Bergen Place Park

An intrepid group of 4 Seattle Urban Sketchers met at Bergen Place Park today.  Perhaps it was the sudden autumn weather following the first day of Fall that kept some of our usual group away.  It was chilly with light rain.

This park was built in honor of Seattle’s Sister city in Norway, Bergen.  The park was dedicated by His Majesty Olav V, King of Norway October 19, 1975.

My sketch highlights the sculpture in the park, “Witness Trees”, by Jenn Lee Dixon.  The following is from the plaque on each “tree”:
First Tree:  About 420 million years ago, plants first appeared on land.  These trees had no roots: a tangle of specialized branches lay on the surface in the debris of seaweed and moss from the sea.
Clam Tree:  When the locks were dredged, giant mountains of clam shells were found that had been discarded over the centuries by the Lake People who were one of several bands which formed the Duwamish tribes.  Clam Tree takes its shape from Coast Salish clam baskets.
Immigrant Tree.  Your family tree is older than the giant redwoods.  Through the many branches of maritime trade, blue and white porcelain was passed down from China to other cultures, finding an enduring legacy in the distinctive Danish patterns of Royal Copenhagen.  Traditional embroidery of Telemark, Norway sows the seeds of Immigrant Tree’s flower motif.
New Growth Tree.  Inarching unites two trees without separating either from its roots.  The trunk of New Growth Tree is a Norwegian Maple first planted at the inception of Bergen Place Park in 1975.

It was just a bit concerning that during the entire time I sketched, a man was pacing, yelling and gesturing.  He was obviously “responding to internal stimuli,” as we say.  I have had contact with psychotic people most of my career and my gut told me he was not a danger.  Still, this was not the moderately controlled situation of the hospital, so I kept watch on him out of the corner of my eye.  I chose to use my waterbrush rather than set out a container of water and all so that I could leave quickly if need be.

A group of young mothers came jogging through and then parked the strollers for some exercises.  They moved on but were back for a bit of yoga before I was finished.

I wandered the streets of this part of Ballard. There are a lot of interesting restaurants and shops.  Eventually I settled down to sketch this life sized Great Dane sculpture.  It started to rain a little harder.  I had just read Marc Taro Holms’ blog post about sketching in the rain   It was a light rain so I could cant my coroplast drawing board over the page to shelter it.

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More waiting.  First, I took the second car in for it’s scheduled service.  No problems found and a shorter wait.  In future, I’ll try to remember not to go on a Monday.  But, while waiting I sketched the reader sitting next to me.

Also on the theme of “waiting”:   I’d received a letter on Friday that a herd of goats would be arriving to mow down the blackberry bramble.  Our home borders the bramble and I am pleased that every 2 years the Home Owners Association has it removed.  Every other year it has been done by bull dozer.  So I’ve been waiting for the goats to arrive.  On Monday the fence was installed.

On Tuesday, the goats still had not been delivered when I left for the dealership.  But when I returned they were there!  I wonder whether they can really eliminate all those blackberry bushes in just a week….. the gully runs at least a 100 feet and is covered up to the edges of the houses with blackberry.

So, of course, I had to do a quick sketch… quick because they were moving around.  I also couldn’t get very close to them.  By the time I was ready to sketch, they’d all moved into the ravine.

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This afternoon I took the first of two cars in for routine maintenance.  The place I go no longer does appointments, so it’s just waiting, waiting…. for 3 hours.  I did one pen sketch in a small Field Notes book, looking around the waiting room.

Then I watched all the Ted Talk video podcasts I’d downloaded.

They found a “evidence of rodents” in the cabin air filter.  Not. Again!  Fortunately, the beastie didn’t chew up $500 in hoses and wire like last time.


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Galvin, WA

Three of us from Urban Sketchers Tacoma carpooled down to Galvin, WA to meet with other sketchers in Centralia.   I was quite early arriving at our meeting place in Puyallup, so I stopped to sketch this store.  I’ve been meaning to sketch it for a long time. Today there was both time and space to park across the street!

Another sketcher joined us there.  I’ve never heard of Galvin before but it’s just a few miles outside of Centralia.

We met at “Busek’s Auto Museum”.  Actually, I think I would characterize it as a “collection” rather than a museum.  It’s quite untidy but filled with lots of interesting vehicles and related items.  The amount of stuff to sketch might even challenge Steve Reddy, who I thought of as I looked through the 3 buildings full of artifacts.

When the vegetation takes over a body of water, it’s called eutrophication.  What is it called when vegetation takes over an old truck?

More photos here:

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Parking Day

Urban Sketchers Tacoma participated in Parking Day in Tacoma on Friday.  “What’s Parking Day” was one of the frequent questions.  “PARK(ing) Day is an annual worldwide event where artists, designers and citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks”.  Frances did the work to get us a spot and brought all the stuff for our park… fake grass, tables, chairs, sun umbrellas, etc.

We were there in our red shirts.  Marjorie came all the way from Kingston after learning about us from our blog but she had to leave early.  I had a really good time talking to all our park visitors about Urban Sketching.  There were several people who seemed quite interested in joining us in the future.

I started a sketch of the view down the street but then a huge, white, SUV pulled into the parking space right next to us.  Well, that’s what happens to Urban Sketchers!  I didn’t finish that sketch as it stayed over 2 hours but I did sketch what I could see over its roof!

I only got one sketch done as there was a lot of interacting with our visitors.

More photos here:

And… I almost forgot to take note:  Friday (Sept 16) is my 4th Anniversary as a correspondent on the Urban Sketcher Seattle blog.

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Raising the Space Ship

During and after my volunteer shift at the Museum of Flight yesterday, I watched the exhibits team reassemble and then install a 1:1 model of SpaceShipOne.  The real one is an experimental air-launched rocket-powered aircraft with suborbital flight capability.  SpaceShipOne completed the first human piloted private spaceflight in 2004. That same year, it won the  Ansari X Prize and was immediately retired from active service.   It was designed by Burt Rutan and largely ($25M) funded by Paul Allen.

Re-installing the wings.

Raised to it’s exhibit location, to the left of and above the FFT, Space Shuttle Trainer.

Lots more photos:

Below it is the astronaut statue and the nose of the FFT, Space Shuttle Trainer.  I was told this model was used in the move, The Internship.


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Trixie Hobbitses

Or very clever gardeners and landscape designers.  I learned about the small Hobbit House in June from a piece on a local TV show and I immediately put it on my list of sketch locations.  Today was my first chance to get out there as it is a 1.5 hour drive.

It is located at The Brothers Greenhouse in Port Orchard.  It was built by Cheryl Pelkey and Marilyn Davis who work there.  On the video at the TV link, above, they said, “we’re both the hobbits; we fit under the roof”.  I guess I am too, as I fit with inches to spare!

I wandered the green house and saw many very charming items, all of which I resisted buying.  I do not need more stuff.  I did get 2 pounds of fresh, home grown tomatoes for a caprese salad tonight.  And some Oregon grape plants for my own garden.

Many charming little houses like this one.

Many charming little houses like this one.

Then I went out to the hobbit house which is just behind the greenhouses.  It is wonderful.  There isn’t much inside but you can go in.  Once I had my fill of photos, I sat down to sketch.

All the photos here.  See inside the house and also more items from the greenhouse shop.

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Cross one more off the list

I no longer remember how I heard about Pick Quick Burgers.  But it’s been on my list of potential sketching locations for quite a while.  I had an early morning appointment in Tacoma and was done by 0830.  I had another appointment at home at 1300.  So there was time to sketch and the GPS directions in my new phone said it was only a few minutes away.  I do so like having access to GPS… I can decide on a whim to go someplace unfamiliar.

It is in a 1949 converted gas station in Fife, on Pacific Highway East.  I later learned there are 3 locations, but this one was the first.

I hadn’t really had breakfast and the smell of grilling onions was making me hungry.  Unfortunately, they weren’t open yet!

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Parallel watercolor play

Jodi Steele organizes the Watercolor Socials at Daniel Smith Seattle.  I really like going as it is such a pleasant diversion.  Today was a little less social in that everyone seemed intent on their paintings and there was less chatter than some other sessions.  I don’t mind chatter as I spent at least half the session waiting for washes to dry!

My title, “Parallel play” comes from a term in child psychology… playing comfortably alongside each other but not playing together.  I joke that my husband and I do that a lot as we are both in the same room but doing different things on our computers.  Today’s watercolor session was a little like that.

Jodi puts out everything needed to paint:  tubes of Daniel Smith watercolors to try, papers, rinse water, brushes, salt.

Did I say tubes of paint to try?  Oh, yes.  I found a new one to buy:  Zoisite Genuine, a dark green/black primatek.

There is even coffee and snacks.  With the theme, there was pumpkin spice coffee creamer.

Today’s theme was fall colors.  I’d come prepared with my own photo(s) I planned to use to paint.  But Jodi printed one that was compelling in it’s mood and hints of autumn colors.

In process:  waiting for washes to dry.

So I wandered around and saw the Daniel Smith sponsor poster I made for the West Coast Sketch Crawl.  Frances B. and I had written thank you notes on it and gave it to Joe, who put it on the bulletin board.

Almost done:

8×10 Fabriano Artistico 90# watercolor paper; Daniel Smith watercolors

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Jack Block Park

This was a perfect day for sketching.  Bright sun and cool breezes.   The Friday group of Urban Sketchers Seattle met at Jack Block Park on the south eastern section of the Aliki point.

I have a new phone and actually put a SIM card in it!  I tried navigation with Google maps.  Despite taking me a very convoluted way to avoid traffic on the I-5, it got me there in 30 min and so I was early.  I sat in the warm sun on a picnic table to sketch these buoys at the edge of the park.

I probably did as much photography as sketching, trying out the camera in the new Nexus 5x.

Tina takes a record shot of her skyline sketch.  A few of us chose the skyline to sketch.  I was one of them:

The upper viewing platform:

Sketchers down below:

More photos:


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