We all have a very busy life. We get caught up in the daily rat race and feel that we never have time to do the things we love. Granted, we cannot always achieve everything we want because the day as of this morning still had 24 hours to fit activities in it! So what to do when I want to sketch but important activities such as work get in the way? I constantly search for “Sketching Opportunities.” Sketching opportunities are everywhere! While riding on the bus, while at the shopping mall, while taking a break in the office or place of work, while going for a stroll or even while you are hiking! One of my fellow Urban Sketchers Frances call my sketches Kamikaze sketches because I complete them so fast. Granted sometimes I feel that I am placing lines all over the place and I wish I had more time to focused on the details but the reality is that it is either a Kamikaze sketch or not sketch at all and I choose to do my Kamikaze sketches and have fun at it.
The following sketches were done with limited amounts of time. The first one was done during lunch last week at a place called Warthog BBQ In Fife, WA. The place is amazing inside, a dream for a sketcher like Taro Holmes who embraces interiors in such a magical way. The interior is rustic, has lost animals on the walls as well as many different items such hanging fruits, bright red lanterns among many other things. This sketch is only a small area right across from my table.
The following three sketches are from another Sketching Opportunity at Mt. Rainier National Park in WA. I went for a hike there yesterday and again it was another stunning summer day. I could swear the entire nation was at Mt. Rainier because of the amount of people visiting! My time was limited as I was not hiking alone therefore I had to steal and opportunity to pull my sketch book, Macron 005 pen, water brush and my smallest watercolor set and be ready to sketch! The first sketch was at the Visitor Center. There are a couple of buildings here, picnic tables, an exhibition center which is very nice and in the background there is a hotel. All of this is located in the area of the Park called Paradise. From this area people have plenty of accessibility to trails from the more benign to the more challenging ones. I didn’t have much time while working on this sketch and I started it when I arrived and finished it on our way home.
The next two sketches are from the junction at DeadHorse Trail with the Skyline Trail. From there you can have a beautiful view of Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Baker right behind the Tatoosh Range and on the opposite direction, a stunning view of Mt. Rainer and the Nisqually Glacier.
My final Sketching opportunity came Friday during lunch. Kamikaze style sketch at the University of the Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA. This day students were outside the classroom doing group work as the day was beautiful. Here in the State of Washington summers are a treasure since our winters are long and wet.
I hope I was able to share how I take advantage of every opportunity to sketch, document and share my experiences with other Urban Sketchers one drawing at a time. Go out and find sketching opportunities, they are everywhere. Do what you love and find creative ways to fit it into your life schedule.
About a week ago I got together with a fellow Urban Sketcher to visit the Vassey Nursery In Puyallup WA. It was a beautiful day and the nursery was in full bloom! The place contains a residence, a store that sells coffee mugs and other fun stuff as well as their extensive collection of plants and shrubs. I was told that this nursery has belonged to the same family for three generations! I personally love flowers therefore you might imagine that I was in heaven. The sketch took me two days to complete as we ran out of time on day one and it was very complex, with many shades and tones as well as detail. The following day I was able to make it there early in the morning and complete it. This is how it turned out…
Until next time!
On Thursday I went out for a quick lunch hoping to find a sketching opportunity since the week was so intense that I had not been able to sketch at all. When I arrived to my car I encountered this scene of a woman with her two children in the corner of the street mall entrance. She had a sign asking for money to pay the rent since she had lost her job.
She had two young daughters that were between the ages of three and five more or less. They appeared oblivious to their current situation or what the purpose of staying in this corner for many hours was. At times they were playing, other times just talking to each other protecting themselves from the raging sun under this huge tree. Cars went by and very few barely looked at her.
I sat there sketching as I thought about this woman’s situation and many others nowadays. Entire families are homeless and living in their cars moving from Walmart to Walmart is the order of the day seems like and there is not enough affordable housing available. I reminded myself of all my blessings and how grateful I am to have a place to go every night but also it brought the self-awareness that today I may have but tomorrow I are not sure.
Two weeks ago we finally were able to go on vacation for a few days to one of my favorite places, Victoria British Columbia in Canada. We have been there countless times but I have never been there to sketch among other fun things of course! I Started by visiting the Fisherman’s Wharf which is a small community of boat houses and restaurants painted in the more colorful hues you can imagine! The place is fun and the food is great. There you can catch a small boat taxi that can take you to different parts of the Inner Harbor such as downtown, across to other hotels or to other boat house communities where you can also take a trail that leads to downtown and Chinatown or even to the Galloping Goose trail that many bike riders take.
During one of our walks we went to Beacon Hill Park. This is a community park very large in size and contains flower gardens, a rock garden, a playground, a music stage as well as large open areas to play soccer and other sports. This Park also connects with a trail by the shore where you can sit and admire the stunning views of the Olympic Mountains in WA State.
The Parliament. I love this building and I am always impressed by the detail of this structure and its architecture. I am not an architect and therefore my drawings of parts of this building do not do justice to the beauty of it but I decided to give it a try. I obviously was not satisfied with the end result and this violates my rule of do not judge thyself J but I was unable to leave without at least trying. At the end of the day we sat in the Parliament’s Rose Gardens and I sketched. During the process I tried not to feel overwhelmed by the beauty and complexity of the structure and I was able to produce two sketches.
The last day we went to the British Columbia Museum and enjoyed a spectacular exhibit about Mammoths. Exiting the Museum, I had a few short minutes to at least record my visit there with a quick sketch. For this particular sketch I used my Micron 01 sepia and colored it with a variety of Faber-Castell PITT artist pens with different shades grays. The flags hanging from the lamp post and the lights are done using Winsor & Newton Professional watercolors. The rest of the sketches are done using a Micron 005 in black (this is my favorite to draw so far) and Winsor & Newton professional watercolors and QOR watercolors. Why I use Microns rather than pencil is a topic I will discuss in a later post.
After four days of enjoying the city, walking its trails, breathing the salty air from its shores, talking to pleasant people and admiring the local art it was time to say “until next time” and board our ferry back to Port Angeles, WA.
Thanks for accompanying me on this trip, and until next time!
During one of my lunch times I felt compelled to go for some sushi at one of my favorite Sushi bars in Tacoma, Mandolin Sushi and Steak House located at the Hill Top neighborhood specifically. While waiting I decided to sketch the colorful restaurant and practice a bit on drawing people. My time was very limited therefore I needed to draw very quickly. This is my end result. Until our next one,
This morning I met with the Urban Sketchers Tacoma Chapter at Feast Arts Center, a wonderful little place where art classes are taught in the Hilltop neighborhood in Tacoma and Chandler O’Leary is presenting her solo show “Drawn the Road Again” full of amazing sketches. To me they are much more than sketches, they are fantastic pieces of art and I was inspired by her talent and creativity. When it came to go out for a fun sketching session I realized that it was very warm, 93 degrees with bright sun, therefore I asked Pat who is another wonderful artist if she wanted to come with me to once again the University of Puget Sound which was about 5 minutes from this venue. She said yes and there we went. We both found some nice and shady areas with amazing views to sketch, sat down and inspiration arrived. We even saw a mother deer with her two fawns! It was great! Here is the sketch I was able to accomplish during the time we spent in Campus.
I don’t see myself as an artist. I don’t have formal education in fine arts. As a matter of fact the last time I remember drawing was as far back as second grade! But I love art, love watercolors and love drawing. It was not until last year after both of my parents had died that I picked up a brush. I had some failed attempts at watercolor painting probably 16 years ago but never got back into it again. Now is different, I feel that picking up pencils and brushes again have been a very healing process, not only in the grieving department but also to free my soul. In my search for more I stumbled into Urban Sketchers and to my excitement they had a chapter in Tacoma, WA around 20 miles from home, yeah! And since then I simply cannot stop sketching discovering awesome places where I live and work and sharing my drawings with a passionate groups of sketchers all around the world!
This blog intents to share my journey as I sketch what I see, watercolor paint or embark in other artistic or creative experiments :). I want to share the benefits of this practice and to show others that you don’t need to have a Master’s in Fine Arts to venture yourself into Urban Sketching or other forms of creative endeavors. I may not get a solo show of my sketches but I can tell you one thing, I am having an amazing time and the benefits are immense.
University of Puget Sound, Tacoma WA