Here’s a look at what’s been in my sketchbook and on my table recently.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
We walked, kayaked, paddleboarded and ate a lot. A perfect long weekend. Do you have any favorite summer places?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
I can't wait till next year!
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.
Best wishes for the New Year and stay warm out there!
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!
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!
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 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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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!
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!