Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Bumpers, Buoys and a Boat Named Larry

One of the most beautiful and subject-laden locations for a sketcher in Seattle is the Center for Wooden Boats on south Lake Union.

After a long cold snap, with freezing temperatures in the 20's and low 30's, our weather turned a bit more merciful. I wanted an opportunity to see the new building at the Center for Wooden Boats, as well as do a few sketches in the sunny winter air. Well, 47 degrees F isn't quite as toasty as you might think, especially out on the docks at Lake Union Park.

The good thing about visiting the center, even when closed on a Tuesday in January, is that there aren't as many people there as on a sunny summer afternoon. Parking was easy, close by and gave me a warm car for refuge from the cold. No matter when you go, however, there are just so many subjects for the photographer or the painter/sketcher.

When I first arrived, the familiar pavilion stood out, with its Native American carvings both inside and out. Looking down from the ramp, I saw the perfect image of a Haida canoe, reflected in the rippling waters of Lake Union.

It was a day of unusual names: I met a bearded fellow whose name is Jessica. He helps with the carving in the Pavilion. The Native American carver and artist in residence is named Saaduuts Peele and there's a boat named "Larry". The type of sky we had is referred to as a "mackerel sky" because the clouds are shaped like fish scales.
I've saved some room for information about the bird carving. I will fill it in later.
I do know some of the more common names for things like life rings, bumpers and buoys. I had fun drawing the shapes and shadows of these buoyant objects as the afternoon sun lit them up.

I am hoping for an answer to my email to Saaduuts regarding the bird carving. My guess is that it is an eagle or an owl with a salmon in its talons, but there is much I would like to learn about the meaning of various elements on it. What is the significance of the drawing on its wing? Will there be another like it on the other wing? Is it meant to be the top of a story pole? Does it have a name? Once I have the answers, I will record more information in the empty space on my sketch.

Note: The Center for Wooden Boats is the 10th and final location for the upcoming new series of USk Seattle Workshops. Come to Daniel Smith, Inc. on Saturday, January 28 from 11-1:30 for a presentation of the the workshops and meet the instructors.


  1. I like your double page spread from the center. You compose your pages so nicely it isn't a wonder that they have you doing a workshop!

    1. Thank you so much, Joan! High praise, indeed from one who composes her own sketches and watercolors so well!