USk: Smith Tower, Vancouver, Washington

W15 1 15 USK SMITH TOWER VANCOUVER WA 3I had lunch with my niece yesterday and went an hour early to find an interesting
building or scene to sketch.  As I was driving into the city of Vancouver I remembered the “beer can” building, looking glum and peachy against a black stormy sky.

The building, Smith Tower, was originally a much cooler color – a mustardy yellow.
City fathers decided they wanted it scraped and repainted.

It reminds me of the Capitol Records Building on Vine (as in Hollywood & Vine
for those who grew up hearing that in ads.) I had the pleasure of working at Becket and knowing Lou Naidorf, who designed this building in his twenties!  He insisted that he was not thinking of stacked LP’s — I say, “Who does he think he is kidding?”

I think the stacked vinyl building is a much cooler piece of Googie architecture,
but It is nice to see another mid-century building just across the river.

I had little time, and it was freezing and pouring.  I turned my car around and
sketched from afar so I could see Smith Tower in the window.  Ten minutes tops!
I also had a frustrating day of leaky and stubborn pens!

Great lunch of cranberry and pineapple chicken salad (yummers) with my niece at the Rosemary Cafe!  (The best part, too busy enjoying her to draw!)

For more info on the Tower:
I discovered a wonderful blog on local architecture, Portland Architecture,
written by people who actually KNOW architecture.  (You can’t believe how many bad articles there are in Portland on architecture.)  They include Vancouver:
Vancouver’s Mid-century Gem: Visiting the Smith Tower.
I also found biographies on the two architects that designed Smith Tower,
which has been elderly housing since it was built in 1966 —
a tad late for Mid-Century Modern, but we’ll let it squeak by.
In looking up the info on Keith Bradbury and Henry Greybrook,
I found another great site of info, the
The Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation is Washington State.

W15 1 15 USK SMITH TOWER VANCOUVER WA 1Drawn in an Strathmore Mixed Media journal (new journal, and does not take a lot of
wet well) with Caran D’ache watercolor pencils, Noodler’s Polar Brown and
Lexington Grey ink, and Daniel Smith watercolors.
Note: Normally those inks do not run, but they bled a bit in this journal.


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About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
This entry was posted in architecture, art journal, history, painting, pen & ink, pencil, sketchbook, timed painting, urban sketchers, watercolor and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to USk: Smith Tower, Vancouver, Washington

  1. Sammy D. says:

    I have wondered if “real” artists suffer the sanfus with pens and leaks or if it was just us neophytes. Misery does love company, you know 🙂 But cold, rain and leaks is one misery too many.I’ve never been to Vancouver or Portland. Both are on that ‘someday isle’ list. Hub and I are always saying, ‘Where exactly IS that someday Isle?”


    • I have heard SO much about Lamy Safari but I have nothing but trouble with mine, and have replaced the nibs just ot see what the deal is. . . always clogging, always a $30 problem. Usually my cheapo Preppie pens do not give me misery, but perhaps because of the cold and rain? Blobs! Who knows?

      Vancouver has some charms, but it is really a suburb of Portland in another state. I wouldn’t “visit” just to visit unless I lived here — we sometimes go across the bridge to dink around or to see family. IF you come to either we have to meet!


  2. Lucia Maya says:

    Love these drawings! Ive always heard great things about Vancouver, would loce to get there some day…


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