Tag Archives: cranes

Return to the Scene


bell harbor, crane, grove crane, wheeled crane, sketch, watercolor, colored pencil, idsa conference, intrigue chocolates, pacari chocolates, industrial design, talk, speech, mark selander, construction machineOn Saturday I gave a talk at the IDSA (Industrial Designer Society of America) Western Conference  with the intention of adding some levity and honesty to the expectations of what a career should be.  I am thankful for the positive response I received.  I really enjoyed myself and met a ton of great people. My plan is to do more of this. (At least enjoying myself and meeting great people, but also hopefully more public speaking.)

The conference was at Bell Harbor slightly north of Pier 66 in Seattle.  I decided on Sunday to return to the venue to draw one of the Grove Cranes that were sitting on the pier.  It’s rare that I find a good vantage point above a crane since I’m usually at street level.  At Bell Harbor there were a number of them on the pier and from the 3rd floor conference space I could sit out on the balcony on a sunny day and draw to my hearts content.

There is an interesting dimension to event spaces.  They are by definition places that exist for the gathering of different organizations, groups, and individuals.  The IDSA conference was made up of a mix of design students and professionals networking, seeking work, and communicating about the design profession.  Conversations naturally turn towards the topic of design and design work and are informed by a particular thought process if not personality type.  In marked contrast to this is the group of individuals that were attending the Seattle Chocolate Salon convention that held the space on Sunday.  Drawing in public requires a high degree of active observation and by proxy an equally high degree of passive listening.  I never try to hide the fact I’m drawing or disappear into a space, but I can sit quietly for hours as groups of people come an go around me bringing and taking their ideas and conversations.  It turns out that a Chocolate convention draws a diverse crowd.   Between the table of aging sorority sisters who placated their bleach blonde leader’s relentless  tales of beer keg tribulations, and the conversation of an aspiring geek writer who’s fantasy novel focused on the intrigue and innuendo of a society that he referred to as Darwin’s Fist, I was never bored.  In all truth I can only sit passively for a short time and I did turn to the writer to reward him with the complement that he had the most interesting idea of the afternoon.  He was wearing a camouflage surplus outfit and smiled at the acknowledgment of his genius and then thanked me by offering a formal hand to forehead salute.

Seeing that I was at a chocolate convention it would have been highly inappropriate for me to have not sampled the goods.  I did just that and have three favorites.

Pacari Chocolates out of Ecuador.  I meant to buy their Raw 70% Cacao bar which was so smooth I almost slipped into a chocolatey coma but I accidentally bought their Raw 70% Sea Salt chocolate bar. Also very tasty, I was still slightly disappointed that I came home with the wrong treat.  Worth the checking out.

Intrigue Chocolates from Seattle.  They had a Saint Basil Chocolate Truffle that I thought was just about perfect.  I would have purchased this as well but I’d already spent my allotted weekly chocolate budget on the Pacari bar.

Monterey Chocolate Company. Olallieberry Chocolate bar.  What’s an Olallieberry? I don’t know, but it’s a tasty treat when mixed with dark chocolate.

So there you have it, Dynamic Cranes, Public Speaking, Decaying Sororities Sisters, and the Power of Chocolate.  A good weekend indeed and LONG LIVE DARWIN’S FIST!


Comfort Food

Here is a sketch from this afternoon, a different view of one of the Ness Cranes that I drew a few weeks ago. Some days you just need to draw the thing that makes you happy. This sketch is from a lot down on E. Marginal way just south of the Museum of Flight. I was driving around this morning looking for something/anything to draw and saw the gravel lot full of these cranes. It’s kind of like eating mashed potatoes and pot roast. Nothing fancy, just protein and starch. Steel and yellow paint.

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.

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.

Those Giant Cranes

The gantry cranes are just about the coolest thing on the planet. This sketch is from Harbor Island Sunday morning. The weather was perfect and there was none of the weekday truck traffic. A perfect spot for a study. I would have really enjoyed having a blue pigment to work with because the sun faded orange of the cranes against the blue sky makes for such an epic image.

Crane near Interbay

It’s for sale, but I didn’t see a price.

Large crane for sale