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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

30x30 Direct Watercolor - June 2018

I did these works using direct watercolor - no pen or pencil set up. It's a bit daunting to hold the loaded paintbrush above the white paper. But I just have to dive in with beginners mind and what feels a lot like being back in 4th grade.

I started at our farmer's market.

We have a flat fountain in downtown Olympia. Ironically, in this waterfront town, it's one of the few public places to access water in warm weather. 

Back to the farmer's market where this mother shared lunch with her children.

Watching people at Seattle Center.

The State Capitol. 

I did a preliminare sketch for this one to determine values. 

From a photo of New Mexican.

Golden wheat fields in the hills above Walla Walla. From a photo. 

On location the spring green hills outside of Walla Walla.

Quick sketch in the garden at Chandler Reach Winery outside Richland WA. Vivalia colors. 

Six-stroke people. Thanks to Michele Cooper. 

After Paul Klee. An easy out for the day.

Garden on Cascadia Street, Mt Baker, Seattle, WA.

More six-stroke people.

I love Wolf Kahn's vibrant colors in his pastels and oil paintings. Thought I'd try out a bit of vibrant, complimentary colors. From imagination. 

Mioposto Restaurant from Mt. Baker Park, Seattle. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Poor People's Campaign 2018

I went down to Capitol Campus today to catch the tail end of the Vietnam Vets / Legacy Vets Memorial Day Ride but I was too late. Instead I happened upon the beginning of the weekly rally for the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, a 50 year renewal of the campaign started by Martin Luther King before he was assassinated. Monday's rally is the third of six weekly demonstrations at the State Capitol. The theme was The War Economy: Militarism and the Proliferation of Gun Violence.

Veterans for Peace were out in full force, wearing peace dove helmets on t-shirts and flags. Representatives from several groups spoke including clergy from various faiths.  

People waited in the wings for their turn to speak or just to listen and support. The Raging Grannies sat waiting patiently for their turn to speak their minds in song. 


The Raging Grannies promoting social justice

Since I was prepared for a totally different scenario of veterans and motorcycles, I was surprised and intrigued at the demonstration. It was deja vu back to the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the late 60's when the campaign was first started.
This excerpt of one King's last Sunday sermon sums up the yet to be fulfilled cause: 
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But if a man doesn’t have a job or an income, he has neither life nor liberty nor the possibility for the pursuit of happiness. He merely exists … We are coming to ask America to be true to the huge promissory note that is signed years ago. And we are coming to engage in dramatic non-violent action, to call attention to the gulf between promise and fulfillment; to make the invisible visible." - Martin Luther King

The Poor People's Campaign will continue for four more weeks with the following themes: 

Week 4 (June 3-9): The Right to Health and a Healthy Planet: Ecological Devastation and Health Care

Week 5 (June 10-16): Everybody’s Got the Right To Live: Education, Living Wages, Jobs, Income, Housing

Week 6 (June 17-23): A New and Unsettling Force: Confronting the Distorted Moral Narrative

Saturday, June 23, 10:00 a.m. EDT10am: Global Day of Solidarity and Sending Forth Call to Action Mass Rally in Washington, D.C.

Now that I know the rallies are happening I'll be watching more closely and hope to get down to a few more. 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Take Two - Women's March 2018

Having just returned from three months in Southern California, it took some dedication to head out  to the Women's March on a drizzly 47 degree morning. It was also very heartening to see so many others with the same or greater dedication. 

Last year's march had such a huge thrust of energy behind it. This year the tone was less volatile, more measured, yet still powerful.

We met again at the Washington State Legislative building, what better place to address the  institution of governmental power. We arrived well past the initial 11 o'clock start time and speeches were in full swing, continuing for enough time for me to get several sketches at that site.

The focus had changed a bit from angry reaction to last year's election to strategic planning for upcoming voter opportunities -- the midterms. 

 Pink hats dominated, but there were lots of colors. And, being the rainy northwest, plenty of umbrellas.
We marched from the Capitol Campus which sits on a hill, down a switchback path to Capitol Lake where booths representing organizations focused on anything from LGBTQ issues to voter registration.
 I wrote down some of my favorite signs and chants I heard:

  • Not buying the selling out of America
  • We want a leader; not a creepy tweeter! 
  • All these incredible women... and we got Trump?
  • I fight for equality for my daughters. 
  • Women Own 2018
  • I support Planned Parenthood
  • And my favorite because it's DOABLE: GRAB HIM BY THE MIDTERMS! 

It will be interesting to see what this coming year brings to our country politically, but one thing seems certain, the pink hats are here to stay for a while longer. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017


Hollywood was originally dubbed Hollywoodland, by a real estate mogul's wife who just "liked the sound of it." Later the "land" was dropped, a sign was built and the moniker "Tinseltown" emerged as movie industry took over the neighborhood in early part of the twentieth century.  It's really the kind of place I would hate if I wasn't a sketcher. As a sketcher, it's a bonanza.

Last year around this time I sketched the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood.  It left me hungry to go back, so I was delighted when the Los Angeles Urban Sketchers chose Hollywood and Highland Complex as the location for the 24-hour global sketch crawl.

My first stop was Babylon Courtyard with it's majestic elephants, and hieroglyphic wall amid an outdoor shopping mall.  These elephants are so awesome I drew them several times. They were first used on the set of the film Intolerance in 1916.

Wandering out to the street I found a mass of tourists, surging on the Avenue of the Stars amidst street sellers, performers and costumed characters.

I saw signs of the movie industry everywhere I looked- theaters surrounded me, human-sized Oscar mannequins offered photo ops; glitz and glamour flashed incessantly.

I quickly sketched another landmark, the Roosevelt Hotel, the oldest continually operating hotel in Los Angeles. In its heyday it was the favorite for many celebrities. Marilyn Monroe had a poolside room. Some have reported seeing her ghost in the mirror of that room. The Roosevelt has also appeared in many movies -- Wall Street and Maid in Manhattan being two. New York? LA? Whatever.

We met for group photos and lunch to cap off our sketching for the day. 

I had started a sketch of the street but didn't finish it on the spot, so when I had another opportunity, I returned to Hollywood. This time at night. Again the elephants were a strong pull first in black and white then watercolor.


And so were the gawkers.

And the showmen.

It's a mirage of lights and flashy glamour and the main challenge is to tune out all the distractions and focus on the essentials. I think I'm still being distracted. Guess I'll have to go back.