Santa Rosa de Viterbo

 

The public enters the 1752 Church of Santa Rosa de Viterbo through twin entrances on the north side rather than the more typical west end, which abuts a busy street. This view is drawn from the Plaza Mariano de las Casas, created in 1964 to increase the visibility of this north side of the church.

Santa Rosa de Viterbo was originally associated with a convent whose nuns devoted themselves to primary education. After the convent was closed in 1861 due to the Reform Laws, the facility was transformed into a hospital. Today, the convent portion is the Centro de Estudios de Diseño y Artes Graficas Mexico-Italiano.

Funko!

This past Sunday, Seattle Urban Sketchers ventured north to downtown Everett to visit the new flagship store of Funko, a company founded by Mike Becker in 1998 to produce low-tech, nostalgia-themed toys. Its first product was a bobblehead figure of the restaurant icon Big Boy. Now headed by Brian Mariotti, Funko has one of the largest portfolios in the pop culture industry. The store itself, a former Bon Marche and Macy’s, is a fantasyland of collectible toys licensed from such companies as Marvel, DC Comics, Disney, Nickelodeon, and many others. As I was drawing the exterior view, a line started forming to await the 11 am opening of the store and so I had to add those figures at the last minute. The view itself is like a panorama, but vertical instead of horizontal.

Church and Monastery of Santa Cruz

 

The Franciscan Church and Monastery of Santa Cruz (Iglesia y Convento de la Santa Cruz) dates from the 16th century and is named for the pink stone cross on the main altar. This cross commemorates the appearance of St. James that was supposed to have occurred on July 25, 1531 as the Spanish and their Nahuan allies battled the Otomi and Chichimecas on the hill where the church and monastery are now located. The well preserved compound consists of a series of cloisters and monk’s cells, along with a kitchen, orchard, water reservoir, and related ancillary facilities.

The first missionary school in the Americas, the School for the Propagation of the Faith (Colegio de la Propagación de la Fe) was established here. From this school, Franciscan friars ventured forth to establish missions as far north as what is now Texas and California.

In one of the courtyards is a thorn tree which, according to legend, grew from the walking stick that the missionary Fray Antonio Margil de Jesús stuck in the ground during his stay at the monastery. What is notable is that the tree bears thorns having three spines in the shape of a cross.

Santiago de Querétaro

I’ve spent a week in Santiago de Querétaro, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, exploring the historic center and drawing with a wonderful group of students from the School of Architecture, Art and Design at Tecnologico de Monterrey. At the end of the first day’s activities, as I was walking back to my hotel, this casa was pointed out to me. It was built in 1756 for the Marquesa de Villar and is now a boutique hotel. Seeing the richness of the entry court, I felt compelled to draw to stop and draw it. More drawings to come.

Columbus, Indiana

Earlier this week, I spent three days in Indianapolis to participate in a video project for my publisher Wiley. On the first day, we drove down to Columbus, Indiana, for some on-location sketching. Here are a couple of quick sketches that I did as studies before I attempted the larger format drawings that were to be filmed.

Columbus is known for its collection of Modernist projects that are interspersed among the town’s older 19th-century buildings. This unusual architectural heritage owes its existence to J. Irwin Miller who, as president and chairman of Cummins Engine Company, created the Cummins Foundation in the mid-1950s to subsidize projects by Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, S.O.M., Cesar Pelli, Richard Meier, and Robert Venturi, among others.

Thanks to Lauren, LIsa, Paul, and Eric for their expert assistance in making this project possible, and to the Ball State University students who participated in the studio sessions.

Beacon Hill

The Seattle Urban Sketchers met recently at the Beacon Hill station, one of the stops in Sound Transit’s Metro’s Light Rail system, between the SODO and Mount Baker stations. Probably because of site and space constraints, there are no escalators to access the train platforms below grade. Rather, the doorways you see here are actually elevator entrances down to the train level.

This second sketch is of the entrance to El Centro de la Raza—the cultural, educational, and social service agency founded in 1972 by Chicano activists who occupied the then vacant Beacon Hill Elementary School. Note the banner declaring the school, as any other school, is a “Sensitive Location.” This refers to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy regarding where it can enforce its enforcement actions. To quote from the ICE website: “ Pursuant to ICE policy, enforcement actions are not to occur at or be focused on sensitive locations, such as schools (and) places of worship…”

A Centennial Celebration

In remembrance of the centennial anniversary of the official opening of the Fremont Bridge on June 15, 1917, and that of the Lake Washington Ship Canal and Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (aka the Ballard Locks) nineteen days later, on July 4, 1917, I am reposting several drawings of the Fremont and Montlake Bridges that cross the Ship Canal.

For a brief history of the Lake Washington Ship Canal and the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, please see <http://makingthecut100.org/lwsc-and-the-locks/>. For a history of the Fremont Bridge, see <http://historylink.org/File/20374>.

Place du Grand 9 Avril 1947

This is a view of Place du Grand 9 Avril 1947, also known as Grand Socco (Big Square), just outside one of the gates to the médina of Tangier. The square is named after the speech Mohmamed V gave in support of Moroccan independence on April 9, 1947. Normally the space is filled with street performers and vendors selling a variety of fruits, spices, and second-hand goods but it was somewhat quiet due to the beginning of the observance of Ramadan—the annual holy month of praying and fasting for Muslims worldwide

A Celebration of Seattle’s Asian Community

These are people gathered in Hing Hay Park in Seattle’s International District to celebrate the Lunar New Year and witness dragon and lion dances, Taiko drumming, and martial arts performances.

In his opening remarks, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray reminded us all of how a mob rounded up Chinese from this very neighborhood on February 7, 1886, and tried to force them aboard a steamship for passage out of Seattle. And how the Japanese, many of whom were American citizens, were forced to evacuate their homes and businesses the week of April 28, 1942, an expulsion authorized by Executive Order 9066, which President Roosevelt had signed on February 19, 1942.

And so despite DT’s cruel, mean-spirited, and un-American actions of this past week, Mayor Murray asserted that as we celebrate the rich, diverse cultures of this Asian community, Seattle remains committed to being a welcoming city for refugees and immigrants in need.