Thursday, May 31, 2012

"Key West, Florida Keys, 2009"

One of Hemingway's haunts in Key West, "Cap't Tony's." 

When the rent on this place went up in 1937, about 25 cents worth, Capt. Tony decided to move to another place, "Sloppy Joe's Tavern," just up the street.  Hemingway helped him move and both places thrive still today.  My favorite was "Sloppy Joe's" with all the open air doors and the loud music, and the loud crowd, and the clinking of the glasses, and the rum and cokes, and, and, and.....  Wish I were there now. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"Little League Fans Watch the Championship Games"

Parents as Fans by jimbmgarner
Parents as Fans, a photo by jimbmgarner on Flickr.
We had a great time yesterday at the opening series of the Little League Champsionship Series here in Kennewick. The kids were great and my grandson's team whupped up on the other guys, 16-10.

One Last Sketch

So here is the last sketch I did before leaving France.  This was a little drawing in my sketchbook of the yard at the chateau where we stayed for 2 weeks.  I has this lovely grove of trees, a horse barn and of course, the quintessential tower.  It was sunny and warm the last 3 days we were there and the colors were brilliant!  Goodbye to a great trip.

"Future Scheduled Local Sketchcrawls"

Anyone interested in meeting up for any future scheduled local sketchcrawls will have to check the blog for dates, times, events.  The notices will be posted in "What's Coming Up," in the right margin.  There will be no further email notifications.  

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Announcement: "Sketching for Scavengers"

We see a couple of things happening in the USk blog community that catch our eye. 

1.  The USk'ers in Singapore are collecting sketches for a series of books which will showcase the various neighborhoods in the city. That would be fun to do here in the Tri-Cities, maybe on a smaller scale, but fun. 

2.  In Portland, OR, they are having a Scavenger Hunt.  The person with the greatest numbers of entries on their blog by September wins a prize.  They don't say what the prize is, but something tells us it doesn't matter. 

We got to thinking about a Scavenger Hunt that would include the following items, some scammed directly off Portland's list, some not: 

inside a coffee shop
coffee shop exterior
wine bottle(s)
a winery
food cart
food truck
lamp posts
a fountain (any) fire hydrant
dog and owner
someone wearing stripes
any Tri-City scene
downtwon Kennewick
our hills
something with a bird on it
a storefront
the Franklin county Courthouse
a train
the river
a fish
people in groups
a Farmers Market
an old house

The finishing date as October 1st, then we will have a big celebration somewhere where we will award the big prize.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

"Clover Island Boathouses & Marina"

These are the houseboats at Clover Island in Kennewick.  If you've seen the real ones you can see some liberties were taken with colors on the sketch.  This sketch was done in '08, and everytime I look at it I think I could do better with another attempt; the perspective is too wonky in this one.  Now that the weather has gotten nice, maybe one day next week? 

pigma micron pen, watercolor, 6x9 Super Aquabee Sketchbook

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"Featuring: James Richards - Urban Sketcher"

James Richards is an urban designer, sketchbook artist, writer and educator in Fort Worth, Texas. He is a co-founder of the urban design firm TOWNSCAPE, Inc, and a member of the Board of Directors of the global non-profit Urban Sketchers.  He is putting together a book about how to create interesting sketches, especially urban sketches. 

This image of the Paris Opera House links to a short demonstration on his blog about how he put it together.  It is fascinating to see how he accomplished this amazing sketch, and there are a few tricks there that may help some of us.

Click the link, check out this blog post, "Music for the Eyes," click back to this page and drop a comment below and share something about how you might use something he had to share.


OToday the weather was till cloudy but it didn't rain and it was much warmer.  These 2 paintings reflect that (especially the bottom one) but I added some brilliant color to the top one just for kicks.  I painted a third one but it needs some work and a little drying time before I keep going so I'll post it later.


It was really cold and drizzly here yesterday, so I staid inside and did an 'interior drawing'.  This chateau is really beautiful - about 500 years old - but the owners, Yves and Yvette are the BEST!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Richland Players Theater

Today I had lunch with several friends in the Parkway area in Richland. I went there about 20 minutes earlier and hoped that I'd sketch something.

This is what I sketched. It started drizzling soon after I started, therefore I sketched fast to get the essence first, then finished up in the car.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


The next scheduled local sketchcrawl is June 2nd.  If you have a place, person, thing, event, etc., you would like to promote, drop a comment on this post and let us know what you're thinking.  One person can't come up with all the ideas.

You can get automatic updates when someone posts on the blog.  Just scroll down the right hand margin and find "Follow."  Feed your email address in the window and then follow whatever instructions pop up.  It's easy and it gives you instant access to the goings on here.

Have you checked out the USK Whidbey Island yet?  They have some gorgeous work on their blog.  Left hand margin, scroll down to their link.

We received 2,300 hits on the blog last month.

Only one member at the sketchcrawl this morning.  Where is everyone?

"Wayne's Shop"

This old building has somehow captured my attention.  I have sketched it 3 or 4 times and posted at least once before.  This is a side view. Maybe I should go back and try to capture the entire thing; but this end of it is the most interesting.
On the second cut, Wayne completely butchered my hair.  So now the building has my attention, but Wayne, not so much.

"Little Leaguers and Aidan"

Not too sure about how this one will look on the blog, but I'm rather happy with the way the figures are beginning to eek out of my pen onto the page.  These guys are not easy to draw because speaking about being all over the place, they are!  Each of the batters here is a composite of quite a few of the kids who came to the plate, some of them my grandson, Aidan:  all right handed too. 

The two smaller figures are not composited. These two boys were at first base: one is playing first base, the one with his mitt on his hip; and the other was a base runner.  The base runner made it to second. 

These are among the most challenging of any of the sketches I've done, well, actually they are ALL challenging.  These are maybe the most difficult. 

"Pair of Readers at Howard Amon Park"

This morning at 10am I drove over to meet any of the sketchers who might show up for another of our scheduled local sketchcrawls, but they must have all had more important things to do on this beautiful, warm, sun-drenched day.  I parked at the end of the street near the boat dock and noticed this man and woman right in front of my truck, so I simply sat behind the wheel of my truck and sketched them.  He was a great model as he hardly moved at all during the 40 mins I was there.  She was all over the place, but that's the challenge when you draw people, they move.  I'm not particularly crazy about the background.  I started to leave it all white, but it was too stark, something needed to be there to ground the figures.

A skip in time

I caught Emilie skipping at the corner of my eyes.  This pose, although lasted only 3 second in real time, for some reason has burn into my memory.   I was able to finish sketching quickly, at least with some essences.

The front of the house

I always want to draw my house.  This one is my first try after so many years living here.  It is amazing how we take things for granted.  It is time, however, for me to get a better sketch book, I have decided after seeing the paper wrinkled up after just a few washes…

Benji's Piano Time

Benji (11 months) loves to play piano.  I got lucky to be able to capture this moment.  It is hard to draw baby, even just his back, the proportion is difficult.  I have the tendency to make a baby looks like a toddler.  But, the beauty of this piece is the bonding between a father and a son.  And certainly, being able to make my husband looks younger is a bonus.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Uptown Alleyway"

I had to drive over to Richland today and stopped in the Uptown area to see what I could see in terms of a possible sketch.  There's a sign that says, "No Public Traffic," so I pulled in and it curved in behind all the stores.  Uptown Richland, today, is a mere relic of the bustling commercial area it was in the '60's.  Then it was Penny's, Lawton's Clothing, nice restaurants, jewelry stores, etc., today it's a used bookstore, multiple taverns, and antique shops.  That's not all bad, but it isn't much for progress.  The stores are laid out in a large rectangle, probably a mile and half around, with this alleyway in the middle.  It's loaded with electrical lines, garbage cans, and delivery entry ways.  I think it's interesting. 

Daily Sketchbook

Cold this morning when we woke up so I stayed inside and painted THIS view from an upstairs window.


I did this little landscape in the afternoon when the sun finally came out (tho it was still pretty chilly).  Actually I did the beginning or maybe you'd call it it under-painting because Ovanes came and added so much and made it so beautiful, I can no longer call it mine.  I will keep it as a reference and paint the same view tomorrow when I start with oils!


Today I painted this still life, although the photo was taken last night before wind, you get the idea.  I am a little more comfortable with watercolor just because I've been doing it a bit.  Ovanes still helps me SO much and I would be no where near this without him.

Fluffy Clouds

One last, little drawing for the sketchbook.  I went to the other side of the room and painted this big fluffy cloud and the tree tops using my traditional pen and wash.

"Pencil Marks are Important"

Tuesday I woke up and it was COLD!!!  I didn't plan for this - I aimed for HEAT!  So, I stayed inside and simply looked out the window to this view - (holy smoke!).  The first is a sketch I did first then I did it again in watercolor.  There is no ink outline, like my little drawings in my sketch journal or the ones I do with the Urban Sketchers - this is a real, full blown water color.  Ovanes says the pencil marks are important.  The wet washes are important and you build the painting layer at a time.  The colors in the drawing are really terrific simply due to the fact that there are SO many - building and building to make the darker darks and leaving a thin, transparent layer for the lights.  A great thing about watercolor is you can always 'erase' by wetting the brush and rubbing out something you don't like.

The View Behind Us

Forgot this one.  It's just a little sketch at the cafe when we ate the day before yesterday.  I turned behind us and this was the view up the street...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cormatin, France

We found a gorgeous spot overlooking the town of Cormatin where we began sketching and doing some watercolor washes.

This pencil sketch was done after seeing the one my instructor, Ovanes Berberian, did - his was really great and I noticed how delicately he used his pencil and how he got such a huge variation in his grays, which is something I have a hard time recognizing.  Another key factor was the direction of his pencil strokes - you can't just scrub in the shading any old way!

The second is a watercolor sketch of the same view where I drew first with a pencil then did some washes of color over.  Ovanes pointed out the 'calligraphy' was too much the same in both buildings so after I took this photo, I remembered that and dulled down the back building.  It's important to not only dull it down but change the color of it too, which I didn't do.  So many small details but they really do make a big difference!  The sun was muted through high clouds so there wasn't a lot of contrast today, which makes for a less dramatic drawing - and to me, more difficult to make beautiful.

The last sheet is where I spent the most time.  I was trying hard to pick the hard spots (what wasn't?) but I had a hard time finding the slight variations in color and tone of the buildings along with their shadows.  The most trouble I had was finding the right greens - something covered the majority of the drawing!  I finally just laid my sketch pad directly on the grass and tried to match it (the 3 green stripes).  You wouldn't think green would be so tough until Ovanes told us that there is a realistic painter he really likes (Shishkin) who discovered 244 different green as he painted straight into the meadow!  I also worked on the distant landscape where Ovanes like the background (near the sky) and when I complained it was too dark he said the foreground green was too light!  AH!  You learn so much...

Customer at Lunch

Before heading out to draw the first day, we stopped at a cafe and had lunch.  I wasn't hungry so I drew a customer instead!

"You & I - Framing and Art Gallery"

Here is a sketch I did of the "You & I - Framing and Art Gallery" in downtown Kennewick a few months ago.  The folks who own this establishment, Mike and Brooke, have done wonders for the art community here in Kennewick specifically, and the Tri-Cities in general. 

If you have yet to visit them, stop in sometime and have a look around.  The art gallery is top-knotch for our area, and the framing they do here is as professionally crafted as any you will find anywhere. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

blooms on April 25,2012

In the morning, I noticed iris has started blooming in my neighbor's garden. Later when I walked around the neighborhood, with those pretty spring flowers blooming,and a robin singing on the fence, I decided to sketch them all together, as a reminder of this gorgeous day.

dance of picking tea

I did not have enough time to sketch the dance on May 5;only had some lines put down. I finally was able to finish the sketch with memory.

Aidan at Bat

Never thought baseball could be so much fun as watching my g-son, Aidan, play. This is him at bat. He walked this time, but with the bases loaded, so he got an rbi for having such a good eye. It was Cancer Awareness Day at the ball park so the umps were all wearing pink shirts.

photoshopped color
6x8 sketchbook

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Notre Dame and Degas, by Nancy

I spent the day at Notre Dame today and it was sunny but really cold and windy! I sat across the street and drew this first one. I kept telling myself, 'remember the Pasco court house and just keep going' - see what practice does! I will never tell that I totally messed up in the middle there and maybe no one will know.

With my fingers frozen, I went INSIDE and drew this next one. It was really dark and I shouldn't have tried coloring it but I did anyway and it's too yellow but it was a great fun exercise.

The last one I did this morning before I left my room. I copied a post card I bought at the Degas show. His is a pastel and mine is a watercolor but again, great, great exercise.

Tomorrow I drive 5-6 hours to the workshop so no sketching then - too bad!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Yichien's Inspiration

I got inspired by the Urban Sketchers and took my young ones out the other day.  The wind was too big that we only lasted less than 15 minutes.  Yet, I was happy with my result of this happy moment. 

The second try got better.  One of the moms stayed and did her quilt while her daughter sketched.  Even though they faced different direction from each other, I purposely put them together, as if having a dialogue.

Pochahontas Trail Grass Mower

Early one morning on our trip to Williamsburg, I sat on the curb across the street from this guy with my sketchbook, pen and cup of coffee. The scene was very peaceful, the fence an authentic Virginia rail fence, you see them every where here, and it was screaming for a sketch.  The street name escapes me, but it was on what is called the Pochahontas Trail.


This museum was the old train station in Paris and this is the main thoroughfare right down the middle of it all.  There are small galleries on the bottom 4 floors along each side, 1 large gallery on the second floor (where they held the Degas Nudes show) and the top 5th floor is filled with all the great Impressionists.  So many Monets and Manets and Renoirs and one of my favorites, Bonnard.  Great space and Great clock!


Please don't think the bottom one is mine (wait - you can think that if you'd like, actually) except it's not.  I bought 4 post cards of my favorite Degas pictures and drew the top one of a small one that seemed like there was absolutely too much going on in such a small space.  Man, it worked.  The museum was SO crowded (it took an hour just to get in!) and it was awkward drawing with so many people around so I only did this one...


I arrived in Paris yesterday, spent the day sleeping (and the night) then got up this morning to head to the Musee' d'Orsay via train from my hotel out by the airport.  I did this quick pencil sketch first then realized I had a lot longer trip than I realized, so I did another one.  It's a great way to get around, even if it did cost me $25 round trip...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"Detroit to Salt Lake City"


The second leg of a three leg flight that brought us home to the Tri-Cities, WA, from Richmond, Va, on May 1st.  Click the pic to see the collection of sketches I made on this trip. 

A Walk Through Howard Amon Park

A card I drew on one of my walks in Howard Amon Park, Richland WA