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 <>.

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.

The Hardware Store


This is the center of Vashon town—the four-way stop at the intersection of Vashon Highway SW and SW Bank Road. On the southwest corner stands The Hardware Store restaurant, the home of “great, good food.” The popular restaurant also hosts a fine bar and art gallery space showcasing the work of island artists. As the name of the restaurant implies, the structure formerly housed the Vashon Hardware Store. Built in 1890, it is the oldest commercial building on Vashon Island and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Fremont Public Library


Designed by city architect Daniel R. Huntington in the Mission Revival style, the Fremont Branch of the Seattle Public Library system has stucco walls, decorative ironwork, and gable and hip roofs covered with clay roof tiles. It was the last Seattle branch library built with funds donated by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Work was scheduled to begin in 1917, but budget issues and World War I delayed construction until 1921.

Remodeled several times over the years, the structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a landmark building by Seattle’s Landmarks Preservation Board.

Oratorio dei Filippini

This measured drawing of the facades of the Oratorio dei Filippini (Oratory of Saint Phillip Neri) and the Chiesa Nuova (Santa Maria in Vallicella) in Rome was beautifully crafted by hand by Professor Emanuela Chiavoni of the Università Sapienza di Roma, who I met at the UID conference in Matera last year. Designed by Francesco Borromini and erected between 1637 and 1650, the Oratorio achieves a measure of strength and elegance not through decorative features but rather by careful proportioning and the use of opposing geometries, particularly of the interplay between the convex and the concave.


Professor Chiavoni executed this drawing as part of her Ph.D thesis and graciously presented it to me as a gift. The drawing shows the use of orthographic projection to objectively describe the formal and proportional relationships between the parts and the whole of a design.

Below is my drawing of the same facades that I had done while Professor Chiavoni accompanied me for an afternoon of sketching in Rome. These two drawings show the difference between the objective and perceptual descriptions of the same subject.



Sometimes, there isn’t that spark that inspires me to draw. This is how I felt when the Seattle Urban Sketchers met last Sunday morning in Georgetown, supposedly the oldest neighborhood in Seattle. Founded on the Duwamish River in 1851, Georgetown incorporated in 1904 and was annexed by Seattle in 1910.

While there are a number of interesting buildings and settings in the Georgetown neighborhood, the trouble for me was in finding an appealing scene—a set of spatial relationships that could be composed in an interesting way. I finally settled on this particular view along Airport Way South. What caught my eye were the storefront signs above the sidewalk, the freeway signs beyond, and of course, the overhead tangle of wiring.


Les Amis


Another memorable setting for me in Fremont is Les Amis, self-described as “the Seattle home of up and coming fashion designers…rustically fashioned… with romantic country sensibilities…” I have always admired the “shabby chic” face it presents to the street, especially when the Wisteria overhanging the front awning of the shop is in bloom.