I went out drawing yesterday with my friend Tim to Fisherman’s Terminal in Ballard. The trip actually was more like two circuits around the Ballard/Fremont/Nickerson St neighborhoods checking out a lot of the hidden industrial gems, before settling on Fisherman’s Terminal. Once we got to the dock we walked around for a few minutes until we found a good spot that felt more focusable (I like to make up these words). This is a great place to stop and take stock of just how much purposeful clutter can exist in one place. Each of these ships seems to be a repository for countless objects, cables, mechanical parts, cable spools, buckets, nets, chains, floats…I believe the term is Flotsam. This ideal spot, also meant sitting in the cold at the end of a pier which was as much of a motivator as anything to get the drawing done, rather than linger. The whole scene merits a lot more time, but it’s fun to see what can be captured in finite period, it forces the drawer/renderer/observer to pick some focal point and go with it. The other option is to get lost in the detail, which will be more appealing when the temperature raises another 20 degrees. Stay tuned.
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.
I got up this morning and the sunrise to the East was one of those irresistible forces that I had to pursue. Normally I think my calling is to head West, but morning is different and reverses impulses. I drove to Lake Washington and found myself at Sandpoint Naval Station since this was the closest I can get to the Eastern sky without actually crossing the bridge to eastside of Seattle (which is not the same thing as the lingering Eastern border of the city). I’ve been to Sandpoint many times, but never this early. The water was different this morning and looked a lot like a large alpine lake rather than the settled and populated terminus of Seattlelites freshwater summertime leisure pursuits. It felt clean and empty. Sandpoint Naval station itself is a series of decaying hangers and warehouses that hold untold possibility. I drove around the parking lots looking for a viewpoint that included the sunrise, lake views, and collapsing corrugated walls and blown out window panes filtering the light and nature with a sooty patina. This search led me to a new road I had never been on with very promising industrial/natural mystery potential. It’s always my goal to drive down a new road – even today when it turned out to be a driveway into a government research facility. So this is what I did, and then I was promptly turned around by the friendly guard at the gate, even when I tried to play the “Hey I’m just a wandering artist looking to sketch government buildings” card. (Note to readers, this does work from time to time).
Now with my ideal view fading from me, I was tempted to drive West again, but decided to drive a little bit further North around the Lake and found a strip of dirt on the side of the road with a small open gate with an inviting Seattle Parks sign. I stopped and hiked down a little hill to a dock that was apparently fair game and then sketched this scene of sailboat rental dock. It was quite cold and as this is my second attempt at an ink wash; I think it may have been a little overworked, but not a bad way to spend the am hours.
I’ve been spending more time down in Interbay between Magnolia and Ballard (though technically I think it would be considered Magnolia, I’ve never heard a proper definition.) There is so much great industry surrounding between the train yards and the fishing terminal. The amount of detail to choose from down there is really fun and I recommend anyone with an interest in ships to wake up early some morning and take a weekend day to check out the variety of boats and equipment.
I decided to use an ink wash instead of rendering in with a marker. I think I’ll keep doing this; it’s nice to work with the brush.
Click here for a link to the Map view of the scene.