Here’s a look at what’s been in my sketchbook and on my table recently.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
I'm always looking for places to sketch when I drive around running errands. I go up and down Monroe a lot, so this week is going to feature some of the buildings that catch my eye.
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.
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 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!
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.
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!
When the Inland Northwest thaws out, Greenbluff is beautiful from spring until fall. Strawberries, cherries, apricots, peaches, apples, and pumpkins, the bounty just continues on. I visit it a few times a year to pick fruit-I love to make strawberry fruit leather, can peaches in syrup and make homemade applesauce. Fall is my favorite season-sunny skies and crisp air and crunchy leaves. I visited Siemer's Farm on a gorgeous day just like that when the clouds streaked across the sky. Pumpkins lay like jewels in the field-orange, white, yellow and green streaked, deep red-orange.
Do any of you have plans for Halloween? Fun costumes? Pumpkin carving? Halloween party? There's so much to do to celebrate the change in seasons! I'm celebrating with lots of pumpkin decorations, apple cider, and piles of cozy knit sweaters, scarves, and hats!
I kickstarted my week by leading a sketch out with the Spokane Parks and Recreation department at Highbridge Park, in the Latah Creek area. The city decided to host a sketch out there because they are proposing a new Latah-Hangman Valley Nature Trail and they thought it would be cool to get people out and sketching in the area since there will soon be landscape architects doing their formal drawing prospectuses. It is a beautiful area. I loved the repeating bridges and the newly turning fall foliage. I'd never been to this park before so I am grateful to the Parks and Rec dept. for giving me an excuse to get out there and paint!
Later in the week, I wandered downtown with my eyes pointed up, looking for interesting architectural flourishes and details. Spokane has far more of those than you would expect. Try going for a walk downtown sometime, moving slow and keep your eyes off the sidewalk and your shoes! You'll be amazed at what you see!
If you have a favorite building or cool detail in downtown Spokane, let me know! I'd love to hear about it. This may become a continuing series throughout the project!
Wildfires and the firemen who fight it have become increasingly visible in the minds of everyone in Eastern Washington over the past few summers. Smoke hanging as a constant haze, fire alerts going off in surrounding areas have all become sad, but common occurrences. I live out in the countryside, surrounded by dry flammable fields of wheat, hay, and grass, so I spend a lot of time in late summer worrying about fire, thinking about what I would do if one ignited near us (one or two recent fires have been about 15 minutes away by car). I am immensely grateful for firefighters and the work they do. Now that we've had some rain to wet everything down, I thought this would be a good time to celebrate what they do by sketching down at Fire Station 1 in downtown Spokane. Thank you to Mark John and Brian Schaeffer and all the firefighters at the station for making me welcome!
Like many Spokane traditions, I first learned about Pig out in the Park as a freshman at Gonzaga University and it is a tradition I've been fond of ever since. Row after row of delicious food? People watching galore? the Inland Northwest in the fall? What's not to love?
This week is a bit of a grab bag. The process going to sketch the building below started a couple weeks ago when I came across a Spokesman Review article by Nick Deshais about how this historic building at S 119 Stevens is going to be demolished to make room for surface parking. I loved the sign and the intricate brick work across the top so I made the time to drop by. Sitting on the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street, I sketched and thought about the time and effort taken to do the decorative work on the building, the uniqueness of the sign and the way that things change.