Everyday Sketches

Spooners

This berry stand is three minutes from my house, and I’ve been watching the parking lot fill up with folks buying flats of strawberries every day lately, at least until about 11am when they sell out! These are not the California variety. They are a very deep dark red all the way through and you have to gobble them up quickly because they’re very ripe and juicy. And since red is probably my favorite color to paint, I couldn’t resist setting up the stool to sketch the action, and Ineke joined me. 

You may notice that the sky is dark in the picture. It was 11 am and the sun was doing its hide and seek game we’ve gotten used to here. That was then. Now we’re getting some real sun and heat this week, finally!

fountain pens and watercolor in Travelogue sketchbook

Something about the bright colors compelled me to lay the paint down first and draw later. No way to get too precious and correct but the result has more energy. I also did another couple pages with figure studies, about a minute each, because that was how long it took folks to get their flat and carry it away. And then home to binge on strawberries!

Saigon in Olympia

Sailor Fude fountain pen, black liner, and watercolor in Travelogue sketchbook

It was a last minute out-the-door call from Jane OlySketcher to sketch downtown. How could I resist? She has a great eye for sketch angles. And Saigon in Olympia? Well, we have a bit of every cultural accent in town. As you can see we are still dressing for the chill. Not unlike San Francisco actually, where you better have a warm hat and jacket even in the middle of summer.

So here is Jane in her down vest, clutching her hot coffee, with pens erupting from pockets on the sidewalk. I found a spot in the street behind a parked car, and soon we were meeting some young Asian men who happened by. One of them works at the Rendezvous restaurant . Another was a fine artist in his own right who showed us his sketchbook. So it was an hour well spent!  

Taco Truck

fountain pen and watercolor in Travelogue sketchbook

Across from the wonderful Childhood’s End Art Gallery in downtown Olympia is a parking lot with food trucks. When Jan and I met to sketch somewhere between the harbor and Capitol Lake, this colorful truck caught my eye and shouted Sketch Me! The other choices were the usual boats and water and overcast skies. So we set up our stools on the pavement for a chance to pretend we were in Mexico for an hour! When it started to drizzle and the ink lines burst in tiny water explosions, we aborted and moved under an awning for lunch.

Direct Watercolor

watercolor in Travelogue sketchbook

Day One of the #30X30DirectWatercolor challenge. No other theme here. But I gave myself time limitations of 30-40 min. Pulled up a picture of last week’s cabin on Goss Lake I’d been meaning to sketch. Drew in the big shapes with a light value Quin Gold. A good way to warm up is always to paint fast and not think too hard. It shows, but this challenge is not about results. We’re going for the kind of transformation that happens over time when you do a lot of it!

The main frustration was that i wanted to go in with a pen to delineate, correct, enhance. And the big quandry was how dark to go, a tricky thing with watercolor because it’s so easy to end up being wishy washy, muddy wuddy.

And then today my sketch friends were not available and the weather was finally warm and balmy, so off I went to scout out some nearby scenes. This one is 5 minutes from my house and I liked the train as a counterpoint to the trees, which we have in such abundance here in Olympia. While I was sitting close to the track an Amtrak train barreled by on the nearest track, rattling me a bit. So we’ll blame that on the fact that my train sketch looks more like a hungry caterpillar.

Two days down and 28 to go. We’ll see. . .Are any of you going for it?

Park Side Cafe and Mud Bay

Cloudy day? Sunny day? Rain? Yes, we got it all in the hour or so out in the tiny but lovely West Central Park, NW Olympia across from the Park Side Cafe. The light was so changeable and unhelpful in defining the architectural planes, so I went wonky and kept the clever palette of the building’s painters. West Central Park promises to be a good venue for summer music concerts and people sketching! Jane and I ate on the roof afterwards with a view of the city along with wind and rain sprinkles. But hey! Such a delight to be out in slightly warmer temps.

blue fountain, black liner and white gel pen and w/c

Another day with similar wether this week, Ineke and I met at Randall Preserve on Mud Bay Rd, well named for the mud that covers large areas of the tideline estuary at the southern-most end of Puget Sound on Eld Inlet. The mud/muck is surprisingly lovely and patterned, though very much like quick sand if you’re stuck in it!  I learned last summer to beware of the tides turning when you’re out in a boat! Across Mud Bay Rd. from Randall Preserve is Buzz’s Bar and Grill, a great locals place for lunch.

 

Sittin on the dock on the bay

watercolor and blue ink fountain pen in Travelogue sketchbook

Out at the West Bay Marina last week with Jan, warming ourselves in comfortable spring temperatures with mostly sun and those show-off-y clouds. We were almost at water level on the dock, and with Tugboat Annies and the kayaks behind us. I loved the shape of these mostly white buildings, the reflections and the sky and forest backdrop. There was so much more of both sky and water I wanted to get in, but ran out of space after getting the building geometry in. Always better to leave more space for these exciting skies! Next time.

Fickle weather!

watercolor in 8 X 8″Travelogue sketchbook

This is the kind of weather one might encounter suddenly on a gloriously sunny day lately, or at least a week ago. I’ve now accumulated a closet full of different weight coats and hats and shoes to try to meet the changeable weather with a modicum of equanimity. It means changing clothes frequently throughout the day at times to stay comfortable. 

This scene occurred on a lovely walk at the point where the South Puget Sound waters enter the town of Olympia. While we were strolling and talking, the sky behind us darkened suddenly, and we knew our walk was over, unless we were ready for a drenching. Such sky drama, though inconvenient, is never boring and sometimes downright thrilling!

Bunnies and Rhodies

When I start to get tired of this rainy weather, which shows little sign of ending, I refocus on the friendlier aspects of this climate: like a white blanket of snow for Christmas morning! and bunnies cavorting in the garden at Easter! 

blue ink, watercolor, gouache on beige toned paper, Nova sketchbook

I’m sure you’ve wondered, as have I, how bunnies keep their tails so white when they sit on them in the mud. Now that I have two customers dining at the same time on the miniature picnic table I have been able to view and compare their table manners. Not only does Ms Bunny keep her cotton puff white, but she doesn’t put her feet on the table, like her counterpart, the highly athletic, but poorly mannered Ms Squirrel.

blue ink in fountain pen, watercolor and white gel pen

Right next to the picnic table is a  pink rhododendron in many stages of bloom. So I took my stool out in a brief patch of sun to contemplate rhodi- and bunny-ness.

Hope you had a lovely Easter Sunday!

Worm Tea at the Market

blue ink, watercolor in 5X8″ Canson Mixed media sketchbook

The past week has given us everything from rain to sleet and snow flurries and one sunny day in the 70’s. That was the day last week that we sketchers hit the Farmer’s Market, which is now open Thursday through Sunday through the spring, summer, fall season! Unaccustomed as I was to bright sunlight, I sought the shade of the building and stood for a couple sketches while the sun blindness abated. The worm man was an easy subject as he hardly moved a muscle and there were no actual live worms to wriggle.

Turning 45 degrees to the left, I had the pleasure of watching an old woman leaning against her walker and talking with a young artisan behind the jewelry counter (ran out of space and time to include her). The conversation celebrated the woman’s release from two years of Covid isolation!

Back at the picnic tables under the tent I snapped a pic of this young man enjoying a kabob and later sketched him at home after I’d eaten my own lunch.