Monday, March 19, 2018

Almost Spring

We had a lot of sunny Spring-like weather over the past week, and got out as often as possible.  I'll just do the roundup in chronological order this time.

First, a visit to Magnuson Park, one of many we made, since it's a very large place with lots of different stuff, and it's just a 10-minute drive away.

After a two-mile walk, Truman introduced Pippin to the concept of cooling off in the lake.

I also got a short video of the frog chorus at the wetland ponds--turn up the volume!

On another sunny day we went to Golden Gardens park on the Sound for some sandy beach fun.  First we stopped at the marsh:

Then we went to the beach, where Pippin had a fun time exploring.

Dueling profiles 

There are still Brant geese around--they are Winter visitors who will no doubt be heading north soon.

On Wednesday I went to visit a friend at the UW, and ran into the tail-end of a student rally on gun control.  I decided to try drawing people again.  Mistakes were made, but that's how it goes when they insist on moving around.

The cherry trees on campus were blooming, so the Hounds and I stopped there as well for a bit.

The next day I took Tru and Pip to the groomers for their nail trims.  There's a mosque not far from the groomers that I've been wanting to sketch for ages, and it was sunny again, so we stopped there afterwards.

The next day I took the Hounds to Meadowbrook Pond park, another favorite spot which is quite small (9 acres).  A very pleasant spot.

On Saturday we went to the Montlake Fill on yet another lovely day.

On Sunday it was a bit cooler and cloudier in the morning.  Tina and I went to the Burke Museum for some comfortable indoor drawing.

All in all, it was a full week.  I also got quite a bit of gardening in, and most of my 3,000sf garden is weeded!  Of course, two weeks from now, all of the weeds will be back, bigger and stronger than ever.  I just hope some of the flowers manage to grow as well. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Not Exactly 100 People

Last week there was an annual worldwide sketching "challenge" to draw 100 people in five days.  I hate drawing people but thought I ought to try, and since sketchers were allowed to draw from photos as well as real life, I figured I could handle it. 

At first I tried photos of people walking or standing, just as I might draw people if I were out and about in Seattle.  I did not enjoy it one little bit, and I gave up.  I told my friend Tina that people were boring.

She suggested I try people in motion instead.  She was doing the challenge, and was having a ton'o'fun drawing from photos of surfers.  She also suggested starting off with just a silhouette or simple outline to keep it easy.

So I gave it another try, and found some photos of dancers that appealed, and after starting off with simple silhouettes and outlines, I got more and more into it, and actually enjoyed drawing people!

I even tried different pens and color combinations, and did one with only watercolor. 

Next, I moved on to gymnasts.

And then I found the ice dancers -- quite complex!

I tried not to fret over faces or details--I just wanted to quickly capture form and movement.

After three days of this, I got tired of athletes, and decided to try a couple of faces with more detail.

I'm not sharing everything I drew -- by day four I had done 56 people.  Then I took my car in for service, and in the waiting room was a guy just sitting there working away on his laptop, not paying me any attention.  So I thought, "Aha!  I can sketch people now, and here is a person in real life!"  

So I sketched him.  And I did not enjoy it one bit.  He wasn't dancing or bouncing around a pommel horse or lifting an ice dancer into the air -- he was staring at a laptop.  BORING.  

I think for urban sketching, I will just stick to what I like.  Which is Scenes Without People In Them.

Like this: 

This is the steam plant in south Seattle that was built in 1907.  It's now a museum, open once a month to the public for free.  The Seattle Urban Sketcher group met there on Saturday.  Tina and I joined them.

Despite plenty of sunshine, it was COLD both inside and out at 10am when we started.  I lasted half an hour inside (for the above drawing) and then bolted outdoors.  It SLOWLY warmed up to maybe 50 degrees by the time we finished at 12:30. 

The plant is next to Boeing Field, where I had a partial view of an airplane and a full view of Mt. Rainier.

From the most sheltered, sunniest spot I could find (there was a breeze, too!), I could see more of the steam plant buildings.

Brrrrrr.  I was not a happy camper.

I was much happier on Sunday, when Tina and I went to the Magnuson Park wetlands in early afternoon, when it was not only sunny but WARM.  And there I had lovely views of ponds without any people around

I wish I had an audio recording, because the frogs were going nuts!  Hundreds and hundreds of frogs in every pond were croaking away in a glorious Spring chorus. 

It's supposed to be sunny today as well, and in the mid-60s.  I hope to get out again, slathered with sunscreen lotion.

I also took Truman and Pippin out in the glorious sunshine, on various walks hither and yon.  One day we went to Meadowbrook Pond park, where you can always see waterfowl.

Pippin was fascinated by the Canada Geese.

He ignored this lovely little Pied-billed Grebe.

Truman ignored all of the birds. 

This is a Ring-necked Duck:

Pippin discovered there were birds on the other side of the bridge, too.

Such as this female Wood Duck:

I'm not sure, but is Truman laughing at Pippin here?  We'll never know.

Happy almost Spring!

Monday, March 5, 2018

A Couple of Sunny Days

As usual, you have to look at the art first before you get to the adorable dachshund pics.  Them's the rules.

Tina, Nicole and I ventured out to Bothell to sketch at a hotel/restaurant complex called McMenamin's.  We started out at the North Shore Lagoon restaurant & bar, which has a Tiki theme.

The bar overlooks a swimming pool.

Then we moved on to the main restaurant, where we ate lunch and sketched part of the lobby area.

The next day Tina and I went to the UW campus to try drawing the complex architecture inside Suzzallo library, a neo-Gothic building.  My attempt to draw the grand staircase failed miserably, so I gave up and wandered around until I spied a view out a window that I found attractive.  That went much better.

I also tried drawing people today.  There's an Urban Sketcher challenge going on called "One Week, 100 People" which started today, in which, as one might surmise, you try to sketch 100 people this week--either from life, or photos, doesn't matter.  I sketched 17 people from photos this morning, and I hated every minute of it.  And then I accepted the fact that people just fail to inspire me, and it's probably better to stick to what gets me excited instead--nature, dogs, old buildings--basically, anything without people.  So that's the end of that little experiment!

Okay, on to the dogs.  We ventured out to the Montlake Fill on Wednesday, where we had brilliant sunshine, though there were a lot of muddy puddles left over from all the rainy days.

This eagle seemed interested in Pippin.

The views, as always, were lovely.

The wigeons, who winter here, are still hanging around.

The hounds braved the puddles, though not entirely with enthusiasm.

We returned to the Fill on Saturday morning, with more brilliant sunshine.

I managed to snap a pic of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet (they flit around from second to second ceaselessly, making it hard to keep them in the viewfinder).

We ran into Connie, and had a delightful catch-up walk'n'talk, and sit'n'talk.

She doesn't read my blog, so I'm sure she won't mind my posting this pic of her.

After a two-hour trip around the Loop Trail (which is only 1 mile, but we stopped an awful lot, and talked an awful lot, and even looked at birds a bit), we headed home.

I think I wore out at least one of the hounds.

You can't wear out Pippin--not for very long, anyway.  He's good company, and good entertainment, too.