The Spokesman Review

The Spokesman Review building here in Spokane is a very distinctive landmark with it's tower and the way it dominates the corner of this block. It is an icon of an older time, but I love that it is still in use and, for what I believe, is its original purpose-housing our local newspaper!

SpokesmanReviewBuildingPainting
In Progress!

In Progress!

This drawing took me a while to do all the windows and arches, especially in two point perspective. Also, I discovered that it is really fun to write/draw in Times New Roman. 

This drawing took me a while to do all the windows and arches, especially in two point perspective. Also, I discovered that it is really fun to write/draw in Times New Roman. 

These guys (along with many others) line the outer wall of the Printing Annex. Done by Wayne Chabre, these busts depict important people in Spokane's history. They aren't in this order or positioned this close to each other in reality. I just picked four of the busts that I was drawn to to paint (no pun intended!). If you're interested in more, I highly recommend going on down to Monroe to look at it!

These guys (along with many others) line the outer wall of the Printing Annex. Done by Wayne Chabre, these busts depict important people in Spokane's history. They aren't in this order or positioned this close to each other in reality. I just picked four of the busts that I was drawn to to paint (no pun intended!). If you're interested in more, I highly recommend going on down to Monroe to look at it!

We have William H. Cowles, the founder of the Spokesman Review (among other things), Spokane Chief Garry, a remarkable native leader from the turn of the previous century, Mother Joseph, an architect, religious leader, and founder of multiple hospitals, and Aubrey L. White who is known as the father of Spokane's parks. 

We have William H. Cowles, the founder of the Spokesman Review (among other things), Spokane Chief Garry, a remarkable native leader from the turn of the previous century, Mother Joseph, an architect, religious leader, and founder of multiple hospitals, and Aubrey L. White who is known as the father of Spokane's parks. 

How many of you subscribe to the Spokesman? Do you read articles online or on Facebook? 

The Bing Theater

According to the history section on the Bing Theater's website, the Bing Theater has gone through many incarnations since its 1915 inauguration. It started out as the Clemmer Theater, but then became the Audian, the State, the Met, and finally the Bing Crosby Theater. The beautiful coffered ceiling conceals an enormous pipe organ to surround the audience with music and sound, remember now, the Bing was built during the era of silent films! Now a days, it is used for theater, dance, music shows, live acts, and more. Here's to reinventing yourself!

I am really getting fond of painting neon lights and fun lettering!

I am really getting fond of painting neon lights and fun lettering!

A peek at my work table inside the studio. It is waaay too cold and wet these days to sit out a paint on the sidewalk like I do the rest of the year.

A peek at my work table inside the studio. It is waaay too cold and wet these days to sit out a paint on the sidewalk like I do the rest of the year.

The murals on the wall were painted by Ivar Peterson, who also did the murals at the Davenport Hotel a few years early. This was painted on location with me sideways in the theater seat.

The murals on the wall were painted by Ivar Peterson, who also did the murals at the Davenport Hotel a few years early. This was painted on location with me sideways in the theater seat.

This one is rather different than the other paintings. I'm trying to use Artist's Eye on Spokane to push myself in new directions and experiment, rather than just cranking out the same drawings and paintings the whole time. This is a view from the inside lobby of the Bing. The gold and blue shape on the left is the coffered ceiling reflecting on the inside of the window.

This one is rather different than the other paintings. I'm trying to use Artist's Eye on Spokane to push myself in new directions and experiment, rather than just cranking out the same drawings and paintings the whole time. This is a view from the inside lobby of the Bing. The gold and blue shape on the left is the coffered ceiling reflecting on the inside of the window.

Sketching at the Spokane Courthouse

To me, the Spokane Courthouse looks like a fairy tale castle, magical and mysterious, overlooking the Spokane river and all the more interesting for the juxtaposition against its neighbors (such as the building I said reminded me of Hoth in my previous post). Sadly, rather than being filled with expansive ballrooms, sweeping staircases or grand libraries, this castle is filled with paperwork. Frankly, I'm content to admire it from the outside!

I love the way the late afternoon light warms the stone on the building and makes such a delightful combination with the blue roofs.

I love the way the late afternoon light warms the stone on the building and makes such a delightful combination with the blue roofs.

A close up of one of the towers and its decorations, bare tree branches intruding on the view.

A close up of one of the towers and its decorations, bare tree branches intruding on the view.

This painting is bigger than the others-11" x 14", in an attempt to try to get most of the courthouse in. I decided to try something different, forgoing my beloved Pentel Pocket Brush. The trees in front of the courthouse are beautiful with their bare branches and now make me want to come back and try to capture them in the fall as well.

This painting is bigger than the others-11" x 14", in an attempt to try to get most of the courthouse in. I decided to try something different, forgoing my beloved Pentel Pocket Brush. The trees in front of the courthouse are beautiful with their bare branches and now make me want to come back and try to capture them in the fall as well.

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!

Spokane Christmas Scenes

Happy Holidays everyone! This week on Artist's Eye on Spokane, I spent some time wandering around the city, taking in the holiday sights. What do you do for fun around the holidays? Do you have any favorite family traditions?

On these dark and wintery nights, holiday lights are a welcome addition. Frankly, I'd like it if they went up after Halloween and stayed till Valentine's Day! This is the Holiday Light show at the Gaiser Conservatory at Manito Park. Sadly, I think they might be done for the year, but get out and savor all the other lights that can be seen around town.

On these dark and wintery nights, holiday lights are a welcome addition. Frankly, I'd like it if they went up after Halloween and stayed till Valentine's Day! This is the Holiday Light show at the Gaiser Conservatory at Manito Park. Sadly, I think they might be done for the year, but get out and savor all the other lights that can be seen around town.

This epic Christmas tree was found in River Park Square Mall. It is SO TALL! Santa was busy with quite a line of children excited to see him and his cheer and kindness warmed my heart. I sketched this sitting next to the escalator in the entryway and for a while, my view was blocked by a high school band group waiting to perform Christmas music. It's a busy season!

This epic Christmas tree was found in River Park Square Mall. It is SO TALL! Santa was busy with quite a line of children excited to see him and his cheer and kindness warmed my heart. I sketched this sitting next to the escalator in the entryway and for a while, my view was blocked by a high school band group waiting to perform Christmas music. It's a busy season!

I also sketched the same tree last year, using a combination of watercolors, markers, and metallic Sharpies. It is always fun to revisit a subject and try to capture a different element of it. As you can see from my notes, I had musical accompaniment to my drawing this time as well, a choir instead of a band!

I also sketched the same tree last year, using a combination of watercolors, markers, and metallic Sharpies. It is always fun to revisit a subject and try to capture a different element of it. As you can see from my notes, I had musical accompaniment to my drawing this time as well, a choir instead of a band!

Wheatland Bank has been doing free carriage rides around downtown for the past couple of weeks. Festive and fun! I hitched a ride on the tailgate and enjoyed a horse paced tour of downtown while the kids in the wagon sang Jingle Bells. Have a lovely holiday weekend everyone!

Wheatland Bank has been doing free carriage rides around downtown for the past couple of weeks. Festive and fun! I hitched a ride on the tailgate and enjoyed a horse paced tour of downtown while the kids in the wagon sang Jingle Bells. Have a lovely holiday weekend everyone!

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?

Sketching at the Fox Theater

The Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox has a storied history. Built during the Great Depression for a million dollars, it is a gem of Art Deco architecture and styling that was nearly lost to time through decline and neglect. It spent the latter half of the 20th century as a movie theater, all the gorgeous murals and amazing architectural details painted over in red paint. Plans were made to demolish it for a parking lot. Luckily, the Spokane Symphony needed a home and they were able to rally the community to save this amazing building. Today, the Fox hosts dance, live theater, modern music of all genres and more! I was so happy to be able to go to the Nutcracker this year due to the generous gift of tickets to the ballet from Spokane Symphony staff for my role in bringing KXLY to the Fox to film me sketching. I, of course, used this gift as an opportunity for more sketching! :)

Before the Nutcracker started, my friend Molly and I went over to the Brooklyn Deli for a little something to nibble. While we were waiting for our food to arrive, I sketched the Fox Theater Marque over the 1st Avenue entrance. There's nothing like beautiful, magical theater on a cold winter's night.

Before the Nutcracker started, my friend Molly and I went over to the Brooklyn Deli for a little something to nibble. While we were waiting for our food to arrive, I sketched the Fox Theater Marque over the 1st Avenue entrance. There's nothing like beautiful, magical theater on a cold winter's night.

I've been itching to sketch the starburst capped panels on either side of the stage since I first saw them at a Gonzaga Choir/Spokane Symphony performance years ago. I finally got my chance while I sat waiting for the Nutcracker to start. Thank you to Alison Highberger for making it possible for me to paint the Fox. Your support and enthusiasm is greatly appreciated!

I've been itching to sketch the starburst capped panels on either side of the stage since I first saw them at a Gonzaga Choir/Spokane Symphony performance years ago. I finally got my chance while I sat waiting for the Nutcracker to start. Thank you to Alison Highberger for making it possible for me to paint the Fox. Your support and enthusiasm is greatly appreciated!

The murals on the walls inside the Fox depict the transition from under the sea to land. Down here on the ground floor, we're under the sea, with silver, shimmering seaweed. Anthony Heinsbergen created and hand painted these gorgeous murals. I can hardly believe that at one point this dreamy landscape was covered under red paint. I'm so glad it got a chance to get out and shine!

The murals on the walls inside the Fox depict the transition from under the sea to land. Down here on the ground floor, we're under the sea, with silver, shimmering seaweed. Anthony Heinsbergen created and hand painted these gorgeous murals. I can hardly believe that at one point this dreamy landscape was covered under red paint. I'm so glad it got a chance to get out and shine!

The huge sunbeam in the theater atrium is glorious and awe inspiring. Tackling it was intimidating (Especially since I was being filmed for a clip on KXLY!) and it took four tries before I got the size of the sunbeam on the page correctly, but I'm happy with how this painting came out!   Thank you to Alison Highberger for making it possible for me to paint the Fox. Your support and enthusiasm is greatly appreciated! It never would have worked without you!

The huge sunbeam in the theater atrium is glorious and awe inspiring. Tackling it was intimidating (Especially since I was being filmed for a clip on KXLY!) and it took four tries before I got the size of the sunbeam on the page correctly, but I'm happy with how this painting came out! 

Thank you to Alison Highberger for making it possible for me to paint the Fox. Your support and enthusiasm is greatly appreciated! It never would have worked without you!

Holidays at the Davenport

The historic Davenport Hotel is a grand dame of downtown Spokane. Rescued from dereliction by Walt Worthy, it is a centerpiece of our city. Every year for the holidays, the Davenport host a fundraiser for the Spokane Symphony called Christmas Tree Elegance where decorated Christmas trees and delightful goodies fill the upper balconies and you can buy raffle tickets for the chance to win one. Gorgeous and festive as those trees all are, I still think my favorite tree is the big one in the center of the hotel atrium.

I did this sketch when I stopped in two years ago to take in all the holiday decorations. A live pianist was playing Christmas music as I sketched. It was pretty much perfect.

I did this sketch when I stopped in two years ago to take in all the holiday decorations. A live pianist was playing Christmas music as I sketched. It was pretty much perfect.

Capturing all the complicated paneling and beams was a challenge!

Capturing all the complicated paneling and beams was a challenge!

Who doesn't love a GIANT Christmas tree?

Who doesn't love a GIANT Christmas tree?

Here is this year's take on the giant Christmas tree. Rather than trying to sketch from ground level, I took to the second floor and found a little table to work at. I got an up close look at the giant lanterns as a bonus!

Here is this year's take on the giant Christmas tree. Rather than trying to sketch from ground level, I took to the second floor and found a little table to work at. I got an up close look at the giant lanterns as a bonus!

The Doge's Hall, an intricate gem of a room. is absolutely gorgeous and rather intimidating to draw. Can you believe that the whole thing was lifted out by a crane during the remodel and then returned?   While I was painting this, several people came to admire the room. One woman walked in and promptly laid down on the carpet to take a picture of the beautiful mural on the ceiling. My kind of person!

The Doge's Hall, an intricate gem of a room. is absolutely gorgeous and rather intimidating to draw. Can you believe that the whole thing was lifted out by a crane during the remodel and then returned? 

While I was painting this, several people came to admire the room. One woman walked in and promptly laid down on the carpet to take a picture of the beautiful mural on the ceiling. My kind of person!

The exterior of the Davenport is lovely as well. I had a lot of fun playing with all the different warm and cool tones!  Stop in and visit the Davenport this month while they still have the decorations up and make sure to grab one of the "Historic Walking Tour" brochures at the desk to learn about all the amazing architecture and history in the hotel.

The exterior of the Davenport is lovely as well. I had a lot of fun playing with all the different warm and cool tones!

Stop in and visit the Davenport this month while they still have the decorations up and make sure to grab one of the "Historic Walking Tour" brochures at the desk to learn about all the amazing architecture and history in the hotel.

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!

Artist's Eye on Spokane On TV

Exciting news everyone! Artist's Eye on Spokane (and thus ME) made it on tv! KXLY here in Spokane in fact, but now the video has been released to the internet and I am sharing it with you here!

Caroline Flynn of KXLY and I have been in touch since this summer trying to work out a time when our schedules could mesh together and it finally did. Caroline interviewed me about Artist's Eye on Spokane at the historic Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox and filmed me as I painted the iconic sunbeam light in the auditorium. Watch the video to see me in action! Thank you to the wonderful Alison Highberger at the Fox for helping me coordinate this visit. 

I was a bit nervous to be filmed and it is a bit odd to see and hear myself in video form, but Caroline is a total pro and I think the video came out great!

You can also click here for the video along with a short summarizing article. 

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!

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! :) )

Fall at the Japanese Garden

Fall in Spokane is such a beautiful time. The leaves turn brilliant colors and I try to get out to enjoy the blue skies, crisp air, and flaming trees as much as possible. Soon we're going to be buried under a pile of snow!

So many people suggested the Japanese Garden at Manito to me as a place to sketch, especially in the fall and they were totally right. It is breathtaking. Get over there before it is too late. The Japanese Garden closes for the season November 1. Last year, the foliage was so spectacular, the Manito staff decided to leave the garden open an extra week or two, but don't count on that. Get over there!

I just LOVE the color behind this stone lantern. Absolutely GORGEOUS and so much fun to paint! This is the most recent sketch I did at the garden and the foliage is really at its peak!

I just LOVE the color behind this stone lantern. Absolutely GORGEOUS and so much fun to paint! This is the most recent sketch I did at the garden and the foliage is really at its peak!

This sketch was completed on an overcast day before the foliage really exploded into full color. The evergreen shrubs and trees really set off the red maples well!

This sketch was completed on an overcast day before the foliage really exploded into full color. The evergreen shrubs and trees really set off the red maples well!

On the day that I sketched this, there were only a few visitors standing on the bridge, but when I returned to paint the stone lantern above, the bridge was crowded with people taking photos!

On the day that I sketched this, there were only a few visitors standing on the bridge, but when I returned to paint the stone lantern above, the bridge was crowded with people taking photos!

To paint this stone pagoda, I balanced precariously on a rock along the walk way, trying to stay out of the way of passersby. 

To paint this stone pagoda, I balanced precariously on a rock along the walk way, trying to stay out of the way of passersby. 

As I was walking into the garden, I saw this view. The gold at the end of the path along the outside garden fence caught my eye and when I needed a break from over 2 hours of sketching on a chilly day, I got into my car, cranked on the heat, and painted this!

As I was walking into the garden, I saw this view. The gold at the end of the path along the outside garden fence caught my eye and when I needed a break from over 2 hours of sketching on a chilly day, I got into my car, cranked on the heat, and painted this!

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!

Take a Class with Me

Hello Everyone! 

I can't believe that it is already October! The days are just flying by! I had a great time at Lucky Vintage Fall Festival. Thank you to everyone who stopped by!

A lot of people had questions about whether I teach classes and since I have quite a few coming up this fall, I thought I would share them here. They are all coming up fast so if you want to learn about making art this fall with me check out the Corbin Art Center website.

Intro to Watercolor & Beyond

Ages: 18 Yrs. and over

Fees:
- Fee $69.00

Description: 
6 weeks | Ages 18+ | Dian Zahner Come and learn the basics of watercolor, mixing colors, choosing the right paper, brushes to use, and how to transform a value sketch into a watercolor painting. If you have already taken a watercolor class before, the instructor will help you go on with what you want to accomplish. The instructor will provide photos for you to work off but feel free to bring your own to create your own fabulous works of art. Supply list included with registration confirmation. Class held at the Corbin Art Center, 507 W 7th Avenue. $69 

M          10/9-11/13           2-4pm

Sign up here

Colored Pencil Techniques

Ages: 18 Yrs. and over

Fees:
- Fee $59.00

Description: 
6 weeks | Ages 18+ | Dian Zahner Coloring books for adults are all the craze these days, but what if you want to practice the techniques of layering many colors to produce richer values, texture and depth. The Instructor will provide drawing for you to color and help you with adding shadows and leaving highlights. These colored pencil pieces of art will be so vibrant and 3-dimensional looking that you will want to frame and display proudly. Supply list included with registration confirmation. Class held at the Corbin Art Center, 507 W 7th Avenue. $59 

Th         10/12-11/16         12-2pm
Sign up here

A Creative Habit: Every Day Art

2 weeks | Ages 16+ | Megan Perkins Life is filled with beauty, but often we are too busy to slow down to appreciate it.  Sketching and painting bits of your life like; the view out of your window, your morning coffee mug, or part of your summer vacation.  These are all ways to memorialize little moments in time and bring some creativity and art into your life.  Get tips on drawing and painting parts of your life in a low pressure encouraging environment by making objects and scene sketches part of your day.  Supply list included with registration confirmation.    Class held at the Corbin Art Center, 507 W 7th Avenue.  $39

 W            10/25-11/1           6-8 PM

Sign up here

 

See my Art in Person!

October is Spokane Art Month and there is a ton of amazing exhibits and events going on! I can't wait to go explore all the amazing things going on in the creative community in Spokane! I am extra pleased to have this painting on display at Terrain October 5-7th at the Jensen-Byrd building! See you all out there!

 

Tuscan Tomatoes

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.

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).