Positive and Negative

Still waiting for the opportunity to draw the upper level of the Alaskan Way Viaduct being broken through. In the meantime, here is a drawing done in 1990 of a shrine in Jiyugaoka, a small town west of Tokyo. The composition consists of an interplay of positive and negative shapes and spaces, which interlock to form a unified image. In one instance, we can discern the edge of a tree trunk on the left and the outline of a torii on the right. At the next moment, we can focus on the details of the shrine itself as seen between the white spaces in the foreground.

DeConstructing the Viaduct

As the spring equinox approaches and the weather gets warmer, time to wander outside and do some urban sketches. The recent completion of the Highway 99 tunnel underneath downtown Seattle has initiated the work of deconstructing the Alaskan Way Viaduct. I wanted to get a view of the elevated structure being munched on by the jaws of concrete eating machines but I was disappointed that the biggest machine had only punched through a little of the upper deck at Columbia Street. Hope to return in a couple of days to see more action. In the meantime, the above view is of the south end where a section has been cut through.

Composing Possibilities

The Chinatown gateway in the last post is a good subject to use in illustrating how placing the focus or principal subject of a drawing on a page affects drawing composition. I tend to see that certain subjects, such as the gateway, have a directional aspect to them. They face a certain way and project visual energy in that direction. So in placing such subjects, I use white space to absorb that energy.

Here are two other possibilities for placing the gateway on a page.

Of course, if the gateway is not the only drawing on a page, then other elements can be used to rebalance the drawing composition.

Hing Hay Park

On a bright, sunny but cold day, the International District celebrated the Chinese New Year at Hing Hay Park. The festivities had been delayed because of a snowstorm that hit Seattle a few weeks ago. This drawing was done before the day’s events started and before crowds of people would block this view. I chose to merely suggest the immediate surroundings of the park and instead highlight the gateway or “paifang”further down King Street.

Here is another drawing of the gateway done about 8 years ago.