sketches

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!

Revitalized Sprague

Sprague has recently undergone some big changes-new crosswalks, landscape, bike racks, bus shelters and more. It is spiffy and welcoming and ready for you to come visit! Maybe to Bennedito's for beer and pizza? Or the Ivory Table for crepes or the Tin Roof for furniture and beautiful house decor?

Best Asian Market down on Sprague! I love the Art Deco building and the bike rickshaw perched on top. It is always fun to go into the store and buy things just based on how much I like the packaging. It has a sister building on Market St. in Hillyard that I saw last week that currently has an auction company in it. I hear that they both use to house Safeways back in the day. Any one have memories of that?

Best Asian Market down on Sprague! I love the Art Deco building and the bike rickshaw perched on top. It is always fun to go into the store and buy things just based on how much I like the packaging. It has a sister building on Market St. in Hillyard that I saw last week that currently has an auction company in it. I hear that they both use to house Safeways back in the day. Any one have memories of that?

To compare-here is a marker sketch done from life on the sweltering sidewalk during the heat of summer about two years back.

To compare-here is a marker sketch done from life on the sweltering sidewalk during the heat of summer about two years back.

I was walking down Sprague and was thrilled to see this car pull up to the street. What a fun colorful trio!

I was walking down Sprague and was thrilled to see this car pull up to the street. What a fun colorful trio!

I started the painting with the fire hydrant and I was tickled by the contrast between the fully realized fire hydrant and the drawing.

I started the painting with the fire hydrant and I was tickled by the contrast between the fully realized fire hydrant and the drawing.

I've always been charmed by the Boyd-Walker Sewing Machine building. Great signage and wonderful to have a small business repairing and servicing sewing machines still in operation. I have bought a couple attachments for my sewing machine there and I always have warm feelings when I drive by.

I've always been charmed by the Boyd-Walker Sewing Machine building. Great signage and wonderful to have a small business repairing and servicing sewing machines still in operation. I have bought a couple attachments for my sewing machine there and I always have warm feelings when I drive by.

Zona Blanca

I've been painting a lot of Spokane landmarks with years of tradition stretching back, but this week we're going in a different direction. Spokane is growing and changing and full of vibrant energy. Zona Blanca and Chef Chad is a big part of that. A contestant on Top Chef and a hometown Spokane guy, Chef Chad opened Zona Blanca, a ceviche restaurant, just over a year ago in the Steel Barrel Tap Room, a brewery incubator space.  I found Zona Blanca on Instagram shortly after it opened. The colorful plates of food, wild and creative captivated me and I immediately put it on my list as place to go draw at. I wanted to see if the food tasted as good as it looked!

Spoiler alert.

It did.

I enjoyed my Octopus tostado by a window and after I drew and ate it (Take that hipsters, I did you one better! No food photos, food paintings!), I admired the view of trains passing by on the elevated tracks, a quintessential downtown Spokane scene.

Elevated train rail!

Elevated train rail!

Delicious!

Delicious!

All gone!

All gone!

 

 

Come see me this weekend at the Urban Art Coop Holiday Show! 10am-5pm on Saturday and 10am-4pm on Sunday. Free Admission at Urban Art Coop: 3209 N Monroe St, Spokane, Washington 99205. I'll have new prints and cards, including prints of my paintings of Auntie's and the White Elephant!

White Elephant Store Kiddie Ride

White Elephant Store Kiddie Ride

Hurray for Auntie's Bookstore!

Hurray for Auntie's Bookstore!

Auntie's Bookstore

Auntie's Bookstore is a fabulous independent bookstore in the historic Liberty Building in the heart of downtown Spokane. I am a huge bookworm and love to read so bookstores are one of my favorite places to visit (though resisting the urge to add to my giant personal library at home is always challenging).

The sweeping staircases up and around the open atrium at Auntie's is a distinctive part of the store. It is always fun to peer down at everyone browsing their way around the ground floor.

The sweeping staircases up and around the open atrium at Auntie's is a distinctive part of the store. It is always fun to peer down at everyone browsing their way around the ground floor.

Here is Auntie herself, happily reading with a hot cup of tea on her sign outside the store. 

Here is Auntie herself, happily reading with a hot cup of tea on her sign outside the store. 

I always stop at these freestanding bookshelves when I visit. I always find new and interesting books that way. This stand seemed to have a lot of Star Wars and Harry Potter stuff! Not sure how I feel about the Star Wars/Shakespeare crossovers!

I always stop at these freestanding bookshelves when I visit. I always find new and interesting books that way. This stand seemed to have a lot of Star Wars and Harry Potter stuff! Not sure how I feel about the Star Wars/Shakespeare crossovers!

Rick Davis is a local sculpture artist working in metal. Several of his sculptures hang from the railings in the atrium. Large, strange and kind of prehistoric looking, I love seeing them. Definitely not something that they would have at Barnes & Nobles! 

Rick Davis is a local sculpture artist working in metal. Several of his sculptures hang from the railings in the atrium. Large, strange and kind of prehistoric looking, I love seeing them. Definitely not something that they would have at Barnes & Nobles! 

Small Business Saturday is coming up and I highly recommend putting Auntie's on your shopping list. They have books, magazines, journals, cards and stationary, coloring books, t-shirts, fun knickknacks, and more!

Buddhist Monks Build Mandala at Spokane Community College

Last week a group of Buddhist monks came to Spokane Community College as part of their tour of the US making mandalas and praying for peace and the good of the earth. I had seen pictures of sand mandalas before but never seen one in real life so I was thrilled to get a chance to sketch this process.  

The opening ceremony involved chanting and the playing of horns, cymbals and bells. 

The opening ceremony involved chanting and the playing of horns, cymbals and bells. 

The monks chanted with their eyes closed, completely focusing on their task.

The monks chanted with their eyes closed, completely focusing on their task.

The horns and trumpets played were silver and gold colored metal that was embossed with decorative designs. 

The horns and trumpets played were silver and gold colored metal that was embossed with decorative designs. 

This table held the tools of mandala making-rulers, compasses, white colored pencils, the metal cones that transfer the sand to the right spot in the design and cups and cups of colorful sand (my favorite part!).

This table held the tools of mandala making-rulers, compasses, white colored pencils, the metal cones that transfer the sand to the right spot in the design and cups and cups of colorful sand (my favorite part!).

I'm not sure what I would use it for, but I really want their giant wooden compass. I was very impressed with how deliberately and precisely they laid out the marks for the mandala. I guess it is all part of the meditative process.

I'm not sure what I would use it for, but I really want their giant wooden compass. I was very impressed with how deliberately and precisely they laid out the marks for the mandala. I guess it is all part of the meditative process.

These horns were super long and the monks held their crescent shape hats in the arms until it was time to blow the horns. Then they donned their caps and let out a deafening sound! Drawing quickly was essential to capture all the action!

These horns were super long and the monks held their crescent shape hats in the arms until it was time to blow the horns. Then they donned their caps and let out a deafening sound! Drawing quickly was essential to capture all the action!

Excitement grew in the community over the days that the monks made the mandala. At the closing ceremony, there was a huge crowd. I was working standing up with people pressed on all sides of me. In this sketch you can see people standing on the stair case behind the monks, trying to get a view.

Excitement grew in the community over the days that the monks made the mandala. At the closing ceremony, there was a huge crowd. I was working standing up with people pressed on all sides of me. In this sketch you can see people standing on the stair case behind the monks, trying to get a view.

This is my impression of the finished mandala on its black table. Musical instruments and other mysterious objects are on the table behind the mandala. I was blown away by the detail in the mandala and the 3-D quality. Some of the edges look like they were frosted. Gorgeous! 

This is my impression of the finished mandala on its black table. Musical instruments and other mysterious objects are on the table behind the mandala. I was blown away by the detail in the mandala and the 3-D quality. Some of the edges look like they were frosted. Gorgeous! 

What's not depicted here is the destruction of this beautiful  mandala. It took over three days to make and was destroyed in minutes with ceremonial brushes to the resonant chanting. As they pointed out-nothing is eternal, everything is fleeting. The sand was swept up into small bags and handed out to the crowd. What was left was carried off my monks and released into the Spokane River.

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?

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.