Crystal Mountain

This weekend has been a very warm one here in the Pacific Northwest! 97 degrees! Wow. We went from winter to scorching summer in one week. To cool down a bit we decided to go up to Crystal Mountain hoping for cooler temperatures and enjoy the stunning view of Mt. Rainier. During the winter Crystal Mountain is a Ski Resort. There are three villas and a couple of restaurants, three or more ski lifts that take you to different areas of the mountain and a really nice Gondola that takes you all the way to the top where you can become breathless by the stunning view of “The Mountain.” One of the restaurants is up there and you get to have lunch or dinner with the view. In addition there are a lot of hiking trails you can enjoy and you can even go around Crystal Mountain if you are on the adventurous side but you need a special permit for that particular adventure. Accessing the area is free unless you are going to use the lifts for skiing or the Gondola. The Gondola is $23.00 for adults.

We have visited Crystal Mountain a couple of time before and every time we would take the Gondola to see Rainier it was foggy. The Gondola takes you at over 7,000 feet so yes fog and clouds happens. This time as the weather was so clear and it was so warm we were able to enjoy Mother Nature’s show and not only see Rainier but also 4 additional picks. It was amazing.

Here are the sketches I was able to complete;


This is part of the view in which you are able to see Mt. Adams, St. Helens and a part of Mt. Rainier


Mt. Rainier 


A Cabin by one of the Ski lifts

If you visit the Pacific Northwest on a gorgeous day and feel like going up to the mountains this is a great place to visit!

Happy Sketching,


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Every year we are very lucky to have a Tall Ships Festival in town. This year 22 Tall Ships and a 15 ton bright yellow rubber Duck came to visit. Hundreds of people from different parts of the city and beyond came to visit and strolled by the waterfront extending from the Museum of Glass all the way the the Foss Waterway Seaport Museum. For this event the museum entrance was free which was awesome! During our stroll I had the opportunity to sketch the Adventuress.  The Adventuress is from Port Townsend, a beautiful coastal city up the peninsula. The luxury yacht was built in Maine for a Chicago millionaire who led a failed attempt in 1913 to hunt a bow head whale in the Arctic and deliver its skeleton to a New York City museum. This beautiful vessel is white and I wanted to keep the original color even though it might look at little strange.

In addition to the Adventuress these are some of the ships that were available to see or ride!

▪ Lady Washington, from Aberdeen. The 112-foot-long ship is a replica of an 18th century cannon-laden brig — a popular war and merchant ship of the 18th and 19th centuries. It was used in the movies “Star Trek: Generations” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.”

▪ Vérité, from Tacoma. A wind and oar-powered captain’s gig, it’s used to teach youths boating skills on the Thea Foss Waterway.

▪ A 15-ton, six-story inflatable rubber duck. It will be trucked in from Ohio on the back of a semitrailer.

Most of the ships are two-masted schooners, which were popular trade, fishing and racing vessels in New England during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Also two brigs, which were commonly used as warships in the 18th and 19th centuries; a 1920s Puget Sound wooden ferry boat; and a former Arctic fur-trading ship.

Some of the ships, including an 80-foot-long schooner from California, were be open for tours and cruises.

This is the quick sketch I was able to produce!

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And off course I have to include a couple of pictures from the event,


Happy Sketching!


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Two Weekends at the Waterfront!

It is amazing how Tacoma WA continues to change and evolve. When we moved here 20 years ago Tacoma was still the joke of the State due to its “Aroma of Tacoma” but lately there are new apartment complexes, beautiful art galleries and museums, Theaters, a new movie theater in Ruston Way along with beautiful apartments as well as new housing developments and restaurants. Tacoma now has a trolley that will take you to Point Defiance Park and Zoo and Aquarium, plenty of public transportation, The University of WA Tacoma Campus and by next September a cruise ship will be stopping here in Tacoma. It is amazing!

Last weekend I went there for a walk and the weather was so stunning that it was irresistible to sit for a few minutes and sketch. This weekend USK Tacoma met there for our monthly sketching outing and even though the weather was cold and overcast I was still able to sketch to my heart’s content.   This is what I sketched…



Until next time and Happy Sketching!


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Finally a Sunny Day!

Living in the Pacific Northwest I am used to having long winters, lots of rain and gray days but this year has been a long one. Rain and gray days since October and I must admit that it gets to you after a while. This weekend was an exception. Wow, the sun is out, the temperatures are warming up and I can sit in the open and sketch without wearing a coat. Yesss!

Yesterday we went to Olympia for a walk and the day was glorious! We stopped at the Tumwater Falls and I was able to sketch the river and then later in downtown we were able to walk by one of the marinas. The Tumwater falls is a short trail that circles around the river. It is a riverside nature park on 15 acres with trails, cascades, lawns & a children’s play area. They also do research on salmon. If you would like more information you can go to

These are the sketches I made. The one at the falls was a challenging one as I am still learning how to paint water and it is so difficult, but I did enjoy sketching as I was listening to the roaring waters of the river.


Tumwater Falls


East Olympia


Until next time and Happy Sketching,


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The Portable Painter

I am always looking for ways in which I can make Urban Sketching portable. I always carry a “purse” which is actually my art bag but that includes my wallet. In my “purse” I always carry a couple of sketchbooks, pencils, different types of pens and my watercolors among other things. In a future posting I will share what I carry in detail and how I prepare my sketch bag for my daily use. Trying to be compact but still having all I need to be ready to urban sketch lead me to find this new product, The Portable Painter. I came across this product thru  crowd funding site. It was started by Steven Padden and so far it has been very successful. I bought it for $30.00 and it arrived way faster than I expected, it took about a week!

But what is The Portable Painter? The Portable Painter is a palette with two wells and a brush. It is made of plastic and is very light. It comes with 12 half pans and I used some double tape to attach the pan to the palette to hold it tight. What I like about it is that it is so compact that it fits perfectly inside my “purse”/art bag, it is very light and you can even put it in your bag pocket. The wells slide perfectly to each side of the palette and you can place it on the ground, a table and even your thigh. One well serves to wet your brush and the other to clean it. It comes with a double brush or you might be able to fit in a travel brush of your liking. I was able to get my size 4 Escoda Versatil, larger sizes on this brand are too thick.

So far I used it in the field on Saturday while sketching with Urban Sketchers and it was very useful. So I liked it and if you like to explore new art products and you are always on the go, The Portable Sketcher might be one to try. Here are the pictures of the product and my most recent sketch.

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Right out of the box! and below you can see that the center piece is what holds together both wells therefore you must be careful not to loose that small piece of metal or slider. I am mindful to place it in the bag or in my pocket immediately.



And here is my sketch!

I hope this information was useful! If you are like me you might want to give it a try or not but this is another option for those of us who travel light and carry their sketching tools all the time.

Have a wonderful week and Happy Sketching!




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Busy weeks, not much Art…

The last few weeks have been a challenge for me in order to go out an sketch some. The weather has been cold and rainy and the work very demanding but last week I was able to take some time off and use some of that time for sketching plus I had a nice outing with my fellow Urban Sketchers. The first outing was at the Korum Nissan in Puyallup. My car needed a service that ended up being 6 hours long and as I did not have any other mode of transportation I used my time and completed two sketches.

On Saturday USk Tacoma met at the Dolce Si Sicilian Bakery and Café. Fabulous place and as they state in their web page they have “Cakes and Pies like none you’ve ever seen in Tacoma.” My, My…   They are fantastic, the employees are great and from Sicily off course and the ambiance relaxing and fun. That particular day they were celebrating a Sicilian Festival and the place was crowded with Italians speaking their tongue and the ambiance was so festive. I smile just remembering the experience. If you live in the Tacoma area I extremely recommend the place, it is worth the trip. While sketching the place was so crowded and people came and went so fast that I decided to just play with people’s silhouettes as you will see.



Nissan Korum Puyallup



Another soul waiting for six hours 😦



Dolce Si Sicilian Bakery and Café

See you next time and Happy Sketching!





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A Day at the Pantages Theater

A week ago I met USK Tacoma at the Pantages Theater in Tacoma. We had torrential rain but despite that over 30 people showed up. This is a beautiful place but also so overwhelming to sketch. I sat down in the right side middle section of the theater, overlooking at the left side wall. There is so much detail to admire that I did not know where to begin. This is my sketch…


See you next time and Happy Sketching!


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