Olympia Farmers Market

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.

Sketch meet up in the rain

Rising River Farm

These days the weather forecast is almost always rain. But often we have a good 5 or 6 bouts of sunshine in a single rainy day. And they are magnificent and one hopes that to be free enough to rush outside and take advantage of the spectacle of a colorful newly rinsed autumn landscape. I grab my pruning sheers, snip some of that wet roses to bring inside, collect new mushrooms for examination and sketching, and get to the business of pruning the perennials. Lucky for me the rain soon returns (before the back starts to ache!) and I seek the warmth of the house again.

But it’s tricky to plan meet ups for a group of sketchers who rely on some cover to escape the sudden downpour which no weather forecast seems to predict properly. Our little Olympia group decided on the old standby of the Farmers Market with its open at the sides building where year round local produce, meat fish, breads, artisan goods, seasonal wreaths are sold. The trick is to bundle up like you’re going to a ski resort, since the wet cold quickly seeps in where you’re still and sketching.

Luckily I was able to post myself standing next to a one of those gas heaters and a few feet away from the this farm display. Another time I’ll get more people in. That’s the big challenge, and I keep thinking I’ll just draw them in with ink on top of the veggies, like market ghosts. Maybe next time. Or draw them first. I really prefer being behind the produce if possible, wearing my invisability cloak! Haha!

Radical Radishes

When we first started exploring a move to the Pacific Northwest I contacted Jane Wingfield, a friend I’d made years before at an Urban Sketcher symposium in Chicago. I remembered her Instagram name as Olysketcher and realized that meant Olympia! When I planned my first exploratory trip north, Jane invited me to meet her at the Farmer’s Market, which is by the harbor in Olympia. As it turned out Jane was the one person I knew in Olympia when we moved here in June.

Fast forward to Saturday when I met Jane and another urban sketcher Eleanor Doughty at the Market for sketching, and afterward for that favorite activity of sketchers – sharing our sketchbooks, materials, workshops we’ve taken/taught, travel sketch itineraries and more. That usually involves trying out each other’s pens and paints too, much like siblings trying on each other’s clothes.

Higgens Black India ink applied with a bamboo pen and watercolor

It was morning and I was uncharacteristically willing to stand and sketch while balancing the open ink bottle – the only way to capture these radical radishes as seen from the back. They were radically red, radically fresh, radically regal on their throne of green. And they were screaming out “We are the queens (kings?) of the harvest fair!” which is saying alot, because oh my the apples and pears and corn and. . .

The owners of Skipping Stone Garden, Sarah and Gabriel Baisan, parents of the rad radishes, caught me in the act, and posed with their bounteous beauties. Not only is their produce artistic inspiration, but they grow a variety of produce as well as soil-grown microgreens on less than one-quarter acre!

There was time for more, so I headed over to the picnic tables and grabbed one right in front of the jazz band that was playing. I regret to say I got distracted and forgot to ask their name! A shame since I really liked their music.

variety of pen work and watercolor

. .. or actually, probably a good thing, since I confess I made a mess of the drawing when I got home, trying something “interesting” with color