Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Greenwood Masonic Lodge Mural

8/20/14 Platinum Carbon and Diamine Grey inks, watercolor, Caran d'Ache Museum water-soluble colored pencils, Pitt Artist Pen, Zig marker, Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook

Last week Gabi Campanario blogged about the experience of “meta-sketching”: depicting the work of another artist in one’s sketch and how that makes him feel. I had a meta-sketching experience myself this afternoon, and I can empathize.

Driving on North 80th in Greenwood the past few weeks, I’ve seen a gorgeous, colorful mural in progress on the wall of the Masonic Lodge building next door to Diva Espresso (which I’ve occasionally sketched from the inside). A cherry picker was parked in the corner of Diva’s lot. I called Diva to find out when the artist would be working, and I was told he was usually there after 3 p.m., so I made time to get over there around 3 today to catch him at work.

James Nielsen of Oakland is the artist (“artist and sorcerer,” says his business card), and he told me today is day 28 of his work (an assistant was also working today) on the Greenwood Masonic Lodge 253’s commissioned mural, which shows the moon shining over Mt. Rainier, the Space Needle and downtown Seattle with a dazzling rainbow of colors in the background. A large Masonic symbol is in the center. I thought of Gabi’s “meta-sketching” blog post as I sketched, feeling like my watercolors were barely a shadow of the painting I was trying to depict. But I had a lot of fun bringing out a full spectrum of hues (done with only a primary triad of paints, no less!), which I rarely get an opportunity to do in typical urban sketches.

James still has the bottom third or so of the mural left to paint, but I’m glad I made the time to catch him today. At the rate he’s going, he might be done by the time I’m back in town.

8/20/14 Pilot Iroshizuku Take-Sumi ink, Zig marker
Technical note: I’ve been using a Sailor calligraphy pen (or its uptown brother with an identical nib, the Sailor Profit) almost exclusively the past month or so, and I have not missed my conventional-nib pens at all. I’m always learning how to best use that crazy nib, and I still don’t have full control, but I’m having too much fun to care. One mild frustration has been that to get the absolute finest line with it, I have to tilt the nib at an unnaturally sharp angle that’s awkward to hold for very long. I remembered that some fountain pen sketchers I know turn their nibs upside-down to get a finer line, so I tried that with the Sailor, and voilĂ ! I can get a really line fine while holding it at a natural angle. My Sailor and I still have a lot of dancing to do!


  1. What a wonderful view of the mural, and well sketched! I love the vibrant colors that stand out so well.

  2. Great job, Tina! I just noticed that mural today, at 2 pm-ish as I was driving by, and the second I saw your sketch, I knew where you'd been!!

  3. Love this sketch, Tina. Good to hear that you still like your Sailor pens. I don't use my Heros enough.

    Cheers -- Larry


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