Fallen in Love in my new GREEN

I live in the Pacific Northwest and when sketching, what do you see the most unless you live in the city? Come on guess! nope not that… nope that neither,  yes you got it!  Pine trees, all kinds and all varieties you might imagine and finding the perfect green in watercolors is challenging! I own and use the following green watercolors; Sap Green from QOR Watercolors, Sap Green from Windsor & Newton Professional Watercolors, Windsor Green (Blue Shade) from Windsor & Newton Professional Watercolors, Hooker’s Green from Windsor & Newton Professional Watercolors and my newest addition Jadeite Genuine from Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolors. All of my greens from Windsor & Newton Professional Watercolors are very nice but so far they don’t match the intense green I was looking for. A green that can provide the illusion of the beautiful green forests of the Pacific Northwest. In my search I stumbled upon QOR colors and I will definitely talk about them in more detail in a future post. I like them a lot and the green shade of Sap Green I found that it does a very good job with the evergreens, not perfect, or at least not the intensity I was looking for but I could live with that. Never the less my search continued.

I am very lucky that Daniel Smith Art supplies store is not horribly far away from home, roughly 50 miles away. One day due to work commitments I was 10 minutes away from this place and I could not resist stopping there on my way home. WOW I found paradise! “The missing link,” “El Dorado.” There I resumed my search for the perfect green.  Stumbled upon Jadeite Genuine, a beautiful shade of green that is so pure and intense that brings tears to my eyes, well probably not that much but very close. This particular color is part of a collection called the Prima Tek colors. One thing I learned about Daniel Smith Watercolors is that they are built from the ground up meaning they use pigments from the earth to make the Prima Tek watercolor! Daniel Smith has a mineralogist that travels the world finding the right minerals for these exquisite colors. In particular Jadeite Genuine is made of two minerals, Jade and Nephrite. This color is a series 4 and the price is higher that the other ones but it is totally worth it! The price is $13.77 for a 5ml tube (small) but is currently on sale for $10.33. If you live far from the Seattle or Bellevue area you can always buy Daniel Smith online, this is the web address; www.danielsmith.com

As follows these are a couple of sketches I have done using this beautiful Jadeite Genuine Watercolor.



I drew this sketch of my neighborhood a week ago as I was waiting for a storm that never showed up! You can see the contrast between the pine trees and the Sap green of the bushes and grass.



This is another sketch I did yesterday while waiting for some new tires at Les Schwab. All the pine trees are painted with Daniel Smith’s Jadeite Genuine and the bushes are done with Sap Green from QOR watercolors.

Well this is my Urban Sketching journey for the last couple of weeks, experimenting and learning more about color. Now that the Fall has arrived there will be a lot more opportunities to experience new colors, shades and vibrant tones.

Until next time and Happy Sketching,







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Recent Trip to Vancouver BC

It’s been a month since our trip to Vancouver. Two years ago we visited this magnificent city but unfortunate circumstances with the health of my mother cut this trip short. Since then I always wanted to return and explore the city and finally it happened. Our hotel was walking distance from English Bay where the sunsets are stunning and there is a long trail that takes you around Stanley Park. When we arrived I started sketching right away and that evening I sketched the view of English Bay from Sand Beach.


That evening as it was beautiful and warm we decided to walk all the way to Coal Harbor and had dinner at this fantastic restaurant looking at the waterfront and the mountains in the distance.



Coal Harbor










After dinner we walked to Canada Place and wondered around for awhile until it became to late and cold to walk back to the hotel. We took a cab with an unusual driver who had a picture with two guns, seriously! and drove intoxicated with rage. To tell you the truth after that experience we decided to walk everywhere. The following day the weather was significantly colder that the arrival day. It was cloudy but not rainy therefore we decided to explore the city all day.



Robson Square

Our first stop was Robson Square. The Vancouver Art Gallery is next to it and there was a protest happening as well. Later we resumed our walk and we came across the most fascinating book store I’ve ever been to. Its name is MacLeod’s Books. This place is a heaven for those who collect strange and out of print books. The hallways from beginning to end had stacks and stacks of books in piles and to my amazement the place even has a basement and guess what, it is also full of BOOKS! While exploring the place I didn’t dare taking a picture as there is a sign stating no photos. So I decided to make a very quick sketch just to memorialize the moment.


MacLeod’s BOOKS













As we continued our walk thru the city we came across The Holy Rosary Cathedral. I love cathedrals and I wish I knew how to draw well enough to record their beauty. As we entered we saw stain glass windows. The altar was made of wood and golden accents, maybe gold?  It was painted blue like a clear sky. There was people praying as well as tourists taking pictures or simply taking its beauty all in. I did my best to record this time and place.



The Holy Rosary

After we left this beautiful place it was cold and it was time for a cup of coffee! We found this café and took a break for a little while.



Waves Coffee

During our last full day in town I wanted to make sure we went to Granville Island. Grandville is a tiny island full of shops and art galleries. It is a heaven for artist and those who enjoy different mediums. I came across an art store that carried everything under the sun. Off course it was time to shop for art supplies! While we were there we had coffee and pastries and we enjoyed taking the boat ride back to the hotel.



View from Granville Island












Off the Tracks Café



View of English Bay from Granville Island










And our last morning came. Our plan was to check out and leave as quickly as possible since the drive was long but I could not leave without sketching the restaurant where we had breakfast for three days. Good food, good service and beautiful arquitecture.


Restaurant at Best Western Sands Plus Hotel

At the end of this trip I was able to complete an accordion sketchbook front and back and to tell you the truth I was so proud of my accomplishment!


Until next time and Happy Sketching!
















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The Foss Waterway Seaport!

How could I have forgotten? Three weeks ago Urban Sketchers Tacoma had a wonderful sketch out at the Foss Waterway Seaport in Tacoma. This place is a fantastic museum that shares the maritime history of the Puget Sound area. It is very educational and I learned so much. They have beautiful models of historic ships (very large in size) as well as an in-depth review of all aspects of the maritime way of life. It is an amazing place to visit and this is one more reason to love USK. It gives you an opportunity to explore the city you live or work and helps you discover what has been in front of you all along. This museum offers educational workshops, you can rent the place for activities such as weddings or you can simply explore every corner of it and have fun. This time there was an art exhibit from a local elementary school. The theme was how trash affects our oceans and the Puget Sound. All pieces were made of trash collected from the Puget Sound and then turned into beautiful pieces such as a whale or an octopus. Summing this up, this is what I was able to sketch that day.


This is the entrance of the museum. It is beautiful! The whole front is glass which allows you to be connected with the area and illuminates this large space.


As the theme is the ocean, you can find HUGE décor resembling ocean life like these two gigantic Jelly Fishes right a the entrance of the museum.


If you step outside to the right of the building you will face this beautiful view of the Marina and one of the bridges of downtown Tacoma and beyond.


And finally to the front of the building if you exit and look to the left this will be the view you will face. The Tacoma clock tower and other stunning architecture that I really don’t do justice to in this sketch. 🙂








If you are from the local area and you feel inclined to explore this great hidden jewel this is their website.


Until next time,




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Sketching here and there…

My goal in sketching has been to make a sketch from observation everyday. It is quite a challenge with the type of work that I do nowadays. I am addicted to Urban Sketching and the thought of having to sketch from a picture no longer inspires me which limits me from accomplishing my goal.  On the other hand it challenges me to find sketching opportunities as much as possible even if they end up being the restaurants that I generally frequent during lunch.


This sketch was done during a late lunch at Mexican Restaurant in South Center Mall in the Seattle area. The decoration here is beautiful, gorgeous lamps and a simulated tree inside create a warm environment.


During the same week I went to my favorite Sushi corner in Tacoma for lunch and I had the opportunity to draw the chef while preparing sushi for a costumer. You know where is good sushi when the Japanize are there eating with you 🙂


That same week as I was in one of the hospitals that I frequently visit. It was raining very hard outside and I was forced to wait a bit before walking to my war which was far from the main entrance. I took this opportunity to quickly sketch these two ladies at the express service counter. Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup WA.


This was another quick sketch at the Panera in Lakewood, WA while having lunch after a hospital visit. It was late and therefore there was not too many people in the restaurant at this late time.  I do love the colors of the walls, they are vibrant and strong. Still working on my corners as you can see.


My last sketch on this posting is off course another restaurant. This place is called El Sabor and is located in Tacoma/University Place in WA. It is right across Tacoma Community College or commonly known as TCC. Meals are very good and incredibly affordable. This day the place was full and vibrant with energy. Perfect for sketching!

Until next time,



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Sketch outing in Gig Harbor, WA with USK Tacoma

Gig Harbor is a small maritime city or approximately 7,000 residents in the Puget Sound area that is located in what we all call The Peninsula. It is easily accessible by car  crossing a magnificent bridge from west Tacoma. It is only ten minutes with decent traffic from Tacoma, around 50 or so from Seattle. Last Thursday after the Labor Day weekend a sketch out was on the schedule and since I was on leave I decided it was the perfect sketching opportunity. The meet up was at  Finholm’s Grocery and Meat. I figured that it would be a good idea to sketch this grocery store as it has been in this location for many generations and it is actually a historic part of town. The store is surrounded by beautiful homes that are up in the hill right behind the store. My favorite house on top of that hill was painted in different shades of gray and that gave me inspiration to try my Faber-Castell collection of gray value brush pens and used this as my primary palette with some watercolor for the trees and this is the result.


After reuniting with the group and enjoying all the wonderful sketches I could not leave town without sketching the Gig Harbor Bay as it is such a beautiful landscape. The town was quiet, the sun was coming out although was on the chilly side but the view was stunning.


This is all for that day. On my following posts I will share some additional sketches I produced during the week prior. I will also be working on loading all the sketches I was able to do during our last escapade to Vancouver BC.

Until next time!



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Some exciting sketches and some, well, not that exciting!

Last week was a very busy week at work but unbelievably I had more sketching opportunities than ever! One of my goal it to draw at least 30 minutes daily and above else urban sketch. During this week I was able to sketch interiors, bird’s eye view of the city as well as a nature scene that I am not sure about ;).

This sketch I made at Mazatlán Mexican Restaurant in South Center Mall, South Seattle, WA. Another lunch break that I was able to take advantage off to draw. I sat down at the bar section as they serve you faster. I noticed that as decorative motif they have these large hanging lamps with lots of detail that are spectacular. I was unable to resist off course the desire to record this place and some of those lamps.


On another short lunch break I wanted to go to a Teriyaki Restaurant close to work and even thought I have sketched this place before this time I was sitting from a complete different perspective. They serve fast so my time was limited and this is want came out of my sketch!


During another day of the week I was between meetings at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tacoma where from the fifth floor on one of the towers I stumbled with such a magnificent view of the town and the Puget Sound. To my surprise it appears to me that no one had the time to appreciate such a spectacular view but me. I was mesmerized and had to capture the moment.


Last one of the week! Yesterday my husband and I went for a walk at the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge in the Nisqually area in WA. This is out of I-5 going south between Mc Chord/Ft. Lewis Military bases and Olympia WA exit 114 in case you want to go sketch there some day. This is a gorgeous natural reserve with a 4 mile board walk. Lots of bird watchers come here as the variety of birds that can be observed is endless. Others like us come for the magnificent views, the pleasant walk, to take pictures and to draw. This is a view I have been wanting to sketch for a long time. The outcome was not near close to the real view and I will show it to you. Sometimes when we sketch we produce this cool images and we have the feeling that we are progressing, this one for me is one of those in which I didn’t feel much progress 😦  but it was fun to make and that is what matter the most.



Until next Sketch!


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The 4th West Coast Urban Sketchers Sketch Crawl, Tacoma WA


Beginning on Friday the 19th the 4th West Coast Urban Sketchers Sketch Crawl welcomed a group of around 160 + people from many parts of the West Coast of the United States and beyond with a wonderful dinner at Picasso’s Catering in Tacoma WA. I had the opportunity to meet people from Arizona, many parts of California, WA and Vancouver, BC. While enjoying a great meal we had the opportunity to meet each other, match a face to a name as we have seeing each others work on Facebook but had never met each other in person. We had a great raffle with gifts that made everyone feel really excited. I enjoyed  a very good Pasta Primavera and they had a variety of dishes to satisfy every taste bud! During that time we had a fun exercise in which we had 5 minutes to draw each other. Not being very good at drawing people you can imagine what the outcome was but it was so much fun! Here are those sketches for you.

Below is the sketch that a fellow sketcher drew of me, she is really good!

FB_IMG_1471834129771The following day, Saturday the 20 of August we all met at the Washington History Museum. I was volunteering for the event and I arrived very early to help with registration.

After all Urban Sketchers registered I went on my way to do some sketching! We all got a goody bag nicely filled with art supplies and there we went. For this first sketch I chose to draw a view of Tacoma from the bridge at the Glass Museum.


After completing the sketch we all gathered at the Glass Museum to show our sketches and take a fun picture of all of us and yes we were many!



After this we all went to lunch in large groups with a host hoping that all of those who came from out of town had a group to join. I went to the Indochine Thai Restaurant in the University District. Around 30 of us filled the restaurant.


After lunch we parted ways once again to find a new location to sketch and I decided to record the bridge along with the Tacoma Dome. The day was gorgeous with the only exception that it was 95 degrees and scorching! Here is a picture of me being scorched by the sun while sketching!

IMG_2897And there were many others as well all spread along downtown Tacoma! This is my sketch for the afternoon. Done with ink and watercolors as I always do.


Later that afternoon we all gathered to show our sketches and a picture. We then parted ways until Sunday morning in which we were meeting at the Tacoma Art Museum for our last sketch out!


Tacoma Art Museum volunteers.


My sketches for that afternoon!


Last but not least I had the pleasure and the honor to meet and greet the founder of Urban Sketchers Gabi Campanario. He was so kind to allow me to have a picture with him and this is it! Thank you Gabi!


I must say thanks to the leaders of Urban Sketchers Tacoma Chapter Frances Buckmaster and Kate Buike. They did a marvelous job in the planning and execution of this event and I am very proud of them. Thanks also to all volunteers and the wonderful people that made this weekend an unforgettable experience. Next year, Vancouver, BC!

Until next time,




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One moment to Sketch

I love when I have a minute that I didn’t planned on having and I get to sketch! This is a sketch I did of the Tacoma Community College. TCC continued to grow for the last 10 years. New buildings were built, new programs developed. This is a drawing of the new Science Department building.


Next week I will share with you sketches and pictures from the 4th Annual Urban Sketchers Sketch Crawl that took place here in Tacoma, WA.

See you next week,



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A week that came and went!

This week was very hectic. I was able to accomplish three sketches, a Thai restaurant in Tacoma, Children playing in the lobby of St. Joseph Hospital in Tacoma as well, and a section The Marina Inlet in Olympia WA. The West Coast Sketch Crawl is approaching fast and I am trying to draw and sketch as much as I can. I continue to discover how passionate I am about Urban Sketching and how much I enjoy it. I think this activity helps me center and keep my ground even during rough seas. I just want to continue learning techniques and ways to make my drawings look more believable. Having no background in art I feel that every time I start sketching I am jumping into a river of cold water. I am afraid to drawn but at the same time I allow the river to take me where it wants to. These are my sketches for the week!




Until next time,


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Urban Sketchers Tacoma Library Exhibition!

It is here, the Library Exhibition at the Tacoma Public Library in Tacoma, WA. I am very excited to see 26 different artist sharing their passion in over 80 pieces of work. Sharing the world one drawing at a time! This is what Urban Sketching is all about, you are passionate about the work, you are sharing and recording the world around you and you share it with others. It is not about competition or about who is a professional artist. You don’t need to be known in the artist community because hey, who am I right? it is about sharing, it is about community and relationships. Urban Sketching is a movement that goes beyond simply drawing. Thru my eyes, it is a legacy so that future generations can see a snapshot of the world we live today. Urban Sketching is important and I would love to encourage others to do it as well because it is more that just drawing or marking lines on a sheet of paper. Not too long ago I came across this quote from Thomas Thorspeken. He is an Urban Sketcher from Orlando, FL and it says “A sketchbook isn’t just a place to visually catalog the world around you; it is a tool to learn about the community in which you live.” And I would add, and to share your community with the world.

The following are the four sketches I contributed to the exhibition. Two of them are from the University of WA sketcher venue last month and the other two are some of the local restaurants in the area. One is Sushi and the other is called Flipping out!


During the morning time we all got together to sketch either inside the library or in the local area and this is the sketch I produced. It was incredibly challenging and intimidating because the dome in this room is so beautiful and complex. A joy for an architect to sketch! The only detail is that I am not an architect 🙂 For me I had to battle my fear of thinking of what the outcome of this drawing was going to be and focus once again on the fun of it all.


The West Coast Sketch Crawl is coming soon and I cannot wait to be there sketching and meeting sketchers from the West Coast including British Columbia. Stay tune!


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