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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Getting to Know my Brand New Sailor DE Brush Stroke Style Calligraphy Pen

Wow, what a long name this pen has! Because there is a large variety of Sailor’s pens and this is quite unique. In my journey of experimentations with fountain pens I kept hearing that this pen was fantastic for sketching as it has a bended tip that gives you the freedom to sketch making very thin lines and transition into thicker lines. Last year I had bought one that unfortunately I ruined as I didn’t know the dos and don’ts of fountain pen handling. By know I am very happy to have a bit of knowledge in the matter thanks to my fellow urban sketchers (just a little tiny bit of knowledge mind you) and I did not ruin the pen this time by using China Ink (please never do that!). I am using Platinum Carbon Ink and that works fabulously.

This type of pen is made with a 55 degree nib and a 40 degree nib. I chose the 55 degree nib to start and later I may want to experiment with the 40 degree nib to see the difference in lines. I off course will keep you posted. This pen I have is green in color, is made of plastic, is light and easy to handle. I tried it on Friday during a quick lunch sketch and I was able to move the nib in ways that produced lines with different degrees of thickness and I enjoyed how my trees turned out. As follows I will show you a series of pictures describing the process of filling the pen with ink using a converter (this was a learning process for me) and then the sketch I did Friday using the Sailor pen along with another sketch I did before with a Micron 005 so you can compare.

Above you can see the pen and converter as it came in as well as out of the packaging along with the instructions on how to use the converter.



Above you can see that I pushed the converter inside the pen once I broke the pen apart, I twisted the converter cap clockwise until I was able to see the length of the tube through the converter and placed the pen’s nib inside the ink bottle and began to twist the converter’s cap counterclockwise to fill the converter with ink. Once that was completed I assembled the pen back together and I was ready to test it.

Above you can see that I began playing with thin and thick lines as well as thick and thin lines in one same stroke simply moving the tip of the nib. Really nice and easy to handle. Now I can see how so many Urban Sketchers love this pen. Below I will show you two sketches I did during my lunch “sketchcapades.” The first one was done with a Micron oo5 and the one below was done with the Sailor pen.



Metropolitan District Park of Tacoma




Titlow Part University Place area in Tacoma

I hope this was informative and I will be back with more sketching!

Happy Sketching you all,






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It was a cold day!

A week ago it was the month Tacoma Urban Sketchers outing. It was a very cold day and we met at a local restaurant for the meet and greet. A lot of my fellow sketchers decided to stay indoors (wise) and sketch the lively and warm atmosphere of the restaurant and others like me decided to go out and brave the cold weather. There is a mansion in downtown Puyallup that I have always wanted to sketch and visit. I was so close to it that I thought that this was my great opportunity to visit the place and sketch it maybe indoors. Unfortunately I was out of luck because it will not open until the month of March. The mansion is called The Meeker Mansion and if you would like to explore more in depth about this amazing place please visit their website @ . The mansion is indeed beautiful from the outside, the architecture is exquisite and I can’t wait to be able to visit it once again and taking a tour. Even though it was closed that did not deter me from sketching it! Oh my it was 30 degrees and with the strength of my soul I pulled my little chair and began to draw. I immersed myself in the process and time went on to the point that I forgot the cold and that my ink was not even flowing right. I guess I reached my flow 🙂 and this is the outcome …


Until next time and Happy Sketching,



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