Good Bones

I am reposting something from six years ago: To begin a drawing done on location, we must first select an advantageous viewpoint that conveys a sense of place and frame the composition to fit on the page. Then, a crucial step is establishing the “bones” of the drawing—its basic structure—with the first lines we draw. For some views only a few lines may be necessary while for others, more might be required. 

It is essential to understand that once this structure is established, changes can still be made to calibrate scale, improve proportional relationships, and adjust the positioning of elements. Drawing these first few lines is simply a way to block out the essential relationships on a page quickly, before expending too much time on a drawing only to find out that a portion might be misplaced or is out of proportion to the rest of the composition.

Here is an example—a very quick outline of a view of the Campo in Siena. With more time and better weather, I might have finished it but I think it is possible to see and visualize the space even in this incomplete state.

South Park

This is the intersection of South Cloverdale Street and 14th Avenue South, at the heart of South Park, a working class neighborhood on the western shore of the Duwamish River. Even though South Park is surrounded by an industrial landscape, it has a pleasant small town feel. There is nothing spectacular here and that’s not a bad thing.

Boeing Red Barn

In 1910, William E. Boeing bought a failing wooden boat shipyard situated on the Duwamish River for $10. The purchase included this building, the Red Barn, which first housed the operations of Pacific Aero Products and later the Boeing Aircraft Company. The Red Barn subsequently served as Boeing’s world headquarters from 1917 to 1929.

In 1975, the Red Barn was barged up river two miles and trucked to its present location, around which the current Museum of Flight was constructed.

View from Pier 70

Here is a view of another Seattle skyline, this time from Pier 70 looking back at and across the Olympic Sculpture Park, with the Space Needle in the background, Alexander Calder’s The Eagle (1971) and Mark di Suvero’s Schubert Sonata (1992) in the middle left, and Jaume Plensa’s Echo (2011) in the foreground to the right.

Below is a panoramic view from the Olympic Sculpture Park, looking out toward Puget Sound, drawn in 2014.

Georgetown Brewing

Roger Bialous and Manny Chao began brewing test batches of pale ales in 2002 and their Georgetown Brewing Company delivered the first kegs of their namesake Manny’s Pale Ale in 2003. Their brewery was first housed in the old Seattle Brewing and Malting building in, of course, the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle. In 2012, they moved to new headquarters, brewery, and warehouse on nearby Denver Avenue South (shown above). A taproom offering 24 taps opened recently but is currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. While Georgetown Brewing first produced draft-only beers, they now can a few select brews – Manny’s Pale Ale, Lucille IPA, Roger’s Pilsner, and my personal favorite, Bodhizafa IPA.

Seattle Skyline

It is relatively easy to maintain social distancing when standing on the little-traveled Colorado Street overpass, looking north toward the heart of downtown Seattle. I like this view because of the way Alaskan Way South and State Route 99 weave together in the foreground and the latter enters and exits the new SR 99 Tunnel at different elevations. In the distance on the left, you can see the Space Needle, and on the right, CenturyLink field. In the middle right, the Smith Tower, the tallest building west of the Mississippi when it was built in 1914, is now silhouetted and dwarfed by the Columbia Center tower.

Notre Dame

During this stay-at-home time, I am continuing to post drawings from when I was a student a long time ago. Above are views of two Notre Dame cathedrals. I posted the first, Notre Dame on the Île de la Cité in Paris, a couple of months ago. The second is of the cathedral on the University of Notre Dame campus in South Bend, Indiana, drawn a few months before graduation in the spring of 1966.

55 Years Ago

Here is another set of drawings of the iconic view looking down Via de’ Pecori toward the Duomo in Florence, Italy. While construction of the cathedral began in 1296, it was not completed until 1436 with the dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. The first sketch above was done with a stub nib in 1965 and the second was drawn with a fine-tipped nib in 1995.

Duluth, Minnesota

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.