Friday, November 16, 2012

From the 73rd Floor

11/16/12 Private Reserve Black Velvet, Zig markers
A lot can change in one year. But sometimes not enough.

A year ago today, I went up to the 73rd floor observation deck of the Columbia Center building, Seattle’s tallest skyscraper. I bought a $5 ticket from the lobby’s information desk, and a concierge/guard personally escorted me up there and then left me to sketch to my heart’s content. Unfortunately, I had been sketching for only a couple of months, and that spectacular skyline overwhelmed me. I managed a small, timid sketch of the Smith Tower (below) and vowed to come back someday to give it another shot when I had more sketching chops.

That day was today. Once again I approached the information desk to be escorted upstairs, but I was told that I could ride up unescorted and buy a ticket when I got there. I did, and this time it cost me $9. Interestingly, a public restroom is now available on the 73rd floor; a year ago, I was told there was none.
Despite the price increase, it’s still a spectacular view. And when I got in front of it, I realized I’d forgotten my sketching chops. I was no less intimidated by that skyline than I had been the previous year. I managed another sketch of the Smith Tower (above), which might have been OK if I hadn’t tried to put in some background. And then I made the background worse by trying to fix it.
11/16/11 pen, watercolor

I’m saying it out loud here: I’ll be back again in one year. (Jump to 2013's sketch.)


  1. It's still must be gratifying to see your improvement in a year. When I just saw the sketch on flickr, it didn't occur to me that the background was anything but how you intended it. I thought the colors might indicate some holiday lights. Nice job.

    1. Thanks, Kate. Yes, it is gratifying to see whatever improvement there is... and I like both the challenge and the goal of going back to sketch the same thing again!


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