Waterworks Studio


This is a view of the large, airy, and daylit space that connects the several structures that house the home and studios of Christine and Darsie Beck, who were wonderful hosts during our recent Vashon Island outing. Christine is a potter and photographer, and Darsie is an artist, author, and teacher. For more information about their work and Waterworks Studio, visit <http://www.waterworksonvashon.com>.

Vashon Scenes

At an ad hoc outing this past Friday on Vashon Island, sponsored by the Tacoma Urban Sketchers group, we met first at Darsie and Christine Beck’s Waterworks Studio before departing to sketch at various locations on Vashon Island.


This view is of Burton Center, one of the several four-way stops on Vashon Island, which has no stop lights (yet). On the left edge is the Burton Store, in the middle stands The Inn on Vashon, and on the right is the old Mason’s Temple, now a store. As Vashon Highway disappears on the left, you can catch a glimpse of outer Quartermaster Harbor beyond.


This second view is of the Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie, original home of the Stewart Bros. Coffee roasterie. I may be mistaken but I recall that a lawsuit brought by a similarly named company in Chicago caused a name change to Seattle’s Best Coffee, the brand that was bought out by Starbucks in 2003. Fortunately, this historic structure remains a coffee shop and museum, and still an attractive place for a cup of coffee at the junction of SW Cemetery Road and Vashon Highway SW. Right next door is Minglement, a neighborhood organic health food store, as well as a used book shop.

Pono Ranch


Biking from Fremont to Ballard last week, I passed by the Pono Ranch, nestled quietly on the west side of the north end of the Ballard Bridge. It’s a refreshing oasis in the middle of an industrial zone, offering fresh baked goods, expresso and juices, a full bar, and a menu featuring organic or naturally raised meats and produce. It’s somewhat difficult to describe the environment, which features a huge outdoor area and an eclectic mix of materials either repurposed from the original structure or salvaged from various sources. I hope this view helps you visualize what it feels like to be at the Pono Ranch on a warm, sumner evening in July.

Fremont PCC

In 1953, 15 families formed a food-buying club in Seattle. Over the past six decades, that initial enterprise has grown to be the largest consumer-owned natural food cooperative in the U.S., with over 52,000 members. Here in the Fremont neighborhood, we are fortunate to have one of PCC Natural Market’s 10 stores in the Puget Sound region.


This is a view of the Fremont PCC’s outdoor dining area, a popular place for a quick lunch from the deli, especially when the weather is nice.

Waterfall Garden Park

After replacing my bus pass at the King County Metro Center in Pioneer Square last week, I began walking back to Westlake Park, where I had intended to sketch. But along the way, I discovered this pocket park at the corner of 2nd Avenue South and South Main that I had not seen before even though it’s been there for 36 years! This is one of the advantages of walking, discovering places that we often drive by without noticing.


This urban oasis is a great place to sit for a while, isolated from the street noise by the cascading sounds of the 22-foot waterfall. The park was designed by Masao Kinoshita of Sasaki Associates and built by the Annie E. Casey Foundation in 1978. Jim Casey was one of the founders of United Parcel Service, which was originally formed as American Messenger Service in a saloon at this site.

Water is a difficult subject to draw because it is the color of the paper. We therefore have to draw everything but the water and carefully try to suggest its flow and movement.

Saturn in the Center of the Universe


I had previously drawn the Fremont rocket in 2011 but this view looking toward the intersection of Evanston Avenue North and North 35th Street appealed to me because of the way it juxtaposes the Fremont rocket and the relatively new Saturn sculpture. The 12-foot diameter globe sits atop the Saturn Building, which houses office and retail spaces. Solar panels atop the rings collect energy during the day while the planet glows at night. In giving preliminary approval to the installation last year, City Council member Jean Godden said with tongue planted firmly in cheek, “I’m concerned that they don’t have enough artwork. At some point, they may want to add a sun or a star.” Just down the street, there are three more orbs outside the Fedex store but Brian Regan, developer of the Saturn Building, said that they were from another galaxy.

The George & Dragon Pub

These are two views of the George & Dragon Pub, one of Seattle’s premier sites for watching the World Cup, just a block away from where I live and work.


I drew the first during a lull in the soccer action, the day before the U.S–Germany match. I then returned yeterday during the match and added the crowd watching the outdoor screen to the first sketch. Notice how the screen was raised for better viewing.


Even though the U.S. lost 1–0, they still advanced to the knock-out round! Next up, Belgium…

Alki Homestead

When the Seattle Uurban Sketchers met along Alki beach for its monthly meetup yesterday, I decided to draw the Alki Homestead located at 2717 61st Avenue SW. This is one of the few historic log structures remaining in Seattle. The log house, originally called Fir Lodge, was designed by Tom Lin and built in 1904 as a country estate for Gladys and William Bernard.


The Homestead Restaurant operated here from 1950 to 2009, when a fire closed the restaurant. Because of plans to demolish the designated landmark, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation listed the log building as one of their Most Endangered Historic Properties.

The Southwest Seattle Historical Society, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, and Historic Seattle all began a campaign to encourage rehabilitation of the property as opposed to rebuilding with new construction. In 2010, the building’s owner expressed interest in selling the Alki Homestead property and, as you can see from the sketch, it is currently for sale.

Seattle Art Museum Workshop


Opening tomorrow at the Seattle Art Museum is a special exhibition, Modernism in the Pacific Northwest: The Mythic and the Mystical, featuring the work of four artists central to the Northwest school of modern art—Mark Tobey, Morris Graves, Kenneth Callahan, and Guy Anderson. Tied to the exhibit is a special event on Saturday, June 28: A tour of the exhibit followed by a three-hour field sketching session at Pike Place Market led by Gabi Campanario, Gail Wong, and myself. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Seattle Urban Sketchers site at <http://seattle.urbansketchers.org>.

History House of Greater Seattle


Another in a series of Fremont scenes. This is a view from under the canopy of the History House of Greater Seattle at 790 North 34th Street in Fremont, just under and to the west of the Aurora Bridge. Suzie Burke founded the museum in 1998 to celebrate the history, heritage, and art of Seattle’s diverse neighborhoods. Because its motto is “giving every neighborhood a place to tell its story,” the museum allows the residents themselves rather than a curator to define the history and evolution of the neighborhood being featured.