Pat Brookes said she didn’t know how to draw or paint before attending weekly meetings of Whidbey Island Sketchers. Now she keeps track of her travels with on-the-scene sketches. Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group

Pat Brookes said she didn’t know how to draw or paint before attending weekly meetings of Whidbey Island Sketchers. Now she keeps track of her travels with on-the-scene sketches. Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group

Sketchers draw Whidbey’s world

Open a journal of one of the Whidbey Island Sketchers and details of local life spill out.

A colorful teapot for sale at Island Thrift, a portrait of orcas at the Langley Whale Center, wandering chickens, winking gnomes, waves of lavender fields, rolling farmland.

“We sketch libraries, thrift stores, nurseries,” said Barbara Barry, who’s been with Whidbey Island Sketchers about five years. “We’ve even gone to WAIF and we sketched costumes in storage at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts.”

The group’s been around since 2009 and meets at 1 p.m. every Friday. They meet at indoor venues during colder weather with between 8 to 20 members.

Whidbey Island Sketchers is mostly female but not by design (so to speak). On a recent Friday, Declai Wynne stood out as the only male among 14 women.

“There should be more than one man,” he declared in his distinct Irish accent. “There must be more male painters on this island.”

The group is divided into teams and each month a new team finds new venues. It’s loosely organized with a Facebook page announcing where to meet.

Once the sun comes out, so do more sketchers as the group moves outside to paint Whidbey’s natural beauty, beaches and bays. And barns, boats, lighthouses, farms, churches, outdoor markets, gardens, nurseries, concerts, wildlife, alpacas, goats.

Have brushes, will travel.

No matter where they land, happy hour follows with a glass of wine. Many in the group say they’ve formed close friendships and that they appreciate the relaxed ‘do your own thing’ atmosphere.

Barry said she started as a novice and got an art education by watching others and their respective styles.

“You learn by osmosis and copying,” she said, “only we call it stealing like an artist.”

All levels of sketchers are welcome — from those who don’t to those who teach those who say they don’t.

Tell one of the Whidbey Island Sketchers you don’t sketch and they’ll add the word ‘yet’ to the end of your sentence.

“I didn’t know how to sketch at all when I started,” said Pat Brookes, who now loves to sketch in a journal when she travels. “It’s so much more meaningful than snapping away on a camera.”

Liesel Lund, who teaches drawing, said adults need lots of encouragement to pick up where they left off as kids.

“Every child draws with enthusiasm,” she said. “But then in school they may have been told they’re drawing outside the lines and they stop.”

Faye Castle, who’s taught for many years, including at Whidbey workshops and the Art Institute of Seattle, takes the ‘Just Do It’ approach.

“I know the fear people bring with them,” she said. “I give them the tools to get rid of that fear. My best advice: Dive in and make a mess.”

• View art and get information on Whidbey Island Sketchers at www. whidbeyislandsketchers.blogspot.com

Roses by Cynthia Winzenried

Roses by Cynthia Winzenried

By Deb Hayes

By Deb Hayes

Orca painting by Richard Brown at Langley Whale Center, sketch by Barbara Barry

Orca painting by Richard Brown at Langley Whale Center, sketch by Barbara Barry

Handmade dolls by Valerie Johnson in Side Market, sketch by Sue Van Etten

Handmade dolls by Valerie Johnson in Side Market, sketch by Sue Van Etten

By Faye Castle

By Faye Castle

Abundant Earth Fiber Mill by Judy Nyerges

Abundant Earth Fiber Mill by Judy Nyerges

Tulip fields by Faye Castle

Tulip fields by Faye Castle

Whidbey Island Sketchers pose for a group photo at a member’s home in February. Photo provided

Whidbey Island Sketchers pose for a group photo at a member’s home in February. Photo provided

More in Life

A triple treat: Bicycle riders get sunshine, natural beauty and pie

Chloe Perkins liked just about everything about participating in Sunday’s Sea, Trees… Continue reading

Three music festivals set for South Whidbey this weekend

South Whidbey will be center stage for three music festivals next weekend… Continue reading

Giraffe Heroes: Honoring those who do the right thing, regardless of obstacles

There aren’t any live giraffes in Langley, but the blue Giraffe Building… Continue reading

Top 4-H student of the year reflects on experiences | Whidbey Island Fair

SWHS grad Camden Miller participated in the horse division for years, switched to cattle this year

Journey into the African savanna

Disney’s The Lion King Jr. showing at Whidbey Playhouse through July 28

Share the shore during pup season, look but don’t touch seals

Advocates for marine mammals are making their annual pitch to beach watchers… Continue reading

All kids on deck: New park makes a splash

Children play in the cool water of the new splash park, Shipwreck… Continue reading

A chance to learn about Whidbey waters

Guided Beach Walks program an opportunity to spot wildlife, learn about ocean

Art & About | Whidbey Island’s July art events

• SECOND SATURDAY ART WALK at Historic GREENBANK FARM is 2-5 p.m.,… Continue reading

Patriotism on parade in Oak Harbor

American spirit was on proud display at Oak Harbor’s Fourth of July… Continue reading

Sweet treats to beat the heat

Fruity recipes from Bell’s Farm, Lavender Wind and Mutiny Bay Distillery