Seattle Produce Market

Public Market Produce (larger)

On my recent Seattle trip I spent an afternoon sketching but didn’t have time to draw at the Public Market. I did take a few quick photos though.

Public Market Produce (larger)
More Market Photos

I often take pictures with the intention of later sketching, but rarely get around to actually doing it! This time though I didn’t want to miss a chance to draw one of the luscious produce displays.

The Public Market is filled with amazing produce, flower, and fish displays; huge piles of healthy and colorful goods, artfully arranged. I am sure I could spend a full day happily sketching there.

I drew this sketch from the photo, directly in ink. The sketch is small, as are all my sketches: 5.5 x 3 inches. You can see that it isn’t exactly like the picture but all the main components are there. The best part was adding the watercolor; so many colors!

I wasn’t sure if I should paint in the signs (see below) but went ahead anyway. I am not sure which version I like better; what do you think?

Before Signs Painted

Related Post: Sketching in Seattle

25 Responses to “Seattle Produce Market”

  1. Rosemary Says:

    Delightful! I too love the produce markets! I prefer the one with the signs painted in too. They definitely finish off the sketch. I sketched outside in a market in Sicily — it was a bit unnerving at first with people literally standing over my shoulder watching but then I got the best fruit from the vendor who was proud that I thought his fruits and veggies were worthy of a painting!

  2. Sherry Says:

    I always enjoy and am inspired by your travel sketches. I live in WI, and recently got back from a trip to Seattle and the San Juans. Check my blog if you have time for the cool picture I got from the plane of Mt. Rainier. I’m impressed you sketched at Pike Place at all – the place was a madhouse when we were there. I do have pictures of artichokes as big as a kid’s head, and I may try to work from my photo.

  3. Trumpetvine Travels » Blog Archive » Sketching in Seattle Says:

    […] Related Post: Produce Market […]

  4. Jana Bouc Says:

    I agree, it’s a gorgeous sketch and the painted signs fit in better and don’t draw attention to themselves the way the white ones do.

  5. janey Says:

    Yummy. The signs really finsih the sketch.

  6. Sydney Says:

    I love Pike Place Market! It’s so full of signts, sounds, smells, and things to paint. I haven’t been to Seattle in a few years and this brings back all of those memories.

  7. Jane LaFazio Says:

    wonderful (tiny!) painting. Pikes Market is so full of things to paint it’s a wonder you could narrow down a subject. just lovely!

  8. Robyn Says:

    Terrific job – has the spontaneity of having been sketched on the spot – hard to achieve with a photo. I think it is gorgeous and it needs the prices.

  9. Claudia Says:

    …another wonderful painting! Please, do more of them! We’re waiting!

  10. mARTa Says:

    These are great. I had an idea for something similar when I was buying from a veggie/fruit stand in Venice, Italy last summer. Took some photos and might revist them. I like it with the signs as well.

  11. Linda M Says:

    I like it with the prices. I think you see the colors in the veggies better when the signs were blank (is that the scan, though?) but it felt unfinished. The prices on the signs make it look more, well, RIGHT. What a great place that must be to paint and photograph!

  12. alison Says:

    It’s interesting to see the two stages – I think the prices distract a little from the fruit, but the blank ones are odd in terms of the story’ of the work so I would go with the prices in. It’s notable how much more satisfying the sketches are than the photo, I think.

  13. Susan Cornelis Says:

    Both, but I like it with the signs painted, just a bit better. Are you going on the next East Bay Sketchcrawl? I’m going to really try to make it.

  14. Emma Pod Says:

    This is a beautiful drawing of the marketplace. Great colors and composition. I love your work!

  15. Karen Blados Says:

    Definitely painted in. I never would have guessed that was from a photo! It’s wonderful.

  16. why Says:

    i like how you painted the signs.. the final sketch is beautiful 🙂

  17. E-J Says:

    Martha, to me your sketch looks as spontaneous as if you’d done it from life – which I guess is down to a combination of experience and having soaked up that market atmosphere. I much prefer the version with signs painted in. They’re part of the scene.

  18. Ronell Says:

    This is beautiful, Martha, wonderful colors! I like the prices painted in, it makes the market come alive.

  19. Bill Says:

    Nice work. Looks better with the signs painted, blank they look a bit odd.
    Like the way you spread the purple around, which of course aids color harmony.

  20. Casey Says:

    Great sketch, Martha. As usual, full of wonderful detail.

  21. stephanie s Says:

    oh how wonderful… i am only a few miles from the market and rarely get down there, and have yet to visit the sculpture park either. looks like you are going to get me to explore mine own city soon rather then later… thanks. your sketch is great, and i like the labels painted in too.

  22. Bonny Says:

    I love Pike Place Market! It’s a long drive down from Victoria, but we go every once in a while. We don’t buy anything because of the border restrictions on fresh produce and spices, but it is so inspiring!
    We always imagine how we would use this or that in our cooking, so it’s fun! Plus all the free samples and tastes you get just wandering around!
    I too, prefer the version with the painted in signs. Makes the produce stand more realsitic and you could make a story out of it.
    Lovely paintimg!

  23. lin Says:


  24. Jane Says:

    I like the one better where you painted in the signs. Otherwise, the blank signs draw my attention away from the produce. Isn’t Pike Market one of the greatest markets in the world? When I’m there, I’m just positive I’m a gourmet cook, although nothing could be further from the actuality.

  25. Rachel Says:

    Martha I love these pictures, so glad that you went back and did the paintings from the photo. One of the things I noticed first about the photo was the nifty price signs, so I am very glad you painted them in in the sketch. Thanks for all of your inspiration. Rachel in San Diego

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