theTravelsketcher this week – June 11, 2020


Another glorious spring week, well a little rain but the plants love it. Registrations are starting to come in for the Yes! You can travelsketch! Workshop on July 7 at Discovery Park, there is a limit of 8 so register soon.

Beautiful planter gardens are one of Tricia’s gifts to the world, well at least to me and those that drive by. Sweet peas seem to be quite happy this spring.

If you are in the Mukilteo area you know abut my column in the Mukilteo Beacon. They requested a special sketch for an upcoming cooking column that will appear in the Mukilteo, Edmonds, and Mill Creek Beacons. Here is a sneak preview.

Tuesday it was time for a quick trip to Mukilteo Beach, I sat on a bench near the boat dock, there were people walking by, boats on the water, and of course interesting driftwood.

Wednesdays I take advantage of Tricia’s half-day in the office, so again had a café noisette at Uptown Espresso. A sign of spring and recovery from Covid is the number of people out and about.

One of the significant happenings this week was that France is now open for travel, and it appears, according to the French Visa website, that they are taking applications for long term visas – who knows we may end up in France yet. I do miss the villages, narrow roads in the country, restaurants in the cities.

If you are ready to dust off your sketchbook come and join us at Discovery Park July 7, be sure to register in advance because space is limited. Enjoy the week, get outside and find something to sketch. Tag #thetravelsketcher on Instagram so we can all see it.

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theTravelsketcher this week – June 4, 2021


This was truly a week of wonderful spring in the NW, sunny and warm, even hot; I took advantage and got out a lot. I also finished planning for the workshop on July 7 – more info and registration on the workshop page.

I started the week with a commission, a house portrait of a house in Novosibirsk, Siberia, Russia. They live here but he is from there and misses home and family, his wife wanted a painting for him to remind him of home.

One of the pleasant surprises was that most of the places I went this week were maskless for vaccinated folks. Then at Cafe Louvre in Edmonds I actually had my café noisette in a real glass cup and saucer, normalcy is creeping back!

A couple of sketches while I was out and about – Marrisa, the manager of Tapped in Mukilteo, and one of a coffee drinker at Uptown Espresso.

Mulleady’s Irish Pub in Magnolia is a new discovery for me; I do love Magnolia. This pub has possibly the best Scotch Eggs I have ever had, and about as authentic of an Irish/British/Scots pub as you will find. I thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the hot sun (80F) and learning anew how heat makes watercolors act quite differently.

Then of course there is always the joy of just sketching what is around you at home. A blue cicada vase we got many years ago in Provence, these vases are a common sight in Provence as they are a sign of good fortune. While enjoying the sun with Neville on his catio I sketched tree branches and wires.

Hope you had a good week, and get out more with your sketchbook. Keep on traveling and sketching. And if you can join us on July 7 at discovery Park, since size is limited register in advance.

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theTravelsketcher this week (2 weeks) – May 28, 2021


First off – Time to start doing workshops again -after a long le confinement it is time!!!

This workshop will be for those who have always wanted to capture a moment while traveling. Perfect for “I am just not artistic.” More seasoned sketchers will pick up a tip or two as well. Check the workshop page for details and registration.

Before heading out last week for Oregon I stopped off at Uptown Espresso for a macchiato, sketched the fellow at a nearby table.

A brew and coleslaw at Highline Public house at Fisherman’s Terminal in Seattle.

We stayed with friends in Portland, I love their backyard, the bird feeders and raised gardens attract quite a variety of visitors, like this Scrub Jay.

It has been many years since I have visited the Rhododendron Test Gardens at Crystal Springs in Portland, they are as beautiful as ever, even on a cold, rainy, windy day.

We were back in Mukilteo on Sunday. Follow Tricia’s site to see photos from the Hood River part of our trip, and in upcoming blogs she will post photos from the Rhododendron Gardens.

Wednesday I went to Discovery Park to scout out some locations for the upcoming workshop, did this quick one standing on the bluff near the chapel.

I hope you are vaccinated and getting to enjoy the taste of normalcy as I am, whatever you do keep on sketching and sharing with us all. If you need a boost, sign up for the workshop in July, it will be good to sketch with others outdoors.

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theTravelsketcher this week – May 14, 2021


Good week but not as much sketching due to time spent working on a wall mural commission, new territory for me but thanks to Procreate on iPad it is coming together.

Liechtenstein is a place that I know very little about, but they do have quite the castle, so I did a sketch of the part of it that is on a steep cliff, pretty hard to attack from this side at least.

One of my sisters-in-law, though born in Iowa, mostly grew up in Homer, Alaska. Her birthday was on Tuesday so I did a sketch for a card of the Salty Dawg Saloon, an institution on the Homer Spit. Her sister and nieces lived there for a time as well, so Homer has a bit of history in Tricia’s family.

On Wednesday I made it back to Uptown Espresso in Magnolia. Sitting outside sketching and people watching is quite European.

Had amazing fish and chips and the Highliner Public House at Fisherman’s Terminal. Did a sketch on a small Pentalic Sketchbook , it has been a long time since I have sketch on the 3.5″ x 5.5″ size. To think this was the only size I carried with me for most of my time traveling.

The news today is that CDC, Biden, and Governor Inslee all announced that masks are no longer needed for vaccinated folks, for most situations. It has been a long time coming so I am thrilled to be able to move around more freely.

I hope you are vaccinated and able to start getting out more, and be sure to stick a sketch pad in your pocket, should be some good moments to capture now.

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theTravelsketcher this week – May 7, 2021


Off to Prosser and the Washington Wine Country last weekend, first trip in many months and it couldn’t have been more welcomed, as well as therapeutic. Then on Wednesday I spent some time on Magnolia, easily my favorite district of Seattle.

Wine O’Clock Restaurant in Prosser has been a favorite of ours for years, sadly this visit was not as stellar as anticipated, it seemed a bit tired – chalk it up to the challenges they face trying to keep up the quality during the open-then-closed uncertainty of the pandemic. Will go back though, as we all have off days.

Milbrandt Vineyards tasting room is next door to Wine O’Clock, best patio for tasting in Vintner’s Village. There were pink dogwoods all over, I do love the colors of spring.

Tricia and I discovered a new place, 7 Gables Mercantile and Farm, they just re-opened under a new owner on the first of May, a treasure trove. I even found new demitasse cups. Check out Tricia’s post for more wonderful photos from the trip.

Back home I did a bit of ink drawing with my fude pen.

Had a bowl of chowder on Wednesday at Highline at Fishermans Terminal in Seattle.

Some mountains at l’heure entre chien et loup.

It was a good week, looking forward to the next adventure. Hope you are well, vaccinated, and getting out more. I love that the CDC says we don’t have to always wear masks, easier to breath for sure. Keep traveling and sketching.

BTW the mystery location for the sketch I posted a couple of weeks is Hogland House in Mukilteo.

Posted in Last week, Travel | 4 Comments

theTravelsketcher this week – April 29, 2021


Le Confinement is easing, we are vaccinated, the CDC says we can even go without masks in public, there is an air of anticipation and relief in the people I meet. Tomorrow Tricia (Travels Through My Lens) and I take a small step toward normal, a road trip to Prosser and wine country – travel sketches sur place.

This week was eclectic, a sign of my growing restlessness – OK, my forbearance is straining to stay intact.

We have cautiously visited restaurants during Le Confinement, more than some people did, yet we always took the recommended precautions. Dining is our main hobby, even when traveling, thus it is integral in maintaining our sanity through all of this, whether at home or going out. So we once again visited The Oyster Bar, easily on the list of the best places we have ever been. The service is amazing, the gnocchi appetizer is worth the drive, and the daily specials are spot on – the setting alone and the view are the pièce de résistance – Samish Bay, San Juan Islands, and Taylor’s Oyster Farm right at your feet.

But then of course one must savour simple daily pleasures. For me it is mornings, which usually begin at about 5:00am. For many years I rarely drank coffee, except when we stayed at the Airbnb of Pete and Krista in Newberg, Oregon. Pete is the founder of Caravan Coffee, in the morning he would brew me a coffee and I loved it. At his recommendation I ordered his Sidecar Blend, brewing it in my three-cup (six ounce) Moka pot. I am now an avid coffee drinker, sorry Starbucks. So a morning of coffee, a bit of news, tempered by a bit of meditation is the perfect start to the day.

The intrinsic value of friends, connected with through Zoom, Skype, Face Time, email, or texts, grew more precious and they cushioned the isolation of these last months. Another glimmer of the imminent emancipation is that we had appetizers with friends from down the street, they came bearing tulips, c’est parfait.

We Skype with our friends in Portland most every week. They, non-pet folks for the most part, were dog sitting for a friend. A sketch of Louie seemed fitting.

Of course there will always be a sketch of France. The EU is talking of opening a bit in the next few months so we are encouraged that we may still make the move.

Yet I never forget that the walk right outside our door is quite nice. Spring is bursting out in shades of green.

This has been a year we will never forget, we all have experienced frustration, disapointment, sadness, and pain to one degree or another. I am reading The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World – a dialogue between the dear friends Desmond Tutu and The Dali Lama. They say that we cannot know true joy unless we have trials and even suffering to measure it against, that is good lesson for me today.

I pray that you are feeling a bit of encouragement that there is light on the horizon, less restriction, more harmony and cooperation between factions, AND travel. So get out there as you can, and sketch along the way. If you are on FB visit my page and post your sketches for us all to enjoy.

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theTravelsketcher this week – April 23, 2021


Spring continues to unfold, the trees just get greener, rhododendrons are starting to bloom, and the days get longer by about six minutes a day. One of the things I missed while in le confinement was lunches out and about, so I was thrilled to get back to a bit of that this week.

One of the reasons I do not end my social media is because of the connections I make with folks around the world. Susan @bluefullwood posted a photo of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canals, it was the inspiration for the first sketch of the week. Thank you Susan. Check out her Instagram for some wonderful posts.

The Center for Wooden Boats is a prominent attraction and of course favorite spot of mine on South Lake Union, in Seattle. The Fountain at South Lake Union Park is the venue for much smaller sailing vessels – radio-controlled. As if by magic they skim across the lake and around pilings, remotely piloted by sailors with electronic tillers.

Sunday was of course another day of cooking.

Thanks to Tricia and work I was back in Seattle on Monday and Wednesday – Monday coffee at Portage Bay in the Amazon district, Wednesday lunch at the Local on Terry Ave (fitting).

The perfect way to start a day or finish a meal is with un café. This is from a trip to the Oyster Bar on Chuckanut Drive.

As always I hope you are traveling as you can, even just in the neighborhood, sketching your memories, and staying safe.

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theTravelsketcher this week – April 16, 2021


The annual Spring Tease is on – a few days, even a week or two, of wonderful warm sun that entices us into thinking that spring and summer have arrived. Though I know that summer does not start around here until July, I throughly embrace these days. They are some of the best days of the year. I got out a bit and did some actual urban sketching.

My DIY watercolors from the Roussillon pigments took a bit of tweaking. Researching on-line was little help as each writer had there own ratio of pigment to gum Arabic. My first mixture had far too little pigment, it took two more attempts to get it to work well. After all that effort it seemed a semi-monochrome sketch of Roussillon just made sense.

One of the traditions that kept us sane this last year was our Sundays. Long Sunday lunches are ubiquitous in France. Friends and family gather for most of the afternoon to cook and eat multiple courses, which they will gladly admit is just an excuse for conversation and a bit of debate. Most Sundays Tricia and I have our own déjeuner français even if it is just the two of us, it is the highlight of our week.

While Tricia started some prep work I sketched some ingredients. Check her instagram for photos of the finished meal.

The Mukilteo Beacon still carries my column, I am so grateful. My current quest is to find unfamiliar places in the city. I stumbled on this place, if you know where it is send me an email and get a free copy of my book Let it be Hot!. And if you know some obscure interesting spots let me know.

Tuesday morning I sat at Grounds Coffee Co. which is a 446 ft. walk from home. The trees are starting to bud and bloom, people were walking by, across the street is the 10th Tee of the golf course; you can see the golfers as they swing.

Wednesday I started the morning with un café noisette at Urban Espresso on Magnolia, sketching the Starbucks across the street. Then I moved on to Maggies Bluffs on Elliott Bay for lunch and a sketch of Mt Rainer with the container terminal and the bay in the foreground.

A good week, it felt just a bit normal. Hoping you are getting out as you can, getting a vaccine, and of course traveling and sketching along the way.

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TheTravelsketcher this week – April 9, 2021


A bit of a light week though I did embark on a long overdue project. Monday I was back at Uptown Espresso on Magnolia – a perfect macchiato and a sketch.

Tuesday I started the day at Red Cup with a dry cappuccino, next time I ask for less foam. Then I stopped at Tapped in Mukilteo to meet with the manger to discuss some art projects, sketched tulips on the table there. They are quite involved in the arts so it might lead to some projects in the future.

Of course the boats at The Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle still are an attraction, so I sketched the Sea Witch, a beautiful old rescue boat from San Francisco Bay.

On our 2017 trip to France I bought some raw pigments in Roussillon, a village in Provence that is known for its ocher color and pigments. Thursday I finally decided to attempt making my own watercolors from them, and doing a monochrome sketch. I plan to set up my mini-arttoolkit pallet with three of the colors and black.

Lastly, how about a first time ever glimpse of my “artist’s hovel”? It is this wonderful small space that a former owner built in the garage, under the stairs. I do share it with the water-heater in the corner, but have plenty of space. Neville, mon chat, often joins me; he has found some spot under the bench where he sleeps. I have to be cautious that I know where he is before I close the door and leave – he would not be happy if I shut him in – you can follow him on Instagram @nevilleofmukilteo.

I hope you have a wonderful week, that you are getting out, vaccinated, and of course sketching. A few of us are doing a virtual sketch group, so I think a virtual workshop would be in order, and as soon as it is warm we might try a live workshop, Tapped has offered a location in their tent. Let me know your thoughts.

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theTravelsketcher this week – April 2, 2021


Hard to believe that it is already April, it seems like the year just got started. With spring in the air and a sense of hope regarding COVID things are looking up. This break in all of our lives will certainly have a ripple effect on the plans we have and had for the future. Sketching is one way that I appreciate the present, reminisce about the past, and dream of the future.

The deck at Sage & Cinder was perfect for a spring day. I had the leek and mushroom pastie, Irish for March. Getting back to Sage & Cinder is a reminder of some happy times there pre-COVID, more to come I am sure.

With the nice weather I can start frequenting South Lake Union again, especially The Center for Wooden Boats. Jen, the director of CWB, let me wander the docks to take some photos. My first nautical sketch was of Pirate, a restored sloop that I first sketched last year while she was docked, this one is a sketch of her maiden outing now that the restoration is complete.

CWB rents sailboats, canoes, and rowboats, this is the shack where you rent and pick up your oars, paddles and flotation devices.

Then of course I have to end up in Europe one way or another.

I hope you have a good week, keep dreaming of travel and sketching your dreams.

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