sketchbook

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!

Final UK Sketching adventures

As promised, here is the last of my sketching adventures in the UK, mostly of things I brought back and a little bit of sketching on the way home.

This guy is currently hanging on my mini-Christmas tree in my living room and making me so happy! I love the crazy bangs on the cow and the fact that he is playing the bagpipe. ADORABLE.

This guy is currently hanging on my mini-Christmas tree in my living room and making me so happy! I love the crazy bangs on the cow and the fact that he is playing the bagpipe. ADORABLE.

I confess, I haven’t actually eaten this. I stashed it in my luggage in case I needed a snack at some point in our journey and then forgot to eat it or throw it away so it came all the way across the pond with me. I cam down with a cold as I was flying home so I didn’t want a candy bar for a couple weeks afterward as I recovered and now it is old. What does one do with an old, strange foreign candy bar?

I confess, I haven’t actually eaten this. I stashed it in my luggage in case I needed a snack at some point in our journey and then forgot to eat it or throw it away so it came all the way across the pond with me. I cam down with a cold as I was flying home so I didn’t want a candy bar for a couple weeks afterward as I recovered and now it is old. What does one do with an old, strange foreign candy bar?

My beloved blue luggage, sketched while waiting in Seatac for my flight home to Spokane to distract myself from the way my sinuses were pounding.

My beloved blue luggage, sketched while waiting in Seatac for my flight home to Spokane to distract myself from the way my sinuses were pounding.

I drew various bills during the trip and drew the coins when I got home (coins and a couple of fivers were what was left at the end of the trip, no worries, I’m sure I’ll be back in the UK eventually!), adding paint all at the end. Money in the UK is interesting and shows how we’re a bit of an odd duck with our purely paper, one size, all green money. This stuff is plastic-y (goes the wash great, but apparently can get stuck together which is no good when paying bills!), has clear sections, is different sizes at different denominations and comes in all sorts of colors. I enjoyed seeing the difference between bank notes issued by the Bank of England and those by the Bank of Scotland. A theme among everyone though? So many drawings of Queen Elizabeth!

I drew various bills during the trip and drew the coins when I got home (coins and a couple of fivers were what was left at the end of the trip, no worries, I’m sure I’ll be back in the UK eventually!), adding paint all at the end. Money in the UK is interesting and shows how we’re a bit of an odd duck with our purely paper, one size, all green money. This stuff is plastic-y (goes the wash great, but apparently can get stuck together which is no good when paying bills!), has clear sections, is different sizes at different denominations and comes in all sorts of colors. I enjoyed seeing the difference between bank notes issued by the Bank of England and those by the Bank of Scotland. A theme among everyone though? So many drawings of Queen Elizabeth!

Artist's Eye in Edinburgh

Here is the second to last blog post about my sketching adventures in the U.K. this past August! If you’re getting this on my email newsletter, feel free to click through to the blog to see my previous sketches in Ireland! Updates about my Artist’s Eye on Spokane Book Kickstarter and the shows I’ll be at this holiday season.

Now: SCOTLAND!

We continued on from Dublin to York (didn’t manage to do much sketching there)and then up to Scotland. This is the York Train Station which when it was built in the late 19th century, was the largest train station in the world. I got this scene sketched in pen before Dad came careening around the corner to tell us that our train was here and we needed to MOVE. Mom and I grabbed our stuff and booked it down the very long platforms and caught out train to Edinburgh. I painted it later based on some quick photos and memories.

We continued on from Dublin to York (didn’t manage to do much sketching there)and then up to Scotland. This is the York Train Station which when it was built in the late 19th century, was the largest train station in the world. I got this scene sketched in pen before Dad came careening around the corner to tell us that our train was here and we needed to MOVE. Mom and I grabbed our stuff and booked it down the very long platforms and caught out train to Edinburgh. I painted it later based on some quick photos and memories.

Fancy British train snacks. They really love their trolley carts here.

Fancy British train snacks. They really love their trolley carts here.

The moody view from our hotel at one of the various volcanic mounds surrounding the town of Edinburgh. It rained and was in the low 60’s which was very confusing coming from Spokane August weather.

The moody view from our hotel at one of the various volcanic mounds surrounding the town of Edinburgh. It rained and was in the low 60’s which was very confusing coming from Spokane August weather.

We had dinner in the castle before the Edinburgh Tattoo (an event that has been on Dad’s bucket list since he studied abroad in York in college). I got a seat at the end of the table which I loved because the view was AMAZING! We had haggis (surprisingly good!) and I was delighted that they piped it into the room and back out again.

We had dinner in the castle before the Edinburgh Tattoo (an event that has been on Dad’s bucket list since he studied abroad in York in college). I got a seat at the end of the table which I loved because the view was AMAZING! We had haggis (surprisingly good!) and I was delighted that they piped it into the room and back out again.

I wore all the clothes that I packed for the night show of the Edinburgh Tattoo. It was 50 degrees and rained at the beginning of the show enough that my pen wouldn’t write on my paper and I had to switch to pencil. Luckily, the rain cleared up and we were wowed by a Lebanese performance group riding horses and drumming, a Swiss troop that lit their drumsticks on fire, and SO MANY bagpipes.

I wore all the clothes that I packed for the night show of the Edinburgh Tattoo. It was 50 degrees and rained at the beginning of the show enough that my pen wouldn’t write on my paper and I had to switch to pencil. Luckily, the rain cleared up and we were wowed by a Lebanese performance group riding horses and drumming, a Swiss troop that lit their drumsticks on fire, and SO MANY bagpipes.

Sketched while waiting for fish and chips at the Doric in Edinburgh. The Walter Scott monument peeked out from above this wall. It is the largest monument to a writer in the world. Edinburgh is a very literary city.   Next up: Adventures in trying to get home and what I brought back.

Sketched while waiting for fish and chips at the Doric in Edinburgh. The Walter Scott monument peeked out from above this wall. It is the largest monument to a writer in the world. Edinburgh is a very literary city.

Next up: Adventures in trying to get home and what I brought back.

Ireland is Gorgeous!

We spent several days roaming about Ireland. I know that the UK experienced a severe drought this summer, but it rained several times while we were there and, as a Spokanite, I hadn’t seen rain in months. It was excellent but confusing.

This is a college that was a short walk from our hotel. The rest of the family decided to go to bed early (It was 8pm but we weren’t adjusted to the time zone yet!), but I decided to walk back despite the stormy skies and try to get in a quick sketch. I sat just inside the wrought iron gates in case they closed at a certain hour and I’d have to Indian Jones my way through before they locked me in (High stone walls are everywhere in Ireland!).

This is a college that was a short walk from our hotel. The rest of the family decided to go to bed early (It was 8pm but we weren’t adjusted to the time zone yet!), but I decided to walk back despite the stormy skies and try to get in a quick sketch. I sat just inside the wrought iron gates in case they closed at a certain hour and I’d have to Indian Jones my way through before they locked me in (High stone walls are everywhere in Ireland!).

This drawing got made because we made a miscalculation about when our train back to Dublin left and I got a spare hour to sketch this Gothic beauty that was across the street from the station.

This drawing got made because we made a miscalculation about when our train back to Dublin left and I got a spare hour to sketch this Gothic beauty that was across the street from the station.

Painted later.

Painted later.

O’Neil’s is a sprawling pub in Dublin that had multiple bars on multiple floors. We sat near the Whiskey Bar, but there was also the Lounge Bar, the Wine bar, and more (SO many staircases!)! Food was downstairs and some of it was a deli/cafeteria style but it was also a to-order restaurant. In conclusion, we were so confused and ended up spending a ton of time there trying to figure out what we needed to do to get some food!. We were there so late, we decided to hang on just a little longer when we learned there was going to be live music. We were rewarded for our patience. I drew a million whiskey bottles.

O’Neil’s is a sprawling pub in Dublin that had multiple bars on multiple floors. We sat near the Whiskey Bar, but there was also the Lounge Bar, the Wine bar, and more (SO many staircases!)! Food was downstairs and some of it was a deli/cafeteria style but it was also a to-order restaurant. In conclusion, we were so confused and ended up spending a ton of time there trying to figure out what we needed to do to get some food!. We were there so late, we decided to hang on just a little longer when we learned there was going to be live music. We were rewarded for our patience. I drew a million whiskey bottles.

Surprise live music at the bar! It was fabulous and there were two Irish dancers who performed mere feet from our table. One of those magical moments of travel where you luck into something amazing.

Surprise live music at the bar! It was fabulous and there were two Irish dancers who performed mere feet from our table. One of those magical moments of travel where you luck into something amazing.

We took a little prop plane from Ireland over to England. I was going to give my brother my window seat just to be nice, but then I saw this view and told him, “Offer revoked!”

We took a little prop plane from Ireland over to England. I was going to give my brother my window seat just to be nice, but then I saw this view and told him, “Offer revoked!”

Megan Sketches in the U.K.

It is the summer of international travel for me! I jaunted off to the UK with my family-Ireland, the UK and Scotland this time!

Ireland seems to be filled with musical people and listening to this performance reminded me how much Irish music has spread all over the world.

Ireland seems to be filled with musical people and listening to this performance reminded me how much Irish music has spread all over the world.

Adorable dsesserts and amazing dancers!

Adorable dsesserts and amazing dancers!

A quick sketch before an ENORMOUS bowl of mussels for dinner in Dublin.

A quick sketch before an ENORMOUS bowl of mussels for dinner in Dublin.

Small sketches of views from the train during which there was singing by passengers. In the US, if people sang on public transit people would kick you off the train!

Small sketches of views from the train during which there was singing by passengers. In the US, if people sang on public transit people would kick you off the train!

Ireland seemed to have a lot of buildings with a strong divide between upper residential floors and commercial ground floor. I loved the bright green of this building and the amusing name of the bakery.

Ireland seemed to have a lot of buildings with a strong divide between upper residential floors and commercial ground floor. I loved the bright green of this building and the amusing name of the bakery.

Garland Sketch Crawl

I've been out and about on many adventures that you will all hear about soon, so forgive me this little blast from the past as I talk about the sketchcrawl class I taught earlier this month:

 

August 12th on a 107 degree day, I had a sketch crawl class with the Spokane Art School. Luckily we were able to find some shade and eventually cooled off to around 97 degrees! Kali and Rowan didn't have watercolors so we all stuck with pen or pencil, though I loaned them my watercolor set to play with for the last sketch. We had a lovely evening!

I've painted and drawn the Milk Bottle many times, but it is always a delight!

I've painted and drawn the Milk Bottle many times, but it is always a delight!

Another go at the Garland theater sign. I love the light up starts in the middle!

Another go at the Garland theater sign. I love the light up starts in the middle!

Painting at Priest Lake

Priest Lake is one of my favorite places in all the world. I've been coming here, to a cabin my aunt has, for pretty much my whole life. It is beautiful and peaceful and driving up there, I always feel is a bit like coming home.

The view from my aunt's deck.

The view from my aunt's deck.

Yellow umbrellas on the deck while eating at Cavanaugh's.

Yellow umbrellas on the deck while eating at Cavanaugh's.

We walked, kayaked, paddleboarded and ate a lot. A perfect long weekend. Do you have any favorite summer places?

Leavenworth Weekend

At the end of June, I went off to a weekend in Leavenworth with a group of my college friends to celebrate our 30th birthdays. We stayed in a house twenty minutes out of Leavenworth with a hot tub and a killer view of the mountains.

Since we were up on a ridge, it was both windy and COLD early in the morning. I did this on the deck wrapped in a blanket with a mug of hot water.

Since we were up on a ridge, it was both windy and COLD early in the morning. I did this on the deck wrapped in a blanket with a mug of hot water.

It was the Accordion Festival at Leavenworth so we got serenaded by a lot of polka. A concert was going on right behind me as I sketched the fancy facades of these buildings.

It was the Accordion Festival at Leavenworth so we got serenaded by a lot of polka. A concert was going on right behind me as I sketched the fancy facades of these buildings.

Sketched a friend sitting in the window at a restaurant as an accordion parade went by. Then I ate a giant soft pretzel and was very pleased with myself.

Sketched a friend sitting in the window at a restaurant as an accordion parade went by. Then I ate a giant soft pretzel and was very pleased with myself.

Sketching in Japan

This is the last of my blog posts about my trip to Japan. We spent the last part of our trip in Kyoto and then Osaka. I'd love to go back. Perhaps I can connect up with Spokane's sister city Nishinomiya!

At every hotel we stayed at, they had yukata or "lounge wear" for visitors to wear while staying in the hotel. This was one of my favorites-a classic white and indigo cotton robe decorated in simply "mon" shaped designs.

At every hotel we stayed at, they had yukata or "lounge wear" for visitors to wear while staying in the hotel. This was one of my favorites-a classic white and indigo cotton robe decorated in simply "mon" shaped designs.

This pond was full of koi, several of whom leaped out of the water to catch the bugs hovering above the water in the evening air.

This pond was full of koi, several of whom leaped out of the water to catch the bugs hovering above the water in the evening air.

Waiting at the airport in Hong Kong for our 8 hour lay over. 

Waiting at the airport in Hong Kong for our 8 hour lay over. 

Watching TV in my seat nook on the flight home. Thanks to Dad's crazy mileage points, we flew First Class home to the US and it was AMAZING.

Watching TV in my seat nook on the flight home. Thanks to Dad's crazy mileage points, we flew First Class home to the US and it was AMAZING.

Back to my beloved Alaska Airlines and the commuter flight from Seattle to Spokane. I decided to make the 40 minute flight a good reason to be really minimalist with this sketch.

Back to my beloved Alaska Airlines and the commuter flight from Seattle to Spokane. I decided to make the 40 minute flight a good reason to be really minimalist with this sketch.

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!

Japan Adventures

So to add to the excitement of finishing my 52 week painting project, at the end of May I took off for Japan with my parents and brother for a little family adventure. We went to Tokyo, Kyoto, Kanazawa, Takayama, and Osaka. I had a great time and I'd love to go back to Japan just for a painting excursion, though I'm feeling very lucky that we just missed the earthquake in Osaka.

Kando Myojin, a shinto shrine in Tokyo. We watched a BMW get blessed by a Shinto priest in traidtional garb.

Kando Myojin, a shinto shrine in Tokyo. We watched a BMW get blessed by a Shinto priest in traidtional garb.

At most shrines there is a stand or two for people to tie on their wishes and prayers, often on small wooden boards. This one was absolutely packed!

At most shrines there is a stand or two for people to tie on their wishes and prayers, often on small wooden boards. This one was absolutely packed!

Collaged paper with kanji and hiragana on it (left), calligraphy done as a religious prayer/act by temple staff in exchange for a donation to the temple (right).

Collaged paper with kanji and hiragana on it (left), calligraphy done as a religious prayer/act by temple staff in exchange for a donation to the temple (right).

We were in a tour group for the first part of the trip as we shuttled around to all the different cities.

We were in a tour group for the first part of the trip as we shuttled around to all the different cities.

On the bullet train, my brother looking out the window.

On the bullet train, my brother looking out the window.

We left Tokyo and headed up into the mountains and some smaller towns. More to come!

We left Tokyo and headed up into the mountains and some smaller towns. More to come!

Artist's Eye at Get Lit!

This year is Get Lit's 20th anniversary. Get Lit started back in 1998 as a one day event sponsored by Eastern Washington University Press and EWU's Creative writing program, according to their website. Get Lit is now a week long festival that has so many events that it is difficult to get to them all! There are readings, panel discussions, and workshops all over town. I managed to make it to three events, one not officially in the Get Lit program, but scheduled to take part in all the literary hubbub. Another I attended somewhat accidentally as there was a reading at Auntie's on a day when I was working the evening shift at Pottery Place Plus and since it was quiet in the shop, I hung out by the connecting door way to Auntie's and listened to David Axelrod, Christopher Howell, and several other Lost Horse Press authors read their poems.

The Anne Lamott talk at the Bing Crosby Theater on Saturday night was the head lining event of the festival this year (Well, at least in my opinion.). While I was driving around trying to find a parking spot, I noticed that the line to get in was around the block! A fully sold out show, it was so fun to spot people recognizing friends in the crowd that they hadn't realized were also coming. Anne Lamott dished out advice on writing "shitty first drafts," giving yourself short assignments, and the creative process. Wisdom and laughter, always an excellent combination.

The Anne Lamott talk at the Bing Crosby Theater on Saturday night was the head lining event of the festival this year (Well, at least in my opinion.). While I was driving around trying to find a parking spot, I noticed that the line to get in was around the block! A fully sold out show, it was so fun to spot people recognizing friends in the crowd that they hadn't realized were also coming. Anne Lamott dished out advice on writing "shitty first drafts," giving yourself short assignments, and the creative process. Wisdom and laughter, always an excellent combination.

Stephen PItters's released his latest poetry book, "Unrecorded" at the Northwest Museum of Art and Culture in a event featuring visual artists (me!), amazing jazz music by Jermaine Carlton, and a video of a dance choreographed by Gonzaga University dance students set to a song written inspired by one of his poems. A multi-media extravaganza!

Stephen PItters's released his latest poetry book, "Unrecorded" at the Northwest Museum of Art and Culture in a event featuring visual artists (me!), amazing jazz music by Jermaine Carlton, and a video of a dance choreographed by Gonzaga University dance students set to a song written inspired by one of his poems. A multi-media extravaganza!

I can't wait till next year!

More Monroe Street

I enjoyed my sketching adventures on Monroe Street a couple weeks ago, so I decided to continue my way down the street and capture some other things that have caught my attention.

My intitial sketch in ink (My beloved Pentel Pocketbrush!). Do you recognize this distinctive landmark?

My intitial sketch in ink (My beloved Pentel Pocketbrush!). Do you recognize this distinctive landmark?

I've always thought that this building looked like something out of Star Wars, particularly the Rebel Base at Hoth. This seems extra appropriate as it seems we have hit the point in the Spokane Winter Season where the snow isn't going to melt until Spring. If you look at my initial drawing, you can see that I added another tree on the left side of the painting to balance the composition while I was in the process of putting paint to paper. I love it when last minute changes work!

I've always thought that this building looked like something out of Star Wars, particularly the Rebel Base at Hoth. This seems extra appropriate as it seems we have hit the point in the Spokane Winter Season where the snow isn't going to melt until Spring. If you look at my initial drawing, you can see that I added another tree on the left side of the painting to balance the composition while I was in the process of putting paint to paper. I love it when last minute changes work!

This guys with its curly purple roof and winking round windows on top reminds me of buildings I saw when I was studying abroad-particularly the ones in Amsterdam and the Netherlands. It was empty and then under renovation for a long time and I'm happy to see that it has a new residence in the form of some kind of  hair salon. It also happens to be across from Giant Nerd Books, one of my favorite places to look for unusual art books!

This guys with its curly purple roof and winking round windows on top reminds me of buildings I saw when I was studying abroad-particularly the ones in Amsterdam and the Netherlands. It was empty and then under renovation for a long time and I'm happy to see that it has a new residence in the form of some kind of  hair salon. It also happens to be across from Giant Nerd Books, one of my favorite places to look for unusual art books!

Spokane has a lot of amazing vintage signs and this is one that I've always admired. The crescent moon with gear teeth is such a creative touch! This building is no longer the Crescent Machine Shop (I think it might be being used by the next door restaurant for storage or prep? Unsure), but I'm glad that they kept the sign!

Spokane has a lot of amazing vintage signs and this is one that I've always admired. The crescent moon with gear teeth is such a creative touch! This building is no longer the Crescent Machine Shop (I think it might be being used by the next door restaurant for storage or prep? Unsure), but I'm glad that they kept the sign!

Best wishes for the New  Year and stay warm out there!

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!

Sketching at the Spokane County Fair

The Spokane County Fair is always a fun time whether you're going for the animals, the carnival rides, the tractors or the fried food on the stick. The fair really bridges the shift between the seasons-the heat of the summer fading into cool crisp mornings.

I've always been fond of tractors and really enjoyed the display at the fair. It was amusing to see how the manufacturers were making new tractors in the vintage style. And it was rather odd to me to see shiny tractors rather than the slightly rusted worn tractors I'm used to coming across in the field.

I've always been fond of tractors and really enjoyed the display at the fair. It was amusing to see how the manufacturers were making new tractors in the vintage style. And it was rather odd to me to see shiny tractors rather than the slightly rusted worn tractors I'm used to coming across in the field.

Colorful carnival rides were everywhere. This "Bear Affair" ride was super popular with kids and the bears in overalls and hats made me laugh.

Colorful carnival rides were everywhere. This "Bear Affair" ride was super popular with kids and the bears in overalls and hats made me laugh.

I broke out the brown paper sketchbook to draw some cows, waiting patiently in the barn. They are HUGE.

I broke out the brown paper sketchbook to draw some cows, waiting patiently in the barn. They are HUGE.

Check out the horns on this guy! He was in the petting zoo tent (in an enclosure by himself), but I'd feel pretty tentative about petting an animal this big with horns like that!

Check out the horns on this guy! He was in the petting zoo tent (in an enclosure by himself), but I'd feel pretty tentative about petting an animal this big with horns like that!

I was super surprised to see these parrots at the fair. They seemed so exotic among the cows and sheep. These two are sleeping with their heads resting on their backs, but as soon as I finished my pen drawing, their owner woke them up and gave them some snacks.

I was super surprised to see these parrots at the fair. They seemed so exotic among the cows and sheep. These two are sleeping with their heads resting on their backs, but as soon as I finished my pen drawing, their owner woke them up and gave them some snacks.

Their plummage was a little ruffled looking. Time for some preening perhaps?

Their plummage was a little ruffled looking. Time for some preening perhaps?

Rabbits are a good animal to sketch at the fair because they are in fairly small cages raised up off the ground. I rested my sketchbook on the edge of their table as I drew. 

Rabbits are a good animal to sketch at the fair because they are in fairly small cages raised up off the ground. I rested my sketchbook on the edge of their table as I drew. 

Pigs are another good choice. These guys were not bothered by ANYTHING. This particular pig had sawdust all over her fast!

Pigs are another good choice. These guys were not bothered by ANYTHING. This particular pig had sawdust all over her fast!

Sheep on the other hand were a bit more skittish. I approached several pens to have the sheep leap up in alarm before I found this pretty chill individual. His (her?) pen mate was on his feet and eyeballing me, but this one was completely unconcerned. I worked fast, trying to capture as much as I could before he moved.

Sheep on the other hand were a bit more skittish. I approached several pens to have the sheep leap up in alarm before I found this pretty chill individual. His (her?) pen mate was on his feet and eyeballing me, but this one was completely unconcerned. I worked fast, trying to capture as much as I could before he moved.

I am definitely going back to the fair next year. Maybe I'll even buy a multiple day pass so I can really get some in depth practice at drawing animals from life! Did you go to the fair this year? Do you have fun memories of fairs you've gone to in the past?

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!

Kendall Yards Night Market

Kendall Yards is a relatively new neighborhood in Spokane, built a top an old rail yard (hence the name), but despite its youth and rough edges (parts are still under construction as I type), it has become crazy popular due to the many fabulous restaurants and businesses there. I myself am a big fan of Central Food (and their patio!) and frequently buy their fresh baked bread to take home. Brain Freeze Creamery is a no brainer (ha ha ha) for something to eat as you stroll down the Centennial Trail. Spark Central is a place to read, explore, play with cool technological widgets and learn! I also always pop into the Marmot Art Gallery and William Grant Gallery for a dose of art (though many of the stores display art for first Friday so you are spoiled for choice!). The Kendall Yards Night Market is a party on the streets as people peruse stalls containing not only fruit and vegetables, but fresh baked pastries, salsa, teas, honey, meat, nuts and more. There are food trucks and Veraci's mobile pizza oven and concerts at the "Nest" (the open plaza) are frequent. Last week also happened to be the "Renaissance Night Market" with dressed performers from the Spokane Renaissance fair strolling among the crowd and demonstrating sword fighting and dancing to all the visitors. 

August is sunflower season at the farmer's market!

August is sunflower season at the farmer's market!

There usually a couple food trucks on site to tempt the taste buds. I was too busy sketching to sample this one's wares, but judging by the gathering of people in front of it, it is good! I believe it is called Beet It Up!

There usually a couple food trucks on site to tempt the taste buds. I was too busy sketching to sample this one's wares, but judging by the gathering of people in front of it, it is good! I believe it is called Beet It Up!

Spokane Sidewalk Games provides over sized games to play on the sidewalk (duh!). Both Connect Four and Checkers were immensely popular with kids of all ages.

Spokane Sidewalk Games provides over sized games to play on the sidewalk (duh!). Both Connect Four and Checkers were immensely popular with kids of all ages.

I attempted to sketch a couple of the Renaissance performers as they went through the motions of a dance. I am planning to attend and sketch the Renaissance Fair in October, which should be a lot of fun.

I attempted to sketch a couple of the Renaissance performers as they went through the motions of a dance. I am planning to attend and sketch the Renaissance Fair in October, which should be a lot of fun.

Folkinception, a local band, gearing up to "Rock the Nest" aka perform in the plaza in Kendall Yards, known as "the Nest" because of a nearby osprey nest and the plaza's position near the edge of the river gorge.

Folkinception, a local band, gearing up to "Rock the Nest" aka perform in the plaza in Kendall Yards, known as "the Nest" because of a nearby osprey nest and the plaza's position near the edge of the river gorge.

I'm not sure that the maker of this red abstract sculpture planned for it to be climbed by children, but I'm sure he or she would be delighted to see their work interacted with in such an enthusiastic fashion. I loved to play with public sculpture as a kid and it still makes me immensely happy today.

I'm not sure that the maker of this red abstract sculpture planned for it to be climbed by children, but I'm sure he or she would be delighted to see their work interacted with in such an enthusiastic fashion. I loved to play with public sculpture as a kid and it still makes me immensely happy today.

Courtside Sketching-Hoopfest 2017

My first encounter with Hoopfest, the world's biggest 3on3 basketball competition in the world (yeah, the WORLD) was when I was in college. I went to Gonzaga where basketball is king so it wasn't surprising that a couple friends of mine would decide to play in Hoopfest. They played relatively early in the morning, around 11 and my foolish Seattle raised self decided that I should be ok without sunscreen that early in the day. I hadn't yet acclimated to Spokane's searing hot summers and the way they began before the 4th of July (many rainy fireworks shows in my childhood) and tragically underestimate the temperature and the way that all the hard surfaces of downtown-the courts, the bricks, and the tens of thousands of people would all conspire to make a mid morning adventure unbelievably hot. By the end of the game I was turning a shade more commonly seen on cooked crustaceans, but I still had a great time. The energy of the event, the hordes of onlookers, the intent faces of the basketball players-all ages from what seemed like toddlers to men for whom this was clearly their mid life crisis red convertible substitute. Players were dressed in crazy outfits such as overalls, clown wigs, weird makeup and shirts bedecked with bizarre team names (some from this year courtesy of the Inlander-Avocado Toast, Nothing but Netflix, and Bitter Aged Hops). I don't love basketball enough to assemble a team, sign up for Hoopfest (note that I skipped practice as a step here, because for a lot of people not training before the event is clearly traditional.)and battle it out in the summer heat on the blacktop, but clearly there are thousands of people who do. And I'm glad. It is fabulous local tradition that does great things for our community-the organizers of Hoopfest are the ambassadors of basketball fever, but also a force for good in our community, donating money to many charities and helping to build or refinish basketball courts all over Spokane. 

That heat partially addled my brain so I forgot to take photos while I was down on the courts. All my attention was focused on capturing the bounding basketball players and finding shady places to sketch! If you'd like to see more photos from the even check out this slideshow compiled by the fabulous photographers of the Spokesman Review.

Downtown Spokane in the midst of basketball fever.

Downtown Spokane in the midst of basketball fever.

A very common sight, teams waiting in their matching t-shirts for their turn on the court.

A very common sight, teams waiting in their matching t-shirts for their turn on the court.

A court monitor presides over a rowdy game.

A court monitor presides over a rowdy game.

Basketball on Washington near where it crosses over the Spokane River with Riverfront Park favorites, the Pavilion and Clock Tower, in the background.

Basketball on Washington near where it crosses over the Spokane River with Riverfront Park favorites, the Pavilion and Clock Tower, in the background.

I'm already strategizing how to get even more sketching done at Hoopfest next year! Start out early, break in the middle, and possibly find some buildings with a bird's eye view of the streets are all on the docket! See you there next year!

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!