On the shores of Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park

On the shores of Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park

Early morning moments at Nature Bridge

Early morning moments at Nature Bridge

During my childhood and youth, I never went to summer camp.  I could imagine what it was like though, from reading books.  My week at Nature Bridge finally gave me — in my sixth decade — a personal, first-hand taste of summer camp!  In fact, several youth groups shared the campus with us.  Unlike them, my time was not taken with group outings and pre-planned activities.  My time was pretty much my own.

Sunrise from the dock at Nature Bridge, Lake Crescent

Sunrise from the dock at Nature Bridge, Lake Crescent

I am an early riser, and I truly enjoyed my quiet moments on the dock watching the sun rise.  Little waves lapped and the dock creaked.  Swallows dove and swooped over the water.  I sat with my cup of coffee and marveled at the abstract, undulating colors and reflections on the lake’s surface.

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Wouldn’t these watery images make a great abstract painting?

My attempt at painting the ripples in the lake

My attempt at painting the ripples in the lake

The sky had lightened considerably by the time the sun finally peeked over the surrounding mountains.  As it rose, it highlighted the tips of the trees and rock outcroppings on the opposite shore.

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Tree tops sun lit like candle flames

Shsoreline, Lake Crescent

Shoreline, Lake Crescent

Watercolor sketch of view from the dock

Watercolor sketch of view from the dock

Watercolor and ink sketch of shoreline, Lake Crescent

Watercolor and ink sketch of shoreline, Lake Crescent

Baby swallows alighted on the dock rails.  A rabbit sat still in high alert.  A deer and her twin fawns nibbled the grass by the cottages.  The day was coming alive.  And then it was time for breakfast.

Baby barn swallow on the dock railing

Baby barn swallow on the dock railing

Barn swallow

Barn swallow

Rabbit outside the dining hall

Rabbit outside the dining hall

Fawn

Fawn

Watercolor sketch of fawn

Watercolor sketch of fawn

By the second day I found this perfect spot to do my painting.

By the second day, I found this perfect spot for painting in an empty classroom above the dining hall.  I am a bit chagrined to admit that I prefer painting from my photographs rather than in the field.  For one thing, it is always awkward to cart painting supplies in the outdoors.  And I find painting outside overwhelming.  My eyes see too much — in my direct vision, and in my peripheral vision.  I am constantly distracted.  And everything keeps moving!  When I photograph, I frame the view and limit all these competing elements.  So when I paint from one of my photographs, I can narrow my focus to just what is is the frame.

Using my photos as a starting point, I attempted to paint my impressions of the lush forests in the area.

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My first watercolor sketch of tree trunks

My first watercolor sketch of tree trunks

I started my next watercolor painting of tree trunks by coloring in the negative space between the trees.

I started my next watercolor painting of tree trunks by coloring in the negative space between the trees.

Watercolor painting of forest

Watercolor painting of forest

 

 

Doe and fawn, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Clarno Unit

Doe and fawn, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Clarno Unit

One of the amazing things about our national parks and monuments is the opportunity to see animals in the wild.  We had several memorable encounters on our road trip to the Painted Hills and John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.  Each sighting felt like luck and serendipity.

I saw this doe and her fawn on the trail in the Clarno Unit off the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument:

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I saw two rabbits.  One at the end of the Arch Trail in the Clarno Unit, and one under a bridge on the Red Hill Trail of the Painted Hills Unit.  The second one seemed mesmerized by a huge rattlesnake nearby, but it eventually woke up and ran away.

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Here is the huge rattlesnake.  I’m glad to have seen this one, as I had never before seen one in the wild.  But I was happy not to see more!

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Snake skin

Snake skin

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We saw a couple of antelope, but we were able to pull off the road and watch this one jump over a fence from a meadow, then run across the road, and finally change his mind and return back to the meadow:

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And here is a pretty moth or butterfly:

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“A pedestrian is a man in danger of his life.  A walker is a man in possession of his soul.”
— David McCord

I admit I was a bit apprehensive about this third leg of my circumambulation of Seattle because the southern perimeter zigs and zags across industrial areas. It’s not a straightforward boundary line because Boeing Field interrupts the trek east to west. I would be leaving the flat, scenic shoreline of Lake Washington and heading toward Puget Sound. I’m not familiar with south Seattle, as I live and work in a northern neighborhood, so I didn’t know what to expect.

My husband came along to keep me company for the first part of the day’s walk. We started at South Kenyon Street and walked to the lakeshore. We walked south along Lake Washington to Thayer Street, not quite to the Renton border. At Thayer, we headed uphill to begin our walk west. This was the first of several uphill stretches on our journey.

Steep stairway up Thayer St

Steep stairway up Thayer St

Rather than follow each zig and zag along the city’s south boundary line, we fudged a bit to take in some more natural pathways. Our first destination was the Kubota Garden. We found the southernmost entrance by Mapes Creek overgrown with blackberry brambles. So we continued on to the main entrance on S 55th Street. The Japanese garden was a tranquil place early in the morning and we were its only visitors. It was an in-between time in terms of color. The rhododendron bloom was past its peak. But the curved paths took us past thoughtfully landscaped ponds and lawns, so it was a lovely meander.

We did not attempt to walk through this overgrown, brambly path, but instead chose a different entrance to the Kubota Gardens

We did not attempt to walk through this overgrown, brambly path, but instead chose a different entrance to the Kubota Gardens

Gated entrance

Gated entrance

Rabbit in the gardens

Rabbit in the gardens

The tranquility of a Japanese garden

The tranquility of a Japanese garden

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We exited the Kubota Garden on Renton Avenue and headed west toward the Rainier Beach light rail stop. There we intercepted the Chief Sealth trail, a bike and pedestrian trail along a green belt. The paved trail wove up and down in a grassy meadow landscape.

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Chief Sealth trail

Chief Sealth trail

At Kenyon Street we headed west to Beacon Avenue, followed it until it turned into Swift Avenue, and continued north along I-5. We were under the noisy flight path of planes destined for Seatac Airport and Boeing Field.

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We crossed I-5 at Albro Street and rested for a few minutes at Ruby Chow Park. Then George caught a bus back to his truck, and I continued on my way west. I walked to S Eddy Street in the Georgetown neighborhood and followed it to Michigan Street. I continued on Michigan to the First South Bridge, whose Duwamish bike trail provided pedestrian access across the Duwamish River. Now I was in the heart of the industrial area of Seattle – barges, concrete, traffic, storage lots for all sorts of industrial materials.

The Duwamish River

The Duwamish River

View looking back toward downtown Seattle from the First South Bridge

View looking back toward downtown Seattle from the First South Bridge

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I followed the zig-zag bike path to the South Park neighborhood. The library there provided a clean and quiet space for a break before I headed up the hill on Cloverdale, over Hwy 509, and up into West Seattle.

Shaded street in South Park neighborhood

Shaded street in South Park neighborhood

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As I crossed Hwy 509, I looked down onto this street light, a resting spot for a pigeon

As I crossed Hwy 509, I looked down onto this street light, a resting spot for a pigeon

Once again I fudged a bit on my periphery route, bypassing the point at Arbor Heights in favor of a more direct walk west. I took Roxbury to 8th Avenue SW, then 8th to Henderson St, and Henderson to Barton St and 35th Avenue SW.

I marveled at the beautiful flowers and landscaping I saw along the residential streets, but the highlight was the Barton Street Pea Patch on 35th Avenue SW. Everything looked so healthy and full of life. The colorful poppies and pink peonies were eye catching. The prolific pea plants gave special meaning to the concept of a “pea patch” garden. If I lived in this neighborhood, I would definitely get on the waiting list for a spot in this community garden.

From a yard along SW Henderson St

From a yard along SW Henderson St

The perfect rose

The perfect rose

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Sunflower in the pea patch

Sunflower in the pea patch

Poppies

Poppies

Peas in the pea patch

Peas in the pea patch

Visitors in the pea patch

Visitors in the pea patch

I took a short two-block detour on 35th to the Southwest Branch of the Seattle Public Library for a needed break before catching the Rapid Line C back to downtown Seattle.

Walking distance: about 13 miles

Woodblock print artist with letterpress, Wayzgoose Extravaganza

Yesterday I drove down to Tacoma with my friend Carol to attend Wayzgoose, a letterpress and book arts celebration.  It was a small, but lively, community of artists and lovers of book and paper crafts.  Several vendors had small letterpresses on which we could make our own printed keepsake.  Outside, a Caterpillar steam roller pressed oversized block prints.  And if you had the foresight to bring a tee shirt with you, a cadre of volunteers silk screened it for you.  It was a fun event!

Inking the letters for a letterpressed poster

A vendors wares at Wayzgoose

Linoleum block on press

Inking the block

Placing paper over the inked block

Pressing by hand to transfer the image from the block to paper

Getting ready to pull the print

My very own Wayzgoose keepsake, a rabbit print just in time for Easter!

Silkscreen printing on a tee shirt

Drying the silkscreened tee shirt

Inking a huge, oversized block

Pressing with a steam roller

Pulling the oversized print

Steam roller print!

Easter Bunny Ears

April 4, 2010

Waiting for the Interurban on Easter Sunday

Waiting for the Interurban in bunny ears

Waiting for the Interurban sculpture decorated for Easter

One of Seattle’s icons is a sculpture in the Fremont district called “Waiting for the Interurban.”  This piece of public art seems to invite people to decorate it in celebration of personal birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations, as well as seasonal holidays.  Today, in celebration of Easter Sunday, the sculptures were decked with bunny ears.

Seeing them reminded me of my daughter at age 4 after an Easter outing.  I love the way she created bunny whiskers from a strip of fabric.

My daughter in bunny ears and whiskers, 1993