Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Sketching and Sailing Holiday

The July 4th weekend we had the great opportunity to sail with our friend Kim, her son Thane and their dog Zeke on their 37 foot sail boat the Sapphire.  We sailed from Bellingham Bay to Lopez Island where we enjoyed a small town 4th of July parade and then at night saw  a fireworks display that could compete with Seattle's Fireworks!  The next day we sailed from Lopez Island to Jones Island State Park and anchored over night.  A day hike on the island gave us beautiful views of the San Juans as well as the stands of  Madronas and Cedars walking through the forests.  Our next stop was the West Sound of Orcas Island and then to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.

The Sapphire and Zeke the dog

With most of the time spent on a boat one has plenty of time to sketch and paint.  I took advantage of that.
Map of our journey with enlarged maps to the right.

DAY 2:  July 4th, 2015

Fisherman's Bay in Morning Light


4th of July Parade

4th of July Parade

Looking at the Lopez Island from the Sapphire and Island Dog

Fisherman's Bay from the Island Dog

Day 2: July 5th 2015

Morning light on July 5th was interesting.  The sky was smoky and the sun a bright orange red with the same color reflecting off the still water.  That sun we found out later was the result of the forest fires creating smoke in the sky.  Smoke from the BC forest fires carried all the way down to Whidbey Island.
The rocks and reflections of Jones Island the evening of July5th

Rocks and reflections of Jones Island.

 Day 3:  July 6th, Jones Island

We started the day with a nice breakfast and I was able to paint the surroundings in the early morning.
 After breakfast we took a hike on  Jones island  which is a state park and ended up on the north facing side of the island where we parked ourselves in front of an amazing Madrona tree views of the San Juans behind it.

 We then sailed to Orcas Island West Sound Marina Bay to anchor for the night.
View from the Sapphire at West Sound
Day 4: July 7, 2015

On our way to Friday Harbor early morning.

The Coach House of the Sapphire
View of Friday Harbor from Friday Harbor Crab House roof deck.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Sunday Sketchcrawl in Fremont

Last Sunday Urban sketchers met up in an industrial area of Fremont.  It was a 4 block area that had some interesting and quirky architecture.  Some of which I sketched.
Concrete Residence

The Way Station Coffee Co.

Chainsaw Chandelier at Drunky's 2 Shoes BBQ

Friday, June 12, 2015

Showing Work at the Traveler Montlake this Sunday June 14th

I will be showing and selling some of my work at the Traveler Montlake Restaurant this Sunday from 5-7 p.m. For more information and location check out this posting of the Montlake Flyer.

Here are a few of my pieces that I will be showing.  These are a series of watercolors done of the Washington Park Arboretum.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Summer Sketching Classes starting June 28th

I will be teaching summer sketching classes starting June 28th and going to August 23.  Sign up for an individual class or sign up for the series classes.  If you are interested email me  gail(at)glwarc(dot)com and I can send you more information about the classes.

Friday, May 29, 2015

A Study of Water Reflections

I have been working on studying the different ways water can be represented. Here are  watercolors I did from a scene at the Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle. I started with very loose light washes with irregular edges at the reflection.  Over that base while still wet I added some darks. The paper was drying up a bit so I started getting hard edges around the white areas. After that first layer had dried a bit I added the final crisp dark strokes. To keep this painting somewhat simple and abstract. I was looking at shape, value and color.

Center for Wooden Boats Saunders Cold Press 5"x 7"

Center for Wooden Boats on Arches Cold Press  10"x14" On location

Friday, May 8, 2015

Rolling Hills of Niles California

I am in California for the week after our Line to Color Workshop. Right now I am in Fremont, California which is a stones throw away from Niles. I have sketched there before. This morning I took a couple of hours to paint the rolling hills and the train station in Niles. I will post more sketches later. But this is hot off my board.

Monday, April 27, 2015

A Study of a New York Street Scene in Six Views

For water color home work,  I ended up practicing painting a scene from a photograph 6 times.  Each time learning something different.  My goal was to be less literal and more abstract with my watercolors.  See what transpired.
First try at the scene try to capture a complex image and get the lighting but abstracting form. I overworked the darks with too many passes and it looked messy.
Second try on cheap paper.  Quality of the water color was really bad on the inexpensive paper. 
A little better paper and I tried to focus in to reduce the amount of information.  Still too busy. Some things I liked but not completely happy.
I liked the base of this one  but the upper portion I wasn't as happy with.
This one I did after talking to Tom Hoffman about my previous passes.  This was done in about 30 minutes got the major shapes and the feeling of the activity of the street without being literal. 
One more try at home.  Got a little more fussy but not bad. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sketches from Sunday's Sketchcrawl at Seattle Chinese Garden

It has been a view years since sketching at the Seattle Chinese Garden.  So it is interesting to see the progress that has been made.  It looks to be slow, not much change in building form but more areas have been planted.  I was hoping the pond would be in but the large pond by the main building is still a rock bed.  It was however a glorious day and we did enjoy sketching the gardens of the completed sections.

Friday, April 10, 2015

USk Symposium in Singapore

Today is the last day to get an early bird discount to attend the USk Symposium in Singapore.  Are you going?  I will be there and teaching a workshop.  Check it out I guarantee it will be an astounding experience you will never forget.  I totally enjoyed the Symposium in Barcelona a couple of years ago.  Now I look forward to being at the Symposium this year.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Supper on Vashon Island

Yesterday we shared supper with dear friends who live on Vashon Island.  It was a beautiful day with blue skies... it really felt like springtime and it was warm enough to eat outside and enjoy the wonderful weather.  Did this sketch while I was there.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Working With A New Scanner

The reason why I haven't been posting is because my old computer that was hooked up to my great old HP Scanner just went out on me probably for good.  I mean these were old but the scanner worked really well and I hardly had to adjust it to get images that were right on.  Unfortunately there is a point when old is old and you can't get the drivers for old scanners to work with new computers. It is frustrating!

I finally figured out how to make my new printer/scanner connect with my newish iMac.  So now I am in business again.  The one drawback is this new Brother multifunction printer/scanner/copier is not as good at getting the coloration and saturation right on the scans.  So there is a lot of fussing with photoshop to try to get it right.

Here are a couple of watercolor practices that I scanned.  I already see an issue on the first one.  The background is not white when it should be.  Back to the drawing board..or photoshop to adjust.

adjusted scan to hold the whites

scan too dark and whites turned gray

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Line to Color Workshop 2015: Orange County, CA

As of March 23 we are sold out for this workshop.  Contact Gail if you want to be put on a wait list or email list for future workshops.
May 1-3, 2015 the Line to Color Workshop will be in Orange County, California. Sketch with us at Mission San Juan Capistrano and the Beach Towns along the Pacific Coast Highway. The workshop is being co-hosted by Orange County AIA.
If you are interested in this workshop click on the Line to Color Icon for more information.  Contact for registration forms and space availability.  gail(at)glwarc(dot)com

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Practicing Watercolor techniques

It is good to try to keep watercolor as a fresh practice daily.  That way when you get out to drawing on site you have the muscle memory and experience to know how to handle what is presented before you.  These become in your memory ways of attacking a problem.

This is the same with line work as well.  Keep it fresh by practicing still life set ups at home if you can't get out. 

There are two ways I have been doing this at home.  I have been using Veronica Lawlor's book  "One drawing a Day"  which has drawing and painting exercise prompts.  I also look to Tom Hoffman's Watercolor Class blogs to get exercises to do.

The following paintings were about practicing soft and hard edges by copying a picture and trying to create the same affect. In these examples, I was just practicing on very cheap paper.  The paper as well as the timing, when you put color down with a wet on wet technique affects the outcome.  This would look totally different if I had done it on different paper,  if I had wetted both sides of the paper instead on one side, and when I lay the color down.  It is good to practice these and jot down your steps to remember how you created the affect.

Practicing edges Soft and Hard Edges.  Wet on Wet.

Soft and hard edges.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Seattle Urban Sketchers At Starbucks Roastery and Tasting Room

Sunday the Seattle Urban sketchers met for their monthly sketch outing at the new Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room.  It is an interesting place,  conceptually described as the Willy Wonka Factory of Coffee.  There you can see roasting vats and silos of coffee beans  with pneumatic tubes racing around the place transporting beans from one place to another.  This place is humming with people and activity,  coffee and tea and Tom Douglas's Serious Pie.  It is pretty overwhelming.  I stationed myself at immediately at an outside window looking toward the coffee bar and got an overall view of the place.  Next time  I will walk around and sketch some other interesting parts of the place.
In that neighborhood down the street is a Melrose Market a wonderful interior space fill with small market stalls,  a butcher, flower shop, restaurant, wine tasting bar and other vendors.
Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room
Melrose Market
Signage on Melrose St.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Four Days Before Sunshine again

I started this sketch on Tuesday thinking I could add watercolor to it the next day.  But the light was not the same.  For four days we had cloudy weather until this morning when I could see the sunlight hit the tree and the house.  That's Seattle winter for you.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Morning Sketch

There is a huge tree across the street that is probably 80 feet tall with probably a 5 ' diameter trunk.  It is beautiful but messy in the fall and winter.  I did this quick sketch this morning starting with the tree trunk and branches the added the adjacent house, carport and fencing.  This took about 20 minutes to do.  I will go out tomorrow morning and paint it.

Friday, February 13, 2015


Two watercolor sketches of an Amarillis I started growing a week before Christmas.  It didn't finally bloom until mid to late January.  Next year I will start earlier.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Media Experimentation

 Experimentation with different media and tools.
Twig and china ink, watercolor and neo color.
Ink with dip pen,  and watercolor.
Hero pen, waterbrush with ink and water.

Hero Pen, Waterbrush with ink and water.