In my very first post on this site in February 2012, I showed a composite of two sketches I had done of the Spanish Steps in Rome. Here I am posting the full views of each drawing.
The first is from the summer of 1965, when I was fortunate to have had, through an ACSA exchange program, an internship with Wilson & Womersley, an architectural and town planning firm with offices on Bedford Square in London. At the end of the summer, armed with a Eurail Pass, I traveled around Europe for a couple of weeks. I did a few sketches on site, but not as many as I would have liked. The only one I still have in my possession is this view of the Spanish Steps in Rome, drawn with a fountain pen with a stub nib.
This is another drawing of the same site from 2000, the first time I had the privilege of teaching in the University of Washington’s Architecture in Rome program. Similar viewpoints but drawn 35 years apart with different nibs and separated by a lifetime of experiences.
The Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (aka Ballard Locks) is situated at the west end of Salmon Bay and the Lake Washington Ship Canal, separating the fresh waters of Lake Union and Lake Washington to the east from the tidal waters of Puget Sound to the west. At the same time, the locks maintain the water level of Lake Union and Lake Washington approximately 20 feet above sea level and use a system of gates and sluices to raise and lower commercial and recreational vessels between the two water levels.
The complex consists of a small lock and a larger one that is 80 feet wide. Construction was completed in 1917 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Locks are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the American Society of Civil Engineers Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks.
One of the significant historic buildings within the Ballard Avenue Landmark District is this neoclassically detailed brick structure, constructed in 1893 for William Cors and Robert E. Wegener. They were the proprietors of the Ballard Wine House who considered themselves to be “artists in compound mixtures and fancy beverages.” The former saloon is situated at the corner of Ballard Avenue NW and 20th Avenue NW, along the main commercial street when Ballard was its own city, before being annexed by Seattle in 1907.
Having some time between recent doctor appointments at the UW Medicine’s Northwest Hospital & Medical Center, I drew this totem created by master Tsimshian carver David Boxley as a tribute to his sister-in-law Cindy Sue James (1965-2016). Dedicated May 6, 2007, the totem honors her legacy and pays tribute to all cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers.
The top figure is the Eagle, or Laxskiik, of the Tsimshian Nation. Below is a shaman wearing a bear-claw headdress and representing doctors and caregivers battling cancer. At the base is Cindy Sue, serving as the foundation for her family and tenderly clutching the shoulders of her grandson, Dominic, 7, “the light of her life, from the day he was born.”
The West Seattle Branch was the third library to be funded by Andrew Carnegie’s 1908 grant to the Seattle Public Library system. It opened on Saturday, July 23, 1910. As with the University and Green Lake branches, the architecture firm Somervell and Coté designed the Neoclassical style structure. In 1984, Seattle voters approved a bond issue to fund renovation of the Carnegie branch libraries, which the West Seattle Branch received in 1987. In 2004, another renovation added a much requested auditorium to the facility.
This view of the main entrance to the University Branch Library is constrained by the summer foliage of the large trees that shelter and shade the surrounding lawn. Designed by the architecture firm Somervell and Coté and funded by a grant from the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, this library opened in 1910. Architect Fred Bassetti headed a major renovation of the structure in 1985–86 to meet earthquake standards and add handicapped access. In 2007, another renovation by Hoshide Williams Architects upgraded technology services and created more efficient circulation desk and work areas. The library is now a registered city landmark.
Below is another library funded by Carnegie’s 1908 grant, the Green Lake branch. also designed by Somervell and Coté.
After Mission San Juan Capistrano, last month’s Line-to-Color workshop moved to Laguna Beach, where we drew along the promenade in the morning and later, within the confines of the Lumberyard courtyard. The weekend reminded me yet again of something I had mentioned previously on this blog. Books and videos that discuss sketching and drawing cannot match the immediacy of hands-on teaching and learning. It is difficult to replicate in print or film media the experience of standing or sitting side-by-side, looking out at the same scene, and discussing the ways of seeing that are crucial to on-location drawing.
Mission San Juan Capistrano was first founded on October 30, 1775, by the Franciscan Fermin Lasuen, but was soon abandoned because of attacks by the Kumeyaay, Native American people who had settled the area and occupied the land for thousands of years. The mission was reestablished a year later by Father Junipero Serra, the seventh of nine missions he founded. These two views of a courtyard beside the Great Stone Church at the mission show first the rough outline of the drawing composition and then another, more developed 15-minute sketch.
This past weekend, the Seattle Urban Sketchers met at Gas Works Park to mark the 10-year anniversary of when Gabi Campanario organized the first meet-up at Fishermen’s Terminal, back in June of 2009. Here’s a wide-angle view of the park, looking toward downtown Seattle. I composed the view so that the space needle could be seen amid the pipework. Below is a close-up view of remnants of the original coal gasification equipment.
This is a very quick 10-minute sketch I did during the Line to Color workshop Gail Wong and I conducted recently. I was trying to demonstrate how to begin a scene that does not have a clear geometric structure.. The view is of the ruins of the “Great Stone Church” at Mission San Juan Capistrano. Work on the limestone structure began in 1797 but was interrupted three years later by the 6.5-magnitude San Diego earthquake. And in 1812, six years after the church was completed, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake collapsed the nave and toppled the belltower. It was never rebuilt.