Before the Line to Color workshop in Laguna Beach, Deb and I took the ferry to Santa Catalina Island. As we made the crossing, I recalled the song by the Four Preps from 1958: “Twenty-six miles across the sea, Santa Catalina is a-waitin’ for me…” Originally settled by the Tongva tribe ca. 7000 BCE, the island was discovered in the 16th century by the Spanish. Control transferred from Spain to Mexico and eventually to the U.S. In the early 20th century, William Wrigley, Jr. of chewing gum fame gained a majority interest and began developing the island. Now most of the island is controlled by the Catalina Island Conservancy. Here is a view of the beachfront in Avalon, the only incorporated town on the island.
On a warm, sunny day I sat outside Caffé D’arte at the intersection of 1st Avenue and Yesler Way, enjoyed a drink, and drew this scene. From the heart of Pioneer Square, the view looks eastward toward Smith Tower and on the left, it takes in the iron pergola in Pioneer Square Park, built in 1909.
There are many ways to begin a drawing on location. For architectural subject matter, I typically search for a vertical plane that is both prominent and whose proportions are discernible to the eye. Placing this plane, correctly sized and in the proper location, will ensure that the entire intended scene will fit the page.
Anther place to begin is with an important vertical edge, which becomes in effect a measuring stick for the entire scene.
We can also begin with a vertical spatial plane, which is appropriate when drawing views of streets, alleyways, and the interiors of church naves and halls.
Or when there is no discernible geometry that can guide us, then we have to resort to capturing an unusual shape or opening.
Another bifurcated view (See posts from 9.3.16, 10.11.16, and 2.6.18), this one of what was originally known as the Classic Tavern. The venue was renamed the Triangle Tavern in the early 1990s because of its shape where North 35h Street meets Fremont Place North. In 2009, the bar was rebranded again as Triangle Spirits. Despite all of these name changes, most locals simply refer to it as The Triangle.
I drew this view from a rootop terrace on the southwest corner of 4th and University Avenues. It depicts buildings from three different periods of Seattle’s downtown development. On the right is Minoru Yamasaki’s iconic Rainier Tower of 1977. To the left is the Cobb Building, a brick-and-terra cotta Beaux-Arts design by the New York firm of Howells and Stokes, which was completed in 1907. And in the background undergoing construction is a new 58-story mixed use tower by NBBJ.
Below is another view of the terra cotta ornamentation atop the Cobb Building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Soon after drawing the Showbox Theater, I wandered over to take in and capture this view of Pike Place Market, looking toward the iconic market sign and clock. The drawing illustrates the use of tonal contrast to animate and draw attention to three specific areas while merely suggesting the context, such as the throngs of people crossing the intersection of 1st Avenue and Pike.
For comparison purposes, here are two additional views of the market entranceway, taken from two different viewpoints of the main market entranceway.
The original market structure built in 1917 at 1426 1st Avenue, across from the entranceway to Pike Place Market, was transformed in 1939 by Bjarne H. Moe, who designed the art-deco interior of the theater and added this marquee out front. Over the past six decades, the theater has provided a venue for musical acts from Vaudeville and jazz to grunge and hip-hop.
In 2018, Vancouver, BC-based Onni Group bought the property and announced plans to demolish the building and replace it with a 44-story residential tower. That same year, local preservation groups organized a campaign to secure a landmark nomination in an effort to save the Showbox. The Seattle City Council recently voted unanimously to extend temporarily the Pike Place Historic District to include the original Showbox building. This has, for a time, protected the building from demolition.
These two views can be seen approaching Red Square, the central plaza on the University of Washington campus. The first uses the statue of George Washington to establish the foreground, with Suzzallo Library establishing depth in the background. The bronze sculpture was commissioned by the Daughters of the American Revolution and sculpted by Lorado Taft for the Alaska Yukon Expedition of 1909.
In the second view, the elaboration of the Suzzallo Library facade draws the viewer through the space between Odegaard Undergraduate Library into the scene and Meany Hall, up a broad stairway, and into Red Square.