South Tacoma Way

South Tacoma Way 8" × 10" Acrylic on canvas

South Tacoma Way
8" × 10"
Acrylic on canvas

Late last October, I drove out to find a FedEx copy center. I had a thumb drive full of pictures to print on the color laser printer so I could play with making transfers one afternoon. Everything in Tacoma south of I-5 remains mysterious to me. I have ventured there for FedEx, the Washington Department of Licensing, and a service appointment at a Toyota dealership. Tacoma is a well-ordered grid, despite being a peninsula that points northwest into the Puget Sound. Highway 16 and Interstate 5 curve and careen through town, only bending for the geography and caring nothing for the city within. The snarl of freeway where Highway 16 Interstate 5 meet is a persistent mess and I almost always need Siri to tell me what to do.

 

On the way home from Fed Ex, Siri took me down Sprague Avenue to South Tacoma Way, under the freeways. I have a thing for freeways and overpasses. I love the way a swooping overpass carves a cathedral-like space out of the air. I also love how we almost never see this because we mostly drive over overpasses; or we drive right by quickly. These big beautiful things are mostly invisible. I pulled over to the side of the street and took photos

I’ve been painting on small canvases recently - I think I prefer a smoother surface - like paper or board, but the texture of the canvas does force me to avoid tiny details. With big knobby weave, it’s impossible to create too fine a line. This helps me focus more on shape and color. In this case - trying to find that yellow-grey-green that concrete takes on in the setting sun.

Michael Barrett

Tacoma, WA 98402