Stepping into Union Station on Friday Morning, a building I have walked past without a thought dozens of times, I had that feeling of "wow! I didn't know this was here!" It was dazzling walking into the white tiled Beaux-Arts space, lined with parlor palms in perfectly spherical planters.
Inside is a generously sized, open public space with immaculate restrooms. As others mentioned, there's no café here, but true free public space in Seattle is so limited I think it's nice to not have an obligation to buy anything. It's a waiting room for nothing. A relic of the old days of the ample rail-based public transit in the city, so much of which is gone/disused/buried in the asphalt now.
And naturally, Seattle's homeless/mentally ill folks congregate in public spaces like these, for good reason...I'd certainly come here too. While we were sketching, a man entered shouting and ranting, the sounds bouncing off the tiles & the vaulted ceiling, amplifying his unintelligible anger into an echoing roar as everyone hunkered down and tried to ignore it. Eventually he was guided out by a security officer. it reminded me of the outsized impact of a relatively small number of homeless and transient people in Seattle, and the how most of us notice these sad situations, feel bad about it, and move on with our lives in our different spaces. I wondered where the man ended up going after he was escorted out.
On the other side of the space, another man quietly read a newspaper on the pew, surrounded by plastic bags stuffed full of things.
I was trying out the Viviva Color Sheets, which are like swatches of dry watercolor pigments that come bound in a little book. The color from them is like...wow! Quite saturated! I asked the rep who sent these to me about their lightfastness, because they remind me of liquid watercolors (dye-based pigments that look SUPER bright like these, but they fade fast) ...haven't heard back yet.
After the sketching meetup & errands, I went up to my studio in Belltown. But first, I needed to abate my caffeine headache, so I got an americano at nearby Bedlam Coffee - one of those lovely places stuffed full of whimsical, curated junk! I wanted a window seat but they were all taken. Instead my view was of a muttering bearded man sipping one out of several paper cups. He was curious about my drawing but also shy; I don't know what he would have thought if he realized I was drawing him. Two ladies chatted in the sunshine by the window, and next to me I listened in on a painfully chipper corporate interview.
After finally getting work done, I went out for a beer with an artist friend, Sarah. Ah, the simple pleasure of consuming alcohol at an establishment at the end of a work week! Pike Brewing, as we know, is another of these Curated Junk places that you can discover many fun details through sketching. There really is an insane amount of Stuff here.
One last social sketch: my studio coworkers have a plein air club, and I went out to their meetup on Saturday. We sketched a bit at King Street Station, then walked over to Zeitgeist Coffee for more. Again, those Viviva color sheets are SO much more saturated than I'm used to (see: bright red table). Jackie, left, struggled with the Sketcher's Conundrum: sketching food but also wanting to eat the food, and then getting distracted and forgetting not to eat it.