November 29, 2013 at 5:38 PM
Sketched Nov. 26, 2013
For the first time in years, the Polar Star is about to go break some ice.
Budget cuts and repairs kept the aging heavy-duty icebreaker sidelined since 2006, but come Tuesday, it will leave Pier 36 on a four-month deployment to Antarctica.
Deck Officer Paul Garcia said the mission is to break a path through 80 miles of ice so a tanker can bring fuel and supplies to the remote McMurdo Station, a U.S. research center built on the world’s most southern piece of ground accessible by ship.
The cutter can break through ice up to 21 feet deep, Garcia told me as I joined him and Operations Specialist Zachary Madden atop the ship’s “aloft conn,” the navigation station with 360-degree views situated high up on the vessel’s mast.
Madden noted it’s summer in Antarctica, so the crew will have constant daylight to admire landscapes most of us won’t experience in our lifetime.
If only I could tag along with my sketchbook!
Try to blur the city skyline you see in these sketches and picture ice and penguins instead. That’s what awaits the Polar Star in Antarctica.
November 15, 2013 at 9:13 PM
An austere monument at Alki Avenue S.W. and 63rd Avenue S.W. marks the “birthplace of Seattle,” the point along the West Seattle shoreline where a group of pioneers led by Arthur Denny landed 162 years ago this week.
I used to think the Denny Party stumbled upon these lands the same way Columbus happened upon America. But I know better now. Arthur Denny had dispatched his younger brother, David, to scout the area a few months earlier.
That means the 24 men, women and children who came aboard the Schooner Exact had something to look forward to. Namely, the cabin David Denny and fellow pioneer Lee Terry were building to welcome them.
On their arrival, however, they found a big disappointment. David had fallen ill, and the cabin was unfinished – in the middle of November. No wonder “the ladys sat down on the loggs and took A Big Cry,” as later reported by a member of the party.
Though a major metropolis has blossomed along Elliott Bay since then, it’s not difficult to imagine what the pioneers had to go through that Nov. 13 of 1851. Stand for a few minutes on that beach this time of the year and you’ll feel the same chill in the air while seagulls fly through the same cloudy skies that greeted the Denny Party.
I think I would have cried too.
November 8, 2013 at 6:31 PM
Sketched Nov. 1, 2013
Every November, as soon as we turn the clock back and it’s suddenly dark before 5 p.m., a case of early-winter blues strikes me. This year I took a preventive measure, though. I jumped aboard a Ducks tour for a dose of cheer that may last me through the season. Call it a flu shot for the soul.
The 90-minute excursion took me to familiar places — downtown, Pioneer Square and Fremont — and ended with a splash in Lake Union. But it was the entertainment, not the views of the city on a dreary day, that put me in a good mood. Capt. “Phlip Dover” (get it?) drove the amphibious truck while cracking jokes and swinging to the beat of James Brown’s “I Feel Good.” By the time we pulled over at Seattle Center, I was singing “Who Let the Dogs Out” and speaking to the Puerto Rican couple next to me as if I’d known them forever.
Capt. Phlip, who just earned his employee bobblehead for “quacking since 2009,” said that nothing beats being a tourist in your own city. At the end of the day, “You get to sleep in your own bed.”
September 27, 2013 at 5:42 PM
Sketched Sept. 19, 2013
How fitting for a city with a reputation for rain and clouds to have a park where you can learn all about the weather as it unfolds before your eyes.
For example, did you know the shape of a raindrop changes 50 times per second as it falls through the air? It might look like a jelly bean, or a pancake, or a peanut, or a hot dog or a football.
I learned this and other timely meteorological facts at Weather Watch Park, a tiny pocket park tucked between waterfront condominiums along Beach Drive Southwest in West Seattle.
Designed by local artist Lezlie Jane in 1990, its centerpiece is a concrete bench that curves around a pole topped with a weather vane. “Weather Words,” photos of clouds and information about the site — a mosquito-fleet ferry dock in the 1910s — turn this artful spot into both a science and a history lesson.
Daily visitor Steve Kendall likes its design because it prompts you to look up to the big, open sky.
As we enter the Season of Grayness, may that remind us that clouds can also be fun to watch.
July 16, 2013 at 5:03 PM
The number of amazing scenic locations along the Pacific coast between Seattle and San Francisco is too many to count. How do you even start planning a road trip?
For our week-long vacation, my wife, Michelle, and I decided to make stops in Newport, Ore., and McKinleyville, Calif., before arriving to our destination, a hotel facing the ocean in Pacifica, south of San Francisco. We had stayed there 12 years ago, before we got married, and loved it. Why not repeat?
Except Pacifica and San Francisco, the rest of the trip was a new experience for us and for our two kids. We visited the aquarium in Newport, got our feet wet in desolate beaches along the coast, admired the majestic redwoods in Humboldt County and saw a colony of sea lions from a bluff in Moss Beach, Calif.
Though I don’t feel like drawing as much as I used to on my time off — I already sketch for my job! — I could not keep my hands away from the sketchbook to record some of those precious moments. If you have recommendations for a future coastal trip, perhaps closer to home, I’m all ears!
June 24, 2013 at 2:28 PM
Sketched June 23, 2013
What good timing! My Sunday sketch outing with the local urban sketchers group coincided with an exceptional low tide in Edmonds.
I set out to draw under the ferry dock with fellow sketcher Chandler O’Leary, a Tacoma-based artist and printmaker. Here, the water usually reaches almost to the top of the pilings, but because of the low tide, the space was open and walkable. We sketched for about two hours as dozens of families tiptoed through this unexpected marine cathedral, taking photos and yelling with excitement at the sight of every gooey creature. “Look, sweetie, it’s a baby sea star!” (Be sure to check Chandler’s drawings on her blog. They are amazing!)
If you can get to the Puget Sound shoreline on a low tide day, I recommend it. Unless you are one of those intrepid scuba divers or visit an aquarium, when else can you ever see marine life this close?
The pocket sketchbook spread shows drawings I did at the same location a couple of weeks ago.
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.
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