Thursday, April 23, 2020

360 West

4/16/20 4th Ave. NE & NE 85th St., Maple Leaf neighborhood (facing west)

As I’m sure every other urban sketcher has found, this sheltering-at-home state of the world is frustrating. Being outdoors for exercise and fresh air is approved of and even encouraged, so we’ve been walking daily around the neighborhood. That’s a pleasure in itself – we are discovering beautiful houses and gardens we otherwise never would have noticed – but I haven’t felt like I could stop for a sketch the way I easily could in my pre-pandemic life. The sidewalks are narrow, so if a pedestrian came by, I would need to step into the street to allow them space. There’s little car traffic on these residential streets, so that would be safe enough, but it would be distracting and disruptive to have to keep my eye on passers-by.

Nonetheless, where there’s a will, there’s a way. I’ve been paying attention to the traffic circles and the views around them. I realized I could comfortably stand on one to sketch (heck, I could probably bring a stool if I wanted to) and easily stay much farther than 6 feet from any passing pedestrian, and I’m also safe from cars.

This view faces west from Northeast 85th and Fourth Northeast. It was such a clear morning that I could see a peek of the Olympics in the distance. I hope to sketch in the other three directions eventually, creating a 360-degree view of this intersection.

Edited 5/13/20: Here are the completed four directions. 


  1. This is a really nice view. I like how you captured the light around the trees! Nice!!

    1. Thank you! I sketched it again facing east (in a post coming up) and hope to do north and south sometime, too.


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