sketcher

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.

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!

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!

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!

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!

South Monroe Street

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.

Here is the Spokane Public Radio Station with its fabulous Harold Balazs sculpture out front. Spokane Art Supply is right next to it, so I see it a lot! There is a video on the Spokane Public Radio website of musicians drumming and playing with the sculpture and its inauguration.

Here is the Spokane Public Radio Station with its fabulous Harold Balazs sculpture out front. Spokane Art Supply is right next to it, so I see it a lot! There is a video on the Spokane Public Radio website of musicians drumming and playing with the sculpture and its inauguration.

I've always loved this little building. Seeing these vacuums hanging out on the walls always makes me laugh whenever I drive by. Plus the fact that a small business focusing on sewing machine and vacuum repair still kicking is great. This was painted in my car with the heater on to keep me from freezing. Winter puts a cramp in my plein air painting habit!

I've always loved this little building. Seeing these vacuums hanging out on the walls always makes me laugh whenever I drive by. Plus the fact that a small business focusing on sewing machine and vacuum repair still kicking is great. This was painted in my car with the heater on to keep me from freezing. Winter puts a cramp in my plein air painting habit!

Hazen Jaeger is a respected funeral service, but what caught my eye was the fabulous signage lettering on the side of their building and the incredible molding and architectural embellishments on the frontage.

Hazen Jaeger is a respected funeral service, but what caught my eye was the fabulous signage lettering on the side of their building and the incredible molding and architectural embellishments on the frontage.

On the winter afternoon I came by to take photos (no place to park to sketch in my car, sadly), I was struck by the way the fading light hit the upper part of the building and the beautiful structure of the bare branches of the tree planted along the sidewalk.

On the winter afternoon I came by to take photos (no place to park to sketch in my car, sadly), I was struck by the way the fading light hit the upper part of the building and the beautiful structure of the bare branches of the tree planted along the sidewalk.

The King Building at Maxwell and Monroe has such a regal "crown" (pun intended!), I love the white molding and the name plaque on the edge of the roof. One of our many great brick buildings here in Spokane.  How about you guys? What bit of every day beauty have you seen lately?

The King Building at Maxwell and Monroe has such a regal "crown" (pun intended!), I love the white molding and the name plaque on the edge of the roof. One of our many great brick buildings here in Spokane.

How about you guys? What bit of every day beauty have you seen lately?

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!

Pumpkins in the Field, no pumpkin spice in my cup

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. 

Pumpkins as far as the eye can see and that warm, golden hour light!

Pumpkins as far as the eye can see and that warm, golden hour light!

Siemer's Farm in GreenBluff has all the pumpkins you need!

Siemer's Farm in GreenBluff has all the pumpkins you need!

I loved how the farmers made piles of different pumpkin varieties! 

I loved how the farmers made piles of different pumpkin varieties! 

In the cooler fall temperatures, my ink wasn't drying as quickly as usual so I got some interesting bleeding effects that I think gives this painting a bit of a spooky look!

In the cooler fall temperatures, my ink wasn't drying as quickly as usual so I got some interesting bleeding effects that I think gives this painting a bit of a spooky look!

This was the last sketch of the day and the fading sun gave the scene a darker look, though I loved the whimsy of the castle in the middle of the corn maze!

This was the last sketch of the day and the fading sun gave the scene a darker look, though I loved the whimsy of the castle in the middle of the corn maze!

cornmazecenter.jpg

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!

Adventures with Architecture

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!

The graffiti contrasting with the dried grasses and fall foliage was fascinating.

The graffiti contrasting with the dried grasses and fall foliage was fascinating.

Sketching other sketchers when out on an excursion is a delightful, meta practice. They are usually engrossed in what they are doing and don't move around a lot!

Sketching other sketchers when out on an excursion is a delightful, meta practice. They are usually engrossed in what they are doing and don't move around a lot!

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!

I decided to use a pen with a smaller nib for this sketch in the hopes of having an easier time capturing the detail in this building's carved overhang, but it was still a little tight, so I had to abstract the patterning.

I decided to use a pen with a smaller nib for this sketch in the hopes of having an easier time capturing the detail in this building's carved overhang, but it was still a little tight, so I had to abstract the patterning.

I love how the off white stone picks up creams and yellow tones from the light bouncing around the city streets.

I love how the off white stone picks up creams and yellow tones from the light bouncing around the city streets.

The contrast between an old fashioned building syyle with classical swirls and dental moulding and the midcentury skybridge caught my eye as I walked by. 

The contrast between an old fashioned building syyle with classical swirls and dental moulding and the midcentury skybridge caught my eye as I walked by. 

This is the simplest of the building vignettes I saw that day. I liked how whoever designed it, decided to make the interlocking patterns of blocks beautiful as well as functional.

This is the simplest of the building vignettes I saw that day. I liked how whoever designed it, decided to make the interlocking patterns of blocks beautiful as well as functional.

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!

Fire Station 1

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!

I thought, with fire season winding down, that it would be fairly easy to do some sketching of the fire trucks when I visited, but the station was a hub of activity with trucks going out on call and returning. I managed to sneak in this quick sketch of part of the side of a fire truck-a bunch of mysterious knobs and levers, along with a coiled up fire hose, ready for deployment.

I thought, with fire season winding down, that it would be fairly easy to do some sketching of the fire trucks when I visited, but the station was a hub of activity with trucks going out on call and returning. I managed to sneak in this quick sketch of part of the side of a fire truck-a bunch of mysterious knobs and levers, along with a coiled up fire hose, ready for deployment.

Luckily (for everyone!), the Hazmat truck wasn't deployed at all and I assumed myself painting this creative interpretation of a Hazardous Waste sign on the back of the truck.

Luckily (for everyone!), the Hazmat truck wasn't deployed at all and I assumed myself painting this creative interpretation of a Hazardous Waste sign on the back of the truck.

This classic scene caught my eye-coats, bags, and helmets  hanging on their hooks, ready to for the firemen to swing into action!

This classic scene caught my eye-coats, bags, and helmets  hanging on their hooks, ready to for the firemen to swing into action!

The firefighters came by to see what I was working on, and kindly pulled several pieces of rescue equipment out of one of the trucks to arrange it for me. Painting this got interrupted THREE times before I finished it (It usually takes me  between 45 minutes to an hour and an half to do a sketch).

The firefighters came by to see what I was working on, and kindly pulled several pieces of rescue equipment out of one of the trucks to arrange it for me. Painting this got interrupted THREE times before I finished it (It usually takes me  between 45 minutes to an hour and an half to do a sketch).

Pig Out in the Park

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?

Piggly's Barbeque had meat spinning on skewers and the smokey smell of BBQ filled the air as I sketched the Clock Tower overlooking all the activities.

Piggly's Barbeque had meat spinning on skewers and the smokey smell of BBQ filled the air as I sketched the Clock Tower overlooking all the activities.

The kettle corn booth was fascinating. Corn kernels were popped in a wide open kettle that was then flipped into the barrel of caramel syrup as the man stirred frantically and steam rose from the barrel. The guy had to wear a protective face mask!

The kettle corn booth was fascinating. Corn kernels were popped in a wide open kettle that was then flipped into the barrel of caramel syrup as the man stirred frantically and steam rose from the barrel. The guy had to wear a protective face mask!

Pig Out isn't just about food, there are plenty of concerts as well! I had a great time sketching the lunch time crowd while enjoying fabulous live music.

Pig Out isn't just about food, there are plenty of concerts as well! I had a great time sketching the lunch time crowd while enjoying fabulous live music.

These next three images are close ups of the sketch above.

These next three images are close ups of the sketch above.

    

 

 

    

 

 

Here is a sketch of a concert at the Clock Tower field at last year's Pig Out in the Park.     Did any of you go to Pig Out in the Park? What was your favorite thing to eat? I had a gyro, but was sorely tempted by a block of fries!

Here is a sketch of a concert at the Clock Tower field at last year's Pig Out in the Park.

 

Did any of you go to Pig Out in the Park? What was your favorite thing to eat? I had a gyro, but was sorely tempted by a block of fries!

August Sketch Grab Bag

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.

S. 119 Stevens, soon to be a parking lot. I hope the sign gets preserved. If they were going to throw it out, I'd take it!

S. 119 Stevens, soon to be a parking lot. I hope the sign gets preserved. If they were going to throw it out, I'd take it!

This is the Museum of Art and Culture out in Browne's Addition. I've always loved the statue of the animals stacked on top of each other. I wonder what their story is?

This is the Museum of Art and Culture out in Browne's Addition. I've always loved the statue of the animals stacked on top of each other. I wonder what their story is?

The other bronze animal sculptures at the MAC definitely have a story according to Zachary Wnek of  Spokane Historical. 

The other bronze animal sculptures at the MAC definitely have a story according to Zachary Wnek of Spokane Historical. 

Weasel Sculpture
This is the Weasel, negotiating with the Two Leggeds. 

This is the Weasel, negotiating with the Two Leggeds. 

Here is the Salmon preparing the way to the River. I just thought they were chubby goldfish with a penchant for destruction of public property.

Here is the Salmon preparing the way to the River. I just thought they were chubby goldfish with a penchant for destruction of public property.

salmon finding way sculpture
And this Salmon has the money! Now I want to go back and find all the other figures that are part of the story! What fun! The maker of these sculptures is Tom Otterness if you'd like to check out the rest of his work.

And this Salmon has the money! Now I want to go back and find all the other figures that are part of the story! What fun! The maker of these sculptures is Tom Otterness if you'd like to check out the rest of his work.