Mary Balcomb

Mary Balcomb Sketchbook Gallery

For much of her 85 years, Mary Balcomb (1928-2013) was rarely without a sketchbook. The sight of an interesting hand, an old barn, or a tree branch would inspire her to pull out her sketchbook and record what she saw. While pursuing a Master’s Degree at the University of Washington, commuting across Puget Sound to Seattle on the ferry, she drew countless sketches of people she saw—backs of heads, profiles, feet—some of which she later developed into etchings. Even in restaurants she filled small sketchbooks, mostly with a ballpoint pen, with the heads and faces she saw around the room. She collected dead birds, rodents, and insects to dehydrate and draw. Some she stored in the freezer for a later drawing. Nothing was immune, and everything was fodder for her busy pen.

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