Notebook Pages

Notebooks, sketchbooks, journals… whatever one chooses to call these bound collections of pages, they all provide a physical sense of permanence and chronology and, in use, they become a repository of images and writings capable of reminding us of where we have been, what we have seen, and what we have experienced. But even as we acknowledge the pleasure of perusing these collections, we should also appreciate the process by which they are made. No single page in a journal is precious; not all pages must be perfect. In the act of making visible our experiences, reflections, and discoveries, we become more sensitive to and connected with our surroundings, expand our visual memories, and stimulate our imagination.

Seattle Bouldering Project

It was almost exactly three years ago that the local UrbanSketchers group met at the Seattle Bouldering Project, a climbing gym that offers a range of classes to introduce beginners to the sport as well as help more experienced climbers develop techniques for strong and skilled climbing. Avoiding the cool, rainy weather, we met at the same indoor environment again this morning. It’s interesting to compare these two views. The one above was drawn today from a point a little further back and offers a little wider view than the sketch below, done in 2014. As always, trying to capture the climbers themselves was difficult because of their constant movement so all you might be able to see are their ghost images.

Outlander Brewery and Pub

Following up on my previous post on Reuben’s Brewing, I visited Outlander Brewery and Pub just down the street here in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. This is a view of the tiny barroom in the century-old house that serves as a pub on the street level, with a brewery in the basement. Dragan Radulovic and Nigel Lassiter opened Outlander the same year as Reuben’s but unlike the medium size of Reuben’s, Outlander is a small-scale brewery that uses a 3.5 barrel system to produce experimental beers, usually specialty ales.

Reuben’s Brews

 

During the cold, often wet winter months, it’s not easy finding warm, dry places to draw. But if one likes well-crafted brews, then there is always the taproom of a local brewery to visit. This is Reuben’s Brews taproom in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. Adam and Grace Robbings started the medium-sized brewery in 2012 and named it after their son Reuben. Since its opening, Reuben’s has garnered numerous national and international awards for their wide variety of brews

A Celebration of Seattle’s Asian Community

These are people gathered in Hing Hay Park in Seattle’s International District to celebrate the Lunar New Year and witness dragon and lion dances, Taiko drumming, and martial arts performances.

In his opening remarks, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray reminded us all of how a mob rounded up Chinese from this very neighborhood on February 7, 1886, and tried to force them aboard a steamship for passage out of Seattle. And how the Japanese, many of whom were American citizens, were forced to evacuate their homes and businesses the week of April 28, 1942, an expulsion authorized by Executive Order 9066, which President Roosevelt had signed on February 19, 1942.

And so despite DT’s cruel, mean-spirited, and un-American actions of this past week, Mayor Murray asserted that as we celebrate the rich, diverse cultures of this Asian community, Seattle remains committed to being a welcoming city for refugees and immigrants in need.

A Pachinko Parlor in Tokyo

Happened to watch an episode of the new NBC game show, The Wall, which reminded me of this pachinko parlor in Tokyo. The Wall features an oversized version of the pachinko board, which operates like a vertical pinball machine. In pachinko, one or more steel balls are launched to the top of the playing field, which is filled with brass pins. Entering the field at the top, the steel balls fall freely, bouncing and careening from one pin to another, and finally entering one of several cups at the bottom. Upon entering a pachinko parlor, one is greeted with the chime-like sounds of the falling steel balls from hundreds of pachinko machines.

Iolani Palace

While the recent cold snap is easing a bit here in Seattle with temperatures returning to the upper 30s, I still miss the warmth and fragrance of Hawaii. During our recent trip there, I did this quick 20-minute sketch while waiting for the weekly Friday performance by the Royal Hawaiian Band on the grounds of Iolani Palace. King Kamehameha III founded the brass band in 1836, which is now considered to be the oldest, full-time municipal band in the U.S. I still remember as a child growing up in Honolulu attending their Sunday afternoon concerts at the Kapiolani Park Bandstand in Waikiki.

Pacific Place: Looking Up, Looking Down

Today, the Seattle Times had an article in their Pacific NW magazine about the popularity of malls in this area. The piece leads off with the statement that, unlike other parts of the country, “Local malls are…thriving, thanks to Seattle’s strong economy, all the people moving here and the fact that don’t have too many.” And so it was a coincidence that the Seattle Urban Sketchers group met this morning at Pacific Place in downtown Seattle, a vertical shopping mall with a four-story, semi-cylindrical atrium space. The first view is looking up into the atrium while the second view is looking down from the top floor. The third view is a similar view looking down from the opposite end of the atrium, but done 6 years ago.

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Honolulu Hale

When Joseph Fern became mayor of the City & County of Honolulu in 1907, he began a campaign to build a permanent city hall. Unfortunately, it was not until 1928, eight years after Fern’s death, that the idea came to fruition. Several local architects—C.W. Dickey, Hart Wood, Robert Miller, and Rothwell Kangeter & Lester—contributed to the design of the Spanish Colonial Revival style structure, which has an interior courtyard, staircase, and open ceiling modeled after the Bargello in Florence.

Originally called the Honolulu Municipal Building, today it is known as Honolulu Hale (Honolulu House) and is the official seat of government of the city and county, including the Mayor’s office and the City Council chambers. In 1978, Honolulu Hale was listed as a contributing property to the Hawaii Capital Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and includes Iolani Palace, Kawaiahaʻo Church, and the Territorial Building.

The Rainbow Bazaar

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This is a view of a courtyard in the Rainbow Bazaar in the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel in Waikiki, dominated by a huge banyan tree. The resort hotel was originally conceived of and built by Fritz Burns and industrialist Henry Kaiser in 1955 on the site of the old Niumalu Hotel and eight oceanfront acres of the Ena Estate at the Ewa end of Waikiki. Over time, the hotel complex grew to 22 acres and was purchased by Conrad Hilton.

Growing up in Hawaii, my exposure to the world beyond Oahu’s shores was illuminated through books, movies, and TV shows. And so when the Rainbow Bazaar was created as part of the hotel complex in 1970, I was fascinated by the faux Asian environment, which included replicas of a Thai temple and a Japanese pagoda, as well as an entire Japanese farmhouse shipped from Japan. While some may criticize the appropriation of Asian culture to sell ethnic and tourist goods, for me walking through the Rainbow Bazaar even today is an opportunity to imagine and re-imagine visiting foreign places.