Category: Hometown Tourist

Short and stoutTacoma, WA and Zillah, WA

Bob's Java Jive sketch by Chandler O'Leary

I am pleased to tell you that Washington is the proud owner of not one, but two teapot-shaped buildings. (Well, one is a teapot and the other is a coffee pot, but since the designs—and even the colors—are nearly identical, I think that’s close enough.) The first might just be, as advertised, world-famous. Tacoma’s very… More

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Disappearing act(Former) Hostess Cake factory, Seattle, WA

Former Hostess Cake factory sketch by Chandler O'Leary

All cities grow, shrink or evolve over time—but as Seattle is in the midst of yet another building boom, the place is changing so rapidly that I can’t keep up. Landmarks and local mom-and-pops disappear in a puff of smoke—while presto-change-o, mammoth condos and office blocks pop up, seemingly overnight. Painted plywood fences mask building… More

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Boat sweet boatLake Union houseboat districts, Seattle, WA

Seattle houseboats sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Some cities have inner pockets that feel like worlds unto themselves—little enclaves that are either well-hidden, little-known, or inaccessible to the general public. The perfect example is Seattle’s numerous houseboat communities. I’d been dying to sketch the houseboats ever since I moved here, and on Sunday, I finally got my chance. Every two years the… More

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The TurningNear Castle Rock, WA

Fall foliage sketch by Chandler O'Leary

There’s been a crispness in the air here all week—the first sign that my favorite season is well on its way. Autumn in the Northwest isn’t quite the spectacular show of reds and golds that you might find in New England or, say, Wisconsin, but I love it for its own qualities. Instead of huge… More

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Faux farmVashon Island, WA

Vashon Island barn sketch by Chandler O'Leary

You know I have a real thing for farms—as evidenced by all the sketches that have cropped up here (no pun intended) so far. But I also have a fascination with fake farms—you know, the odd sort of agricultural replica that you sometimes see at museums, tourist traps, or—as in the case above—private property. I… More

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Fragrant fieldsSequim, WA

Lavender farm sketch by Chandler O'Leary

I love summer in the Northwest, and I love drawing stripes—so you can imagine how happy I am when the two come together perfectly. If you’re ever in this part of the world in late July or early August, head up to the Olympic Peninsula and bask in the lavender fields. Between the buzzing pollinators,… More

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Summer hazeTacoma, WA

Commencement Bay sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Right around the Fourth of July, it’s like someone flips a switch around here, and the dry season begins. Then the stereotypical Northwest rain goes away, and nearly every day is clear, dry and balmy. You can bet that this is when I do the most sketching around my town—and you can probably guess what… More

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Secrets, seastars and spring tideEdmonds, WA

Puget Sound tide pools sketch by Chandler O'Leary

There was one other time that my sketching had the benefit of a supermoon. Last summer I spent a morning with some fellow sketchers under the ferry landing in Edmonds, WA. This is one of a few spots along Puget Sound where the tide goes out far enough to expose more than just a strip… More

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Super moonriseNisqually, WA

Mt. Rainier and supermoon sketch by Chandler O'Leary

I had other plans for today’s post, but I had a surprise on Saturday evening that changed all of that. I spent the day on the Oregon coast, and arrived on the home stretch just as the last light was fading. As I neared the Nisqually Delta, I looked east out of habit, where I… More

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Pink pachydermSeattle, WA

Elephant Carwash sketch by Chandler O'Leary

If the Yoken’s whale is the queen of the east coast’s Route 1, then the Elephant Carwash sign surely must rule Highway 99 in the west. The restaurant inside the Space Needle can eat its heart out—this jumbo gal is my favorite spinning landmark in the Emerald City.

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