Artists take up the challenge to draw every day for a year

Plein-air sketching fills Edmonds sidewalks on Saturday
By Brian Soergel | Apr 05, 2019
Ruth Blaikie, center, and Julie Wilson get some tips and support from Ron Stocke at Hazel Miller Plaza in Edmonds.

If you were out and about in downtown Edmonds on Saturday, you may have spotted the more than 30 artists sketching, their notepads open and hands busy.

Some were beginners, some you could call intermediate. For all, March 30 was the 89th day in their Draw-Every-Day Challenge, where for $125 they could get support, inspiration and tutorials from Edmonds’ ARTspot.

Only 276 more days to go.

March 30 was the first of the year’s three plein air – or outdoor – sketching events, and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect: 65, gentle breeze, bright blue skies.

Professional artist Ron Stocke, who is nationally known and holds watercolor workshops at Cole Gallery, was on hand to provide tips.

(ARTspot instructor Julia Carpenter is scheduled June 29, ARTspot co-owner Tracy Felix Sept. 28.)

“I’m just walking around helping them with whatever they need to work on,” Stocke said from Hazel Miller Plaza on Fifth Avenue South, where he offered tips to Ruth Blaikie of Edmonds and Julie Wilson of Walla Walla, who was visiting a friend in town.

“We got lucky with the weather,” Stocke said. “And this is a great location. This gives me an opportunity to talk to some of the students about their issues before they start to get bad habits. They’re much harder to break 10 years after you’ve been doing it.”

Stocke himself carried a Pentalic-brand sketchbook.

“Everyone will fill four of these throughout the year,” Felix said. “They will be able to see their improvement for the first day.”

Anne Ryan was one of the first ARTspot regulars to sign up for this challenge.

“While I haven’t achieved 100 percent drawing every day yet, the challenge has definitely helped me draw more often,” she said. “I probably draw four or five days out of the week, sometimes a little more and sometimes a bit less. Having the sketchbook on the table next to me is an easy reminder each evening to take this time for me.”

When ARTspot opened in 2012, Felix said she and co-owner Denise Cole wanted to create more than an art supply store. They wanted a place that would become a hub for the vibrant art community in Edmonds.

Early on, ARTspot started offering challenges.

“Artists at all levels have taken on painting and drawing challenges that have yielded amazing results,” Felix said. “Hundreds of ‘Inktober’ drawings fill the front windows every October. Artists have created 30 paintings in a month, made and donated paintings for local causes, and even layered 30 paintings over a single canvas.”

This year, ARTspot staff decided to put on a full-year challenge, offering a year’s worth of art supplies, drawing events, free demos, and a continuous discount at the store. Like all ARTspot challenges, this one will culminate in a party with show-and-tell for the artists and their friends and families.

“The party always validates and inspires the artists along with all who come to see what they have achieved,” Felix said.

Montana Summers, another of the ARTspot everyday sketchers, said the program has been beneficial for her.

“As a true beginner in drawing and sketching, this was a perfect opportunity to motivate me to put pencil to paper, with my sights on getting past the newbie sketcher’s scare of ‘successlessness,’” she said.

“Another motivating factor was that after taking a few introductory workshops in drawing, watercolor, and pastels, I realized starting with a good drawing is imperative.”


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