In these uncertain times, flowers always seem to uplift spirits and brighten days. And so instead of gravitating toward my usual wide-angle views of buildings and urban spaces, I decided to do this study of a sunflower we had among others in a vase on our dining table. I first dabbed some watercolor on the d’arches cold pressed watercolor paper. After the watercolor had dried, I then drew over it with my trusty Lamy fountain pen. A fun exercise.
Amid the slew of new office and residential towers being built in the Cascade neighborhood of Seattle stands Immanuel Lutheran Church, at the southeast corner of Pontius Avenue North and Thomas Street. Designed by Aberdeen architect Watson W. Vernon, the church was built in 1907, designated a Seattle landmark in 1981, and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
About a block away is another proud structure withstanding the onslaught of new construction, St. Spiridon Orthodox Cathedral. This was drawn back in 2011 as a napkin sketch for an auction benefiting the Seattle Architecture Foundation.
Continuing the series of drawings that shows the development of my sketch of a Nikon FE2 manual SLR. In the view above, the nobs and dials atop the camera body have been extended vertically from their positions in the previous sketch, and the neckstrap has been added.
The 55mm f2.8 micro-Nikkor lens is projected outward from the camera body, using the previously drawn central axis as a guide for the circular forms.
Finally, shading is added to indicate the dark mottled surfaces of the camera body as well as the curved forms of the knobs, dials, and lens barrel. The final touches included adding the Nikon logos on the prism housing and lens cap, and the etched FE2 on the camera body itself.
Note: This drawing was done using the Procreate app on an iPad with the Apple pencil stylus. This enabled me to capture stages of the drawing as jpeg images.
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.
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.
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.
Gail Wong and I will be returning to Orange County, California, for another Line to Color workshop the weekend of June 14–16. We will be sketching and learning at the San Juan Capistrano mission and Laguna Beach.
Learning Goals: LINE 1. Selecting a subject and establishing a point of view; 2. Composing the page: Where to start & how to proceed; 3. Establishing spatial depth: Near & far.
Moving to COLOR: 4. Watercolor and brush techniques; 5. Values: Seeing and using tonal values to create depth and capture the quality of light; 6. Strategies for applying color and limiting your palette.
For information about the schedule of events, registration forms, pricing, and method of payment, please contact Gail at glwarc at gmail dot com.
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.