|8/26/21 Daniel Smith store and First Avenue South ramp|
When Daniel Smith’s Seattle store announced that it was
finally reopening after its 18-month pandemic closure, we sketchers were
overjoyed to have our favorite art supply store again. Our joy was short-lived,
however, when that announcement was followed by another that the reopening was
only temporary: The store would be closing permanently in November. Unrelated
to the pandemic, the closure supports expansion of Daniel Smith’s paint manufacturing
and wholesale business, which is the company’s bread and butter. Although I was relieved to know that DS wasn’t going out of business, that didn’t soften
the blow of the store’s closure.
Much more than just a retail store, Daniel Smith offered workshops,
demos, vendor days, book signings, presentations and other events that had brought
the art community together for 45 years. It was also very supportive of Urban Sketchers Seattle. I will miss the knowledgeable, helpful staff. We
have other art supply stores here, but they will not fill the hole left behind
when DS closes its doors.
Through my various casual art forays over the years, I wandered
many times up and down the aisles, both dazzled and bewildered by all the
possibilities those art materials represented. When I began urban sketching and
learning to draw in earnest a decade ago, I started attending demos and workshops.
The last few years, I even had ambitions of someday offering demos or classes
|By Day 2 of the reopening, the Stillman & Birn Beta books were all gone, but I grabbed|
most of the remaining Zeta books and an Epsilon. I also grabbed all the remaining
Caran d'Ache Museum Aquarelles in the primary triad hues I have been having so much fun with!
The day after it reopened, I did my best to help DS clear
remaining inventory (the 20 percent discount didn’t hurt) by stocking up on
favorites, but as my final shopping trip there, it was probably the saddest art
supply shopping I’ve ever done.
Technical note: I’ve sketched outside the Daniel Smith store
a few times before, usually from the dark parking area under the First Avenue South ramp adjacent to the store. Neither the storefront nor that dismal parking
area is especially visually appealing, so I tend to stick with monochrome
tones. This time, however, the vibrant primary triad I’ve been using inspired
me to get away from “real” colors and just look at the composition from the end
of the street.
(Incidentally, Daniel Smith’s logo and signage include a
saguaro, which I’ve always thought was strange for a Seattle-based store. I’m
sure there’s a story there, but I’ve never heard it.)