Timber Giant Tends Miniature Trees

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Walls structure the collection and serve as a backdrop for the bonsai.

The Weyerhaeuser Corporate Campus is a wonder of modernist landscape architect. The campus was designed by SWA in the late 1960s to resemble an idyllic Pacific Northwest conifer forests. It has since be lauded as a wonder of site and context sensitivity, appearing in such books as Invisible Gardens by Peter Walker and Melanie Simon. However, I found it hard to forget that the campus is a testament to Weyerhaeuser’s power and wealth as signs demanded passive enjoyment enforced by circling corporate security.

Ignoring the security, the Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection presented a wonderful mix of bonsai. A greenhouse allowed the display of several tropical bonsai, including a flowering bougainvillea. Outside, a range of conifer and deciduous trees were on display and a show from a local bonsai club.

Perhaps the most unusual bonsai on display was a Bald Cyprus trimmed to resemble its southern swamp growth habit. In southern US swamps, Bald Cyprus exhibits a flat to habit with a dense mat of branches growing laterally from the slender trunk’s top. To me, it resembled a bird nest on top a telephone pole.

Want to learn more about the Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection, go here

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Another Urban Sketching Adventure

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A plane approaches Boeing Field over the Korean Central Baptist Church. Aircraft descending into Boeing Field ranged from prop planes to 737s.

This past weekend I joined the Seattle Urban Sketchers in Seattle’s Georgetown Neighborhood. Georgetown is a forgotten neighborhood wedged between I-5, Boeing Field and Highway 99. Currently one of Seattle’s centers of underground art and culture, Georgetown hosts a variety of galleries and stores such as the alternative comic publisher Fantagraphics Books’ store and the Elysian Brewery.

The neighborhood is crammed with historic brick buildings and craftsmen homes. Shown here is the Korean Central Baptist Church. The building caught my attention with its distinctive red cross and Korean characters. The church is housed in the top two stories of the building with business space beneath it. The building seems well care for as a pair of men were working to scrape graffiti from a window while I was sketching.

Korean Central Baptist Church inscription

Want to learn more about Georgetown? Visit the neighborhood website here.

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10 Minute Bus Service Now Arriving in Seattle

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Rapid Ride Shelter at the junction of California and Fauntleroy in West Seattle

This week’s sketch is of a new King County Metro Rapid Ride shelter at the intersection of California and Fauntleroy. I wish I had color at the time I made this sketch as the shelter is draped in red banners and signs. In addition to the eye candy, the station features an abundance of lighting, seating and signage.

Rapid Ride is Metro’s solution to their crowded and inefficient bus system. Buses will arrive every 10 minutes at peak times, 15 minutes off peak and 30 minutes after 10pm. This is achieved by spacing stops farther apart, creating dedicated bus lanes and coordinating stop lights with bus movements. Metro hopes this will alleviate bus congestion and encourage more bus ridership.

The final judgment on the ¬†Rapid Ride system will have to wait for this fall when several lines open in Seattle. I remain doubtful that there is any way to circumvent Seattle’s rush hour traffic without building a transportation system separate from the existing road ways. However, if Rapid Ride can truly provided buses every 10 minutes during peak times it would be a welcome change to the currently sporadic 30 minute bus service to Downtown.

To learn more about King County’s Rapid Ride System visit here

To follow the development of the Rapid Ride System visit the Rapid Ride Blog

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Alki Art Fair

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On the day I visited the Alki Art Fair a massive storm front was hovering over the Olympic Mountains. Fortunately, the storm stayed over the mountains, leaving Alki Beach sunny. In this view, we see the back sides of several booths with Puget Sound and the storm front beyond. A wide range of arts and crafts were on sale, including Bonsai, watercolors and tile work.

To learn more about the  Alki Art fair visit here

To learn more about Alki Beach visit here

Museum Crazy in Tacoma

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View from the Washington State History Museum’s cafe to the 509 Cable Stay Bridge. Besides the great view, I was also fascinated by the ornate detailing of the historic lamps in the area.

This week’s sketch comes from a recent trip to the Tacoma Museum District with the Seattle Urban Sketchers. The area is home to several museums including the Washington State History Museum, Tacoma Glass Museum, Tacoma Art Museum and many others. Located in Tacoma’s historic downtown, the Museum District is filled with refurbished brick buildings, light fixtures and metal work, framing a modern boulevard and streetcar system . Besides the museums, the district also houses the University of Washington’s Tacoma Branch as well as the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington.

Want to learn more about the Tacoma Museum District? visit here.

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