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.
August 30, 2013 at 6:49 PM
Sketched Aug. 29, 2013
While all eyes are on the new Husky Stadium, let me draw attention to a small, but familiar, piece of the upgraded complex: the 360-pound bronze husky sculpture that has welcomed fans since 1995 and is now the centerpiece of the Dawg Pack Entrance.
Did you know “Husky Spirit” is related to Rachel, the Pike Place Market pig? Both statues are the creations of Whidbey Island sculptor Georgia Gerber, whose portfolio of local public art includes plenty of animals: bears at the Redmond Town Center, gorillas at the Woodland Park Zoo and two harbor seals on Alki Beach (to be dedicated Sept. 8). Gerber said that of the more than 60 pieces she has created, the husky is special to her because she is a University of Washington alumna. The goal was to create “a proud husky, larger than life, that would become an iconic image.”
Sitting to draw it for a couple hours gave me a new appreciation for Gerber’s work. I wonder what animal she will create next. A seahawk, perhaps?
April 29, 2013 at 5:39 PM
Eagle Landing Park was the highlight of my visit to Burien (see my last post), but the quiet residential town south of West Seattle presents many more sketching opportunities.
While I still had a bit of time, I headed to a location recommended by Jim Branson: an abandoned parcel at 1st Avenue South and SW 160th Street that is home to a majestic sequoia. The tree is next to a restaurant that’s been closed for a while, said Branson, and if the parcel gets redeveloped, it may not last. Branson, a knowledgeable nature enthusiast and volunteer for the Washington State Native Plant Society, said sequoias are rare here, and that makes this one very special.
On my drive back through SW 152nd Street, I took a quick break to draw a Seussical street clock that adds a fun exclamation point to the city’s business district. It’s the work of artist Kim David Hall.
In the future, I’d love to sketch at Seahurst Park, where that dead whale washed ashore recently. Lake Burien, a public lake with no public access, would also be lovely to draw, but I’d need some neighbors to let me into their backyards.
March 11, 2013 at 5:49 PM
Here’s a new entry of my “artspotting” series: a detail of a mural you may have seen from the light rail or if you found yourself near the Sodo busway and South Holgate Street, as I did a couple of weeks ago. It was created in 2008 by Kristen Ramirez and a long list of urbanartworks.org youth artists, including Charlie Braseth, Jerome Cabang, Evan Harkey, Damonte Jackson, Lamarr Kimmons, James Loaris III, Nick McArn, Cari Mitchell, Stephen Palmer, Charls Magne Sotelo, Ja’Cola Whidby, Hai Shan Wu and mentor artist Kaleb Hunkele.
I later realized that I had sketched Ramirez in 2009 when she was working on another cool art project: Noise as art from the Fremont bridge.
All this sketching sure makes me feel more connected to Seattle and the people who make our city such a cool place to live. It’s good to be reminded of where we are!
“You are here.”
February 27, 2013 at 5:48 PM
We’re lucky to enjoy all sort of cool street murals and public artwork in the greater Seattle area. But how much do you know about each of these masterpieces?
In an effort to increase my knowledge of public art and street artists, I’m giving myself the task to sketch the artwork as soon as I see it. Call it “artspotting” via quick line-only sketches.
To start this occasional series, here’s a mural on Capitol Hill that was just painted last year. It shows a young woman holding an umbrella and extending her hand to feel the rainfall. She is looking up, seemingly unaware of a beehive opening up next to her.
Pretty awesome, right? The fantastic scene was painted by artist Derek Wu in collaboration with students from the Northwest School. It can be found at Plymouth Pillars Park on Capitol Hill.
If you sketch it, send me your drawing and I’ll share it on my Facebook page.
January 23, 2013 at 6:18 PM
You’ve seen the bronze bust of Chief Seattle in Pioneer Square. I’m pretty sure more than one sketcher must have drawn the real person back in the day. Wouldn’t it be great to see those drawings today? On the University of Washington Libraries digital collections website I found at least one drawing of him, signed by Raphael Coombs in 1891.
December 24, 2012 at 5:12 PM
Sketched Dec. 24, 2012
Those were the colors of Christmas Eve in Seattle this afternoon. I found them all sitting on a bench by the Horiuchi mural at Seattle Center. Now I’m just hopping it will snow tomorrow to add some white to the mix. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
October 26, 2012 at 7:57 PM
Sketched Oct. 16, 2012
For most of the year, the Fremont topiary dinosaurs blend with all the greenery along the Burke-Gilman Trail. But as fall comes and the poplar trees nearby shed their leaves, you can’t miss mama and baby Apatosaurus.
The living sculptures have adorned the bottom of Phinney Avenue North since the late 1990s, when a group of “Fremonsters” brought them over from the Pacific Science Center. Michael Osterfeld said they paid $1 for the bare metal structures, and it has taken more than 12 years for the ivy to grow over them.
Osterfeld, one of about 20 “dinosaur wranglers” who keep the topiary nicely trimmed and shaped, said it originally included electric and plumbing systems to make the ivy grow from the inside when it was at the Science Center.
None of that is needed now. The ivy was planted at the legs and is very easy to maintain, said Osterfeld, who is hopeful mama Apatosaurus’ head will be all covered within a year.
Osterfeld’s attachment to the dinosaurs is not coincidental. The land where we are standing was once part of a mill founded by his grandfather, J. R. Burke, in the 1930s.
Another dinosaur wrangler, Randy Cryer, points to the top of mama Apatosaurus to explain how he stands knee-deep in the metal structure when it’s time for pruning, drawing a lot of attention from passersby. “It looks like I’m riding the dinosaur,” he said.
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 26, 2012 at 8:00 AM
Sketched April 17, 2012
You gotta love the Fremont neighborhood and all its public art. The sculpture of commuters “waiting for the Interurban” is one of my favorites. I guess it speaks to the commuter side of me. Times have changed since the heyday of trolleys, but so many of us still hop on public transportation to go to work every day, just like some of the people the sculpture represents.
I found this sketch while sorting out sketchbooks and realized I hadn’t posted it yet. I did it back in the spring, just a few days after the artist who created the sculpture, Richard Beyer, passed away in New York at age 86 –here’s the obit.
Looking at the drawing now, I realize how many twists and turns my sketching methods have taken since I drew this same sculpture three years ago on a Moleskine sketchbook. In this case, I used pencil and watercolor on a spiral-bound 9″ x 12″ Canson Montval All-media sketchbook.
More from the Sketcher archives:
Memories of the Interurban from the daughter of the last motormen
Interurban Car 55, the light rail of the ealry 1900s
January 18, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Sketched Jan. 17
On Tuesday afternoon, as Seattle was bracing for today’s snowfall, I stumbled upon another tree-socks art installation by Suzanne Tidwell at Occidental Park. Tidwell is one of the Sammamish guerrilla knitters I sketched and wrote about last spring.
The multi-colored tree-socks couldn’t be more fitting during these cold days we are having. At Occidental Park, they also add a welcoming sense of cheer and whimsy to the neighborhood. I was pulled into the park as soon as I saw the trees from a distance.
Art installations like Tidwell’s are one of the things that Pioneer Square’s historic district needs to attract more people and become a thriving neighborhood. I can’t wait to see what other art project may pop up here next.
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