Tacoma Sketches

As I mentioned in the previous post, the premise of Urban Sketching is to drawn within an allotted time frame then meet up to share drawings.   There’s not a lot of time to pick the perfect drawing location.  With the temperature in the 90’s on the first day of last weekend’s Urban Sketchers West Coast Sketch Crawl, my primary consideration was a place in the shade.  After wandering for a bit midst a mix of old and new architecture, I finally found a  cool spot with an interesting building beyond a small park.

Tacoma 1

I loved the designs on the building but with a time limit  and only a 7 x 9 piece of hot press watercolor paper, I knew I couldn’t focus on the details.  This had to be about placing the building in it’s setting and coming away with a reasonable representation.

In the afternoon I did two quick drawings in my sketchbook.  Again, looking for a cool spot, I perched on a concrete bulkhead above Foss Waterway with a handy tree to block the sun.  In the shade and with a slight breeze of the water, it was a delightful place to be.  First, looking across the marina to the far bank,


then looking back up toward the Glass Museum.   Those white things are supposed to be the lovely glass sculpture that arises out of a pool.   I’m going to have work on depicting glass with more definition.


On Sunday morning, the weather had changed completely, it was overcast, breezy and  barely 60 degrees.  My kind of weather.  I wanted to do a detailed perspective study and I quickly found my subject.  Sitting in front of a triangular building, I drew the sidewalk, trees and buildings receding into the distance.  Fairly early on, I decided this would just be an ink study.  Sometimes I think they’re more powerful that way.  Yes, it was a bit tedious drawing all those vertical lines, but I thoroughly enjoyed the two hours I put into it.  My Stillman and Birn Epsilon Sketchbook is 7 x 10 inches.  I don’t usually fill up so much of the page, but there it is.


This is my favorite of the four drawings.   It feels like Tacoma to me.  It’s always a challenge to express a sense of place in art.  A topic to explore in future blogs!


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