Topic: Capitol Hill
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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 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.
October 28, 2011 at 8:13 PM
Sketched Oct. 25
Día de los Muertos, which is coming up Nov. 2, always triggers childhood memories of visiting the cemetery with my mom. As is customary in Spain, we would bring fresh flowers to my grandpa’s niche and pay respect with a moment of silence.
Though I am thousands of miles away now, I decided to observe the day, if only a bit earlier, with a visit to the city’s oldest cemetery, Lake View, on Capitol Hill.
Cemetery manager George Nemeth said more than 40,000 people have been buried here since 1872, and they bury an average of 120 more every year. Imagine how many people have a special connection with this hilltop and its magnificent views east and west.
People also visit for the history lesson, as many of Seattle’s pioneers are buried here. Of all the famous graves to sketch, I was drawn to Princess Angeline’s simple granite rock. The daughter of Chief Seattle, I learned, requested to be buried next to her good friend, Henry Yesler.
Here are other drawings from my visit:
The cemetery offers great views of the city and beyond. After the morning clouds lifted, I sketched this vista that includes the 520 bridge spanning Lake Washington. On clear days, Nemeth said you can even see Mount Baker to the north.
Cemetery grounds manager Kevin Healy said on weekends people come in all day long to take a photo of Bruce Lee’s grave or leave flowers. The globally known martial arts figure and movie star is buried next to his son, Brandon. I didn’t know they both passed away at a very young age. Lee was just 32 when he died of a brain aneurysm and Brandon was 28 when he was accidentally killed on a movie set in North Carolina, according to their Wikipedia entries (Bruce Lee, Brandon Lee.)
Their graves were the only ones where I saw fresh flowers at the cemetery. Some coins also lay over a book-shaped stone inscribed with a yin yang symbol and these words: “Your inspiration continues to guide us towards our personal liberation.”
As I was finishing my sketch, Yoshihiro Deguchi (right), a visitor from Tokyo, stopped by to pay his respects to the Lees. Deguchi, 26, said he and his father have been big fans of Lee for years but didn’t know he was buried in Seattle. He found out just three weeks ago while reading a travel book in preparation for his first trip to the United States.
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!
August 9, 2011 at 6:38 PM
You don’t need to look past the red construction wall surrounding the future Capitol Hill light rail station to be entertained. Thanks to The Capitol Hill Wall Project, art is on display on the wall 24/7 to make you forget about the construction noise and six-year-long disruption of life in this part of the city. A mural I sketched last October is probably one of my favorite temporary art installations along the wall.
Sketched 4:14 p.m.
This afternoon, however, I didn’t stop to draw any of the art on the wall. Instead, I took a sneak peek of the construction activity through one of the many windows located throughout the wall. I was just as captivated. I tuned off the protective grid that covers the window to do the sketch shown above as the crane picked up materials and workers moved like ants on the bottom of the 60-foot-deep site.
According to the project page on Sound Transit’s website, the work should be completed sometime in 2015. In the meantime, enjoy the views, of the public art, and of the construction. You can also stop by Peet’s Coffee for a construction update on Aug. 18. Sound Transit staff will be available to answer questions and tell you how Brenda, the tunnel-boring machine, is doing so far. Here’s the info about the Coffee Hour.
About the sketch: For this sketch, I experimented with a technique I recently picked up from my sketcher friend, Buenos Aires-based architect Norberto Dorantes, at the 2nd International Lisbon Urban Sketching Symposium. I used a Rotring Art Pen and added watercolor later. The Art Pen ink is not waterproof and smears when watercolor is applied, creating an interesting effect when used as masterfully as only Norberto knows how. Paper: Canson 90 lb. Montval All-Media Fieldbook.
August 5, 2011 at 8:00 PM
Sketched Aug. 3, 4:19 p.m.
Damon Conklin has so many tattoos -120 hours of work, he said- that he’s lost count. A light bulb showered with rain stands for bad ideas from his youth. A cheeseburger under his left arm is a tribute to his favorite food. A portrait of Jesus on his right arm states his beliefs. Add an eye-popping Afro and Conklin, 44, is a picture of coolness.
But as we talked, the owner of Capitol Hill’s SuperGenius Tattoo and founder of the Seattle Tattoo Expo struck me as a warm, self-deprecating “kid from Tacoma” excited to show me his tattooing needles and talk about the flower-themed oil paintings he creates after hours. Conklin didn’t fit my preconceived notion of the pretentious, antisocial tattoo artist. His only agenda: “The world needs more art.” Who could argue with that?
The Expo, now in its 10th year, opens Friday at Seattle Center with more than 100 tattoo shops represented. For the uninitiated like me, Conklin said the show offers an opportunity to browse through artists’ portfolios without the pressure of getting inked that you may have when walking into a shop.
I could relate to that feeling a little bit because I had visited another tattoo shop, Hidden Hand Tattoo in Fremont, just before meeting Conklin.
Hidden Hand was actually the first tattoo shop I had ever set my foot on in my life. It felt strange to be there to draw and look, not to get a tattoo like a regular client. But owners Jeff and April Cornell also gave me a warm welcome. My first question to them speaks of my gut reaction to the idea of getting a tattoo: How much does it hurt?
“It hurts,” said April, but “it’s tolerable. Otherwise, nobody would get a tattoo.”
Client Jerry Patty, who got a tattoo of a sail fish above his right ankle, said it feels as if a cat was scratching you slowly.
Sketched Aug. 3, 1:20 p.m.
Patty has about a dozen tattoos, all inked by April, except for one done by her husband. It’s on his left arm and won third place on the “tattoo of the day” category during last year’s Tattoo Expo. Patty said it should have gotten first place.
I’m still too chicken to get a tattoo, but I really enjoyed meeting these artists. They are far from the unapproachable cool types I had imagined tattoo artists to be. And their art and creativity blew me away. As I type this, I’m looking at the tattoo illustration on April’s business card, an anchor and rose design. There’s nothing sketchy about it, it’s just perfect!
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 15, 2011 at 10:54 PM
Sketched April 14, 11:20 a.m.
Doug Beyerlein is crazy about outdoor stairways. He runs up and down them to train for grueling trail and long-distance races, and his 100th marathon is coming right up.
His obsession doesn’t end with simply running the stairs. He counts them, too.
In 2009, the 60-year-old civil engineer started what he believes is the first website to document every major stairway — those with 100 steps or more — in Seattle and beyond. Want to send your stairway running time? Beyerlein will log it for you in the “Stair Times” page.
With 388 steps, the Howe Street stairway on Capitol Hill is the longest in the city and, according to Beyerlein, the third-longest in the country. Gil’s Stairs in Hood River, Ore., takes the top spot with 413 steps.
Pittsburgh leads the city rankings with 117 major stairways. Los Angeles has 87, and Seattle and San Francisco tie with 79.
Beyerlein, who grew up in West Seattle, said he has discovered many new places in the city since he started looking for stairways. “Stairs give you an honest view of what a neighborhood looks like, taking you to places you wouldn’t go otherwise.”
Do you know someone with a story waiting to be drawn? Send me your suggestions via e-mail, Twitter or Facebook. Have a great weekend!
April 15, 2011 at 1:56 PM
Sketched April 14, 2:31 p.m.
With 293 steps, Blaine Stairway in Capitol Hill is one of the longest outdoor public stairways in the city. It goes from Lakeview Avenue East, just east of I-5, to 10th Avenue East.
I learned about this unique location at publicstairs.com, a website that documents every stairway in the city that has more than 100 steps.
The site is the brainchild of Doug Beyerlein, a local runner who trains for 100-mile ultra-marathons running outdoor stairways up and down. Stairway hiking beats running on a treadmill at the gym and is also a good way to explore the city, he said.
Stay tuned for a sketch of Beyerlein at Seattle’s longest stairway. Can you guess where it is?
December 17, 2010 at 7:40 PM
Sketched Dec. 16 at Melrose Market
A visit to Rain Shadow Meats on Capitol Hill’s Melrose Market brought back memories of my childhood holiday feasts in rural Spain. In Montemolín, the little town where my parents grew up, the tradition is to slaughter a pig every Christmas — I’ve actually seen my dad kill and prepare one.
That’s not a story I tell many people, but I thought butcher Russell Flint would relate. “You get it,” he told me. In the U.S. there’s little connection with where food comes from anymore, he said. “Some people don’t think what they eat was alive at some point.”
Flint, 32, started his old-fashioned butcher shop in April to bring back the meat business to what it used to be, providing a direct link between the farm and the consumer. That’s why he only sells locally grown meats and charcuterie. A whole pig in his freezer came days earlier from Yarmuth Farms in Darrington. The pork loin that will soon become a magnificient crown roast on somebody’s holiday table came from Carlton Farms in Oregon.
With butchers like Flint, the tradition of feasting on meat from our backyards seems likelier to survive.
Flint uses five different types of knives to perform his job. On this sketch you can see him “frenching” a pork loin, cleaning the fat around the bones for better presentation.
Flint said he was just by himself when he opened the shop in April, but now has four employees. I did this sketch while Chris Simpson prepared Italian-style sausages, Bobby Palmquist worked on a pig shoulder and Flint cut lamb chops. A very interesting scene to draw!
Sketch-worthy Seattle. Where should I take my sketchpad next? 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. Have a great weekend!
October 13, 2010 at 5:18 PM
Sketched Oct. 12, 3:26 p.m. [Click sketch to view larger]
I’m used to drawing on pocket Moleskine sketchbooks or spiral-bound sketchpads no larger than 9 by 12 inches. A small size canvas is enough to intimidate me, so you can imagine my reaction when I first came across this 135-foot long by 24-foot high mural on Capitol Hill a few weeks ago. Wow!
I came back Tuesday afternoon to sketch the giant temporary artwork in a nod to its creators. It was designed by local artist Baso Fibonacci and painted by Zack Rockstad and Japhy Witte.
The mural, painted on the construction wall around the light rail station site, is one of many art pieces curated by local artist DK Pan for Sound Transit’s STart Capitol Hill Wall Project. You may remember D.K. Pan from this art installation I sketched last year.
Flynn Glover, the construction worker coordinating the traffic at the intersection, said the artwork is really cool. “It makes our job site more pleasant.”
See every inch of the 9 by 12-inch sketchbook page where I drew this sketch here.
Listen to artist Baso Fibonacci talk about the mural on this KOMO4 video.
January 26, 2010 at 3:57 PM
10:35 a.m. [Click on sketch to view larger] [Sketch location]
When I read at the Big Blog that the Jimi Hendrix statue on Capitol Hill may be relocated, I realized I had never seen it. How could that be? I’ve walked along Broadway quite a few times! (Note: I’m still fairly new to the area but quickly earning points towards my “citizen of Seattle” badge.)
So I went there this morning and paid tribute to the legendary musician with this quick sketch. I also asked some passers-by for their opinion about the statue’s possible relocation to the park that bears his name next to the Northwest African American Museum in the Central District.
“I’m all for that,” said Thomas Donald on his way to a class at Seattle Community College. He said he doesn’t own any Hendrix’s records but is a huge fan.
Aaron Robinson said he would be upset if they moved it. “It would be more accessible to people here. More visible,” he said on his way to work. Fan of Hendrix? “Of course.”
Ariel Goldman said it makes sense to move it. “It’s his park, his statue,” she said. “The statue is kind of small and it’s in front of a store. If it was bigger it would be a bigger deal,” she said.
The statue was created by Seattle sculptor Daryl Smith.
There’s an open house event at Jimi Hendrix Park this Thursday where plans for the park will be presented. Info at jimihendrix park dot org.
P.S.: The ghost-like image to the right of the sketch is David Albright, a local video journalist who contributes to the Capitol Hill Blog. He tagged along during my sketch outing getting some footage for an upcoming post.
Will Jimi Hendrix statue leave Capitol Hill?
Jimi Hendrix statue should live in Central District’s Jimi Hendrix Park
The sculptor behind Jimi
I stopped by this 1907 architectural gem on my walk up to Capitol Hill.
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