Viking Picture Stone

From the collection of the Nordic Museum in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle is this Viking picture stone. The stone’s description reads: “Erected as memorials or commemorative markers, picture stones convey their messages through pictures rather than inscriptions. More than 400 picture stones are known today; most of them are from the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea.”

I began the drawing by roughing in the stone’s outline and describing the hewn quality along its edges. Then I worked on the features typical of picture stones—a woman offering a drink to a Viking riding a horse, a ship with checkered sails, and symbols of interlocking triangles called valknuts—followed by the surrounding plaited pattern.

Pacific Fishermen, Inc.

This is the entrance to the Pacific Fishermen Shipyard, notable for the profusion of signs and memorabilia from local establishments that have disappeared or been displaced by development. Located on Salmon Bay, on the freshwater side of the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, the shipyard was established in 1946 by 400 Norwegian American fishermen and their wives, who each contributed to a fund to purchase the Old Ballard Marine Railway and ensure that they would have a place to repair their own fishing vessels. The site soon became a full-service shipyard equipped with haul-out facilities, marine railways, and a workforce of machinists, shipwrights, boilermakers, and electricians to service and maintain tugboats, cruise ships, large yachts, as well as traditional fishing vessels.

West Queen Anne School

Queen Anne School opened in 1896 in a three-story, six-room, Richardsonian Romanesque-style building designed by Warren Skillings and James Corner. Over the years, several additions were made to incorporate more classrooms, an auditorium, and new offices. In 1908, it was renamed the West Queen Anne School to avoid confusion with Queen Anne High School then being constructed. This name can still be seen over the north, Galer Street entrance.

In 1975, it became the first Seattle school to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places and two years later, it became a City of Seattle Landmark. After the school closed in 1981, Historic Seattle obtained a long-term lease, which was subsequently transferred to West Queen Anne Association, who hired the architectural firm of Cardwell/Thomas and Associates to renovate and convert the school into 49 condominium units.

Jade Water Pavilion

Visiting Vancouver BC for a few days gave me the opportunity to visit the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Designed by Wang Zu-Xin with the help of the Landscape Architecture Company of Suzhou China, and constructed in 1985, it is said to be the first Scholar’s Garden built outside of China.

This is a sketch of the Jade Water Pavilion. The term jade water refers to the deliberate cloudiness of the pond water, which is supposed to intensify its reflections.

Calicut and Nilambur

Following Mysore, my travels took me to the Design Ashram Community Organization in Calicut, where I taught a drawing workshop sponsored by World Architecture Travel. It was indeed a pleasure to walk the streets of Calicut and to sketch with a group of area architects and student interns.

To end my trip to India, I gave a presentation at the Zonal NASA Convention that the College of Architecture of Eranad Knowledge City hosted and spent two days drawing with students at Nilambur Kovilakam, the royal palace of the rajas who ruled the local area once known as Eranad 200 years ago.

Thanks to all who made my trip to India a memorable one.

Mysore

From Bengaluru, we drove to Mysore, where I met with faculty and students at the Wadiyar Centre for Architecture and toured Mysore Palace. The above is a 25-minute sketch of Mysore Palace I managed to do before leaving on the 5-hour drive to Calicut. 

The residence of the Wadiyar Dynasty, the first palace dates from the 14th century and was built within the confines of the puragiri or citadel of Mysore. Over the centuries, the palace was rebuilt several times. The existing Indo-Saracenic structure, designed by the British architect Lord Henry Irwin, was constructed between 1897 and 1912, after the previous structure was extensively damaged during a fire in 1896.

Below is the entrance to the Royal Orchid Metropole where I had spent the night. This was originally built to serve as a residence for British guests of the Maharaja of Mysore.

Bengaluru

Many thanks to Anand Krishnamurthy and his colleagues of MASA (Alumni Association of the Malnad Architecture School) for giving me the opportunity to visit Bengaluru and address an audience of architects and students. Also had the opportunity to tour the city, visiting temples and markets. Above is a view of the city from my hotel balcony and below is a sketch of the flower market, where the activity became more important than the architecture.

Waiting for the Interurban

This cast-aluminum sculpture by Richard Beyer is another Fremont landmark at the corner of North 34th Street and Fremont Avenue North, at the east end of the Fremont Bridge. Erected in 1978, it depicts five people waiting for the Seattle-Everett light rail line. Not shown in this view but included among the figures is a sixth (shown below), that of a dog with a face that resembles Armen “Napoleon” Stepanian, the unofficial Mayor of Fremont in her early days and with whom Beyer is supposed to have had several disagreements. The figures are often dressed by local residents in costumes appropriate to the season or to celebrate birthdays, weddings, even political events.

Bleitz Funeral Home

In 1904, Jacob J. Bleitz established Bleitz Funeral Home. In 1921, Bleitz had this structure built southeast of the Fremont Bridge, across the Ship Canal from the Fremont neighborhood.

The city of Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board designated the Bleitz Funeral Home a city of Seattle landmark early last year. In the landmark nomination application, architect Susan D. Boyle wrote of the building’s eclectic style: “The original two-and-a-half story funeral home is a combination of a vernacular building with an eclectic revival style front facade. It appears to have been the work of a designer, although the identities of the original designer or architect and builder remain unknown, and no original design drawings have been discovered.”

While the concrete exterior still stands, most of the interior has been gutted in preparation for its conversion into office spaces for small to mid-size companies.

Here is a brief video clip of my drawing process.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral

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.