Pike Place Market

Following up on my previous post, here is another pairing of a sketch and video, this time of the iconic view of Seattle’s Pike Place Market. A key difference between drawing with a fountain pen on real paper and sketching with the Apple Pencil on an iPad is the loss of “feel” experienced when drawing on a glass surface. Even though the Apple Pencil is the best stylus that I have used, there is a tiny but still perceptible distance between the tip of the stylus and the screen that results in a loss of tactility.

Seattle Waterfront

On this relatively warm, sunny spring day, I bused to the Seattle waterfront to sketch this view with the Apple Pencil on an iPad Pro. But instead of Procreate, my customary drawing app, I used the freehand drawing tool in the Keynote presentation app. I wanted to see how well the animated playback of the drawing would work and how easily I could control the pace of the playback. I discovered the process to be not so simple.

Here is a short video of the result. I haven’t yet discovered how to control the pace of the playback and when first watching the playback, I realized that the sequence did not match how I proceeded in marking out my initial judgments and then filling in the details.

St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church

St. Demetrios is part of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco, within the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America. The Greek Community Association established this parish in the Cascade neighborhood in the early 20th century and named it after an icon of Saint Demetrios of Thessaloniki. Several decades later, under the stewardship of Father Neketas Palassis, the parish developed plans for a new complex, which culminated in the construction of the current church in the Montlake neighborhood. It was dedicated on March 31, 1963.

This thin-shell concrete structure was designed by Paul Thiry, a pioneer of modernism in the Pacific Northwest who was a supervising architect for the 1962 Century 21 Exposition in Seattle. At the time of St. Demetrios’ completion, the magazine Architecture West praised how Thiry “adapt(ed) materials and techniques of the 20th Century to a church that follows early Greek Orthodox architectural forms, with interior spaces dictated by centuries old liturgical forms.”

Safeco Field

 

With opening day for the 2018 MLB season approaching, I thought it might be appropriate to post these sketches of Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners. The stadium, designed by NBBJ and 360 Architecture along with the structural engineering firm of Magnusson Klemencic Associates, features a retractable roof that serves as an umbrella during inclement weather.

Although King County voters had initially turned down a proposal to fund a new baseball stadium to replace the aging Kingdome, the Mariners’ first appearance in the MLB postseason in 1995 and their victory in the American League Division Series reignited a public drive to keep the team in town. As a result, the Washington State Legislature approved an alternate means of funding comprising a mix of food and beverage taxes in King County restaurants and bars, car rental surcharges, a ballpark admissions tax, and sales of a special stadium license plate.

The stadium is often referred to as “The House that Griffey Built” because many believe major league baseball would not exist in Seattle without Ken Griffey, Jr.’s outstanding career with the Mariners. Griffey helped break ground for the new stadium in 1997 and a capacity crowd of 47,000 attended the Inaugural Game against the San Diego Padres on July 15, 1999.

Georgetown Steam Plant

Designed by Frank Gilbreth and built in 1906 for the Seattle Electric Company, the Georgetown Steam Plant is an early example of a reinforced concrete structure. It houses two vertical Curtis steam turbines manufactured by General Electric, which initially produced 11,000 kilowatts of power. Later, in 1919, a horizontal Curtis turbine was added, almost doubling the output of the plant. In addition to providing direct current for Seattle’s streetcar system and the interurban railway between Seattle and Tacoma, the plant also generated alternating current for Georgetown, which was at the time an independent city. In 1951, Seattle’s Department of Lighting—today’s Seattle City Light—purchased the facility and continued to operate the plant on a limited basis until 1972.

The steam plant was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1984. It is also listed on the Washington State Register of Historic Places, is a City of Seattle Landmark, and is recognized by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers as a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark.

Today, the steam plant is still owned by Seattle City Light and is maintained by City Light staff and a group of volunteers as the Georgetown PowerPlant Museum. It contains operable examples of early vertical steam generating turbines, as well as reciprocating steam engines and a collection of vintage machining tools.

A Peek-a-Boo View

 

On our daily afternoon dog walk around the Fremont neighborhood, I’ve often noticed and admired this deeply layered scene. It offers a peek-a-boo view of Mt. Rainier and downtown Seattle through the openings of the concrete supports at the north end of the Aurora Bridge in Fremont.

Middle Fork

Hanging in the lobby of the Seattle Art Museum is this 105-foot long tree sculpture by John Grade. Grade first made a plaster cast of a living 140-year old western hemlock growing along the Middle Fork (hence the name) of the Snoqualmie River east of Seatle. Then he along with hundreds of volunteers used the plaster mold to recreate the form of the tree from thousands of pieces of reclaimed old-growth cedar.

Stairs and Stairways

 

Drawing stairs and stairways in perspective can be daunting because they involve sets of parallel lines that rise or fall as they move away from us and therefore do not converge on the horizon line. Also, their multiple treads and risers make them seem more complex than they are. Here are a few stairways, both exterior and interior, that I have drawn.

One key to drawing stairs and stairways is to first establish the levels or landings that the stairs connect and then treat the stairways first as ramps, before subdividing the ramps into risers and treads. I should note here that reproducing the actual number of risers and treads may not matter as much as capturing their proper scale.

The photo above is overlaid with a diagram that shows how the vanishing point for a rising set of parallel lines is aligned vertically with the vanishing point for a horizontal set of lines that lie in parallel vertical planes.

Panama Hotel Tearoom

I joined a few other Seattle Urban Sketchers last Friday at the Panama Hotel, a National Historic Landmark in Seattle’s ID District. This is a view of the tearoom, looking toward the main entrance backlit from the daylight streaming in through the storefront windows.

As a point of comparison, here is a similar view I sketched three years ago when I was seated a little closer to the front of the room. This illustrates how moving just a little bit—back or forward, left or right—can make a significant difference in the resulting view of a space. And also how contrasting tonal values influences our reading of spatial depth.