Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Golden Gardens Outing

Yesterday Truman and I went on an impromptu outing to Golden Gardens park.  My intention was to scout the Crown Hill neighborhood for potential sketching views that could work from inside the car.

This is what Truman did when I asked him that morning if he wanted to go for a car ride:

While I found a couple of intriguing spots while driving around, those spots didn't have good parking.  Eventually I realized how close I'd gotten to Golden Gardens park, and decided it was time to give up the sketching hunt in favor of a walk.

We saw a seal:

Down at the marsh pond, this American Wigeon posed nicely:

And so did this Bufflehead:

Truman got out of his stroller for a bit:

Back at the parking lot, I noticed that I had a splendid view from inside the car of the main park building -- aha -- sketching time!

So that worked out nicely after all.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Sunshine and Puppies

The weekend proved to be quite an active one.  It started Friday with 53 degrees and not a cloud in sight.  It was so nice that Truman and I spent the midday hours on the lawn chair, albeit with a blanket (and a hat for me), soaking up the warmth.

On Saturday, Nicole and Tina and I ventured to West Seattle, where Kim, who fosters dogs for a rescue society, had taken on the enormous task of caring for a Chihuahua mom and her five puppies.

They are six weeks old.

We helped Kim give the puppies their first baths.

That wiped them out -- here they are after their baths, and after being dried in warm fluffy towels -- all tuckered out.

We all brought our sketch supplies and I tried to do some quick drawings before the baths when they were moving around a bit more.

Also tried another sketch when they were less active, though even when snuggling or snoozing, they tend to shift around.  Not an easy subject!

After visiting puppies, we drove around by the water, and found an overlook where we could park and do a little more sketching.

On Sunday the temperature dropped into the 40s, with clouds and a breezy wind, so no sketching that day for me.   I did get a little birding in -- Connie is starting a monthly bird count at the Montlake Fill to document the changes wrought by the mitigation/restoration project there, and I joined about a dozen other birders at dawn (!) to do the count.  Our team had some nice birds -- a Brown Creeper, some Pacific Wrens, a couple of Northern Pintails, a Trumpeter Swan flyover.  We'll be doing this count the last Sunday of every month for the next few years.  What fun!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Three Sketches

Here are three more sketches I did this week, to wrap things up on a Friday.

From a Tuesday outing with Nicole to Washelli cemetery, where we tried to find good views from inside the comfort of the car:

From Wednesday's downtown excursion, the pergola in Pioneer Square:

There were people and cars in Pioneer Square.  I left them out.  I prefer it that way!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Cathedrals are Complicated

Yesterday I made a rare visit to the downtown area of Seattle -- I had personal business to conduct at the King County Admin building.  Not being a fan of downtown, I figured I'd just get in and get out, but I took along camera and sketching supplies and food and water just in case.

I was a Girl Scout:  always Be Prepared.

This turned out to be a good thing, because my personal business took all of five minutes.  It seemed wrong to spend 45 minutes on a bus just for five minutes of downtown.  Then I remembered St. James Cathedral -- my sketching pals and I have been thinking of drawing churches both inside and out, and St. James was just up the hill.  I could go on a reconnaissance mission!

This cathedral opened in 1907, and has some fabulous architecture and embellishments.

Check out this little fisherman dude at the bottom of the main doors!

The interior proved intimidating as far as sketching goes -- look at all those arches!  And the details!  and the perspective issues -- aieeee!

Some of the side chapels were more manageable, but the whole place was very dimly lit.  I took these pics with the flash (before noticing the "no flash photography" sign -- oops).

I found a pew near the altar from which I could see this view, and decided to sketch part of it, and not to use a lot of detail because it was so dim that I couldn't see a lot of detail.  It was challenging.

It was nice and peaceful there, at least, until I finished up -- a tour group arrived and the guide began yakking, so I departed.

I didn't do any more sketching downtown, though I did wind up visiting the Seattle Mystery Bookshop, and then went to the Market to get some Beecher's cheese before heading home -- in for a penny, in for a pound.  My five minutes of business turned into three hours of fun!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Out and About Again

It's almost warm enough at times to sketch outside, though not for very long. Yesterday I put this to the test, but first, I popped down to the Montlake Fill to see what was there.  Not a lot, as it turned out.

Truman and I wandered down to the lake front, and checked out a pond, but the birds were all far away, so no bird photos were taken,  Truman filled in by being his usual photogenic self.

I also checked out Yesler Swamp (the boardwalk was slightly slippery from frost, so having the stroller to hold onto really helped).

I think I saw three ducks on Yesler Cove.  Oh, well, so it goes!

After a food break at home, I decided to check out a P-Patch community garden in Shoreline to see if I could sketch it from the parking lot, inside the comfort of the car.  Unfortunately, the sun was in my eyes from that vantage point.  So I got out the camp stool and tried sketching outside -- brrr!  It was maybe 45 or so, not horribly cold, but I only lasted about twenty minutes.  Just enough time for a few very simple sketches:

Then I decided to drive down to Carkeek Park (Truman was not amused) to see if I could get a good view of the Olympics.

A little cloudy, but still some nice views!

Today I'm going to try sketching from inside the comfort of the car again.  Outside sketching will need to wait until it hits at least 50!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Is This Really January?

This past Saturday the sun shone brightly -- and it wasn't cold!  We got to 52 degrees!

Naturally, this meant getting outside.  I spent the morning going used book shopping before realizing just how nice the day was turning out -- so I hurried home, ate lunch, and then tossed His Adorableness into the car for a visit to Richmond Beach park.

I got to see a few nice birds there -- this is a Horned Grebe:

And here's a Common Goldeneye:

We strolled for a while, and then sat for a while basking in the sunshine, and then repeated the process.  Here is Truman during one of our basking moments:

And here he is displaying his usual "I am  now tired of being out and about" behavior:

Of course, when we turned to head back towards the parking lot, his attitude greatly improved:

Back at the car, ready to head home:

Friday, January 20, 2017

Rewards of an Impromptu Outing

Yesterday I made one planned outing and one unplanned outing.  I wanted to get out and about, but it was rather cloudy with threats of showers.  So I tossed Truman in the car and went to Washelli cemetery to do a bit of sketching from inside the comfort of the car.

Truman was less than enchanted by this endeavor.

I felt done with drawing and it was only 10am, and I didn't feel like returning home right away.  But it was sprinkling off and on, and where could I go?

Then I remembered Llandover Woods Greenspace.  This is a small city park that Tina told me about a while back, and I'd been meaning to check it out and kept forgetting about it, but now I remembered and it wasn't that far away (NE 145th and 3rd), so off we went.

When we arrived, the rain stopped, so Truman and I went for a stroll through lovely wooded hills.

Suddenly, I caught a split-second glimpse of a bird flying from one tree to another -- and in that split-second, my mind registered white on outer tail, bigger and more slender than a junco, light grayish-taupe overall which led me to think, "That's different!"

Since it was an unplanned outing, I had no binoculars, but I did have the camera, and after spending some frantic minutes searching far off where it had flown for a grayish-brown bird among grayish-brown deciduous tree branches, I finally spotted it.  I zoomed in, and knew it was special -- a Townsend's Solitaire.  This is only the third one I've seen in over eight years of birding.  Hoorah!

Having recently bumbled my way through bird IDs that should have been easy, and having felt in dire need of a birding refresher course, this experience made me feel much more confident about my rusty skills.  I really do need to get out birding more often.

I didn't see any other birds during our entire walk, though I heard a few chickadees and some Brown Creepers.  The walk was a loop trail that wound up and down a bluff:

At the top, I found a perch for Truman:

Although you can't tell from the lighting in this photo, I could see Puget Sound through the trees.

You never know what you might find on an impromptu outing!