My “Business” Sketchbook: The Rotunda

W14 10 21 WA CAPITOL ROTUNDA 52014 10 21 WA CAPITOL ROTUNDA 1This week at the Washington State Legislative
Building I had a good deal of free time, as it was Mitchell doing the lion’s share of the work on the Senator’s offices.  In the middle of a dark downpour, (the building was dark inside) I sketched all over the building.

I started in the Rotunda, with the beautiful dome overhead and the Tiffany chandelier, because it thoroughly intimidated me.  I figured if I was able to do even a halfway decent drawing, I could do anything!  The steps were cold, and people came to look over my shoulder and talk to me, more than normal.

I began by understanding the geometry of what I was drawing, which I think is even more important in symmetrical buildings.  If a building is wonky to begin with, then your mistakes may not be noticeable.  But with formal symmetry, if things are off they jump out at you.  I did a pencil sketch roughly like the drawing below (the underlines were eventually erased), understanding that the dome was going to be a series of stacking circles along the center line of the drop of the chandelier, except many would be cut off from view.  There were several other circles stacking on the center line which correlated to the circular balcony at the top of the dome (I MUST find a way to get up there sometime).  As we reached the area where the cruciform plan of the rotunda reached out under arches in four directions, I would let the drawing go, so as not to make it too complicated.

Even with all the planning, I lost about three feet in the dome structure.  Next time!

After the geometric guidelines, I began inking in stages, building definition and detail.

2014 10 21 WA CAPITOL ROTUNDA 1 copy

The chandelier was made by Tiffany Studios in NYC, of bronze and bulbs, highly detailed and elegant, stately but certainly not glitzy like the crystal chandeliers nearby.  It cost one dollar per pound (what an odd way to charge) and so was $10,000.  The body of the chandelier is twenty-five feet tall, eight feet wide, and hangs on a hundred foot chain.  204 bulbs circle top, middle and bottom, with an added matching lamp in the dome.

W14 10 21 WA CAPITOL ROTUNDA 19Watercolors were added in the studio.
Drawn in an Stillman & Birn Delta journal with a Noodlers giveaway pen,
Lexington Grey ink, and Daniel Smith (quin gold, Indian yellow, tigereye, indigo), Sennelier (quin red, raw umber, phthalo blue 807, Chinese white),
and QoR (bohemian green) watercolors.



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About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
This entry was posted in architecture, art, drawing, history, journal, painting, pen & ink, process, sketchbook, urban sketchers, watercolor and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to My “Business” Sketchbook: The Rotunda

  1. Reblogged this on Mpfconservation's Blog and commented:

    The Washington State Legislative Rotunda!


  2. Your sketches are absolutely fantastic! Enjoyed them greatly.


  3. Annette G says:

    wonderful sketches. Happy PPF, Annette x


  4. lynnbluesky says:

    Truly love seeing your work. I also like how you include close ups of all the details of your sketches and notations!


    • Thank you Jo, Annette, Jana!
      Lynn, I am glad you enjoyed it. Architects draw in their own language — it communicates things to my understanding as I draw. I wondered if it would be interesting to non-architects. Glad it is!


  5. Jo says:

    Wow!……… is all I can say. 🙂


  6. Sammy D. says:

    Even before I started reading, I thought “Wow! Katie captured the height and feel of the rotunda shape very well!”


  7. I just love your work sketches… i admire the skill and detail you bring to them without sacrificing style and flair… it is a special talent…xx


    • Thanks Tracey — on this one, I considered writing a Tracey Fletcher King blog post, where my husband said the image looked like a face with hair so I went back to the drawing board. . . . what I did improved it, but occasionally I hear your post about my work — weird, yes?


  8. deb says:

    All the details in your sketches are wonderful! Hugs! deb


  9. What a gift you have been given. Your work is stunning. If only….I could add to my journaling efforts beautiful sketches. Instead I can enjoy YOUR work and others who have this art form. Thanks for sharing this with your admirers.


  10. susanissima says:

    Loving the layout.


  11. Pingback: Back to Architecture: Chiesa di Ognissanti, Italy | D.Katie Powell Art

  12. Pingback: My “Business” Sketchbook: Symmetry + South Entrance | D.Katie Powell Art

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