Saturday, August 29, 2009

Seattle Sketch Crawl - Gas Works Park

At 10 Am I went to Gas Works Park to meet some Seattle sketchers who were meeting for a sketch crawl. The rusty buildings in the park were used to manufacture gas from coal in the 1940s. I arrived a bit early since I gave myself extra time to get lost but I found the park with no problem. While sitting on a bench near the water, I noticed a woman on a distant hill who was holding a hula hoop. I looked out over the bay at the Seattle skyline but my attention was always drawn to the woman on the hill. I wondered if the hula hoop was being used in some sort of morning meditation or perhaps a new form of Yoga. I finally couldn't take it anymore so I walked up the hill to ask her is she was a performance artist. She was just waiting for a friend and his son and the hula hoop was her way to attract their attention. She also had juggling balls and bowling pins. It turns out that the friend she was meeting is a rather renowned juggler who had been making a living as a juggler for the last 20 years. He has been on Johnnie Carson and all the late night talk shows.
When I noticed some other artists showing up in the designated meeting area, I walked back down the hill and said hello to the artists as they arrived. When it came time to draw, I knew I had to go to the hill top and sketch the woman and her friend.The woman had some really cool tattoos on her arms one was of an killer whale and another of a penguin. These tattoos were pitch black which meant that she had endured quite a few passes in order to get the ink solid black. She explained that she had been fine with the pain until the tattoo artist hit two very delicate spots on the undersides of her arms. She then had to call it quits and returned another day to finish the tattooing.
The couple juggled together for some time. First he would juggle the 3 balls and then she would take over. When he moved up to the bowling pins she just watched and like me enjoyed the spectacle. As I worked on the sketch more and more people hiked up to the top of the hill. Some tried to figure out the sundial and others used the spot to launch kites. At least 10 kites were in the air at one point. Gabi wandered up the hill and got a sketch of me at work. At the designated hour all the artists gathered and compared sketchbooks. I learned so much from flipping through so many amazing sketchbooks. On this day, I fell in love with Seattle. So many people were out enjoying the day. Young couples rested and snuggled on the grass as they overlooked the Bay and Seattle skyline. People were biking and jogging everywhere there was activity and excitement, it was any sketch artists dream.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at


Rick said...

great post.

Bill Sharp said...

Hey Thomas. Welcome to the Pacific NW. It's beautiful to see it through your eyes.