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Sept. 22: Columbia City

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Evergreen Washelli with Urban Sketchers

9/1/22 Bloedel bench at Evergreen Washelli cemetery

Farah's hairdo

Green, serene and full of sketchable monuments, Evergreen Washelli cemetery has been one of my favorite sketching spots for years. It was high time for Urban Sketchers Seattle to meet there.

I’d already sketched most of the major memorials in this 144-acre cemetery, but I hadn’t done the angel monument in more than seven years. On a cool, overcast morning that was a relief after the heat, I started with the angel. Just like I did in 2015 (I was reminded of it by my blog post), I thought to myself as I sketched that the angel had a Farah Fawcett hairdo. The other thing I noticed this time is the statue’s proportions. One of my most frequent mistakes during life drawing is that I often make the head too small in proportion to the model’s height. For once, I think I got the proportions right -- her head really is too small for her body (if she were human). Based on her head-to-body ratio, the angel would be about nine feet tall.

After that, I took a walk around the memorial park to find something I hadn’t sketched before. Functioning as a simple bench, a stark memorial was engraved with only the name Bloedel, which I assume is that of the local magnate Julius Bloedel, who is the namesake for various Pacific Northwest buildings and facilities. A lovely sakura, classically pruned like an umbrella, was right in front (top of post). I imagined that the person buried there must have loved cherry trees, and anyone seated on the bench would have enjoyed the view.

Controversial Doughboy

In the remaining minutes before the throwdown, I made a small sketch of the World War I Doughboy monument, which has an interesting backstory. According to The Seattle Times, “The sculpted, smiling U.S. infantryman once had two German helmets slung over his shoulder. The helmets were cut off surreptitiously decades ago, whereabouts unknown.” (Read the rest of the linked article to learn about the helmet that was found.) You can’t see it in my sketch, but the soldier does have a kind of creepy smirk. (I show his expression a bit better in my more detailed sketch made in 2015.)

The sun finally came out for the throwdown, where we had a terrific turnout!

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