lake union

on the books

Last year I bought a 1969 chevy van.  It is so great, it has its own corny, sexy, song.

It was bought to haul around the region my large pieces of framed artwork.   6 feet of glass, times many such pieces, quickly overwhelms even a stationwagon. Not to mention installation  projects and 50 gallon drums to fill with message bottles.


This year, big art pieces….not so much.  As my path with this art-work thing goes on its winding way, all roads lead to books, and illustrations,and less 6 foot sheets of glass (for the moment). Luckily the van has another purpose and is gearing up to haul my small family and our tiny boat to Baja for an expedition in the Sea of Cortez this winter.

locks sketch4

Currently on the docket are illustrations for a collection of sailing stories and thoughts from the smiling guru on simple living Teresa Carey. I am also working on the mock-ups for a Northwest childrens’ adventure story. Already on their way to print are “S is for Salmon”, made hanychartw_word1Angelstaircase1from the Salmon and Salal Alphabet project images, and a cameo illustration in an upcoming book from Ivars.

Perfect work to be done with nothing but a pencilcase and travel-size drawing board as the summer unfolds and we trundle around in that van full of food, bikes,  running shoes and playing gear instead of frames.

         Sometimes life fits into the space it has. Like Goldfish.

Dear Lake 6

Dear Lake #6 from Urban Lakes install.


Due to a storm off the Azores, I nearly forgot to pick my son up from preschool.

Ann Davison was the one sailing, the first crossing of the Atlantic by a lone woman sailor. I was the one reading her book “My Ship is So Small” in the back yard grass and musing  too long over the rigging of a passing catamaran while waiting to cross the locks.

A series of inspiring projects have been causing me to loose myself in sea-fever after a good few years of being content to play at the very edges.  Ann Davisons’ tiny boat, the Felicity Ann has just landed in Port Townsend and a group of amazing ladies have taken up the charge and plan to work with the NW school of wooden boatbuilding to create a series of empowering opportunities for women and girls starting with the restoration. Felicity Ann Boat Project.

“Go North, Go Simply”

Also in the works is a sweet little documentary being made by an old Outward Bound friend of mine, Teresa Carey, who has her own small fame these days for blogging about her experiences as a singlehander and striving for simplicity. The movie is called One Simple Question and documents an expedition she made with her partner on their own tiny boat  in search of  icebergs and answers. Watch the trailer, I love how she can ask big questions with the winning charm of a rosy cheeked girl from the great lakes.

Maybe not so much of the Sea but at the heart of Seattle, the Center for Wooden boats just opened their North Lake workshop and warehouse, next to Gas Works park in what used to be the mysterious and wonderful land of sea squatters and schooners called Metrodock. I made a piece that fits in panels between the old wooden studs and looks toward the buildings long and happy future as a community anchor for the North end of the lake.

Lucky me lucky me if only i could go to sea.

For the moment it is  well enough to be involved with some wonderfully seaworthy endeavours.  My own current show called “Hydrodynamics” is up at CLICK in West Seattle.  In this series of papercuts  I have been playing with the many qualities of  water  and the different types of linework  and form I can use to tell the seas’ stories.

Current Line 25″x35″

Ill be on hand Thursday June 14th for West Seattle Artwalk.

What a good excuse to see the citys best sunset.

Seastack 20″x16″

the tipping point

Walking through the South Lake Union neighborhood the other night had me caught up in thoughts of the city and my life in the midst of it.

I drove up here  at 18 in a VW Karmann Ghia, fresh from heartbreak in the desert and searching for an old friend and a place that was nowhere id been. All that I’d heard about Seattle was flannel shirt music and a Rolling Stone article that highlighted suicide, heroin, and the insidious gloom.  To me it felt a dark and gritty place where people came to jump off into the unimaginable frontiers of Alaska, Canada, and the wide open Pacific.  

That first day the city was in perfect dreary November clothes, and I slept on the couch of a friend of a friend of a friend.  Actually, the v-berth of a sailboat moored along the ship canal in Ballard. 

Fate tripped up my aimless wandering and the raindrops talked me into staying. I promptly got an unmentionable piercing, a job making coffee, and fell for the sailor.

Now, back  on the wide bright streets of the newly transformed heart of the city, the lights on the Vulcan cranes wink at me and the lake  sparkles all around the edges. Did all that grit and grunge grow up, have kids, and move back to Ballard?

 This nostalgia is due to recent sightings of the new Center for Wooden Boats  festival poster which features one of my papercuts. I love it, partly because Erin at the Center did such a great job of layout, but also because it feels like I’m celebrating my time in this place, in and around Seattle, its boats and characters helping and holding me as we both change and grow.                         

the curators


“He is a hoarder and I am a purger, so together… we curate,” she told me as I ooed and ahhed around their apartment.  I was truly flattered and very nervous to think that a piece of mine was soon to fit into this collection of things. The last couple commissions ive done from phone calls and email, and in the end at delivery, gotten my only glimpse of the lives that my art would become a part of.







Now having met the prized thirty year old algae on the windowsill and seen the view that inspired this whole project, I was working with a lot more impressions. For better or worse.







I sent out sketches, and proofs and despite  attacks of spring fever on both ends the piece was completed and ready to deliver (the most scary moment of all despite approvals at all stages).

There was happiness, even hugging. But the best piece for me was some praise of the process, and appreciation for a chance to see inside my notebooks and my story, while sharing theirs with me.  She told me I should be emphasizing the “experience”.

So here are some of the pieces of this puzzle.


Also for more great voyeurism  check out the 2011 Sketchbook Project as it stops here in Seattle on its world tour.   10,000 moleskine folios From fine art to first graders and everything in between, including me.   June 10,11,12    At Form/Space Atelier 12pm-4.