Urban Sketchers is Live Again

After 14 months of individuals drawing and painting in isolation during the pandemic, the Seattle Urban Sketchers group was able to meet—finally—for a Sunday sketching session at Gas Works Park. The site on the north shore of Lake Union is a reclaimed gasification plant that operated from 1906 to 1956. Landscape architect Richard Haag designed the park, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The first sketch, from within the play barn structure, looks out toward Lake Union and downtown Seattle beyond. Drawing from a dark space toward the light creates silhouettes that conceals details, which can be challenging. The second sketch was a quick study of remnants of the old plant. The geometric, primarily cylindrical forms, were drawn transparently to emphasize their volume, even though the sketch consists only of lines.

15 Years Ago

Continuing a look back over the years, these two spreads contain sketches drawn during a trip to Sicily in 2006 with my wife Deb. The first contains views of Palermo the day after our arrival; the second is of Cefalú Cathedral and a map documenting a day-trip drive with our friends Margie and Jim to the hilltowns above Cefalú.

20 Years Ago

Not quite 20 years ago, but close enough. These two pages contain the first sketches I did soon after arriving in the Eternal City in the fall of 2000 to teach in the UW’s Architecture in Rome program. Truly, a transformative experience. Wandering the area around Campo de Fiori, I sketched three churches—S. Barbara de Librari, the dome of S. Andrea della Valle, and S. Maria della Pace—as well as an ill-proportioned fragment of Bernini’s fountain in the Piazza Navona. I chose to include small plans showing the context of each in the urban fabric.

25 Years Ago

The practice of keeping a journal gives us the ability to go back in time to revisit places and experiences. Here, from 25 years ago, is a map I drew of Hong Kong and its environs, showing the ferry route I took from Central to Sok Kwu Wan on Lamma Island. From there I walked an hour and a half to Yung Shue Wan, where I sketched the scene below.

Fishermen’s Terminal

With the warming weather of early spring and a pleasant sunny day, it was a treat to venture outside to do some on-location drawing at Fishermen’s Terminal, located off Salmon Bay in north Seattle. It was here almost 12 years ago—in July 2009—that Gabi Campanario organized the very first meeting of the Seattle Urban Sketchers group.