South Sound Urban Sketchers

Cherry Blossom storm

w/c, gouache in Travelogue sketchbook

There was not a soul at the Capitol building gardens in Olympia last weekend without a phone or elaborate photographic equipment to record the much anticipated Japanese Cherry Blossom extravaganza. It’s irresistible, this feeling of urgency to capture the moment of fleeting storybook beauty, trudging through fresh piles of exquisite pink blossoms, knowing that one good rain storm and it would be gone. So I took some pictures that day – there was no time for more – so that I could practice at home, away from the heady smell of spring. 

But truly all I could do later in the week when on site with sketch friends was to keep my brush in a frenzy of motion caused by the lure of blossoms in such abundance that the mind went off line! Watercolor led to gouache and more layers until finally a part of me screamed STOP already! 


Like a vacation, only it’s not

It is a strange experience. It feels like I’m on vacation. You know, finding your way around a new town, meeting new people, and everything is a bit of an adventure. Oh, and it’s summer and sunny and warm every day and lots of people here are on vacation, because this is a summer vacation destination. 

But it’s for keeps. So every new person you meet is a potential new friend or has a vital piece of information you are going to need about living here. And every new thing you learn brings you that much closer to being settled, comfortably.

downtown Olympia street fair

This weekend we headed to town for the first of a summer long Saturday afternoon event called LoveOly, a street fair with performers and a beer garden and dancing and activities and entertainment for children. As I posed in the (social media highlight) spot I realized that it’s just a really good idea, when moving to a new home town, to make a conscious decision to love it. So there I was, proclaiming it! (and now it will be social media-ed!) And I’ll be back for future Saturday’s to sketch the action from one of the shady spots I scoped out.

Then I got an invitation from the one art friend I had in Olympia, Jane Wingfield, to join her for sketching at the Farmer’s Market the next day. And her group of local urban sketchers showed up, a friendly and enthusiastic group! 

South Sound Urban Sketchers at the Farmer’s Market

Bob showed up to take the picture and meet folks before we did our shopping for local produce and some culinary herb plants for my herb-garden-to-be.

Oly Farmer’s Market, fountain pen and watercolor in Stillman + Birn sketchbook

They tell me about the long gray winters here but it’s hard to imagine, with these long summer days that are sure to make the vacation last a bit longer.