Saturday, May 27, 2017

Folklife on the First Day of Summer

5/26/17 ink, water-soluble colored pencils

OK, May 26 wasn’t officially the first day of summer, but as far as I’m concerned, the Pacific Northwest has skipped spring altogether!

UrbanSketchers Seattle celebrated the start of the outdoor sketching season at the 46th annual Northwest Folklife Festival. One of the last remaining donation-only music festivals in the country, Folklife has been a USk Friday event for at least a few times, but I guess I must have missed it in recent years, because the last time I went was in 2014. After having been away for several weeks, it was especially fun to join the other sketchers at this event, which is a field day for people who like to sketch people in action – especially buskers! And that would be me!

5/26/17 Warming up! Me, not them!
Despite all the sketching I got to do in Italy, I missed opportunities to sketch buskers there. (I’m thinking busking must be unlawful, because I saw only two the whole time.) Pulling out my sketchbook yesterday, I felt more than a little rusty when I started with the South American band (you can see me warming up as I started with the guitarist on the right and worked towards the left).

I felt a little warmer by the time I got to the young harpist (playing the Star Wars theme, a popular tune yesterday) and finally the didgeridoo player, with some practice in between on other musicians, a face painter, and a balloon man.
5/26/17 face painter

And speaking of warmer, we’re scheduled to have sunshine and temps in the low 80s the entire Memorial Day weekend, which is historically cool, wet and gray. It’s a long-deserved treat after a record-breaking soggy winter!

5/26/17 Young harpist
5/26/17 Balloon man waiting for customers

5/26/17 Jammin'
5/26/17 caricaturist

5/26/17 Relaxing in the grass, listening to music.


  1. Great post, Tina. I'm glad you shared your Italian travels with us. I think the multi-colored Field Notes idea is a good one and may try it myself, though I find the yellow the least useful.

    I have a question, though. You sew your signatures and then combine them into your books later. What virtues do you see in the initial sewing? I ask because a friend of mine has started folding 9x12s like you do and he's made a Midori-like cover. Instead of sewing, though, he just inserts the signature into the cover, with the elastic band holding the sheets loosely in place. What I see in this is the advantage of either drawing inside the "book" or taking sheets out, clipping them to a board, and drawing on a single sheet, either on a 6x9 or 9x12 surface. His board is set up to hold his paints, water and the paper and it looks VERY convenient. Opinions?

    1. The Midori-like idea is exactly what I did for years with my "Stefano" leather cover. It was a great idea and added stability to my pages. But the bulk and weight of the cover itself started to be burdensome, and 4 folded sheets (my typical signature) are stiff enough that I don't miss the cover. It's a super slim, lightweight sketchbook, and that's really important to me (as a former sufferer of various shoulder issues).

  2. Love your sketches of the buskers. That top one is such an unusual instrument, but I think you've sketched him before. Your people get better as the day goes on. Glad you are getting such nice weather for the weekend!

    1. You're right, I have sketched the didgeridoo player before! He was at a farmers market a year or two ago.


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