sketch

Final Kolkata Adventures

We spent some time in the South Park Street Cemetary, a historic walled cemetery that housed many British citizens from the colonial era. It was extremely sobering to see the ages listed on many of the large monuments. It was rare to see an age over 40. According to a booklet we got at the office, British citizens who traveled to India lasted about two monsoon seasons before succumbing to tropical diseases.

This was the largest obelisk in the cemetery and it is even bigger in real life. I had to squish it a bit to fit it on the page!

This was the largest obelisk in the cemetery and it is even bigger in real life. I had to squish it a bit to fit it on the page!

There were many monuments in this style and homeless people lived in them years ago before the cemetery was restored.

There were many monuments in this style and homeless people lived in them years ago before the cemetery was restored.

This is the Marble Palace, an enormous house of a very wealthy family that still lives in one wing. It is a museum now. We had to pay a bribe to get in because you’re supposed to fill out paperwork with the government to get in, but our Indian friends told us that that process is so impossible that it is better to just give the guard money. We did and were lead on a tour through rooms filled with classical sculpture, huge Chinese vases, and more. The floors were elaborate inlaid marble and oil paintings papered the walls. The lights were turned on as we entered a room and turned off as we left. There was a sense of decaying grandeur in the air.

This is the Marble Palace, an enormous house of a very wealthy family that still lives in one wing. It is a museum now. We had to pay a bribe to get in because you’re supposed to fill out paperwork with the government to get in, but our Indian friends told us that that process is so impossible that it is better to just give the guard money. We did and were lead on a tour through rooms filled with classical sculpture, huge Chinese vases, and more. The floors were elaborate inlaid marble and oil paintings papered the walls. The lights were turned on as we entered a room and turned off as we left. There was a sense of decaying grandeur in the air.

I was constantly agog at the beautiful outfits of the women out and about on the streets.

I was constantly agog at the beautiful outfits of the women out and about on the streets.

The pollution resulted in pink, hazy sunsets, most obvious out in the countryside.

The pollution resulted in pink, hazy sunsets, most obvious out in the countryside.

A leftover from the first post! This is my husband doing sudoku in the Telegraph newspaper.

A leftover from the first post! This is my husband doing sudoku in the Telegraph newspaper.

Many of the stores in Kolkata were tiny, sometimes just alcoves with the proprietor sitting on a shelf. This store was just down the block from our friend’s house and we got our water from them. They didn’t speak much English, but whenever they saw us coming, they’d get out the water! Doing this sketch in the neighborhood attracted around forty people in the hour and a half it took me to do it. I had a group of older gentlemen move their bench so they could sit directly behind me and watch my every move!

Many of the stores in Kolkata were tiny, sometimes just alcoves with the proprietor sitting on a shelf. This store was just down the block from our friend’s house and we got our water from them. They didn’t speak much English, but whenever they saw us coming, they’d get out the water! Doing this sketch in the neighborhood attracted around forty people in the hour and a half it took me to do it. I had a group of older gentlemen move their bench so they could sit directly behind me and watch my every move!

I spotted this pink and blue house on a walk around our friend’s neighborhood. Buildings are so much more colorful in India than in the US.

I spotted this pink and blue house on a walk around our friend’s neighborhood. Buildings are so much more colorful in India than in the US.

There was a frame shop by our friend’s house and they had a collection of Jamini Roy prints in their frames.

There was a frame shop by our friend’s house and they had a collection of Jamini Roy prints in their frames.

Our trip to India was remarkable-a land of many contrasts and incredible energy, but I have to admit that it is good to be home!

Artist Adventures in Japan pt 2

We were fortunate to see Mt. Fuji. Normally she is shrouded in mist. I grew up just south of Seattle and a common phrase there, usually uttered in celebratory tones, is, "The mountain is out!" Back there, "the mountain" is always Mt. Rainer. In Japan, "the mountain" is Mt. Fuji. I love the stamp I got at the post office half way up the mountain. It is SO CUTE. 

Mt Fuiji
Stone lanterns were everywhere. I was also thrilled to discover that many locations have stamps as a continuation of Japanese pilgrimage culture and I made a dedicated effort to find the stamps everywhere we went and put them in my sketchbook.

Stone lanterns were everywhere. I was also thrilled to discover that many locations have stamps as a continuation of Japanese pilgrimage culture and I made a dedicated effort to find the stamps everywhere we went and put them in my sketchbook.

I have never experienced so many fancy toilets as I did in Japan and that is thanks to the Toto Toilet company! These toilets play music, have warmed seats, bidets, and more. They have control panels! Crazy!

I have never experienced so many fancy toilets as I did in Japan and that is thanks to the Toto Toilet company! These toilets play music, have warmed seats, bidets, and more. They have control panels! Crazy!

This Sarubobo Doll is a folkcraft supposed to represent a monkey. They were frequently made by Japanese Grandmothers and given to their grandchildren for good luck/good fortune. Depending on the color they can be for good wishes in school, work, love, and more. The red was the most common and I think it is for a sort of general good fortune.

This Sarubobo Doll is a folkcraft supposed to represent a monkey. They were frequently made by Japanese Grandmothers and given to their grandchildren for good luck/good fortune. Depending on the color they can be for good wishes in school, work, love, and more. The red was the most common and I think it is for a sort of general good fortune.

This was a simple temple not far from our hotel. In a quiet moment I ran out to sketch it. 

This was a simple temple not far from our hotel. In a quiet moment I ran out to sketch it. 

Kenrokeun Garden is a beautiful walking-style garden that reminded me of a Japanese Versaille. In thirty minutes I did this speed sketch of a bridge of a river of purple irises. I wish I had had more time to do them justice.     One more post to go about Japan!

Kenrokeun Garden is a beautiful walking-style garden that reminded me of a Japanese Versaille. In thirty minutes I did this speed sketch of a bridge of a river of purple irises. I wish I had had more time to do them justice.

 

One more post to go about Japan!

Sketching at the Steam Plant

The Steam Plant building in downtown Spokane is a restaurant and brewery and houses offices and store fronts as well, but the name is a remnant of an older time. The building was an actual functioning steam plant for 70 years according to their website. It didn't shut down until 1986. Renovated with a vision toward making the most of the industrial space, many elements of the Steam Plant's past remain which create a unique atmosphere. I know I'm sounding a bit like an ad for the Steam Plant here, but I have a soft spot for creative reuse, adapting to the surroundings and reusing old material in new and exciting ways, so I was thrilled by the aesthetics of the space. There's a lot of inspiration there! 

This is a corner in one of the side rooms of the building. I loved the abstract composition created by the girders and pipes and the way the lighter elements emerged out of the darkness.

This is a corner in one of the side rooms of the building. I loved the abstract composition created by the girders and pipes and the way the lighter elements emerged out of the darkness.

I worked my way across the page from left to right in order to not smear the paint (I'm right handed). Painting this was slow work, but worth it for the final result!

I worked my way across the page from left to right in order to not smear the paint (I'm right handed). Painting this was slow work, but worth it for the final result!

Walking by, this caught my eye. I think it is the front of an old boiler room, but don't quote me on that. Now it is a window into a private dining room, wallpapered in thin pipes. 

Walking by, this caught my eye. I think it is the front of an old boiler room, but don't quote me on that. Now it is a window into a private dining room, wallpapered in thin pipes. 

The pipes that run down the wall here trickle water into a trough made by cutting a large horizontal pipe in half. You can see the fixture it ran through on the left size just above the table. Creative thinking with a great result!

The pipes that run down the wall here trickle water into a trough made by cutting a large horizontal pipe in half. You can see the fixture it ran through on the left size just above the table. Creative thinking with a great result!

This is a sketch done in a long vertical sketchbook two years ago. Done while sitting on a window ledge of the Davenport Hotel (carefully avoiding their decorative spikes!) just before going to the Broken Mic poetry reading at Neato Burrito. The stacks of the Steam Plant are an iconic part of the Spokane skyline and I hope they always will be!

This is a sketch done in a long vertical sketchbook two years ago. Done while sitting on a window ledge of the Davenport Hotel (carefully avoiding their decorative spikes!) just before going to the Broken Mic poetry reading at Neato Burrito. The stacks of the Steam Plant are an iconic part of the Spokane skyline and I hope they always will be!

Boulevard Mercantile

Boulevard Mercantile occupies a wedge shaped brick building at the intersection of Monroe, Indiana and Northwest Boulevard. Perched there at the apex of the wedge, it has a friendly facade and many antenna projecting from the roof. I am a frequent customer as the owners of the store are great treasure hunters and the store is filled with a display of frequently rotating wonders. Recent purchases of mine have included an enormous coffee table book on the paintings of John Singer Sargent (score!) and an antique cast iron Christmas Tree stand that I got as a present for my mom. Their window displays never fail to make me smile, even when I'm stuck in my car at the red light. Currently they have a huge red star light up sign with a plane on it and it sparkles from behind the glass. Sometimes I day dream about buying that star. But WHERE would I put it?!

I love the shape of the Boulevard Mercantile building. It reminds me of the Flatiron building in New York. I also love the antennae and other doodads on the roof. It makes it seem like the building is somehow alive and listening to all the bustle going on around it. I stopped by one rainy day to admire it and this painting is the result.

I love the shape of the Boulevard Mercantile building. It reminds me of the Flatiron building in New York. I also love the antennae and other doodads on the roof. It makes it seem like the building is somehow alive and listening to all the bustle going on around it. I stopped by one rainy day to admire it and this painting is the result.

Splashy in-progress painting.

Splashy in-progress painting.

Peeking in the windows of Boulevard Mercantile whenever I drive by always makes me smile. Here a lion and light up star sign share the stage. I think the big red star would look great in my studio! I'd just have to move some furniture! Haha! If you need a Mother's Day present (It isn't too early to get that nailed down), stop in and shop around!

Peeking in the windows of Boulevard Mercantile whenever I drive by always makes me smile. Here a lion and light up star sign share the stage. I think the big red star would look great in my studio! I'd just have to move some furniture! Haha!
If you need a Mother's Day present (It isn't too early to get that nailed down), stop in and shop around!

Go Zags!

As an alumnae of Gonzaga, I have a soft spot in my heart for college basketball and the Zags. I was thrilled to be able to make the Zags a part of my Artist's Eye on Spokane project and spent this past Saturday's game (versus Pepperdine) sketching near the media section. Was I a little teary eyed as the Zombie Nation blasted from the speakers and the crowd of students all began jumping in unison on the bleachers to make an almighty pounding noise? Maybe.

    

 

 

The students at Gonzaga are really the ones who make the atmosphere at the Kennel. Chanting, dressing up, turning up the volume and bringing "Big Head" signs of players to the game results in a pumped up game experience. I couldn't resist drawing this section of the crowd where a student wearing a Panda head stood next to two students holding Big Head signs. Other outfits sighted? A Cardinal (as in the religious figure, not the bird), a cow, lime green footie pajamas, a lion and more.

The students at Gonzaga are really the ones who make the atmosphere at the Kennel. Chanting, dressing up, turning up the volume and bringing "Big Head" signs of players to the game results in a pumped up game experience. I couldn't resist drawing this section of the crowd where a student wearing a Panda head stood next to two students holding Big Head signs. Other outfits sighted? A Cardinal (as in the religious figure, not the bird), a cow, lime green footie pajamas, a lion and more.

Trying to catch some of the action as the players ran up and down the court. It was an action packed game and way too close a match for this Zags fan for most of the match, but the Zags pulled it out and won in the end!

Trying to catch some of the action as the players ran up and down the court. It was an action packed game and way too close a match for this Zags fan for most of the match, but the Zags pulled it out and won in the end!

Spokane's State of the City

Thanks to a connection made with Mayor David Condon, he and I met a few months back to talk about my Artist's Eye on Spokane project. He was enthusiastic about the idea and a couple weeks after we met, his staff got in touch about having me be involved in the State of the City Address on February 9th, using my paintings to visually illustrate the narrative of the mayor's speech. Since I am trying to tell the story of our city with my art, I felt like this would be a good fit!

Clearly, this one was not painted from life-though if any one wants to put me in a helicopter to paint, I would love to! This was painted from a photo provided by the city. I love the blue of the Spokane River winding its way through the city. It really is a remarkable landmark.

Clearly, this one was not painted from life-though if any one wants to put me in a helicopter to paint, I would love to! This was painted from a photo provided by the city. I love the blue of the Spokane River winding its way through the city. It really is a remarkable landmark.

While in progress-I couldn't resist doing the river and greenery first!

While in progress-I couldn't resist doing the river and greenery first!

The mayor's staff liked the painting so much that they asked me to make prints that could be provided as a give away at each table. I was thrilled! Take a peek, under the bake you can see info sheets about me-you can just see the White Elephant Ride beneath the carrot cake plate here in the front.

The mayor's staff liked the painting so much that they asked me to make prints that could be provided as a give away at each table. I was thrilled! Take a peek, under the bake you can see info sheets about me-you can just see the White Elephant Ride beneath the carrot cake plate here in the front.

The painting was also used in the printing material for the talk and the original painting was presented to the Mayor for his birthday (which was the day of the speech!). 

The painting was also used in the printing material for the talk and the original painting was presented to the Mayor for his birthday (which was the day of the speech!). 

I also attended the State of the City and painted the mayor as he presented, live! I was sweating a bit, trying to get it all done in time, but I think it came out well. 

I also attended the State of the City and painted the mayor as he presented, live! I was sweating a bit, trying to get it all done in time, but I think it came out well. 

You can read about the speech and see a picture of the Mayor talking in front of my painting of the Fancher/Trent Railyard here.

Here's the report for the city that was handed out to all the attendees. Photographed just below the circle with the Pavilion in it, is the Coin of the City, which was presented to me at the end of the speech. I suppose it is like the traditional Key of the City.   Here's to Spokane and its future!

Here's the report for the city that was handed out to all the attendees. Photographed just below the circle with the Pavilion in it, is the Coin of the City, which was presented to me at the end of the speech. I suppose it is like the traditional Key of the City. 

Here's to Spokane and its future!

Sketching at the Spokane Courthouse

To me, the Spokane Courthouse looks like a fairy tale castle, magical and mysterious, overlooking the Spokane river and all the more interesting for the juxtaposition against its neighbors (such as the building I said reminded me of Hoth in my previous post). Sadly, rather than being filled with expansive ballrooms, sweeping staircases or grand libraries, this castle is filled with paperwork. Frankly, I'm content to admire it from the outside!

I love the way the late afternoon light warms the stone on the building and makes such a delightful combination with the blue roofs.

I love the way the late afternoon light warms the stone on the building and makes such a delightful combination with the blue roofs.

A close up of one of the towers and its decorations, bare tree branches intruding on the view.

A close up of one of the towers and its decorations, bare tree branches intruding on the view.

This painting is bigger than the others-11" x 14", in an attempt to try to get most of the courthouse in. I decided to try something different, forgoing my beloved Pentel Pocket Brush. The trees in front of the courthouse are beautiful with their bare branches and now make me want to come back and try to capture them in the fall as well.

This painting is bigger than the others-11" x 14", in an attempt to try to get most of the courthouse in. I decided to try something different, forgoing my beloved Pentel Pocket Brush. The trees in front of the courthouse are beautiful with their bare branches and now make me want to come back and try to capture them in the fall as well.

Wolffy's Diner-a Spokane Stalwart

Wolffy's is an old fashioned diner with great food and great prices, which makes it popular with all the nearby Gonzaga students! That was my first experience with the place. A friend of mine was obsessed with Wolffy's and went nearly every Saturday, so one day a couple of friends and I went with him. Good memories ensued, so I always have fond feelings whenever I drive past the restaurant.

The restaurant has a really fun retro exterior. I had a lot of fun painting the neon lettering!

The restaurant has a really fun retro exterior. I had a lot of fun painting the neon lettering!

I stopped in to sketch at Wolffy's around 11:30 am and the place was packed! It is a lot of fun to sit at the counter with other people-college students, construction workers, people bringing their out of town visitors...I'm so glad to see the restaurant is doing well and staying busy!

I stopped in to sketch at Wolffy's around 11:30 am and the place was packed! It is a lot of fun to sit at the counter with other people-college students, construction workers, people bringing their out of town visitors...I'm so glad to see the restaurant is doing well and staying busy!

Wolffy'sgrillsketch

I picked a spot at the counter in front of the grill so I could watch the action, even though I had to break the "seat spacing rules" of alternating empty stools. The fry cook was a wonder in action, cooking up multiple orders in a dance of spatulas and sizzle.

A big basket of fries and a milkshake for around $7 is hard to beat, plus you get such great atmosphere. Get on down to Wolffy's and grab yourself a spot at the counter!

A big basket of fries and a milkshake for around $7 is hard to beat, plus you get such great atmosphere. Get on down to Wolffy's and grab yourself a spot at the counter!

The White Elephant-A Spokane Tradition

A bit late thanks to an exciting trip down to the Southwest this past week. I went down for a wedding and decided to take the week with a friend and go to the Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree National Park. It was delightful! Please let me know if you'd like to see some of the paintings I made while on the trip even though it isn't paintings of Spokane! 

Now on with our regularly scheduled programming: The White Elephant!

WhiteElephantOutsideSketch1

The White Elephant with its vintage lettering and proliferation of white elephants all over its building always makes me happy. I mean, who doesn't like cute elephants? A busy camping/outdoors and toy store (a combination that seemed odd to me originally, until I was won over to the White Elephant's ways), it saw plenty of traffic through its doors as I sketched the outside of the building from across the street. 

Why is there a swing set on the roof of this building? Who knows. Also, MORE elephants!

Why is there a swing set on the roof of this building? Who knows. Also, MORE elephants!

This kiddie ride is a beloved toy for all children visiting the store. I saw several delighted kids ride it was I painted at the store.

This kiddie ride is a beloved toy for all children visiting the store. I saw several delighted kids ride it was I painted at the store.

I played with Playmobile toys when I was a kid so I LOVED seeing these three foot tall Playmobile figurines on the shelf at the White Elephant. So fun! The blue rectangles below are a wall of endless Hot Wheel cars. Perhaps the White Elephant needs to be on your Christmas shopping list? (Eep! Sorry for bringing up Christmas shopping! :) )

I played with Playmobile toys when I was a kid so I LOVED seeing these three foot tall Playmobile figurines on the shelf at the White Elephant. So fun! The blue rectangles below are a wall of endless Hot Wheel cars. Perhaps the White Elephant needs to be on your Christmas shopping list? (Eep! Sorry for bringing up Christmas shopping! :) )

Individual World Poetry Slam

 Spokane hosted the Individual World Poetry Slam last week. Poets came from all over to throw down for a chance to win the slam but there were also plenty of more casual slams happening around town as part of the event. Auntie's, Merlyn's, Boots Coffee, and Neato Burrito all participated along with the downtown library. I love how Spokane has a burgeoning literary scene-lots of writers and poets and it is attracting outside interest, such as this awesome poetry competition.

Merlyn's is a fun comic and gaming store next to the Saranac Commons, so a perfect spot for the "Nerd Slam". Each poet picked a nerd specialty and was asked a trivial question about their specialty before they performed their poem. It was really fun to see what people picked for specialties-Star Trek, Dr. Who, Westaros religions, Naturo and more. The time it took for each poet to think about the trivial questions gave me a chance to think about how I was going to tackle sketching them. Except for the cross spread title sketch at the end, I made each sketch in around 1-3 minutes. Challenging and fun!

Superman themed poem!

Superman themed poem!

Gesture and body language was a big part of the performance.

Gesture and body language was a big part of the performance.

There was some swearing.

There was some swearing.

People are really into Game of Thrones, man.

People are really into Game of Thrones, man.

girlpoet2
I thought it was interesting that all the poets that read their poem, did so off a phone, not a piece of paper.

I thought it was interesting that all the poets that read their poem, did so off a phone, not a piece of paper.

Loved the flower headdress and tinted glasses.

Loved the flower headdress and tinted glasses.

Dr. Who was very popular.

Dr. Who was very popular.

Poem about Stephen King horror novels.

Poem about Stephen King horror novels.

The rest of the writing reads, "I never would have gotten a Star Wars tattoo if I knew that it meant Geek Boys would touch me."

The rest of the writing reads, "I never would have gotten a Star Wars tattoo if I knew that it meant Geek Boys would touch me."

This guy started off the event and I had a chance to sketch some of the background poster as the organizers were getting set up.

This guy started off the event and I had a chance to sketch some of the background poster as the organizers were getting set up.

If you want to go to some poetry readings here in Spokane, there's a weekly poetry reading/slam on Wednesdays at Neato Burrito and there are regular readings at Auntie's bookstore. Check them out. It can be a lot of fun!

Gathering at the Falls Pow Wow

Every year, Native Americans from all over come to Spokane for the Gathering at the Falls Pow Wow, a competitive dance pow wow. I've been meaning to go to the Pow Wow for years, but the great thing about doing this Artist's Eye on Spokane project is that it gets me out there, doing the things I might never actually get around to doing. 

I watched this dancer get the final touches put on his face paint before he put on his feather bustle and strode off for the grand entrance.

I watched this dancer get the final touches put on his face paint before he put on his feather bustle and strode off for the grand entrance.

This feather bustle was resting on one of the fences while I sketched it. I think these are turkey feathers, but I'm not sure. The animal medallion in the center was intricately beaded.

This feather bustle was resting on one of the fences while I sketched it. I think these are turkey feathers, but I'm not sure. The animal medallion in the center was intricately beaded.

This sketch depicts one of several drum circles providing music for the dancers. Everyone is crammed so tightly together you can hardly see the drum, but their drumsticks were a constant waving rhythm. The fiery colors in the far right corner is an unused feather bustle resting in a blue wagon. One gentleman was drumming while on his cellphone! I wonder if the person on the other line could hear him at all?

This sketch depicts one of several drum circles providing music for the dancers. Everyone is crammed so tightly together you can hardly see the drum, but their drumsticks were a constant waving rhythm. The fiery colors in the far right corner is an unused feather bustle resting in a blue wagon. One gentleman was drumming while on his cellphone! I wonder if the person on the other line could hear him at all?

The frenetic energy and constant movement of the dancers made capturing them in action very tricky. I focused on the open, non-competition dances which were more about community and thus tended to be a little slower paced. As dancers came around toward me I would start trying to get them down on paper, finishing as they walked away from me, thus why this sketch is from the back. A fun side effect of choosing the open dances is the variety of regalia that everyone was wearing. 

The frenetic energy and constant movement of the dancers made capturing them in action very tricky. I focused on the open, non-competition dances which were more about community and thus tended to be a little slower paced. As dancers came around toward me I would start trying to get them down on paper, finishing as they walked away from me, thus why this sketch is from the back. A fun side effect of choosing the open dances is the variety of regalia that everyone was wearing. 

At the Gathering at the Falls Pow Wow, the next Pow Wow royalty had to be chosen. These girls are giving their speeches about why they should get picked to be Pow Wow princesses. The gentleman dressed in red in the next images was one of two of what I think were the judges.

At the Gathering at the Falls Pow Wow, the next Pow Wow royalty had to be chosen. These girls are giving their speeches about why they should get picked to be Pow Wow princesses. The gentleman dressed in red in the next images was one of two of what I think were the judges.

    

 

 

Here's a little montage of my sketching over the afternoon. It was a hot day and a bit of challenge, but I'm glad I finally made it out to the Gathering at the Falls Pow Wow. The music, dancing, and regalia were all amazing!

Here's a little montage of my sketching over the afternoon. It was a hot day and a bit of challenge, but I'm glad I finally made it out to the Gathering at the Falls Pow Wow. The music, dancing, and regalia were all amazing!

St. John's Cathedral

For years and years I have driven past St. John's Cathedral. Sitting on Division on my way down to downtown Spokane, the tower is a distinct silhouette on the lower South Hill and every time I see it, I think, "Man, that looks so cool. I really do need to stop in there sometime" and then I don't. Last week that ended and I can't believe that it took me SIX YEARS to get up there to visit it. St. John's Cathedral is a beautiful refuge and a fascinating example of Gothic architecture. I hope seeing all these paintings will encourage you to go visit this grand landmark here in Spokane.

All my fun facts written below are from "A Guide to The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist" brochure that I found at the Cathedral.

The Tower is 167 ft and 9 inches tall.

The Tower is 167 ft and 9 inches tall.

St. John's Tower Pic
The ceiling beams in the nave are made of California Redwood. 

The ceiling beams in the nave are made of California Redwood. 

nave

I love all the flags hung along the nave!

    

 

 

The baptismal font is made of Tennessee and Italian marble and weighs 2,600 pounds!

The baptismal font is made of Tennessee and Italian marble and weighs 2,600 pounds!

The cathedral can fit around 1,000 people. 

The organ has 4,112 pipes.

The carillon (the bell set) was built and installed by the John Taylor Belfoundry of Loughborough, England. The largest bell is called Big John and weighs 5,000 pounds!

Spokane Youth Symphony practicing in the nave of the Cathedral. I stumbled  upon this by accident and it was fabulous to paint with live music accompaniment!

Spokane Youth Symphony practicing in the nave of the Cathedral. I stumbled  upon this by accident and it was fabulous to paint with live music accompaniment!

Oops! Ran out of paper trying to fit this MASSIVE door front all on the same page. The sketches made at St. John's are some of the largest I've done thus far for the Artist's Eye on Spokane Project.

Oops! Ran out of paper trying to fit this MASSIVE door front all on the same page. The sketches made at St. John's are some of the largest I've done thus far for the Artist's Eye on Spokane Project.

st.johnfrontdoor
The outside of the cathedral is made from stone quarried in Tacoma. The interior of the nave is sandstone from Idaho and the rest is Indiana limestone.

The outside of the cathedral is made from stone quarried in Tacoma. The interior of the nave is sandstone from Idaho and the rest is Indiana limestone.

Volunteer guides offer tours of the Cathedral most Fridays and Saturdays 11 am-2 pm and on Sundays following the 10:30 am service. 

Volunteer guides offer tours of the Cathedral most Fridays and Saturdays 11 am-2 pm and on Sundays following the 10:30 am service. 

I was walking around exploring the darkened corners of the cathedral and then I turned around and saw this view. Absolutely stunning! This is the biggest painting I've ever done on location 16" x 20" !

I was walking around exploring the darkened corners of the cathedral and then I turned around and saw this view. Absolutely stunning! This is the biggest painting I've ever done on location 16" x 20" !

As always, if you have any suggestions for where I should sketch, drop me a line at meganperkinsartstudio@gmail.com or just say hi! I'd love to hear from you. Also, if you know anyone who might like to get a weekly dose of art, feel free to share this with them. Help my project grow!

Mount Saint Michael's

I first noticed Mt. St. Michael's on my daily commute down the new North-South Corridor. It perches on a hill overlooking the highway like a large brick layer cake, down to the white architectural "frosting". Mt. St. Michael's has been on that location in 1878 and, according to the official website the area was primarily used as a farm, feeding Gonzaga University from 1881 to 1915. It was used as a training ground for Catholic priests and in 1915 they started building a scholasticate to educate and train Jesuits, which had to be closed in 1968 as the number of Jesuits entering service dropped off dramatically. Another fun fact is that the seismograph from Gonzaga was moved into the basement of Mt. St. Michael's in 1930 and was an important source of data for seismologists. In 1977, Mt. St. Michael's was bought from the Jesuits by the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen. Today, there is a convent of Marian Sisters, a k-12 school, chapel, small historical museum, and large library. It is the only place in Spokane that I know of where you can hear Mass in the original Latin as the organization is run by sedevacantists, who do not adhere to the changes in the Catholic church since Vatican II. 

Mtstmichaelsfullviewpainting
It just goes up and up and up!

It just goes up and up and up!

The frontage of the building is enormous. Birds flitted along the walls, perching on the gutters and architectural molding, adding an air of lightness and fun to the heaviness of the brick.

The frontage of the building is enormous. Birds flitted along the walls, perching on the gutters and architectural molding, adding an air of lightness and fun to the heaviness of the brick.

What a doorway!

What a doorway!

The statue of the angel over the main door interested me. The shield it carries say "Who (is) like God?" in Latin and is the literal translation of the name Michael in Hebrew, so perhaps this is the Archangel Michael.

The statue of the angel over the main door interested me. The shield it carries say "Who (is) like God?" in Latin and is the literal translation of the name Michael in Hebrew, so perhaps this is the Archangel Michael.

I followed a trail down to the grotto, passing under shady trees, which was a relief on the hot day. 

I followed a trail down to the grotto, passing under shady trees, which was a relief on the hot day. 

A shady path into the trees is always a temptation.

A shady path into the trees is always a temptation.

The grotto was built by an injured Jesuit brother who promised to build the Virgin Mary a grotto if he were healed.  He clearly kept his promise.

The grotto was built by an injured Jesuit brother who promised to build the Virgin Mary a grotto if he were healed.  He clearly kept his promise.

Leaving the outdoors....

Leaving the outdoors....

The chapel on the second story of the main building.

The chapel on the second story of the main building.

I really liked these angels on the wall. It isn't often you see a brunette angel!

I really liked these angels on the wall. It isn't often you see a brunette angel!

Sketched this while sitting on a pew. I wonder if painting in a chapel is considered sacrilegious? I doubt it since a service wasn't going on and I was surrounded by so much art aimed at beautifying the chapel ("glorifying god" is probably how it would be termed).

Sketched this while sitting on a pew. I wonder if painting in a chapel is considered sacrilegious? I doubt it since a service wasn't going on and I was surrounded by so much art aimed at beautifying the chapel ("glorifying god" is probably how it would be termed).

I spent an enjoyable few hours wandering Mt. St. Michael's on a hot summer afternoon. The view from the top of the bluff that it is perched on is incredible. I will have to go back at some point and paint the land stretching out below!

In other news-I'll be at the South Perry Street Fair this upcoming Saturday from 10 am-8 pm. Come by and say hi! I'd love to talk to you!

Sunny Future for Riverfront Park

It was a searing 89 degrees on Tuesday when I drove downtown to sketch the construction going on at Riverfront Park. Walking from the parking lot, I realized I forgot my camp stool AND my water bottle, making a couple hours sketching on a hot afternoon daunting. Don’t worry though, there is a happy ending to the story. Walking along Riverside Ave, I found a spot in the shade, sitting on the edge of a flower filled planter across from where the new Loof Carousel building is going up. Absolutely perfect for sketching the cranes and welders working on the building. It even had the Pavilion roof in the background! It is exciting to see all the progress going on in the Park-the ice skate ribbon, a redo of the Howard Street South Channel bridge, and the new Carousel building. When it is all done it is going to be AMAZING. I’m planning to check in with the construction’s progress throughout the rest of the year and track the changes and growth in my sketches. If you’d like to learn more about the plans for construction and remodeling at Riverfront Park check it out at www.riverfrontparknow.com

Riverfront Loof Carousel building
Riverfront Carousel Construction
Riverfront construction sketch

With these drawings the challenge was sorting out all the construction chaps-strut frames, the building, the heavy machinery, chain link fencing, orange hazard fencing and the trees in the distance. It was great fun to watch the welders on top of the Carousel building alternate between bending over with their welding masks down working on the building and standing up to work their way around the roof. It looked like a lot of hard work! I was glad to be painting and not welding!

Riverfront Construction close up
gesture sketches
Riverfront Construction Sketch 2

Sitting along the sidewalk it was great to see all the busy people out and about on their day. A few people stopped to chat with me which was fabulous. If you see me out and about sketching in Spokane, please say hello! I’d love to talk to you!