists Lofts building just East of Pioneer Square. With an abundance of picture windows and a second story loft, it's a great place to sit and sketch. This was done on (what is now way too common) a dark and gloomy Saturday morning after I caught the bus into town early. There is a calm about Seattle this time of the week, without the rush to work and most of it's residents still in their robes - or in this part of Pioneer Square, sleeping bags. There but for the grace of good fortune, go I.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Merchants Cafe/The Back Door - Seattle

Merchants Cafe is Seattle's longest running continually open restaurant, there is a grand wooden bar and the typical grub and brews on tap. A trip to the restroom is a treacherous adventure downstairs and I would also consider this a sobriety test, if they don't make it back from the john, it wasn't meant to be......The happy hour menu offers up a pleasant surprise - for $3 you seem to get a full sized entree, not a Mini-Me version of your favorite burger. This image is of the backdoor and just a glimpse of the bar. Not sure where this door goes, an alley maybe? Does the stained glass at the top suggest that it had a grander purpose in the past?

Jules Maes Saloon - Georgetown/Seattle

There is nothing fancy about Jules Maes, in fact it probably resembles what a real saloon might have been like in Seattle's infancy. They do have a big screen TV but you have to go find it in one of the back rooms, which is always an adventure because the floors rise and fall to different levels depending on what part of the building your trying to navigate. Consider it a sobriety test.......The food's darn good, a step up from pub grub and the friendly staff serves up a healthy pint of 9lb. Porter from the Georgetown Brewing Co. (my new favorite dark brew).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Jet City West From the Island

This sketch was done looking West from Jet City Espresso (Renton) and incorporates the plant life that is coming into bloom as well as the vegetation that is flourishing in the old time washing machine. The wrought iron gates wired to the old gas station island makes an interesting pattern and challenge to draw. This was one of the few sunny days this spring in the Seattle area, fear not, by late afternoon it was pouring again.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Terrible Beauty - Renton, WA

The Irish pub in Renton known as 'A Terrible Beauty' (from 'Easter' a William Butler Yeats poem) has gone through a number of names and owners until getting it right this time. Though the outside of the building is one of the ugliest things ever designed, the inside takes you straight to Limerick and you won't go wrong ordering from the kitchen - both Irish and NW fare done well. The staff is friendly and it is not unusual to find a musician or two playing next to the fireplace on a Sunday afternoon. I called this sketch a 'Family Portrait' for the way they are all lined up together. This was a multi-visit effort (or just an excuse to go back)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Jet City Hats

This was an attempt to go bolder in color. Much more practice is needed.

Folklife Festival - Seattle

I've been going to the Folklife Festival for almost 30 years and over time it really hasn't changed much (a good thing I think). It has a tendency to get very crowded mid-afternoon even when it's raining. It's a celebration of music, cultures and many different lifestyles and has yet to disappoint when it comes to people watching and sketching.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

World Wide SketchCrawl - Georgetown

Georgetown, just south of downtown Seattle offers a lot of subjects for sketchers to draw. I always enjoy the gatherings of sketching groups in town (Seattle Plein Air, Urban Sketchers, SketchCrawl and Sketch Pistols). Lunch was had at Jules Maes Saloon, after which everyone passed around the mornings creativity for the group to enjoy and learn from.

Lect's Soup Stop

This tiny walk up soup place with a stock pot on the roof, sits just off Airport Way in an industrial area of Georgetown. At first I thought it must be difficult (because of it's location) to be successful, but as I sat across the street to draw it, car after car pulled up to pick up phone in orders. Obviously the food must be good, is this where the Soup Nazi (Seinfeld) ended up?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Waiting for the #157

After dropping Kiersten off at school I stopped at a local coffee house and sketched the bus stop outside. This guy really didn't look that sad or pathetic, sometimes the pen has a mind of it's own....

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Mexico Lindo Restaurant

This place in downtown Kent is celebrating it's 35th anniversary, I've eaten there a few times. Drew this from a newly discovered coffee shop near the Justice Center called Kona Kai Coffee. There's lot of room to spread out and sketch, Espn is always on the big screen and the back room has comfortable couches. Cool.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Library Dragon

This colorful guy supervises the children section of the library. I think the computers at our library get more use than the books......

Merchant Cafe

Seattle's oldest restaurant established in 1890 sits just south of the pergola and Pioneer Square. This was an Urban Sketchers get together. Great turnout and weather.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


I've been a long time fan of adventurously seasoned foods.......This chef is a kitschy wine bottle holder that has always held the favorite hot sauce of the month in the Ryan household.

Shopping Carts

I think it tells you a lot about a person's character by what they do with their shopping cart when they are done with it. I've seen people put a huge effort into getting their empty cart into the nearest flower bed as opposed to walking it over the the cart park.

Band Competition

I am so very proud of my daughter and her skills playing music (trumpet, flute and piano). recently her high school band participated in a competition in nearby Enumclaw.

Sleepwalking for coffee

I'm guessing she's just dropped the kids off at school......but was it the right school?

Hoop Series #3

Basketball hoops and courts come in all shapes and sizes, I've decided to combine my love of basketball and art by doing a series of interesting (to me) hoops that might have a story to go with them. This hoop is located in downtown Kent, WA and for years the ivy has grown over the backboard, the owners have always done a good job of trimming the growth so you can see the goal.

Dad's Herb Garden

We've been spending more time at the homestead while Dad is recuperating from a short illness. In recent years he turned a dairy trough into a raised herb garden off the kitchen door.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Relaxation 101

If I have learned anything from my cat, it is the ability to lounge.

Gumball Technician

Tamra gave me this gumball machine a while ago as a gift and it's normally filled with Jelly Bellys, however, it has developed a malfunction. Who do you call when your gumball machine breaks down?

Sketching at UW Campus

Sort of cold and wet, the Seattle Sketchers group got together Sunday at the University of Washington campus to try and capture the cherry blossoms and architecture.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Any Flavor With That?

First posting since the shoulder blowout. Tamra and I had a cup of coffee at the local SB.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Deluxe Junk/Fremont - unfinished

Unbelievably good weather and way too many subjects to draw - a sketcher's dream. I plan to make another trip here to put down color. Pigma pens and a 14x11" Canson watercolor field book.

Always enjoy the gatherings, looking forward to seeing everyone next month.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hungover Stuffed Animals

These two guys were sagging at a table in the Covington Library, their slouching posture suggested a late night of over indulgence. Reminiscent of some of our "Hockey Trips to Canada" to see the Canucks play.

Naturally, after I started drawing them a child came over and rearranged the entire scene - "Hey Kid, quit playing with the toys...."

I've gone back to using my fountain pen (with my newly learned technique for controlling line weight). It works better on watercolor paper than the Pigma Pens, the down side is the water-soluble ink, meaning no color wash. Always learning.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Aphrodite's Torso - SAM

After getting wet trying to sketch downtown I bussed over to SAM and did this sketch of Aphrodite's Torso. It was the Urban Sketchers assignment this week - Museums.

Time has been tough on Aphrodite, she's chipped, cracked and missing all limbs but still in better shape than I am and I haven't been around since the 2nd century B.C. (although it feels like it).

Chinese New Year - Seattle

Some of the hardiest Seattle Urban Sketchers and Seattle Plein Air group braved the weather to get together (briefly) on the 13th to sketch/paint in the International District. We met at covered tables outside Starbucks (just west of Uwajimaya, where this is drawn from).

I got down there early and started a larger sketch (from the children's park) on watercolor paper, but it will take a few more visits to finish.

The weather was wet and sort of cold, not a great day for sketching. We all decided we wouldn't try and get back together in the afternoon but would post what we had done on the sketcher's site.

After giving up on the weather I headed to SAM for some indoor sketching.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Online Coffee Company

Provided transportation for a friend to the Group Health Hospital in Seattle, while waiting we made our way to an internet cafe called The Online Coffee Co.. Wi-fi was free with our purchase of a slice of quiche and coffees (both were very good and cheap). Like libraries, people don't move much and make good drawing subjects. Just have to find the ones with character....or in this guy's case reading concerning news.....

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