Monthly Archives: January 2011

View Point At the Port of Tacoma

I drove down to Tacoma today with the intention of drawing a couple of images around the harbor. Of the three I drew, this is the only one I’ll post. It’s not that I wouldn’t show the other drawings, but let’s just say that I “experimented” with a technique on one of them and the experiment did not yield the proper results. The other drawing was a quick sketch of a Sounder train that had an unfortunate encounter with a drooling Great Dane.
As to what you see, it was drawn from the official Port of Tacoma Administration Building parking lot which actually has a dedicated structure set up to view the port. I should have drawn the parking lot and the open staircase that led up to the viewing platform because if you are in the mindset to drive around the more industrial parts of Tacoma, there really aren’t a lot of sanctioned tourist areas. If you want to go down there for a picnic, photo shoot, or simply a nice romantic evening on an industrial waterway, the address is 1 Sitcum Way Tacoma, WA 98447. I take no responsibility for your date’s reaction.


Memory in Perpetuity

Soviet Mig-21 and tail of the Lockheed M-21 Blackbird in the foreground

I recall that the first time I visited The Museum of Flight in Seattle was on a family trip to the city at the age of 14. I remember quite vividly the open floor with dozens of planes sitting under the cast shadows of the many more suspended overhead. Apart from the obvious draw of the planes, the most striking aspect of the museum is how bright it is. Huge extended windows allow natural light across the airframes and a permanent view of the sky to frame them all. Since my first visit the museum has expanded significantly both in it’s physical space and the scope and quality of it’s exhibits, but like good childhood memories, my feelings for the place remain rooted in my own personal nostalgia. Visiting today I experienced the same feeling of awe and possibility that I knew 22 years ago. The Museum is in some ways my first memory of Seattle. On our family trip we visited the Space Needle and Gasworks; we even stayed at the old Four Seasons hotel (A MAJOR coup of luxury for our family, believe me). So I remember seeing the city as a tourist should, the great sites checked off of a list and the beginning of an appetite to know more that directly led to me moving here after college. Having lived here for years now, it’s very easy to take Seattle for granted. My days are filled with routine drives, commutes, trips to the same stores, and activities. I’ve figured out the most efficient routes to get from point here to point there and although I still love to explore it’s usually easier not to. I think it’s an important question to ask how we can make a new experience out of an old one. My thought for the day is that the key might lie in retracing your daily steps back to their origin and to actually look again at your oldest memory of your common places. My family trip had many highlights and maybe I’ll revisit them all again in years to come, but the mixture of machinery, and architecture, and the outright coolness of aviation history at the Museum of Flight still remains as a a creatively rejuvenating destination.


Post It was Sunday afternoon. On our way back from Costco; we were hungry but didn’t know it. Thinking that all we wanted was a cup of coffee, Karen suggested this spot, Hudson on East Marginal Way, a relatively new joint that was supposed to serve up a good cup of Joe. We walked in and looked to our right, a table of Georgetown motorheads drinking Bloody Mary’s an Beermosa’s, to our left a horseshoe shaped bar with a couple of empty seats. The place looked like it had been around for 30 years, but all the surfaces were new. We sat at the bar and decided upon opening the menu that maybe we were hungry for eggs at three in the afternoon. Nothing jumped out at me. Passively I considered the pulled pork omelette, but then the woman next to me got her food, a blackened salmon sandwich with hashbrowns. Hashbrowns with a sandwich, that was the key that opened the pit of my stomach. I looked at the food and simply said “hashbrowns, mmmm good”. I moved from hungry to famished then I turned to Karen and said, “I know my order”.
Somewhere between the time I ordered and the time my food arrived 15 minutes later, the woman next to me finished hers; she ate fast. I knew that just as I would shortly experience my first bite, I would also with experience my last. I wondered if she was satisfied, if she would recommend ordering more. There was no reason to dwell on it. My time would come and I would know. When my sandwich arrived, I experience a spark of joyous appetitic expression as I saw the giant chunks of salmon barely contained inside a kaiser roll bun, sitting monumental on the edge of a sea of browns. I was about to dig in but saw the Louisiana Crystal Sauce on the counter. I grabbed it, and poured it over the potatoes. My fork always goes for the hashbrowns first. The first bite made me even hungrier. I took another and then grabbed for my sandwhich. Knife in hand, I cut it in two. A 4 cubic inch volumetric mass of salmon fell out and onto the browns. I stuffed it back in the sandwich, finished my cut and then took my first bite. Perfect. Perfect salmon on a bun, covered in remoulade sauce. It couldn’t have been better, but I still pushed my luck to the limit and applied another dousing of the Louisiana Crystal. Even better. The entire meal probably took me 25-30 bites plus the intermittent chewing. I don’t know really, I didn’t count, it’s a guess. When it was time to finish I was 99% satisfied, not really hungry, but simply a lingering desire for more consumption. I knew that the moment had come to cherish the last bite, and as I did, I stared at the crumbs and remnant onion slices with a finality mixed with hope that I would experience this again. Across the bar a man ate a burger and next to him a couple ordering something for themselves. I looked at them as a mirror of my own recent history, and with a slight envy of their present and future meals drew what you see here.

Ness Cranes

A whole nesting ground for Ness cranes. Beautiful yellow 5 axle all terrain cranes. I had a LEGO version of one of these when I was a kid, one of my favorite sets of all time. These are the big job site cranes that take up about 50 feet of space with the massive feet that swing out for support. This Saturday I stumbled upon a whole flock at their home base, off of 52nd street in Ballard.

King Street Station Construction

Seattle’s King Street Station (the red brick tower south of Pioneer Square and North of the Qwest Field) is undergoing renovation, inside and out. This is a view on the lower level looking south east at the plaza and baggage claim facility. There is nothing quite like a train station. Light plays differently in train terminals than it does elsewhere, think of those images of Grand Central, or the Parisian Stations, with their massive windows. Today felt like that a little and offered a worthwhile moment to capture the once and future progress that is rail travel.

Sketching in Church

Drawing during church should be encouraged.

New Years Light Rail To and Fro

New Years Day sketching with my friend Josh. We drove around SODO and Georgetown looking for something anything to draw. Of course there are a million things to draw, but sometimes you just want the right thing, and as the day was losing light fast we chose the underbelly of the light rail about half a mile south of the Tukwilla station.
It’s worth noting that the station lights up only as the Light Rail approaches, kind of like the light when you open the fridge. The fact that it was colder than the freezer outside helps the analogy.