Part of a very large project planned for a prominent San Jose, California location, these two watercolor renderings I completed last week show two-and three-story single family homes. I find the proposed project exciting because it’s much like a city within itself. Comprised of a 5-story Hotel, 6-story Apartments, two-story attached townhouses, a 5-story assisted living facility, restaurants, retail shops, and these single family homes, a resident would not need to travel anywhere for their day-to-day life. As you can see in this first view, the neighborhood will be walkable and family oriented. Traffic calming features in the design of the streets provide safety with slower traffic, and street trees help create a softer atmosphere for the houses. As for the architecture of the homes themselves, there is a wide variety of traditional styles. A few of the 3-story homes have stoop entries with cascading steps that bring you up to the front door and living level. Designed by KTGY Architecture and Planning in Santa Clara, California, the homes vary in color schemes also, creating a rich, varied palette for the eye as experienced by the pedestrian at street level. It’s important to note that my client for the overall project is Ken Rodrigues of Kenneth Rodrigues + Partners in Mountain View, California. Ken and his firm provided the architectural design of all the other large-scale elements of the project that I mentioned earlier, and Ken and his design team were the main point of contact for me in creating the illustrations. In the second view, one can see a few of the other amenities including a kids play park, and an expansive recreational open space on the right, of which one just sees a glimpse in this view. Behind the homes on the right is the assisted living facility, with a tree-lined promenade between the homes and the facility.
This new painting is one I finished last week. I will use this image for my Happy New Year’s cards which I will send out soon to bring in the New Year 2021 ! The view is based on our road trip to Lake of the Springs in Oregon House, California back in mid-November. We found ourselves pulling into a very rural campsite just after dark one night, and awoke in the morning with the idea of finding our way to the “Dog Beach” we saw on the map of the area. With some difficulty, we found the beach–or at least the dogs found it by pulling us there just after dawn. Once within the fenced area, we could let the dogs run free, while we took in the beauty of the lake at first light–the mist still hovering on the water. It was quite stunning ! And the return trip up the hill was made more enjoyable by the dogs supplying most of the effort to get up the hill–If you’ve ever been pulled up a hill by a dog, you know one of the simple pleasures in life ! The painting was fun to do for several reasons. A bit unusual for me–there isn’t a speck of architecture in it. The goals were to capture the early morning mist on the water, and also to capture our dogs playing on the beach–both were challenging for me since I don’t have any experience with this type of rendering. So the effect of the mist doesn’t get completely lost, I made sure the “misty areas” on the water were the only true white areas in the image. And the dogs in motion and playing with each other took some effort. Gigi and Charlie play a lot in this way, but I wasn’t working from a photograph, just personal observation–so I needed to channel my memory of their playing. Anyway, it was a fun challenge to paint and a great memory to keep!
I just finished this watercolor painting of one of my favorite works of architecture from the 20th Century. Completed in 1954 on a hilltop in the French countryside near Belfort, this church was designed by the famous French architect Le Corbusier. As architectural students at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, many of us admired this building through photographs, and I had the great opportunity to go see the church in person when I was living in Europe in 1978-79. I remember the trek to the site being a bit arduous, as it was not necessarily easy to find. One has to take the train to Belfort, then walk to it from the station. I recall asking several locals along the way in order to confirm we were still on the right track. It seemed this landmark was very well-known to the architectural world, but not so much for the locals or the general public. What I always loved about the design of this church is its flowing forms of white curves and deep cut openings in thick walls filled with colored glass. Brutal in its beauty, with just the essential statements of significant elements–the altars, the steps and podium and the cross–all done with a simplicity at that time unique to Le Corbusier. It’s a very singular work by a unique artist that influenced many contemporary and future architects around the world. It’s funny I think back on my visit there in 1978–and I realize now that the building was only 24 years old at that time–though I thought of the 1950’s as ancient history. The building was built two years before I was born ! This year the church turns 66 years old–I feel privileged to have seen it when it was young–even if I didn’t realize it at the time !
The beginnings of the front rendering of this custom residence in Atherton, CA….This is my entourage study of landscaping, trees, etc….
Sometimes things are straightforward. I had a rendering request from an architect in California’s central valley to create a rendering for a proposed strip center in the community of Sanger, California. The architect is Frank Areyano of Fresno, which is very close to Sanger. He found me on the internet as he was searching for an architectural delineator to do the job. We talked by phone, I gave him my proposal to do the work, and he got an OK from the client. The starting point for the rendering was a Google Earth street shot of the existing site along the major avenue of Sanger. The building shown on the right is existing and is also a commercial (retail) building set a little closer to the street than Frank’s design. The design is contextual–meaning many of the design choices of materials and form were selected to blend with the surrounding buildings which already exist. Frank took his cues from the building on the right (and others nearby) to shape his design for the new structure–namely stucco and brick. Frank also requested that we do not include human figures or cars in the rendering, which is uncommon in my line of work, especially for a commercial building. This view is obviously the street side of the project where you are seeing the front doors of businesses. At the rear of the building is the parking lot and additional entrances to each business. Landscaping is shown based on the architect’s plan which he sent to me. So from an illustrator’s viewpoint, this is a straightforward assignment–show the massing and materials of the new building with color, texture, shades and shadows, and a glimpse of the existing context. With no typical distractions if you will, in the way of people, cars, etc., the rendering needs to be clear and unfettered in its display of the building’s pure forms and the materials chosen.
The subject today is a rendering project envisioned for Redwood City, California by the San Francisco architectural firm of Van Meter Williams Pollack LLP. Completed within a couple of weeks this past summer, we needed to show a potential housing structure in two different ways, as there were two design schemes under consideration by the architect and client. Based on a perspective view which the architect supplies, I first draw a freehand line drawing of Scheme 1. This gets color applied, creating one complete rendering representing the Scheme 1 version of what’s being considered for the site, set within the existing site context. For Scheme 2 which is a larger building, I begin by drawing the Scheme 2 building in black and white, then color that building–scanning it when it’s fully colored. Using Photoshop, I paste the Scheme2 building over the Scheme 1 building in the first rendering, saving this as a new version. As it turns out, the client had issues with the design of Scheme 2, and a third design was developed. So I drew a new version of Scheme 2 which I titled Scheme 2 Take 2. Once that building was independently colored similar to the previous, it was scanned and superimposed onto the site–over the previous buildings. Obviously you make the process more efficient by always drawing the smaller of the design scheme buildings first and making that your first rendering, upon which the subsequent renderings are based. In the end you have two complete renditions (or in this case three really) that can be shown to the audience for description, comparison, and review. Since the entourage and context surrounding the buildings is always the same, you are certain that the audience is comparing apples to apples, as we like to say. The last full image shown here is the finished rendering representing Scheme 2 Take 2 in full color.
A rendering I did last month for the community of Bakersfield, California….A facility for the homeless in the region….
Just completed yesterday, this is a new custom home design planned for Los Altos Hills, California….Freehand felt pen on vellum, 11 x 17….Color won’t happen for a few months most likely…..
Here is a project for which I have done quite a bit of drawing over the past few years. It’s a large facility and event center for Duggan’s Serra Mortuary located in Daly City, California. They are considering a major renovation and enlargement of their existing facility, and they have commissioned Van Meter Williams Pollack of San Francisco as their architect. VMWP is a long-time client of mine for my illustration business, and as the design has developed over the recent years, I have been asked to portray the most current design in perspective to the client and the surrounding neighborhood. As an illustrator, when the architectural design changes, but all things around it remain the same, it makes sense to keep the background and context of the rendering, and simply draw a new building, and use PhotoShop to paste it into the previous image. So when the architect gives me a new CAD perspective plot of the current building design, I start by adding an overlay of people, cars, and landscape in and around the building. Then a black and white tracing of the building and entourage. Once approved, I paste that black and white version of the building over and into the existing color rendering. I apply color to the black and white building–in this case in watercolor. Then I scan the color rendering of the building and “cut and paste” it into the old rendering. This takes some basic PhotoShop skills and some patience-but it saves us from having to recreate an entire rendering when it’s not entirely necessary, and it saves the client money over the redraw alternative. As an artist the fun part of this exercise is twofold: 1) Rendering the building through the entire color phase without the benefit of its adjoining context, and 2) Utilizing your digital skills in the blend of the two disparate images.
My first rendering of 2020–finished in January, this line drawing of a cute house undergoing renovations in Naglee Park-an older neighborhood in downtown San Jose, California….