Capital Building Grandeur

Like all creatures that seek warmth in the coldest part of winter, urban sketchers seek out interiors of buildings with something inspiring to draw. We are fortunate here in Olympia, even though otherwise a small city, to have the state capital which is open to the public, and actually quite grand and stately.

But (speaking as a sketcher) something happens to the doors of perception when you are suddenly faced with the interior of a cavernous rotunda. The thought – where do I look first? and – what is my perspective/point of view? and lastly, what does my small and insignificant sketchbook page, all blank and flat, want from all these angles and lights and a thousand points of light? It took a while to calm myself down enough to begin to draw a piece of it.

For want of a better idea, I decided that somewhere in the middle was a good place to start, and found a spot on the 4th floor balcony, with as much of the rotunda soaring above me as spread out dizzyingly below. I pealed off the winter coat and hat and gloves I’d worn for the temperature outside, which was in the 30’s,  and settled down to draw. 

fountain pen, marker, watercolor, white gel pen in w/c sketchbook

. . .a series of curved lines meeting up with straight lines and then taking off in another direction and back again until I was quite dizzy, but happy with the effort . In the end I caught some of the “bling” of the Capital moment.

With the little bit of time left before sharing sketches with my friends, I found a quiet inner corridor with a visual story I could tell. The Senate gallery with a bright red protective STOP! sign at the door. Although the sign was related to Covid regulations, it conjured up visions of the January 6 insurrection and aftermath of National Guardsmen sleeping in the hallways in the capital buildings to prevent another breach of security.

That quiet weekday between sessions there was little activity to cause concern for safety, just couriers delivering mail and supplies to whatever government business was going on behind closed doors. I made note to come back again and tackle another bit of grandness, and definitely in the spring to catch the explosion of blossoms on the grounds. Is it too soon to be fantasizing about spring before we’ve even reached the solstice?

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