To mark International Left Handers Day, which celebrates the “uniqueness and differences” of left handers in a predominantly right-handed world, here is a sequence of six drawings showing how I constructed the interior view of St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral I posted a couple of weeks ago. I first established a corner where two adjoining planes meet, and transformed these planes into a volume with the addition of four columns. Then, over this 3D framework, I developed the details on the columns, pews, windows, ceiling patterns, light fixtures, and sanctuary.
When drawing in an urban setting, there is often a degree of tension between including the context for a building in a wide-angle view and capturing the character of a building up close. Here are two drawings of Seattle’s Firehouse No. 18 that illustrate these two points of view.
Designed by Bebb & Mendel for housing horse-drawn fire engines and built in 1911, Firehouse No. 18 was in continuous use for 63 years. After it was declared surplus property by the City of Seattle, it was acquired by Historic Seattle, which holds a preservation easement on the property. A designated Seattle Landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the old firehouse is now home to the Hi-Life Restaurant.
Founded in 1889, St. Mark’s eventually outgrew its first two churches in downtown Seattle and on First Hill. So in 1926, plans were drawn up for a larger facility on Capitol Hill, on its present site overlooking Lake Union. It remains a Seattle landmark that can be seen from the west along the tree-lined ridge of north Capitol Hill.
Because of the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression, an incomplete cathedral was dedicated in 1931. And after a St. Louis bank foreclosed on the mortgage in 1941, the empty structure was used by the U.S. Army during WWII as an anti-aircraft gun training center. After the war, fundraising helped erase St. Mark’s debt and on Palm Sunday 1947, the mortgage was burned before the parish in front of the Altar.
What we see now is the result of a series of renovations and additions over the years, the latest of which is a redesign of the sanctuary by Olson Sundberg featuring a glass and steel screen by northwest artist Ed Carpenter.
These are just a few of the incredible collection of historic planes at the Museum of Flight, which touts itself as “the largest independent, nonprofit air and space museum in the world.” The first sketch is of the Stearman C-3B, Boeing Model 100, and Aernoica C2. The second is a Vietnam-era McDonnell F4C Phantom II, and the third is a very foreshortened view of the Curtiss JN-4D “Jenny.”
In each view, I started with the aspect of the longitudinal axis of each plane before building up the three-dimensional form of the fuselage and wing structures along this axis. A major difficulty in drawing these views is being able to capture how much the fuselages and wing structures are foreshortened. Below is a short video clip showing this process.
The cornerstone for Denny Hall, the first structure to be built on the University of Washington campus, was laid on July 4, 1894. Designed by Charles W. Saunders, the four-story edifice contained a library, museum, music room, faculty offices, student lounge, six laboratories, and a 700-seat lecture hall. Originally called the Administration Building, it was renamed Denny Hall in 1910, after Arthur Armstrong Denny, one of the founders of the city of Seattle.
I intended these views of Denny Hall to be a lesson in composing and beginning a drawing—first framing the view, establishing a vertical measuring line, sizing and placing a major plane, and then roughing out the overall structure before developing the details.
Founded in 1980, the Nordic Heritage Museum occupied the former Daniel Webster Elementary School in a residential area of north Ballard before moving to its new home closer to downtown Ballard on May 5, 2018. The architectural firm of Mithun describes the central idea of their design thusly: “The new museum is organized around a linear ‘fjord’ that weaves together stories of homeland and the Nordic American experience. Bridges crossing the fjord intensify the experience of migration, connecting Nordic and Nordic American exhibits. A vertically-striated zinc skin wraps the building exterior; inside, fjord walls are composed of faceted white planes evoking its glacial origins.”
Below is an interior view of Fjord Hall, the central spine, along with a brief video clip of the process.
Harbor Steps is a grand urban staircase at the foot of University Street that connects 1st Avenue with Western Avenue. This view looks down toward Western Avenue with the soon-to-come-down Viaduct and West Seattle in the distance. What is difficult here, as with any view looking down a stairway, is that we often can’t see the stair treads themselves. So all we can do is indicate the different levels connected by the stairway.
While I usually enjoy drawing with a fountain pen, there are times for a pencil to do its work. Here is an example of a drawing of an eagle, showing the range of values and nuanced strokes for which a graphite pencil is uniquely suited.
St. James Cathedral, situated in the First Hill neighborhood above downtown Seattle, is the mother church of the Archdiocese of Seattle. Designed by the New York-based architectural firm of Heins & LaFarge and completed in 1907, it was designated a city landmark in 1984. Here are two views. The first is similar to one drawn back in 2013, looking from the side courtyard toward one of the twin spires; the other is of the interior. Also included are two video clips of the process.
What in plan appears to be a logical mid-block pathway is often not so evident when seen at street level, especially when the pathway involves changes in direction and elevation amid a lot of vegetation. Here is a view of a pedestrian pathway that connects North 34th and North 35th Streets, drawn while sitting at The Masonry, sipping a beer, and looking north up toward A.B. Ernst Park.
The second view (and video) is from where an addition to A.B. Ernst Park is to be developed, looking down toward 34th Street, from where the first view was drawn.