Saturday, March 24, 2018

Through a Wet Window

3/23/18 Downtown Everett through the Choux Choux Bakery window

As Nilda and I drove to Everett yesterday morning, big, soggy snowflakes splattered onto the windshield. If the 40-degree temperature hadn’t reassured me that nothing would be piling up on the street, I probably would have skipped the sketch outing to Farms & Market. But I was curious enough about this brand-new indoor market venue to make the trip.

3/23/18 My delicious breakfast
Along with Michele, we settled in at Choux Choux Bakery adjacent to the market. I took more time than I usually would with a chocolate croissant waiting for me, but as soon as I finished, I scarfed it down in record time.

Afterwards I was planning to sketch Farms & Market’s wide-open space that hosts a variety of local farmers and other food purveyors. But right outside the wet bakery window was a street view of downtown Everett, including a bright yellow building, and it seemed to summarize the day: It would be a sunny spring day – if only it weren’t 40 degrees and snowing.

Ambidextrous Michele

Regardless of the weather, the handful of sketchers who showed up had fun!

USk Seattle at Everett's new Farms & Market

Friday, March 23, 2018

Starbucks SoDo Reserve

3/20/18 Princi Bakery inside the Reserve

A few Saturdays ago I dropped in at the new Starbucks Reserve store and cafĂ© in the SoDo neighborhood, but it was too crowded to sketch. This week I went on Tuesday morning, when the crowd wasn’t bad at all, but it was lively enough to be fun and energetic. Like the Roastery, where I’ve sketched many times, it has a pleasant ambiance, and all the employees seem so happy and friendly. Although the beverages and pastries are overpriced, they come with impressive customer service, so I enjoy indulging now and then.

After sitting down with my coffee and chocolate croissant, I turned one way to sketch the Princi Bakery counter, where people were busily baking and selling pastries (you can get healthy stuff like fruit and granola too, but I get enough healthy food at home). Then I swiveled 90 degrees and sketched one of the coffee bars and a bar bar – yes, you can get wine, beer and other drinks there! And the obligatory patron staring at his laptop, of course.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Tightly Closed and Oversold

3/20/18 Sunset Hill neighborhood

I guess we had been overly optimistic (as had been the news media, who had reported sakura season as being “near peak”). And in promoting yesterday’s ad hoc sketch outing to my favorite street in the Sunset Hill neighborhood (the one I call Fairyland) at this time of year, I used photos that I had taken last year, which may have been just a touch misleading. In any case, when we arrived, all the buds on the cherry trees were still tightly closed (just like the cherry I’d sketched the day before). But it was such a gorgeous day that no one seemed to mind that the promised pink blossoming trees were still a few weeks away.

I know I didn’t mind as I sketched these grand old trunks in the sunshine. In fact, I cant think of too many things Id rather do on the first day of spring.

Not quite prime time.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Tightly Closed

3/19/18 Tony's cherry tree, Beacon Hill neighborhood

My brother-in-law has a lovely old cherry growing in his yard on Beacon Hill. Whenever I visit, I admire its classic umbrella shape and knotty, gnarled trunk, but I never seem to catch it in bloom. He’s out of town right now, and I figured the cherry was fully flowered, so I went over there to surprise him with a sketch of the blossoms he’s missing. But the sad surprise was on me: Although a few spindly young cherries across the street were pink and fluffy, all the reddish buds on his tree were still very tightly closed – not a single blossom in sight.

Since I’d come across town to sketch it, I decided to do it anyway. Any time of year, its majestic shape is still beautiful.

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Hunt for Pink

3/16/18 Ravenna neighborhood

Driving through the U-District Friday afternoon, I didn’t have enough time to stop at the Quad (arguably the best show of spring in these parts), but I thought I’d check on the nearby blossom situation. Crossing Ravenna Boulevard, my peripheral vision spotted some pink, so I turned around at the next intersection. Slender trees lined both sides of the residential street. With rounded petals instead of the telltale notched petals of ornamental cherries, this tree was probably not a sakura (at right). But on a beautiful day like that, I don’t discriminate.

3/17/18 UW Quad cherry blossoms

The next day I did make it to the Quad, where the news media had been reporting “near peak” cherry blossoms. Although I certainly saw open blooms, I also saw lots of tiny, tight buds. This particular variety is closer to white than pink, and from a distance, some trees still looked dark from buds firmly closed. In my down parka, I was too cold to sketch, but I stopped long enough to make a quick one of the buds. Not quite ready for prime time, the blossoms were still enough for some chilly hanami

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Steve’s Students at Wallingford Center

3/17/18 Steve's students at Wallingford Center

Steve Reddy’s “Confident Contours” workshop yesterday was first out of the gate in USk Seattle’s 10x10 program this year. Although I enjoyed several 10x10 workshops last year, I’m mostly working behind the scenes this time, helping to coordinate the program. It’s like having our own mini-symposium here – including the competitive registration! Most workshops were full a couple of hours after registration opened.

I hopped over to Wallingford Center to see how Steve’s workshop was going. His students were all focused and hard at work learning composition and values in the retail center’s corridor.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Same Foreshortened Nose

3/15/18 20-min. pose

Earlier this week when I was organizing my sketchbooks, I came across a Strathmore toned spiralbound book that I had used during life drawing only a few times. Most of it was still unused. Although I’m not crazy about the paper (I much prefer Stillman & Birn Nova), I like the size and format, so I threw it into the bag I take to life drawing.

3/14/13 10-min. pose
On Thursday our model was Randy, a long-time Gage regular whom I’ve drawn many times. During the break, I started thumbing through the Strathmore sketchbook and found several sketches of Randy that were dated March 14, 2013 – almost exactly five years ago. I found one pose that I had drawn from a particularly awkward angle, giving me a view straight up his nostrils. I remembered it because I had written a blog post about that foreshortened nose. Laughing when I showed it to him, Randy said he had just been thinking he would take that very same reclining pose for the next 20 minutes! And he did, just for me.

I could have moved my chair to a different location to avoid that awkward view, but now it’s a tradition (top of page). I’ll remind him of it five years from now.

Shown at right is the one I did in 2013. Below are a few more sketches of Randy from Thursday.

3/15/18 1-min. poses
3/15/18 2-min. pose

3/15/18 5-min. pose
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