Dreaming of Landscapes Has Moved!

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Dreaming of Landscapes has moved to its new self hosted space. You can find it at binglestudios.com.


Things That Are and Things That Will Be

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This week I did not have a cohesive collection of sketches. However, each sketch has sparked an idea for future projects I hope to post soon. Enjoy this collection of miscellaneous sketches and stay tuned for future developments.

My first library sketch is of the historic West Seattle Branch Library. The West Seattle Branch Library was funded by Andrew Carnegie's philanthropic efforts, opening in 1910.

My first library sketch is of the historic West Seattle Branch Library. The West Seattle Branch Library was funded by Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropic efforts, opening in 1910.

The Seattle Public Library recently announced that they will open all their branches on Sundays. Due to budget issues many neighborhood libraries had to close their doors on Sundays. However, a library levy passed in August included money to open all branches on Sundays.

To celebrate, the library system has challenged its patrons to visit 15 libraries in 15 weeks starting on Sunday, January 6. I have decided to take on this challenge, and sketch each library I visit. Stay tuned for further Seattle Library sketches and stories.

The atrium at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. This room is dedicated to South Asian statuary portraying buddhas, gods and goddesses in the Buddhist and Hindu traditions.

The atrium at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. This room is dedicated to South Asian statuary portraying buddhas, gods and goddesses in the Buddhist and Hindu traditions.

I also recently visited the wonderful Seattle Asian Art Museum. The museum is a hidden gem of Seattle, tucked away in Capital Hill’s Volunteer Park. As its name implies, this museum houses the Seattle Art Museum’s (SAM) collection of art from Japan, China, India and other Asian countries.

Even if you are not a fan of Asian art, the art deco building that houses the collection is worth a visit. The park is also a classic example of the Olmsted brother’s work with sweeping lawns and shady woods. Stay tuned for more sketches of SAM’s collections and properties.

During my time in Mt. Vernon, I only had the chance to sketch this view of Highway 99 and a gas station next to my motel. This was even more difficult when the sun rose, blocking half the view.

During my time in Mt. Vernon, I only had the chance to sketch this view of Highway 99 and a gas station next to my motel. This was even more difficult when the sun rose, blocking half the view.

This finally sketch is of old highway 99 near Mt. Vernon, WA. Mt. Vernon is a small town ninety minutes north of Seattle and is famous for its annual tulip festival. Downtown Mt. Vernon has a charming collection of shops housed in historic brick buildings. The Calico Cupboard is particularly famous for its breakfast and lunches.

A Commons with Uncommon Style


A view over the park reveals the mix of uses. In the middle of the view the library is visible over the public square. To the left is the lawn and to the right is the skate bowl.

The Ballard Commons Park opened in 2005 as the new civic center of Ballard’s business district. Ballard is a neighborhood in northern Seattle, centered on Shilshole Bay and the Lake Washington Ship Channel. The neighborhood is dominated by single family residences with its major business district on Market Street, which forms the neighborhood’s southern edge.

The Ballard Commons houses a wonderful mix of spaces. A public square has abundant seating for adults, while sea life inspired sculptures serve as a nice anchor for the plaza. These sculptures also act as water play features in summer. The rest of the park is taken up by a lawn and skate bowl.

A range of establishments ring the park. A tall apartment building protects the park from harsh western sun in the afternoon. To the east, the Ballard Public Library attracts a stream of neighborhood residents, and its short stature allows a flood of morning light to enter the park. Finally, a homeless health clinic and businesses round out the mix of establishments around the park.

This mix of spaces and establishments draws a wide range of visitors. There is a homeless population in the park. At the same time a stream of families, couples and singles flow through the space. Library patrons enjoy books on the park’s benches. Families play fetch with their dogs. Teens and adults ride skate boards up and down the skate bowl’s walls. This creates a vibrant atmosphere that is not dominated by a single group.

The Ballard Commons is a fun and enjoyable park. It achieves what every small neighborhood park should strive for. It provides a space for every resident. It is activated by the mix of civic and private ventures around it. Most importantly, the Ballard Commons does not take its self too seriously, either as an artist statement or a utilitarian space. The result is a park that is functional, fun and attractive.

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Want to learn more about the Ballard Commons? Visit this blog on Seattle City Parks.

A sculpture of a sea snail shell.


Magic, Modernism and Soviets at the University of Washington


If you are a fan of Harry Potter, you should visit the Suzzallo Library on the University of Washington campus. The library is an outstanding example of the collegiate gothic architectural style with a plethora of arches, stain glass windows and statuary. Standing in the library reading room, you could forget that just outside is a modernist inspired square and think you are in a Europe cathedral.


Suzzallo Library opened in 1926. It was championed by the University of Washington’s president Henry Suzzallo, who was dismissed before the library was completed. Following Suzzallo’s death in 1933, the University named the library after him.

Inside, the Suzzallo Library is decorated with geometric shapes and arches. The most spectacular room is the reading room. At 250 feet long, 52 feet wide and 62 feet tall, you feel like you have stepped back outside when you enter the reading room. Soaring stain glass windows top off oak book cases decorated with native foliage while rows of desks and lamps seem to disappear into the distance.

The library’s facade is decorated with statues of historic figures who contributed to learning and culture: Moses, Shakespeare, Plato, Newton, and Benjamin Franklin to name a few. The library’s front entrance features reliefs representing mastery, inspiration and thought who look out on the University’s Central Plaza, commonly known as Red Square.

In 1962, an underground parking garage was built on this site. Fearing that grass would lead to leaks in the garage’s roof, the project engineers ordered the garage paved over with red brick. The university student newspaper editor, Cassandra Amesely, began referring to the space as Red Square and the name stuck.

Folk lore holds that the name is a reference to Moscow’s famous Red Square. This allowed the 1960s student body to subverting the University’s authority by renaming the square for the center of Soviet patriotism, but remain blameless. However, this has never been confirmed.


The Suzzallo Library’s gothic style facade is a sharp contrast to the modernist inspired Red Square and Brutalist architecture of Kane Hall.

Want to learn more about Suzzallo Library and the University of Washington? Visit here

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The Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal

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A ferry unloads cars at the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal.

Since ancient times, the Puget Sound has served as a highway for maritime traffic. Before the arrival of Europeans, the Seattle harbor served as a center of trade for the native Salish. A busy trade route ran along the Puget Sound carried by cedar canoes.

Shortly after the arrival of European settlers, the first passenger fleets on the Puget Sound were started in the 1850s. Known as the Mosquito Fleets, each private fleet was made up of a variety of steam powered boats. In the pre-freeway era, these steam ships filled the need for fast and cheap transportation across and along the Puget Sound.

Following World War 2, the Mosquito Fleets saw a gradual decline as the car replaced the fleet as a convenient means of travel in the Puget Sound area. However, the demand for transportation across the Puget Sound and to the Sound’s many islands remained. Since bridges were not practical the Washington State Department of Transportation launched its first car ferry across the Puget Sound on June 1, 1951.

Today, Washington State operates the largest ferry system in the United States. The Washington State Ferry fleet contains 22 ships with stops at 20 terminals. This week’s sketch shows the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal in West Seattle. This terminal provides access to Vashon Island and the City of Bremerton.

To learn more about the Washington State Ferry System visit here

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A ferry waits to load cars.


The Locks to Seattle

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The Great Northern Railroad Bridge is notable for its single counter weight suspended above the tracks.

In 1916, the Army Corps of Engineers completed the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks between Seattle’s Magnolia and Ballard Neighborhoods. This connected Lake Washington to Puget Sound via Lake Union and the Lake Washington Ship Channel.

The locks separate the lakes’ fresh water from the salty Puget Sound, keeps the lakes’ water level 20 feet above sea level, and allows ships to move between the Puget Sound and Seattle’s lakes.

The Lock’s had an immense impact on Seattle. The Lake Washington Ship Channel cut the city in half and required the construction of numerous bridges during and after construction.

This week’s sketch shows the Great Northern Railroad Bridge over the Lake Washington Ship Channel. Completed in 1917, the Great Northern Railroad Bridge is one of five bridges completed as part of the channel project. These bridges can open and close to allow ship passage using counter weight systems.

Later bridge projects would eliminate the need for these systems by using steel spans to build bridges over 150 feet above the channel’s surface.

A boat waiting to go through the locks to the Lake Washington side.

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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 theĀ  Alki Art fair visit here

To learn more about Alki Beach visit here

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