A lot of the farm land near Seattle (with few exceptions) has been paved over with industrial parks and warehouses. This morning I discovered a resting bulldozer after it had carved a new entrance onto one of those remaining fields with the farm sitting in the background. I picture Robert Duvall in a military uniform overseeing the site, " I love the smell of diesel in the morning, it smells like......money."
Did you ever notice how easy it is to get up in the morning for an activity you really enjoy. For me our Urban Sketchers get togethers are one of those events that I effortlessly rise for. We met on this cold and cloudy day at the Conservatory in Volunteer Park. When we were let in you are instantly warmed by the climate needed to preserve the tropical and desert plant life. OK, it was cold, but not that cold (40 degrees) I'm just a cold weather wimp.......
I did a couple of outdoor sketches that lacked any inspiration as soon as my fingers went numb. We had a great turnout (more than twelve) and joined by a reporter Florangela Davila from KPLU who interviewed most of us and will be airing a story about the Urban Sketchers sometime after Thanksgiving.
In a mad scramble (my time management sucked today...) and with help from fellow sketcher Tim Taylor, I met Tamra and Kiersten at the Key Arena to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert. The last sketch was done during the post-concert dinner at Fuller's (Pike Place Market) on the paper table covering of a gentleman eating dinner by himself and enjoying a good book.
A fun, long day...need to remind myself not to take it for granted.
I'm putting down hardwood bamboo flooring in our house and was at the point of framing the fireplace hearth, this meant ripping floor pieces the long way on the table saw. Instead of a normal table saw we have a ShopSmith which gives you the option of using the lathe, joiner or the now dreaded table saw. Unlike a normal table saw, the blade under the cutting surface is exposed and after cutting the wood I reached under the table to turn off the saw and stuck hand into the running blade. As luck would have it, I just mangled the end of the ring finger of my drawing hand, it could have and should have been much worse.........
We been dealing with a lack of Internet access and cable TV, seems our 23 year old cable connections no longer support the new technology. So off to the library to use their wi-fi and sketch. Comcast is in trouble, we are starting to get used to life sans cable....
With a lot of help from friends and family, Dad's 80th birthday celebration turned out to be a fun day of basketball and food. Reporters from a number of papers showed up to cover the event, the following link is to the Seattle Times article written about Pete still playing basketball at the age of 80. My thanks to all who participated/attended and donated to the Maple Valley Food Bank, you made his 80th a very special day.
It's a five and a half hour drive to the Northeast part Washington where Scott's cabin sits on a ridge high above the valley floor that Highway 20 wanders through (connecting Republic to Tonasket). Our mission this weekend was to roof the new shed/restroom building, a task none of us has any experience doing.....The final product was acceptable (just don't look too close).
We found lots of tracks near the cabin - bear, deer, cow and SUV....but only came across a few deer using Scott's property as a refuge during hunting season. It was bitterly cold at night and mornings, snow is coming and soon this area will be completely snowbound for the winter.
What ever the hardships, the view and serenity is so completely relaxing.
Food Network celebrity Alton Brown came to Seattle to promote his new book 'Good Eats The Early Years' and by buying the book, I got two tickets to see him talk about it and get it signed by the author.
Mr. Brown didn't disappoint, his hour of discourse and Q & A was hugely entertaining (comedy club funny...) and no one seem to mind the wait to meet the author and get their book signed. Brown has lost fifty pounds over the last six months and an upcoming show will deal with that change.
It takes something special for me to miss Friday Night Basketball, yet, this was an worthy reason to miss one of my favorite activities.
The sketch above includes an onion and four of my favorite things in the kitchen, a mortar and pestle, hot sauce, wasabi and my Henckels chef's knife.
Weird fact - we share the same birthday (July 30th) For a Foodie - this was a good day.........
This pub was a firehouse and is decorated with all sorts of fire equipment from the past, some antique, some recent. Tamra and I stopped here during the October Art Walk and enjoyed a libation and some nourishment before heading back out to the galleries and studios.
Took the bus into Seattle early to sketch before the Art Walk. It is my goal to loosen up a lot with my sketches - for one thing, it's getting colder! Who wants to stand there that long?
- In 1889 local businessmen returned to Seattle from a trip to Alaska with a Tlingit totem pole and gave the Puget Sound it's first landmark. In 1909 an iron pergola was built as a shelter over an underground restroom, known as "the finest underground restroom in the United States" (so we got that going for us...). The Pergola and the totem pole still stand, along with a bust of Chief Seattle. This tiny park is at the heart of Seattle's historical district. - Enjoying Seattle's Parks by Brandt Morgan
This Seattle Times article is about a good friend's college roommate and his quest to hike all of the National Scenic Trails in the US. Bart has gone on to become an accomplished photographer with at least one published coffee table book to his credit.
Tamra and I spent the morning at the Fair. Not much changes and if you go every year and I think you run the risk of losing the excitement going to the fair should create. We were given exhibitor passes and were able to get in early in the morning without the public, a completely different world.....calm before the storm.
We walked into a livestock barn and discovered a whole pen of Sheep Superheros - masked and caped (body blanket) animals who seem intent on concealing their identity. I learned later that the owners who show these animals deck them out in these outfits to keep them clean.
Told my wife I was just running down to get us coffee, sat down to do this sketch and got back an hour and a half later. Told her it was a really long line....she knows better. If I do sketch at a strip mall near our housing development, am I just a suburban sketcher?
Our good friends Tom and Jackie live just off the Ferry dock on Anderson Island in the South Puget Sound. Through a gap in the trees, you look over the walkon parking lot and across the water lies McNeil Island Penitentiary, former home of Charles Manson ('61-'66) and Robert Stroud (The Bird Man of Alcatraz). The second sketch is from their balcony looking East over the Sound toward Dupont and Steilacoom.
Ok, we were due for a rainy SketchCrawl. This was drawn from the middle of the locks looking West toward Elliott Bay. The rain held off till I was putting in the sky, I kind a liked the salt effect rain had on the sketch. I was amazed at how many times the bridge went up and down - Lot's of boats going to the UW/USC game....and at least three long freight trains.
Pretty good sketch crowd for a rainy day and enjoyed the lunch discussion (about all things sketching) at the Lockspot Cafe with Tim, JP, Susan and Gabi.
This was an odd day of sketching. I came into town to be part of the Seattle Plein Aire painting event and was befriended sometime around noon by an intoxicated self admitted drug addict who calls Gas Works Park his home (he lives in one of the old industrial structures that make up the park). The work on my second sketch virtually came to a halt as he realized I was a captive audience (pack, chair, and easel - I wasn't going anywhere) and lectured Hopper-esk (Dennis not Edward) to me for most of the afternoon.
I was trying to be nice and didn't tell this guy to go away, but I should have - he caught me completely off guard when he wet his fingers with tears (he was recalling a family tragedy then walked over and started painting on my sketch with his wet fingers....then he grabbed the sketch book and walked away with it to a table of associates he had been drinking with earlier. I didn't get the book back until I gave him a pen to do a drawing with. I was trying to be diplomatic and violence isn't my style (and did I really want to mix it up with a drug addict?).
I pulled out an half used inexpensive watercolor tablet and exchanged it for my sketchbook, told him to keep the tablet and the pen....He told me he was going to do a drawing for me and showed me where I could find it the next time I came back to the park. Strange days.....
It was a grey gloomy day, so I tracked down some local colorful buildings to generate some interest. City Frame is located in downtown Kent (Seattle area). I found a picnic table across the street and though it didn't rain on me I did have to contend with the occasional SUV parking in front of me.
Trattoria Mitchelli's, an Italian restaurant in Pioneer Square has been there for some 30 years and sadly I've read that it will be closing it's doors soon. This breaks my heart, for it was a good place for a bowl of pasta and strong cup of European coffee. Taught our daughter how to slurp noodles there.....
A very interesting culture all to itself - life at a laundry mat. There are the cagey veterans, the clueless newbies and those of us who fall somewhere in-between. There are the people who talk to everyone (whether they are listening or not) and those who don't say a word (but don't miss a word that is being said) and everyone else in-between. There's the mom with four small children and enough laundry in the mini van to bring the front wheels off the ground or the single traveler doing his backpack full of laundry and those of us who fall in-between....
This is the shelf above the barista's head at Jet City Espresso. A rusty old tuba, odd collection of cups, etch-a-sketch, a Bob Marley & the Wailers album and a base drum. Sat here on a Sunday morning sketching, drinking coffee and listening to A Prairie Home Companion...
Gorgeous day and a sketch celebrity joins us for our monthly get together at a Seattle site. Thomas Thorspecken (seated in front with Gabi) is an outstanding artist from Orlando visiting the Seattle area with his wife. Great fun. Check out Thor's Blog, he has posted some great sketches of their recent travels around the Pacific Northwest.
I can't drive past old (vintage) cars and trucks without wanting to stop and get out the sketchbook. This was one of those times when I had the time to sketch. This old guy (sans engine) has literately been put out to pasture...Remind me not to lose my engine.
Lived in the Seattle area all my life and had never been to Gas Works Park. What a great place to draw! Had a great time with the group and seeing the work created this morning. A fantastic learning experience, to see how others visualize and put to paper some amazing sketches.
The Renton Boeing Plant sits right on the South end of Lake Washington. There is a fishing and recreation pier on the lake that parallels the aircraft plant. You can draw or fish and listen to Rosie the Riveter build airplanes. The fisherman at the end of the pier didn't move for the longest time, it was a tangled line or taking a nap...
This picture is a few years old now. Notice the deep concentration on the father's face as he has no idea his child is playing in a fast moving stream.......I'll be right there, I gotta capture the light.....
My panic over the demise of Jet City Espresso was premature. Seems the bad economy has put the breaks on the condo project that would have replaced this shrine to Fred Sanford and packrats worldwide. It started raining while drawing this sketch and that is a good thing. I'm a native of the Puget Sound and need a good downpour every once in a while or I get a little cranky. It hasn't really rained here since May 19th.....
I walked into this place a couple of weeks ago and my mouth fell open. It's an old gas station/garage now full of antiques and kitsch (I mean full!) inside and out, most arranged better than any still life I could have come up with (there are years worth of subjects to draw). Yesterday I made my way there for some sketching and a coffee.
Beyond family, I'd say that art, sports and the quest to cook a great meal are the big priorities in my life.
I am 56 years old, and live in the Seattle area with my wife of 29 years. I have a beautiful daughter who shines as an EMT in Pierce County and I live in the suburbs, but truth be told, would rather be a city or country boy.
I love a good game of hoops and nothing makes me happier than the opportunity to draw and paint.....Time stops.
I like my brew dark, that goes for coffee and beer.
Artist For Hire
I am an illustrator and designer available for hire. Please feel free to send me a note or call 206.227.8430 if you are interested in my work. Other samples of work can be found at: