August and the first half of September really felt like a weather yo-yo. Now, we have now finally transitioned into autumn and it is wonderful. The spring and summer are really the best time to do Urban Sketching in western Washington. Now that the rain is here, I'm not sure how much I'll get out and sketch about town.
These begonias were so gorgeous and while I like the sketch, the flowers were so much prettier in person.
I've had this mosquito-netting-equipped-hammock for 15-20 years and it is still amazing. We took a couple weekends this summer to assess our camping gear situation. There were two tents that have reached the end of their lives. My back disagrees with sleeping on the ground and all of the air mattresses/pads can't seem to hold their air. I'm thankful that hammocks make camping a possibility again and I can retreat to the mountain to have some quiet creative time.
I wasn't intending to do this, but my eye is really drawn to the seagull on the top of the shelter. I drew it first and then later on the seagull was replaced by a crow. We really have some great birds here. I like how I drew the cars and the people in the shelter. I was acknowledging that they were there, but not giving them much attention.
This is a 7 1/2" gauge track up in Skycomish that gives free rides to the public in the non-winter months on the weekends. They have some beautiful small scale engines and because it was raining, this one was sitting still long enough for me to sketch it. There are big trains around to sketch and if the sun comes out there would be some gorgeous mountains in the background. Almost as equally entertaining is Tommy, the employee who runs the gift shop in the depot.
I snuck out in between rain showers to sketch the little cabin that we rented out. The mountains even peeked out a little bit and they make a very sketchable dramatic background. I highly recommend Hwy 2 / Stevens Pass as a sketching getaway.
More cursive... and a frightening trip into my imagination...
It is not always possible to get out and sketch the nifty things in our community. I did start to fill the pages of my sketchbook with cursive. It was a great way to use up some ink in pens I wanted to clean out. Much of my writing was just snippets of conversation, notes from watching Netflix, or just recordings of mundane life events. Then, because I never intend to re-read the journal pages, I paint on them. I pull things out of my imagination and hope that the paint will do most of the work for me. It is a great way to get the paint brush onto the paper and just see what happens.
I also spent a chunk of time crafting a planner traveler's notebook style set-up. I am loving it and I'm going to share it in a video with you soon. I think as the weather cools down more I'll be doing more of this cursive business and also working on some Winter Projects. I'm honing in on a book about Train Days and a werewolf/there was an old lady who swallowed a fly style story. Wish me luck!
I had a busy May which left me with will little free time. However, all of the extras had me really needing that creative therapy. The first half of the month I only made time to sketch while I was at church. This is a practice I've been enjoying because it forces me to sketch quickly and I have captive subjects. Sketching people feels less intrusive than photographing them during a church service. It has also given me something to post on our church Facebook page.
The kids and I popped over to Bremerton on the foot ferry. We walked in the direction of where I'd heard from my husband that there was an Urban Sketching meet up flyer. After I sketched this sculpture we were able to find the poster and get the details. The Urban Sketching group in Bremerton is just starting up.
I love sketching microphones! Dare you to try it!
I always find it a little confusing that the Port of Bremerton has a park in Port Orchard. There are these interesting lamps along the waterfront that I never notice unless I'm sketching them. I also really like how the blue and grey roof detail turned out on the shelter on the left.
The second meet up for the Urban Sketching group was at Evergreen Park and it was an extremely blustery day. There was also some bold intermittent sunshine. Apparently, the event was canceled due to said unpredictable weather. I met Justin who also came to sketch and he was subjected to some pretty wild 6:30pm behavior from my son. I doubt he was prepared for the feelings that come from a child who doesn't get to bring the abandoned gosling home. The night was capped off with a fantastic rainbow the whole drive home.
Last weekend I had a day to myself and I decided to try bicycle sketching in Seattle. I know what you are thinking and no I did not sketch while I was pedaling. It is a faster way to get to different sketching spots and I refuse to drive to Seattle. My feet thanked me for not making them walk 5+ miles on pavement. It also made it easy for me to drag my sketching (camp) chair along.
I'm actually running a little low on space in my Stillman & Birn Beta Square sketchbook. They are not super available right now... so I have decisions to make about what else I want to try. I thought I would buy myself a little extra time by working in the Stillman & Birn I devoted to cursive and watercolor. These are not considered Urban Sketches. There are specific rules for those sketches, especially if you are posting sketches up in a group.
I love driving up to Green Mountain Horse Camp, but I struggled to find something I want to sketch up there. The last of the horses, mules, and donkeys just headed out after the holiday weekend. Just a bunch of green foliage and peaceful bird sounds... Naturally when surrounded by glorious nature, I chose to paint a car.
This process is supposed to be sort of mindless and easy for me. I devoted a whole Stillman & Birn Alpha sketchbook to this type of creative practice and I follow the same steps each time.
Fewer variables = less thinking = more doing.
I start by picking a song or poem that I have memorized. I try not to pick the “perfect” poem. Catch a Falling Star featured in The Princess Diaries is one I use to unsuccessfully sing the kid to sleep. I put the blue tape down to give myself a visual edge to write up to. I picked up a TWSBI Eco with a Fine nib filled with Liberty's Elysium and started practicing my cursive.
Originally I was going to use my watercolors to do the stars, but I changed my mind and used little puddles of fountain pen ink. The inks were already in other TWSBI Ecos so I just twisted a few droplets out into my palette. I used from left to right: Sailor Ink Studio 162, Sailor Ink Studio 252, Noodler's Apache Sunset, Noodler's Rome Burning, Sailor Ink Studio 224, and Noodler's Dostoyevsky.
The apple page is the Johnny Appleseed prayer (Noodler's Rome Burning) with watercolors over top.
I did the stoplight a few months back. I wrote the little song:
won't you tell me where I'm going
won't you tell me when to stay
won't you tell me what to do Lord
it's been that kind of day
I sing it to the the tune that's whistled in Robin Hood.
What little songs or poems do you have memorized? Post it in the comments.