Ruston Train Tunnels

It was a scorcher today… at least by Seattle area standards. I had a 10am meeting at a cafe in Point Ruston (just south of downtown Tacoma). So I decided to leave early enough to get a sketch in before it got too hot. Fortunately, the place from which I wanted to sketch the view was also in the shade.

My goal was the train tunnels just off Ruston Way. They date from 1912 and are still in use.

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Parsons Garden and more!

The Urban Sketchers Seattle Friday outing was to Parsons Garden area on Queen Ann hill. There were many scenes from which to choose. From the hill, once could look out onto the sound with cruise ships. Or walk down to Kerry Park for the classic view of downtown Seattle and the Space Needle from the north.

I walked along Queen Ann Bldv until I saw this tree.  I kept having to move to get out of the full sun.  The light on my white paper nearly blinded me.  While the day was predicted (and did) to reach over 80 degrees, it stayed cool in the shade and there was a very pleasant breeze.


Then I walked down the stairs from the bridge. The street below has the same name. Sounds confusing. But I liked the arches.

At the agreed upon time, we had our sketchbook sharing and the group photo.

After which, the three of us who carpooled from the South End had a picnic lunch.

Next we drove the short distance for the Kathleen Keckler‘s show hosted in Le Reve baker/cafe.  She had many excellent pieces hanging.

And then…. we drove to Daniel Smith for the recently announced 20% off Flash Sale! I had a list.

More photos here:

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Midsummer Respite

What better place and activity than to spend Midsummer’s Day sketching on Vashon Island at the home of an artist. Darsie invited both Tacoma and Port Townsend Urban Sketchers to his home for the usual Tacoma 3rd Wednesday outing. Unfortunately, the PT sketchers couldn’t make it due to an accident that blocked their route.

Still, there was a good group of sketchers.

I arrived on the island quite early, so I stopped at a pullout on Quartermaster Bay to do a sketch.

There are so many “destinations” on Darsie’s property that it was hard to choose what to sketch. I was thinking of the USk flickr group’s weekly theme when I asked him whether he had anything that had been re-purposed. He pointed to the small building that is now their bedroom. It started life as a shed.

More Photos:

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More Duck!

I didn’t get enough on Friday of the World’s Largest Rubber Duck at the Festival of Sail in Tacoma. So I went back early today, arriving at gate-open time of 0900, hoping to beat the Father’s Day rush.  This time I went to the actually dock side.  Didn’t pay to get a really close view as the view from the upper patio was just fine.

But it was misting rain. I found a place to shelter under the gate house roof overhang so as to sketch a view of the duck with the Tacoma Dome in the background.

Once the rain started to come in under the overhand, I decamped to the shelter of a nearby restaurant, thus getting a view of the duck butt.  Not the classic view that always amuses me:











But sill, a bit amusing

More photos:

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After the 10×10

The last class of the 10×10 series in Seattle was a Group Reportage. The class met in the morning at Lake Union Park. The attendees were invited to join some members of USk Seattle in an afternoon sketch outing.

The group was a mixture of instructors, USk Seattle members and workshop attendees. We had a shorter than usual outing as those involved in the workshop had had a long day. That was probably a good thing as it started to sprinkle as we were finishing. We shared out sketches and had our group photo in the shelter of the MOHAI cafe meeting room:

I’ve sketched several times in this area so I looked for something a little different. These large flowers caught my eye. It was even more interesting with the Space Needle peeking through.

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Mama Duck

Upon our arrival at the site for our sketch outing to the Festival of Sail, I was disappointed that the Mamma Duck was no where to be seen. Upon more exploration, I could just see the tip of her yellow head far down the Foss Waterway. Later another sketcher said she was across from Johnny’s Dock, so we resolved to have lunch there in order to sketch the World’s Largest Rubber Duck.

Though there was a chilly wind off the Foss Waterway, it didn’t rain while we sketched the Tall Ships docked across the way from the Center for Urban Waters.  Urban Sketchers Tacoma played host to a few members of Urban Sketchers Seattle who came down to join us.  We had an excellent view of several ships with classic Tacoma buildings on the hill behind.   The ship I sketched is the Hawaiian Chieftain

After sharing and the group photo….

most of us decamped for lunch at Johnny’s Dock. We could definitely see the big duck from there. Mamma Duck is 61 feet tall and weighs 11 tons!

More Photos:

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The blue door

The weekly theme for the Urban Sketchers flickr group is “porches and balconies”.  I noticed this charming home on my way to the Farmers Market yesterday.  I went back to sketch it this afternoon.

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Deeper than the Titanic

Early this morning I took some things to the Museum of Flight. They asked for a number of recycled items that will be used in their camps this summer. Since I was there an hour before Museum opening time, I used the quiet time in the new Apollo exhibit to sketch the mangled F1 rocket parts.

After launch, these Saturn V Moon rocket components sank deeper than the Titanic. They cam to rest 3 miles beneath the ocean surface where they were lost for over 40 years. That’s 1 mile deeper than Titanic.

This is what it looks like before launch.

In 201o, Amazon founder Jef Bezos formed an “all Seattle” team of deep sea explorers, including veterans of the search for Titanic, to locate and recover some of the engines from these moon launch rockets. The effort to recover and prepare these engines took 5 years.

When Jeff Bezos was asked why he did this, he answered, “I want to inspire 5 year olds”.

Driving home, I thought of my mother.  She would have enjoyed this exhibit, I think.  She was so interested in the Space Program.  We watched every launch together.

More photos:

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Finally inside 85°C

The newest outlet of the famous Taiwanese bakery, 85°C Bakery Café, opened in Southcenter mall in March. I’ve wanted to sketch inside since then. Every Monday I do some errands in that area and I check but the lines have always been out the door!

The only time I got to do a sketch was in March, from the outside, because it was closed due to a power outage.

Last week I noticed there wasn’t a line outside. So today I resolved I would try to have breakfast there. While there was a short line, between 5-10 minutes, waiting to pay, it was do-able.

They have an interesting way for customers to choose products. You pick up a tray, put a parchment paper over it, take a set of clean tongs from the hanging display, and then go around the bins, picking what you want, placing on the tray. Once in line, staff put them in individual plastic bags.

I chose a few items that weren’t too unusual. The Berry Tale bun was quite good. First impression was that the tuna danish was just too weird, but later I wished I had bought one just to see what it was like!

Sketched the scene, including my pastry, in my handmade, small sketchbook.


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View from the 7th floor

This is a private office building… so private that the elevators require a key card. But on the 7th floor is a public patio, accessible by a specific elevator. It offers 180 degree plus views of downtown Seattle from a high up vantage point.  It’s simply “the Fourth and Madison building”.

It was a bit chilly up there but we didn’t get rained on.

The oddly shaped blue building on the right is the The Mark, a sparkling new office building with a hotel.  The older, domed building below it was the First United Methodist Church which was founded over 100 years ago. Now it’s “The Sanctuary”, part of the Mark. It will be the hotel’s events center.

Next was a view of the Space Needle. Can’t resist that!

There were some new people but they left before the sharing and photo.

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