Port Townsend

“Traveling-it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” -By Ibn Battuta

View from John Pope Marine Park

This time, it’s Port Townsend, a city in Jefferson County, Washington. It takes approximately 3 hours by road from Seattle, situated to its Northwest. Port Townsend prides itself on its historic charm and stunning natural settings. The city has many Victorian buildings of late 19th century and architecture worth appreciating. The red brick work, window arches, tall & narrow buildings and use of bright colors, all can be seen in Port Townsend. A complete wide range of architectural styles. 

We started early morning, the day was cloudy and cold. The drive was traffic free and listening to ‘Ghazals’ by music maestro ‘Jagjit Singh’ we reached the visitor center at Port Townsend. At the center, there were couple of welcoming people who were imparting the information. They gave us indepth guidance, maps which made overall visit to the city thrilling and fun. The first stop of downtown was at John Pope Marine Park, waterfront park. Being near the water it was freezing cold and windy too. First sketch was of the Jefferson Museum of Art and History, a brick building across the John Pope Park. I simply love brick structures. Later I sketched an old guy who was ready to give free speech on positive thoughts. Must needed in today’s world! Ya? In this park our daughter played a lot, she made new friends and explored the area. I did the ‘Salish Sea’ sculpture followed by the dock. Though we all were wearing gloves, hoods and layers of warm clothes the breeze was still hitting badly. It can been seen in all sketches with crooked lines.

John Pope Marine Park

Later we walked the downtown area and I sketched the 1889 structure The Hastings building in my Moleskine pocket sketchbook.

Hastings Building 1889, blue color stands out

I was keen to see Historic homes here, so headed to Jefferson St; climbing 100 steps from Haller Fountain. When travelling with kids, it always has to be competition, winning or loosing, basically ‘fun’. We three competed and no doubt the winner has to be the younger one to climb 100 steps in one go! This part of Port Townsend is called Uptown. On this uphill, rests the old Fire Bell Tower. It used to warn volunteer firefighters about fires around town. While sketching  Jefferson St., a couple interacted with me and asked whether I was noting the license plate number to issue a parking ticket. Such incidences makes the place unforgettable.

Fire Bell Tower, Jefferson St.

On the way back to our car I came across a parked bike in front of Boiler room shop on Water street and couldn’t resist to sketch it. Yeah! Another bike sketch, I enjoy sketching these two wheelers. Since it was almost 3:00 PM, we headed straight to Fort Worden State Park.

Bike on Water St.

At this Park I could do only a single sketch. We saw the lighthouse, walked along the beach but it was not possible to do trails, which made our daughter upset. One could see many deer walking freely on the green grasslands. Near the Alexander Castle was Haldimand Putnam.

Rustic Iron Door , Fort Worden State Park

The old rusted iron door appealed to me and I did a quick sketch of it. The beauty of the place is beyond words. The drive along the coast, history of place and architecture is completely fascinating. Definitely a must watch place!!

Point Wilson Lighthouse, Fort Worden State Park
John Pope Marine Park

“There is no better designer than nature.” Alexander Mcqueen



Sunny San Francisco

San Francisco, is the city of bridges, Victorian and modern architecture in California. Iconic Golden Gate Bridge and Oakland Bay Bridge are the main attractions. Golden Gate Bridge seen in many movies and of course ‘Fullhouse’ serial of 1987, carrying those memories in my mind, this time our Thanksgiving break travel was to  San Francisco.

I carried my Moleskine pocket sketchbook, Pentallic Aqua Journal, fluid block and Stillmanandbirn Beta series sketchbooks. I know, I carried lot of stuff, but according to available time & mood I select my sketchbooks. Recently, I read Mike Daikubara’s book ‘Sketch Now Think Later’ and in entire travel of San Francisco it motivated me to sketch first. A must read for sketchers!

Backyard of our relatives house, Fremont

The weather was bright Sunny and break from Seattle’s grayness. My first sketch on Day-1 was at Fremont, where we stayed with our relatives. The bright sunshine welcomed us and we enjoyed our tea in the backyard. The day followed by visiting the vista point of Golden Gate Bridge. The blue sky with yellow sun rays illuminated the red bridge. Unfortunately, because of Thanksgiving, Crissy field point was closed except for buses. The view from vista point was spectacular and I sketched it in my Pentallic Aqua Journal. I was thrilled and excited while sketching this icon. People were taking pictures, couples romancing, kids running behind birds, all happening at vista point. 

View from vista point, Golden Gate Bridge

Next we covered the Battery Spencer trail to get another view of bridge. The trail was steep with steps. Before I could finish the sketch weather became cloudy and started drizzling. I completed that sketch after reaching home. The cool breeze and beautiful view of this massive suspension bridge is worth experiencing.

View from Battery Spencer Trail

On Day-2 we headed for the scenic 17-mile drive in Pebble beach. The sky and Pacific Ocean showcased their best colors and more than 250 years old cypress trees enhances its beauty more. I did pencil sketching and quick washes on fluid blocks and spend quality time with my family members. The 17-mile drive is mesmerizing along the coastline, with some of golf’s greatest landmarks.

Cypress point lookout, Pebble Beach
The sky and Pacific ocean with contrasting rocks

Day-3 was adventurous and most awaited visit of downtown San Francisco. I usually have this notion, to know a place better, is to view it, through commuting by public transport. Our stay was at Fremont and we took BART from Union city to Embarcadero & later to Fisherman’s wharf. We decided to take Hop on Hop off citysightseeing tour bus because of time constraint and traffic in downtown. It was fun sitting on top of the bus, hearing commentary by guide and clear glance of buildings around. The first hop off was at Crissy field, Golden Gate Bridge. We walked on the bridge and I again illustrated the icon. While sketching here, many people saw my sketches and without getting distracted I completed the bridge from different angle.

View from Crissy field point

The next visit was at Golden Gate Park. The bus ride was roller coaster for me, cool breeze and all the time guide used to say, ‘watch your head’ being hit because of cables, wires and branches of trees. This Park is hub of Japanese tea garden, De Young museum and California Academy of Sciences. Being Saturday, the crowd was more and long queues to enter. We walked around here, people were renting bikes, segway, music performances, foodstalls indeed a happening place.

Lanscaped basin between California Academy of Sciences & De Young Museum
Music Concourse
Japanese Tea Garden, De Young Museum and musician in open plaza
Street towards Alamo Square
Victorian Architecture Painted Ladies

Later we headed to Victorian architecture i.e. ‘Painted Ladies’. On the way to Alamo square I did a quick sketch of the arty wires and cables hanging on the pole. The streets were steep and parallel parked cars with wheels away from the curb. Its amazing to watch people parking cars here. Painted Ladies stand like postcard motif ready to click picture always. It was indeed great and tiring day and this was my last sketch of the trip too. It was challenging to sketch and see the tourists spots. The evening ended by spending time at Union Square where huge Christmas tree was decorated. Still more to explore in San Francisco, may be in next visit!