Traveled recently to Duluth, Minnesota, for the 32nd Lake Superior Design Retreat, sponsored by AIA Minnesota. Enjoyed hearing from a great slate of speakers who were not architects but rather designers in other realms, such as a restaurateur, blacksmith, game designer, and digital fabricator. During a break on the first day there, I wandered outside the Fitger’s Inn, where the retreat was being held, to sketch this view. It was really cold! While the air temperature was 25°, the “real feel” was 11°, but I managed to last about 20 minutes before heading back inside to the warmth of the Barrel Room, seen below.
The Old Grist Mill in Sudbury, Massachusetts, was designed by Philadelphia hydraulic engineer J.B. Campbell and built under the direction of former property owner Henry Ford. Work on the mill began in 1924 and ground its first “grist” on Thanksgiving day, 1929. The mill is part of the site of the Wayside Inn, the oldest operating Inn in the country. The water-powered mill uses two separate grinding stones to produce the corn meal and wheat flour that is used in the Wayside Inn’s baked goods.
Lan Su is a walled Chinese garden that occupies an entire city block in Portland, Oregon. Designed by Kuang Zhen, it was completed in 1999–2000 by Chinese artisans from Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China, using traditional materials and techniques.
The name Lan Su is taken from parts of the names of the sister cities of Portland and Suzhou. The name itself can be interpreted as the Garden of Awakening Orchids.
The view above focuses on the Moon Locking Pavilion, whose name refers to when the reflection of the moon can be seen in the center of the lake, locked in or framed by the shadow of the pavilion. To the left, in the background, is the Painted Boat in Misty Rain pavilion, representing the friendship that sailed from Suzhou and docked in Portland.
Above each of the three entrance portals to Suzzallo Library on the Universiity of Washington campus (see sketch below) are three cast stone figures representing Thought, Inspiration, and Mastery. Above is a composite view of these three figures. Here is another, more careful attempt of Thought.
The proportions of the human figure is sometimes so difficult to get right, even when they are frozen in stone or marble. At the same time, I believe it is so important, as is the capturing of the “gesture.”
During the summer of 1973, between my first and second years teaching at Ohio University, I worked in Silver Springs, Maryland. Taking the opportunity to tour the D.C. metropolitan area, I visited Reston, Virginia, where I sketched this view of Lake Anne Plaza. I was using a No. 2 pencil at the time, being influenced by Ted Kautzky’s book, Pencil Broadsides.
Lake Anne Plaza was the first of several village centers that formed part of Reston’s town plan designed by James Rossant and William J. Conklin. This particular hub clustered a mix of shops, townhouses, and apartments around the end of an artificial lake. Inspired by the Garden City movement, the plan for Reston accommodated moderately dense development while preserving open space, natural landscapes, and wildlife habitats.
Lake Anne Village Center received quite a bit of national publicity and critical acclaim when it opened in 1964. It was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2017 and remains the historic “heart and soul” of Reston, Virginia.
Rummaging around some old stuff stored in the basement, I came across more drawings that I did while traveling around Europe after spending the summer as an intern with Wilson & Womersley, an architectural and town planning firm in London. Above is a drawing of Piazza San Marco in Venice, done with a stub nibbed pen in 1965. Below is a similar view done with a fine-tipped nib in 1995. Prior to this, I had believed the only drawing that survived was one done of the Spanish Steps in Rome.
I will be posting a few more over the next couple of weeks.
The Asian Art Museum closed in 2017 to allow for a major renovation and expansion designed by LMN Architects to occur. This drawing shows the new wing added to the rear of the original structure that will house a new gallery, education studio, conservation center, and community meeting room. With more exhibition space, the museum will now organize artwork by themes that link cultures, histories, and belief systems to convey the diversity and complexity of Asia, the world’s largest continent.
The rebirthed Asian Art Museum will open to the public on the weekend of February 8 and 9, 2020.
This sparse drawing attempts to convey this elegant Art Moderne building designed by Carl F. Gould, a University of Washington professor of architecture and partner in the firm of Bebb and Gould. Located in Volunteer Park in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, it served as the Seattle Art Museum from 1933 until 1991, when a new SAM designed by Robert Venturi of Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates was completed in downtown Seattle. The building was subsequently renovated and reopened in 1994 as the Asian Art Museum. The building is a designated Seattle landmark and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
*The Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that they are located on the ancestral land of the Coast Salish people.
Visiting Swansons Nursery’s annual Reindeer Festival last week, I drew a few vignettes of the featured stars, Dasher and Blitzen. These incomplete views had to be done quickly because of the reindeers’ constant moving about. This exercise reminded me of how drawing from observation sharpens our visual acuity and helps us notice often subtle traits or characteristics. For example, I had always assumed that deer antlers grew symmetrically, but these reindeer had antlers that were not symmetrical at all. In doing some research, I came upon what biologists call fluctuating asymmetry in deer antlers, which can be caused by a variety of genetic and environmental stresses. In addition, these reindeer had a multipronged tine extending over their foreheads on one antler but not the other. This extra blade was supposedly used as a snowscraper!