Monday, October 23, 2017

Mostly At The Zoo

The past week was mostly rainy and gray and uninspiring.  I read a lot.  I went on walks around the neighborhood wearing waterproof clothes.  I even did some housecleaning.  You know the weather is bad when I am reduced to cleaning stuff.

I did manage to get two watercolor paintings done during the week.  One afternoon the sunlight was trying to break through the storm clouds, and I tried to capture the trees at my neighbor's home as I sat comfortably on my sofa:

Winston was visiting that day, and the sofa was truly a very lovely place to be:


The next day I went out in the rain to find an autumn leaf to paint, using a mostly wet-in-wet process:


On the weekend I got out once with Tina -- we went to the Woodland Park Zoo.  I was amused by this sign, which conveys a message that one would think was rather obvious:


Do not touch the grizzly bear, either, especially when he's napping.



We were delighted to learn that a new snow leopard cub had recently been born -- a delightful little boy, seen here with his mama:



This Komodo Dragon did not want to be sketched and moved away from the window as soon as I arrived:

So I sketched some of the zoo grounds and buildings while we took a brief rest break:


We visited some of the primates, who were definitely moving around too quickly for sketching.


Luckily, we then checked in on the penguins, who had recently been fed and were just standing around quietly:


It is supposed to be sunny and in the low 60s today and tomorrow -- I hope to get out and about.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Last of the Outdoor Sketch Outings?

Every week I think the weather will be too cold or rainy for any more outdoor sketching this year, and every week there are at least a few days where it is above 60 and sunny.  Surely that can't last much longer, can it? 

I always take advantage of non-gloomy days, so here is a recap of last week's adventures.

Truman and I visited Twin Ponds Park in Shoreline for a quick walk'n'draw:



We had Winston and Chloe for one day, and went for a walk at Magnuson Park:



On one day last week there were showers off and on and we were stuck inside:


On Saturday we went to the Montlake Fill for the weekly shorebird survey -- it was 38 when we arrived at 8am.


We counted just one shorebird (a Killdeer).  We did have some nice waterfowl, including these Western Grebes:



Truman waited for me to finish taking photos of the grebes:


Connie was unable to come that morning, so we walked around with another survey regular, Inge:


Truman waits again while Inge goes off to check the north end of the main pond for shorebirds.  There weren't any.

I did find this lovely mushroom:


Truman found it interesting, too.


Later that same day, Tina and I went to Ballard for some sketching.  We found this Catholic church, which had all kinds of great views:





Behind the church stood a Catholic school:


In front of the school stood a Little Free Library modeled on Snoopy's doghouse:


I managed just one very sketchy sketch, as it was still a bit chilly out:


On Sunday it was warmer and sunnier.  Tina, Nicole and I ventured out again.  Our first stop was the Lake Forest Park farmer's market, the last one of the season, at which Halloween costumes were encouraged.  Here is Truman in his pumpkin outfit:


And here he is at the market:


From there we ventured up the road a ways to St. Edwards Park, site of an old seminary:



Tina's dogs Ginger and Duke joined us:


It was so warm in the cloudless sunshine that I actually took my jacket and hat off.  Lovely day.


Looking ahead, the forecast calls for rain, wind, and thunderstorms in the coming week.  There may not be a lot to post about here next Monday!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Last Week in Review: Birds, Art, and a Lot of Truman

I take Truman on my outings whenever I can, because, you know, why not?  He's very well-mannered -- he even went to an Episcopalian church service on October 1 for the annual St Francis blessing of the animals, and he never made a single sound.  He just say quietly on the padded pew and was admired by all.

So last week he came with me everywhere I went.  Our first outing was to the UW Farm, which is just off the entrance to the Montlake Fill (AKA Union Bay Natural Area).  Sparrows have been there in abundance because of the many sunflowers, but when we arrived, the sparrows were hiding, due to this:


Predator!  This Red-tailed Hawk was chased off by crows, and then it swooped down to grab a rodent and then swooped off to a tree, leaving the sparrows alone.



Truman waited patiently at the farm while I took photos of the hawk, which was in an area he couldn't get to easily (too bumpy for the stroller, and too many thorny blackberry vines on the ground for walking).  See how well-mannered he is?


Back at the farm, I admired lots of Golden-crowned Sparrows, Song Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows, and this less common visitor from eastern Washington, a juvenile Yellow-headed Blackbird:


Afterwards, we tootled on up to the UW campus for a stroll -- this is in front of the neo-Gothic Suzzallo Library:


Then we made our way to the frame shop/gallery that sells my paintings, where Truman is allowed inside because, of course, he is extremely well-mannered.


Another one of my paintings had recently sold, so I was able to pick up a check.  Yay!

Next we stopped in at the University Bookstore, where all dogs are allowed, though I'm sure Truman is one of the very best-behaved ones there.


On another fine sunny day this past week we paid a visit to Golden Gardens Park.  We've had a lovely Indian Summer and wanted to make the most of it.



The first American Wigeons of the fall/winter season have arrived at the marsh there:


Truman allowed me to pose him on this driftwood:


And then he waited ever so patiently while I sketched the driftwood.



Over the weekend I went on several sketch outings with Tina and Nicole.  On Saturday we stopped by the Shoreline Farmer's Market, the last one of the season, where they were hosting the annual giant pumpkin weight contest.


One of the pumpkin growers admired this sketch so much that he bought it from me!  "I have dozens of photos of the pumpkin contests," he told me, "but this will make a unique souvenir."

Our next stop that day was the collection of shops and restaurants inside old-fashioned buildings known as Bothell Country Village.


Sadly, the owners are planning to sell the land to a developer and this quaint spot, which has been in operation for many decades, will likely disappear in a few years.


Truman, of course, was very well-behaved, and got to visit a bead store where Nicole went shopping.  And then he waited patiently while I sketched.





Finally, on Sunday we all went to the Lake Forest Park farmer's market to draw the alpacas there.  Truman was not impressed by them.



He was more impressed by the free sample slice of cinnamon-swirl bread that I picked up at the nearby Great Harvest Bread Company.



He did not get a bite of my bread.  Instead, I took him to the nearby Mud Bay pet supply store where he got his favorite treat and a new toy.  And where, naturally, he was very well-behaved!