Shilshole Bay Marina

A view of Shilshole Bay Marina, captured when the Seattle Urban Sketchers group met this past Sunday morning. It was challenging but fun to try to convey the number and density of watercraft, masts, and equipment, as well as their reflections in the water.


Owned and operated by the Port of Seattle, Shilshole Bay Marina is located in the northwest Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, next to Golden Gardens Park on Puget Sound. While the waterfront location was deeded to the Port in 1931, the marina itself was not operational until after its dedication during the Seattle’s World Fair in 1962. It has more than 1400 slips for boats ranging in size from skiffs and kayaks to ocean-going yachts, and the facility includes a public plaza, fishing piers, and public boat launch

A View from the Bridge


It’s often said that the real power in an administrative office lies in the person who commands the front desk. This is a view from such a desk, drawn as a retirement gift for Emily Louise Williams back in 1994 when she retired after 25 years of devoted service to the College of Architecture and Urban Planning (now the College of Built Environments) at the University of Washington. I still remember sneaking into the college office to do the drawing while Emily was taking her lunch break.

Negative Spaces

Along with a few fellow architect-volunteers from the community service committee of the AIA Young Architects Forum, I met this morning with a group of middle schoolers attending the Northwest School Summer Camp. Our task was to introduce some basic drawing concepts to the young students. My topic was negative space, a concept that is somewhat difficult to grasp, especially when translating the in-between spaces that we see in real life into the two-dimensional shapes we draw on paper. After the session, I remembered an animation that I had created a while back when I was conceiving of a ebook on drawing. Here is an unedited version of Seeing Shapes.


Keep in mind that it is often easier to see shapes in a photograph and more difficult to see them when drawing on location from direct observation.

Tacoma Workshop


Gail Wong and I will be offering another Line to Color workshop, this time in Tacoma September 12–14. As in our two Seattle workshops last year, we’ll begin on Friday evening with an introductory sketching session followed by dinner and presentations at the historic Swiss Pub. On Saturday, we’ll work at the Tacoma Art Museum and in the Museum District. Then on Sunday, we’ll work in the Theater District and Antique Mall District. As always, it should be fun. And beginners are certainly welcome!

For more information and a complete schedule, visit <>.

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 <>.

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.