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Sunday, February 5, 2017

Sketch in the City

Have you ever wanted to be an urban sketcher? This class will show you how. You'll learn everything you need to know; from how to draw people quickly to sketching complex outdoor scenes. Through fun and confidence-building exercises, you'll create fresh and expressive drawings. You'll learn the keys to becoming a successful urban sketcher. 

Every level of artist is welcome in this class. 

Learning Goals: 
  • Explore urban sketching tools
  • Learn to create confident line work with pen, brush, and pencil
  • Build your drawings with simple shapes
  • Play with value in both black & white and in color
  • Understand on and two-point perspective
  • Explore the art of visual storytelling
  • Understand the value of thumbnails in sketching design
  • Enjoy outdoor sketching with classmates

Class size is limited to the twenty students so that every artist can get the personal attention they need to succeed. 

Sketch in the City will be held on (5) sequential Saturdays-- 3/4, 3/11, 3/18, 3/25, 4/1 from 9:30 to 4:30 PM  at the in Olympia, WA

Five Saturdays. That's a big investment in time, we know. We don't want to waste your time and money. Any less class time and we would have to skim over some important topics. That would be a great disservice to you. We want you to learn all you need to know to become a confident urban sketcher. 

We're so sure that you'll become a successful sketcher after this class is over that we're offering students a Money-Back Guarantee on the tuition. If, after the class series is over, you don't agree that you've achieved at least a minimum improvement in your sketching skills, we'll give you a prompt and courteous refund on your tuition. 

Sign up by February 18 and get the Early Bird Price of $200. That's a $25 savings over the regular price of $225. 

Email or with questions or to register. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Rooster Crows

Seattle's International District is probably my favorite place to sketch. Somehow when I roam the streets and alleys I feel the history and get a sense of a thousand, thousand stories. When the lunar new year rolls around I love to take in the extra-colorful, extra-loud festivities. The noise and color is a stark contrast to some of the history that immigrants experience to get to this place physically and metaphorically. This year celebrating the strength and diversity of our communities seems more important than ever. 

I got there early to secure a spot under the covered benches at Hing Hay Park, but by the time our group was supposed to meet, that spot was like an overflowing can of sardines so I had to give up my front row seat to catch up with the group opening, thus missing a prime view of the opening lion dance. I did manage a few views of the crowd. 

I stood at the corner of Maynard and Jackson taking in the crowd. Frank Ching and I leaned against the same telephone pole swapping comments about just how long our fingers would stand the cold. 

After we met up and had our throwdown, I couldn't bring myself to leave without committing the lion dance to paper. By that time a smaller team of dancers were processing from doorway to doorway along 7th Avenue. The guy in charge of firecrackers laid out a big pack of probably 500 crackers just before the dancers arrived. As I stood in front of Deng's Studio and Art Gallery, they lit the crackers at my feet. I could feel the shredded remains as they flew astray like shrapnel - but, thankfully much safer. 


It's interesting to me how my style changes with different pens and paper combinations. The first were drawn with my Lamy pen on Shizen paper that's very absorbent and slows me way down. The lion dances were done with my Sailor bent nib on an unknown brand, but really nice watercolor paper. It was the first time I used my Sailor with the ink cartridge that shipped with it. Turns out it isn't waterproof, but adds a really different fluidity. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Lead with Love

Before today, I’d only walked in two protest marches in my life – Seattle, May 1970 - the National Guard had just shot four students protesting the Vietnam war at Kent State– and 1981-ish when Pacific Gas & Electric built a nuclear reactor  at Diablo Canyon directly on top of San Andreas Fault about 7 miles away from our home.

The recent election with all if it’s disrespect, fake news and outrageous results seems to have inspired outrage and a wave of activism all over the world. The minute I heard about it I knew I was going to join. The question was where – Washington D.C. was very tempting, Seattle was a sure bet, but at the last minute I opted to stay in my own community.

It was drizzling when we parked and started walking towards the Capitol grounds. We could hear cheers and drumming as we got closer. Then, gradually the sun broke through the clouds and waves of marchers and signs poured through the streets. There was joy and happiness and empowerment flowing through the streets of Olympia. 

Also a little bit of humor: 

Our theme song was – “Lead with Love” by Melanie DeMore who’s chorus rings with freedom and justice:  

You gotta put one foot in front of the other and lead with love.
Put one foot in front of the other and lead with love.

Don’t give up hope.
You’re not alone
Don’t you give up.
Geep movin’ on. 
You gotta put one foot in front of the other and lead with love.
Put one foot in front of the other and lead with love.
 Lift up your eyes
Don’t you despair.
Look up ahead
The path is there.
 You gotta put one foot in front of the other and lead with love.
Put one foot in front of the other and lead with love.
 I know you’re scared.
And I’m scared too
But here I am.
Right next to you.
 You gotta put one foot in front of the other and lead with love.
Put one foot in front of the other and lead with love.
 Lead with love.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Cruising through LA

We had a lot to be thankful for over the Thanksgiving holiday. We joined some family members in the Los Angeles/Santa Monica area, enjoyed some sunny California weather and learned of another new family member to be born this spring. 

For the sake of expediency, I'm posting a collection of sketches from that trip.

Hollywood is packed with sketchable locations. TCL Chinese Theater (formerly Grauman's Chinese Theater) is an essential landmark on the Avenue of the Stars. Apparently when it opened, a riot broke out as fans tried to catch a glimpse of their favorite celebrities.  
Chinese Theater, Hollywood
Parmahansa Yogananda founded the Self Realization Fellowship in California, being one of the first to bring yoga philosophy and practice to the US in the early 1920's. The Lake Shrine, situated just up the hill from Malibu in the Pacific Palisades, is a wonderfully peaceful oasis so close to the bustle of LA.
Windmill at the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine, Malibu
Grand Central Market sits comfortably in the former entertainment center of downtown LA. Built in 1917 it was the green grocer for the neighborhood residents. It was refurbished in 1984 and now hosts not only a patchwork of food vendors, but a varied menu of events: game night every Thursday, free concerts, holiday markets and more.
First version- more detail than I wanted

Version 2 - quick sketch
Shinique Smith's "Forgiving Strands" welcomes visitors at the rear entrance to Hauser, Wirth and Schimmel. This internationally known gallery of contemporary art took over a 100,000 sq ft flour mill in the downtown LA arts district. I loved this piece of bulbous fabric twists, stuffed, tied and looping through the hallway. The contrast of these lush, plump textiles and the stark, concrete hallway was a gift to my tactile sense.
Entry Way to Hauser, Wirth and Schimmel Arts Center - Arts District, Los Angeles

Third Street Promenade, the outdoor mall, in downtown Santa Monica. I stood under an awning at 3rd and Arizona while a rare Santa Monica rain storm pounded the pavement all around me. Some amazing musicians play/sing on the promenade.
Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica
Bergamot Station- a collection of offices, architectural firms, galleries and shops in Santa Monica. It houses Hiromi Paper Inc., a warehouse/store with a delicious inventory of mostly Japanese papers. It whet my appetite for paper making again.
Bergamont Square, Santa Monica
 Iconic Santa Monic Beach - lifeguard stations and slack line artists walking their flat, slack tightropes, twisting their limbs to maintain balance - all makes for great sketching on the beach. These lifeguard stations are surprising difficult to draw!
Tower 16, Santa Monica Beach
Slack line walkers, Santa Monica Beach

 Los Angeles, one of the few places where the subway has to stop for traffic and vice-versa. Actually "sub" way is a misnomer since most of the track is above ground. Nonetheless, it's public transportation that runs from downtown all the way to Santa Monica. And it's cheap! 

The Binoculars Building in Venice - designed by architect Frank Gehry - formerly housed the advertising agency, TBWA\Chiat\Day, but as of 2011 Google opted for a lease to house its Los Angeles expansion. The binoculars were designed by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen and served as an entrance to the building and the parking garage.

Sunset on our last day - we'll be back.
Last night sunset - Santa Monica Beach

LAX - waiting for departure

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

2017 Calendars are in!

Plan your year, one sketch at a time! 
Back by popular demand - 2017 Calendars - now in two sizes. Select your size and then pay with debit, credit or paypal. Or contact me through email.

Old Olympia Brewery

Want a signed print of the Old Olympia Brewery for $15? I have 8 copies. The Brewery is on the list of the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation. One of these prints sold for over $75 at a the  the Trust's recent auction. I'm selling them here just above cost. 

 Image size is 5" x 7.5" with a 1.5'" border on all sides. When matted it would fit in an 8"x10 frame. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Holiday Bikers on a Joy Ride

Three thousand five hundred motorcycles. That's the estimated participation for Olympia's 39th Annual Toy Run. Many cycles had two riders, and many more attended the event but didn't ride. In this town of about 50,000 the rumble of that many motorcycles makes a very audible mark.
Many motorcycles had their own decorations

The Olympia Toy Run started back in 1977 as the brainchild of Joe Sullivan who wanted to provide under-privileged kids with Christmas gifts and build a better relationship between the local community and the biker community. He envisioned the toy run as a way to do both in a big way.
This gentleman sat waiting patiently for the ride to begin, then asked to see my sketches.

Every year for the past 39, on the first Saturday of December, the motorcyclists from throughout the northwest roar through town bringing with them an energetic display of joy and generosity. "It's all about the kids," is the event motto.

The day starts with the annual Free Biscuits and Gravy Breakfast at the local Northwest Harley Davidson outlet. Cyclists start gathering about 10 A.M. in the Sears' parking lot of South Sound Center in Lacey. Vendors line the parking lot selling a variety of wares. Performances start at 11 - this year it was stunt riders.
The rain began as I was sketching the Drifting Donut truck. I had to work fast.

The official ride begins at 1 P.M. proceeding from Lacey through downtown Olympia and ending up at Marathon Park beneath the shadow of the State Capital dome.  Thousands of spectators line the streets waving, calling and whistling to the riders.

Olympia Toy run donates all the toys and money they collect to the Salvation Army's Toys 'n' Joys Shop for distribution to needy families.

I arrived at South Sound Center around 11:30 after the performances. The lot was filled with black leather. Some groups sported their local club affiliation. I spotted the event organizer right away - Santa Joe Sullivan. He sat on his motorcycle with his side car at the front of the line wearing his Santa suit, welcoming  old friends, posing for photos with kids (some also sporting motorcycle leathers). While I was sketching, standing about five feet away from Joe, I watched as a young woman and two children approached. I saw the woman, who was a little teary-eyed, hand Sullivan a photo and watched as he received it tenderly. "He'll ride with us today," he told her as he tucked the photo into his saddlebag