Monday, September 17, 2012

Jack Block Park - Seattle

I think this is my favorite new place to sketch in Seattle. It has the obvious beautiful skyline view but also many opportunities to sketch industrial and decaying marine subjects that always interest me.  Jack Block Park (run by the Port of Seattle) isn't easy to find but worth the effort.

Jack Block was a former Port Commissioner and the site was a wood treatment plant and shipbuilding site that was so contaminated that it became a Superfund site cleaned up by the E.P.A. in 1994.

This sketch was pen and ink with a watercolor wash in a Moleskine sketchbook.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Artist on the Roof

The deck was supposed to be the second to the last project before putting the 500 Alvord townhouse on the market to lease. However, a funny thing happened when strolling on the roof the other day (ok, we went up there to snoop out a leak) and found a soft spot......

A really soft spot.....

 Upon further inspection......Damn.

We hired Dale Cosand to remodel the decks (on which he did an awesome job!). Here he took time to correct all the roof problems in a little over one day......takes me that long to create a to do list.

I'm in awe of someone with those kind of skills, he was the real artist on the roof today.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Albro and 13th - Georgetown (Seattle, WA)

This sketch almost never made it to the blog due to a 'senior moment' on my behalf. On a sketch trip to the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle, I left my Moleskine sketch book sitting on the outside ledge of a window sill of a home design store called Le' OBJECTSI didn't realize the book was missing until I went to scan this sketch. I lucked out that the owner of Le OBJECTS Tim De Clue had found the book and sent me a note letting me know he had it.

Very grateful to Tim for giving me the opportunity to get this book back, there are a number of sketches done recently I was very fond of.

This sketch is of the Ro Ro Tavern somewhere near Albro and 13th Ave. Right at the north end of Boeing Field.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Theater District, Tacoma WA

This sketch was started while participating in the Regional Urban Sketch Gathering in Tacoma. I chose to sit next to the Pantages Theater looking north across 9th Ave. to the triangle building that houses Tully's and other retail shops. This two page sketch took more than one trip to finish. Pen and ink with a watercolor wash in a Moleskine.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Nature kicking Detroit's butt....

A couple of years ago during a family reunion I did a sketch called 'Nature reclaiming Grandpa's car' and this sketch is a follow up done during this year's reunion at the Stolsig Ranch in Eugene, OR. Back then there was just one car being engulfed in blackberry bushes, two more have been added since and nature is taking no prisoners.....

Pen and ink with a watercolor wash in a Moleskine sketchbook.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dash Point, WA

Took a break from the rental to spend lunch time at Dash Point on Puget Sound just south of Seattle. Pen and ink in a 4"x4" Handbook Sketchbook.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Jefferson Park Grand Opening

The Beacon Hill community and the city of Seattle teamed up to create this beautiful new park next to the golf course and over what used to be a huge water reservoir. The Seattle Sketchers met up and sketched some of the opening ceremonies. 

Pen and ink with watercolor in a watercolor Moleskine.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Elk Heights, WA

My sister had access to a friend's cabin in Elk Heights, Washington (between Cle Elum and Ellensburg), it turned out to be a great opportunity to get some of the Ryan relatives from all over the state together for a one day reunion in central Washington. The cabin sits high on a bluff with a magnificent view looking northwest to the Cascades.

 I sketched this while listening to aunts and uncles reminisce about characters and hi-jinx they were involve with years ago....It was so good to see everyone, what a treat.

Watercolor in a watercolor Moleskine sketchbook. 

Second to the last Huge Rental Project

I'm sure that friends and family are tired of hearing me talk, complain, rant or whine about the rental property. We are just starting the second to the last major project - replacing the failed decks that look west over the city of Kent. Gone are the woeful rubberized leaky surfaces, soon to be replaced with 12" decorative tile. It has been fun tearing the place apart (the contractor starts Monday).

The last huge project? I gotta paint it..........Then I'm ready for some serious sketching and painting.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sketch from the Past...Sydney Harbor

This sketch was done from the Taronga Zoo just across the Sydney Harbor, we were watching a raptor presentation in a beautiful setting looking back a the city of Sydney and the opera house. We were in Australia because Tamra worked for a global computer software company concerned about the Y2K unknown, and she was there (Australia was one of the first countries to hit the new year) to be a troubleshooter in case things went didn't. Great trip, great people.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tully's before a Holiday Concert

Tamra, Kiersten and I went to the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West concert at Benaroya Hall (Seattle) last night. What an outstanding event with a huge variety of music (and free to the public). The sketches here were people and things I came across on my way into town. The other unexpected pleasure of the evening happened at Tully's when a gentleman sat down and started (with great skill) to play the grand piano that sits near the entrance.

Trying to do a watercolor Moleskine sketchbook without using pen and ink. We'll see.......

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Father's Day Sketching

My gift from my family was 'not' having to join them at the Seattle Symphony. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of the symphony, just not on Father's Day......Father's Day is for sketching. Thanks girls.

Recycling the Datsun

Parked just off the Dash Point Park parking lot, this rusty back half of a Datsun Pickup sits loaded with wood just off the beach. It kind a seemed out of place with all the well cared for homes that surround the area. It was interesting just the same.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lauren's Graduation Party - Lake Saint Clair

Our best friend's daughter just graduated from college and the event was celebrated with a party at her grandparent's place on Lake Saint Clair located just east of Olympia, Washington. Nothing could make a person feel older......Congratulations Lauren Sutton, we are very proud of you.

This was done at lake side with pen and ink and a watercolor wash.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

McNeil Island on the fly....

This sketch was done on the Anderson Island Ferry that passes McNeil Island and the penitentiary (I actually had to look up how to spell penitentiary....sheesh). Because this was done on a moving boat and time was limited, it kept me from overworking (and over thinking) the subject. Just glad it was a forty year old ferry with three guys downstairs peddling as fast as they can.

Sketched in a large Strathmore recycled paper sketchbook in ink with a watercolor wash.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Flat Tire? Where's the reset button?

I can't remember the last time I had a flat tire, especially in the Mazda work truck that I bought new in '86. Ok this was embarrassing, I didn't even know how to lower the spare from under the truck bed. Turns out there is a hole in the back of the pickup by the licence plate you stick the crank in, lowering it until you can crawl under the bed and drag out the tire. Did I mention the spare had been there since 1986....yeah it was flat too.
Now in this day of cellular communication you would think that a two flat problem could easily be resolved with a phone call, that is unless you have T-Mobile and are stranded east of Maple Valley, and area that gets as much cell service as the dark side of the moon......Time for a walk.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Canyon Sketch - Bend, Oregon

Painted this small watercolor on a past trip to The Eagle Crest Resort in Bend, Oregon. Coming across this makes me long for a sketch trip of any sort.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Fin Project - Urban Sketcher's Gathering

I came across this art installation at the eastern tip of Magnuson Park. Made from de-commissioned nuclear submarines these stabilizers are supposed to represent a pod of orca whales. This was also an Urban Sketchers gathering and despite the rainy grey day we had a great turnout.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Test.....

Struggling to keep my eyes open at a Youth Symphony Concert (no Kiersten wasn't playing) and my wife let me leave at intermission to sketch at the coffee shop next door. It didn't dawn on me until later that she might have been testing me by giving me the option to skip the second half of the performance....Tacoma has a lot of the Theater District torn up for road improvement so there are lot of big equipment parked on the streets.

Pen and ink with a watercolor wash in the Molskine.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Gone but not forgotten....

My favorite sketching destination Jet City Espresso was forced to close their doors with the landlords refusing to renew their lease. Gone are my favorites like the old washing machine doubling as a planter, the vintage marquee 'OPEN' sign and all of the nick knacks inside. Nothing is as sure as change, seems to be a lot of change lately......This sketch was done in 2010 in a seldom used sketchbook. Pen and ink with a watercolor wash.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sketched looking down through the building girders to 4th Ave. Very similar to my sketch from last year. They let us in an hour before the public to sketch the building, thing is, I think it's the public sitting around and reading in the library that is the most interesting to sketch. Glad to see such a huge turnout for both the Sketcher's event and Gabi's book talk. Very cool. The second scan was done in a small sketchbook during Gabi's talk.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Urban Sketchers at Stimson-Green Mansion - Seattle

This sketch is from the February Seattle Sketcher's Gathering at the Stimson-Green mansion. The building is beautiful inside and out and yet I chose to sketch the pathway between the mansion and staff quarters. Sometimes I look back at creative decisions and scratch my head....

A touch of watercolor, pen and ink in a watercolor moleskine.

Seattle Triptych

I've started to mix sketch scenes together, mostly out of frugality - watercolor moleskines are kinda pricy. An interesting musician that plays in my daughter's jazz group with a background consisting of a window display in downtown Seattle. Not comfortable with the fact that I placed a homeless guy selling newspaper so close to a young girl playing the flute. The last scene is on the #150 going to Seattle from Kent. Though I didn't represent it well, the big guy in the middle had this wild flowing hair topped with a fur hunters cap.....drawing on a moving vehicle is tough for me - I turn a little green.

Pen and ink with a watercolor wash in a watercolor Moleskine .

Thursday, March 29, 2012

An Urban Poet in the Irish Country Side

Good stuff from an Irishman who goes by the pen name of DaithiDublin on

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Coffee Shop Sketches

Kiersten had a rare weeknight rehearsal in prep for last Saturday's Tacoma Young Artists Orchestra concert. It gave me the opportunity to settle in at a Tully's across the street and sketch.

These two quick sketches were done in fountain pen with sepia tone ink and shaded with a water wash.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sketching on the set of New Day (TV)

I was amazed at how nervous I got when an assistant producer announced to the audience that they would be filming what ever we had sketched during the show (as an ending to Gabi's interview about his new book). How funny that the normal activity of sketching became almost impossible because my hand was shaking so much. I literally could not even write words....What a mental midget.....

Friday, February 10, 2012

Industrial sketching

Done before Christmas, this sketch is from my car sitting in the Daniel Smith (art supply) parking lot looking south over the rail yard and 1st Avenue overpass. I'm always attracted to the linear design often found in industrial areas of the city.

Tamra followed me around the art store to see what I was interested in, then told me to stay in the car while she went back in to buy my Christmas present.

Pen and ink with a watercolor wash in the watercolor Moleskine.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

View from the rental

Years ago we bought a duplex that overlooks Kent, a blue collar town located some eight or ten miles south of Seattle. One of the units recently went empty after five years and our former tenants left us a considerable mess so much of my creative time now is spent getting it back into renting condition.

Took a break from painting and sketched this view from the living room deck looking out over downtown Kent and Kent Station.

Pen and ink with a watercolor wash in a watercolor Moleskine.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Library refugees

Our power had been out for four days and the temperature in the house was a cozy 46 degrees, so we found refuge at the Kent Regional Library along with hundreds of others with the same idea. It made for good people watching and sketching. As always people aren't that active at the library.

Volunteer Park Reservoir

Getting the dates of the sketch gathering mixed up, I did this sketch of the reservoir a week before the actual sketchers gathering and big snow. It is one of my favorite views of the Needle.

Pen and ink with a watercolor wash

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Seattle Urban Sketchers - January gathering in the snow

We posed for this picture after the sketchcrawl at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. This was a great turnout considering the weather. I really should have stopped to sketch some of the great scenery while hiking back to the bus, but it was cold and I'm a whimp......Frank Ching took this picture, I'm second from the right

Monday, January 16, 2012

The graphite sketch is a sculpture of a monk at the moment of enlightenment, to be honest he looks like me trying to read a menu with out his glasses.

Took Metro into Seattle to meet up with fellow Seattle Urban Sketchers and spend time sketching exhibits at the Seattle Asian Art Museum (Capital Hill) out of the weather. Though there was a just a trace of snow when I walked in, a couple of hours later there was four inches of snow on the ground and not letting up. Capitol Hill is beautiful covered in snow and I enjoyed the walk to the Metro tunnel (downtown). It was much less stressful being a pedestrian in a snow storm……..Catching a bus home was a different story.

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