I had some training in art in the very distance past, when I was in school and university. In 1974, I gave up painting and drawing for photography. I pursued that as an advid amateur but also did some selling and showing of my work.
I was born and raised in Michigan, where I attended undergrad and graduate universities, eventually earning a Masters degree in Social Work. I’ve also lived & worked in England, Germany, Southern California and now Washington (state), near Seattle. I’m a retired medical Social Worker with a past specialty in Oncology.
The motivation for returning to drawing and paper art was the discovery of a group with which I’ve been involved since February 2012: Urban Sketchers.
I was recently retired and saw the group founder on local TV, promoting his first book. I knew instantly that was what I wanted to do next! Since then, I’ve become involved with the leadership team and coordinate a Friday sketch outing. Three years ago, I helped found Tacoma Urban Sketchers. I live half way between Seattle and Tacoma so I go out sketching with both groups several times a month!
The Seattle Urban Sketchers group has provided motivation and informal tutoring in watercolor sketching. I’ve absorbed a lot by just sketching and talking with the more experienced artists in the group. And I’ve discovered parts of Seattle I never knew about, though I’ve lived here 16 years!
Western Washington offers both natural beauty and a querky city. This view of Mt. Rainier is just down the street from where I live. I’ve sketched it often. And at the top of this post is the “Trailer Park Mall” in Georgetown, Seattle’s oldest neighborhood.
I am fortunate in that I live only a few minutes’ drive from their main store. I’ve even been on a factory tour (twice!). I like them because they are made in Seattle and they are generally regarded as excellent pigments. I use both a waterbrush and traditional brushes.
Even after more than 4 years, I haven’t settled on a single sketchbook or paper. I like the Pentalic Aqua Sketchbook. For spiral bound, I like the Strathmore Visual Journal Mixed Media (which has quite good paper in their Series 500).
For the past several months, I’ve been using a sketchbook I make myself, using sheets of Stathmore Series 500 Mixed Media paper.
In addition to spending a lot of time out and about sketching, I volunteer for two museums at the opposite ends of the time line! I incorporate sketching into my activities there, as well.
The Museum of Flight in Seattle may well be the world’s best privately funded air and space museum. I assist visitors as a “Gallary Ambassador”, giving directions and answering basic questions. I have an interest in the US Space program and exploration but no expertise.
I do a lot of sketching there when I’m not “on duty” as I have free access. One of my favorite experiences and sketches is the Space X Dragon capsule. It had gone to the International Space Station and come back. Elon Musk brought it for a recruiting (poaching engineers?!) event in Seattle and offered it for a weekend exhibit at the Museum! I went twice to sketch it.
At the other end of the time spectrum is the 1880’s Fort Nisqually. I volunteer there as an interpreter. My focus is on demonstrating the travel sketching done in that time period. I’ve researched and put together as period accurate a kit as I am able.
Coming back to art has enriched my retirement life immensely. If I go too long without sketching, I get restless. I’ve made new friends in the groups I’ve joined, too!