Next Sketch Outing

Saturday, Dec. 9: Wallingford Center

Friday, September 22, 2023

Art and History in Columbia City


9/22/23 Ark Lodge Cinemas, Columbia City


Spirit of Washington at Columbia Park


With days of clouds and rain ahead on the forecast, USk Seattle may have gotten the last of the sunshine for a while on this beautiful Equinox morning. Meandering around the Columbia City neighborhood, I stumbled upon a sculpture I hadn’t noticed before in Columbia Park. Called Spirit of Washington, the 16-foot sculpture by Quinault and Isleta-Pueblo artist Marvin Oliver “takes the form of a dorsal fin of an orca whale depicting Salish symbols of power and rebirth,” according to the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture. Instead of hitting it face-on, I went around to the side where I could catch the strong shadow it was casting (at left).

On Rainier Avenue South, Columbia City’s main drag, an old Regency Revival style building with Ionic columns (yes, I had to look it up – I don’t know squat about architectural styles) caught my eye. It turned out to be a 1921 Masonic Lodge that has been operating as the Ark Lodge Cinemas since 2012. (One of the films it was showing was Barbie – I couldn’t resist that pink B.) Columbia City has no shortage of historical buildings.

The problem was that the noon sun was nearly directly overhead, so both sides of the building were in the shade. Of course, just as I was finishing the sketch, the sun came around and put some nice bits of light on the building’s front fa├žade. (What happened was a corollary to Murphy’s Laws of Urban Sketching No. 5: The light you were hoping for will appear just as you finish a sketch.)

On a September day when the weather could go either way, however, I had nothing to complain about!



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