January 25, 2013 at 8:20 PM
Sketched Jan. 16, 2013
Short days and cloudy skies are a sure recipe for seasonal affective disorder, aren’t they?
But as I log my seventh winter here, I’ve come to be patient. Sometimes, the sun appears this time of the year, providing a much needed dose of light and some astonishing views to brighten our day.
Take the view of the Olympics from the water tower at Volunteer Park — a location recommended by many people on Twitter when I asked where I could see both the Cascades and the Olympics while standing in one spot. Others suggested Jefferson Park and the Aurora and Ballard bridges.
With its 360-degree views from Capitol Hill, the observation deck atop the 75-foot tower struck me as an ideal place to bring a date at sunset. If you are already planning for Valentine’s Day, you may want to take the hint. Weather permitting, of course.
The Cascades can also be seen from the water tower observation deck on a clear day.
I’m sure there are many more spots in Seattle where one can enjoy a view of mountain ranges east and west of the city. I invite you to tell me your favorite locations so I can pen a sketch next time I’m in the area. This last sketch shows a view that is part of my commute. I drew it standing on the edge of the sidewalk as cars drove by.
August 10, 2012 at 4:50 PM
Sketched July 31, 2012 [Click on sketches to see larger versions]
Even on the warmest summer day, swimming in the chilly water of Puget Sound isn’t quite as inviting as just looking at it.
If you are admiring the view near the Edmonds ferry dock, though, don’t be surprised to see scuba divers pop out of the water. Clad in wet suits, the divers emerge from the Edmonds Underwater Park, a network of submarine trails maintained by volunteers for more than 30 years.
From the shoreline, all you can see are the bright colored buoys that mark the boundaries of the 27-acre park. Under the surface, divers get an up-close look at sea life as they swim through sunken vessels, concrete blocks and tractor tires.
It’s a whole different world down there, Jaclyn Perry told me after a 90-minute dive with her buddy. “It’s very peaceful … You can only hear your own bubbles.”
Perry’s interest in diving doesn’t end with the sport. She starts college in the fall and wants to pursue a career in marine biology. Her dive buddy, Helle Hansen, said she got hooked into diving during a vacation in Guam 20 years ago.
The park is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. See diving regulations on the park’s page on the City of Edmonds website.
What has drawn your attention around Seattle lately? Send me your suggestions of interesting places and people to sketch via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. Have a great weekend!
September 30, 2011 at 9:36 PM
Sketched Sept. 28, 10:15 a.m.
Marina Beach Park in Edmonds is as scenic as any other park I’ve been to along Puget Sound. What makes it special is a fenced dog beach that dog owners there said is one of the best in the Greater Seattle area.
My visit, suggested by a reader, helped me face my longtime fear of dogs and taught me that not every canine is the same. Some loved to dive in the water, others preferred jumping over driftwood, tasting seaweed or just strutting their stuff.
With help from some visitors, I learned how to tell a Gordon setter apart from a springer spaniel and even encountered that iconic dog I’m accustomed to seeing on University of Washington merchandise. Robert Blake’s husky, Kylee, did me a favor by standing still long enough for me to draw her. “She’s a prima donna,” Blake said.
What has drawn your attention around Seattle lately? Send me your suggestions of interesting places to sketch via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. Have a great weekend!
July 22, 2011 at 6:00 PM
Sketched July 13, 12:04 p.m.
Little kids maneuvered flat-bottom sailboats on the calm waters of Lake Washington where adults will be powering thundering hydros in just two weeks.
The scene I stumbled upon at Sayres Pits was low key, but just as mesmerizing as the high-octane Seafair hydroplane race and air show that will attract thousands upon thousands to these same shores.
I sketched the brave group of “Sunshine Sailors” as they were taking a break from gusts of wind that had sent their sails spinning and their little hearts racing. “I almost capsized!” exclaimed 9-year-old Tannus.
The sailing camp is one of many youth programs offered by the Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center every summer. The center closes its doors the first week of August to let the hydros take over the pits. “That’s when we get to go on vacation,” said recreation specialist Peggy Tosdal.
The coffee shop at this four-stop intersection at South Genesee Street and 50th Avenue South, not far from Sayres Pits, couldn’t have a better name: Both Ways Cafe. I really enjoyed a quick brunch here two years ago with my friend Bill when I came to sketch the hydros.
June 17, 2011 at 6:36 PM
Sketched June 14, 11:12 a.m.
I long for summer to start every time I see the lifeguard chairs and diving boards at our city beaches. They bring to mind warm sunny scenes that can be painted with colors other than Payne’s gray.
But, after five years of living here, I know to wait well past “June-uary” 21 — the official start of the season — to put away the raincoat and reach for the sunscreen.
Senior lifeguard trainer Alvin Barnes, 30, said the lingering June gloom is disappointing for the nearly 90 lifeguards who will staff nine city beaches beginning June 25, but it gives them more time to train before better weather draws bigger crowds. Part of their job is to swim 500 yards every day.
Barnes, a certified Seattle lifeguard since age 16, has a hard time recommending a favorite beach. He said Madison is good for the high diving board, Pritchard for the nice showers, West Green Lake because it’s close to shops, and Madrona, where I sketched, for the family atmosphere. “Just try them all and don’t forget to say hi to the lifeguard.”
Sketched June 15, 1:44 p.m.
Info on beaches and free swimming lessons: seattle.gov/Parks/beaches.asp.
One day I may be able to sketch every single beach in Seattle, as Barnes suggested, but this week I only got to visit one more: Mount Baker Beach. I chose to sketch the view looking towards the south — you can see the tip of Seward Park in the background. Looking northeast from where I was, I could see the I-90 floating bridge, but I tried not to move too much because I sat on a piece of driftwood that kept sinking further and further into the sand. Luckily, I don’t spend more than 45 minutes on a sketch or I may have ended up stuck in the sand and swallowed by the tide.
Mount Baker Beach doesn’t have permanent swift rafts like Madrona but there is Y-shaped pier that takes you more than 100 feet into the lake.
Sketched June 14, 1:44 p.m.
Coming up: My once-a-month exploration of Seattle-area communities following your recommendations is coming up. Where should I go? Send me your suggestions via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. Have a great weekend!
April 28, 2011 at 3:50 PM
Sketched April 26, 12:42 p.m.
When I asked on Twitter what places in Shoreline I should consider sketching this week, everyone agreed on one location, Richmond Beach Saltwater Park, which used to be a sand and gravel pit for the railroad in the 1900s.
Of all the beaches along Puget Sound I’ve visited so far, this one drew me in with its wide open setting and winding road down to parking lots with astonishing views — I’m told people drive in just to watch the sunset from here.
A pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks leads you to the sandy grounds near the shoreline, where a 10-foot-tall welcome pole presides over this striking natural environment just minutes away from the buzz of the city. The bronze figure represents the Coast Salish Native Americans, the first people of King County.
January 28, 2011 at 8:57 PM
Sketched Jan. 25, 12:29 p.m.
I’ve seen people combing beaches with metal detectors, but never in the water — let alone in January.
Fit with waders and using equipment worth more than $1,200, Stan Schumacher and his friend Martin Peterson were focused on their search when I spotted them in Lake Washington just off Madison Park this week.
Among Schumacher’s finds that day: a rusty magnifying glass, a 1912 penny and about three pounds of rebar and junk he was taking takes home to recycle. Not much for two-and-a-half hours of work, said Schumacher, who still considers the hobby a good way to exercise and clean up the beach.
Schumacher, a metal-detecting enthusiast for 40 years, belongs to the Pilchuck and Pacific Northwest Treasure Hunting club, which has more than 50 members and is one of several clubs in the region. The club keeps a “hunt calendar” and members like to take their metal detectors to places like Alki Beach and Luna Park. Luna Park is where Schumacher found his most valuable treasure to date 15 years ago: a 1901 $5 U.S. gold coin.
December 31, 2010 at 5:46 PM
Sketched Dec. 28, 10:32 a.m. [See uncropped version.]
More than a thousand people are expected to welcome the New Year at noon Saturday with a polar bear plunge at Matthews Beach Park in Seattle. Who is crazy enough to submerge themselves in frigid Lake Washington waters?
Meet Lilette Player and Janet Wilson. The event — now the biggest organized New Year’s plunge in the city — was their idea.
Player used to meet other plungers at Clarke Park Beach on Mercer Island, where she grew up, but she got tired of the drive and wanted to stay closer to her North Seattle home.
To find more people to jump with her, she went to the Meadowbrook Pool office and asked if a polar bear plunge at Matthews Beach Park could be listed as part of the pool’s activities. Wilson, the aquatic coordinator, loved the idea and ran with it. She secured a permit from the city and even brought lifeguards, said Player, who baked polar-bear-shaped cookies and designed “badges of courage” for everyone who got in up to their necks.
Eight years later, the crowd has grown from 300 to more than 1,000 — “Last year we did 1,100 badges and ran out,” said Wilson.
There are a lot of people in Seattle secretly wanting to jump in the lake on January 1st, said Player. “It’s fun to do something you didn’t think you could do … You feel fantastic after you’ve done it.”
I admire Player and Wilson’s courage, but I think it may take me another year or two to try out for my badge. For now, I feel good enough entering 2011 with this sketch.
Happy New Year!
Info and photos at theofficialunofficialpolarbearplunge.blogspot.com.
Sketch-worthy Seattle. Where should I take my sketchpad in 2011? Do you know of a good sketch story waiting to be drawn? I’d love to learn about it. You can send me your suggestions to email@example.com or via Facebook or Twitter.
October 15, 2010 at 8:04 PM
Sketched Oct. 16, 11:26 a.m. [Click on sketches to view larger]
I may have found the excuse I needed to come to Alki Beach when it’s cold and rainy.
At West Seattle’s Spud Fish and Chips, I can enjoy one of my favorite meals served with a stunning view of Elliott Bay – at one one of the oldest fast food restaurants in the city. I don’t know of many other places that offer an inexpensive menu with such an expensive view. Do you?
This year marks Spud’s 75th anniversary serving fish and chips by the beach. A cardboard of fried cod and fries was 10 cents in 1935, and the batter recipe is still the same today, said manager Carol Kelly, who was hired by Frank Alger, one of the original owners, in 1972. “You don’t mess with success,” she said.
Now that the summer craze has passed, a lot of people come to watch the storms from the upstairs dining room, said Kelly.
That’s where I met Federal Way customers Dolores and Charlie Robison. They also have found an excuse to visit every week since they retired in the late ’80s. “We come here every Wednesday,” said Dolores Robison. “It’s our mini-vacation.”
Learn more about Alki Spud Fish and Chips on its Facebook page.
July 8, 2010 at 12:47 PM
July 7, 4:14 p.m. [Click sketch to view larger]
Alki Beach in West Seattle offered a perfect picture of summer Wednesday afternoon. I saw people playing volleyball, roller-skating and enjoying the long awaited sun and warm temperatures, which reached a record high of 90 degrees.
A year ago, I came here to witness the Seafair Pirates landing. What a spectacle that was!
This Saturday, the swashbuckling buccaneers will be storming this beach again to declare the official start of Seafair. West Seattle also celebrates its 28th Annual SummerFest throughout the weekend.
With or without pirates, West Seattle is well worth a summertime visit. You may be able to get awesome views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains from other parts of the city, but where else in Seattle can you feel like being on a sandy California beach?
July 7, 3:07 p.m. [Click sketch to view larger]
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