It seemed like a perfect time to get in some impromptu drawing at the Oregon State University (OSU) campus with the weather warming and the sun staying out later. After wandering around the campus, I settled on this view of the Memorial Union’s east wing as the rhododendrons were particularly full here. The Memorial Union was also quite busy with various student events, which gave it a festive atmosphere.
Drawing the Memorial Union East Wing
This drawing was fun due to the contrast between the sharp geometry of the building and the organic shapes of the bushes and trees. The Memorial Union has a classical design that emphasizes geometry over decoration. Even the wave motif on the building’s facade is very precise.
The view was also interesting thanks to the variety of color in it. The red brick was a nice contrast against the greenery and was repeated in the red of the rhododendron flowers. It was also interesting to see how the copper roofing reflected the sky, so it appeared bluish when facing towards the sky.
A particular challenge was the railing on the edge of the patio. Unlike the rest of the building it had a lot of curves. It also presented an unusual perspective since I could just see the top of it.
People Watching and Exploring at the Memorial Union
The Memorial Union is an excellent place for people watching since it is the center of student life on campus. When I was drawing this scene there were plenty of people eating, studying and socializing. The Asian Pacific Cultural Center was hosting a night market and expectant graduates were in their gowns to take photos with the flowers.
While the Memorial Union is always impressive it is particularly beautiful in April and May as it is surrounded by rhododendrons. The effect was enhanced by being there during dusk. This gave the entire scene an ethereal air that suggested the possibilities of summer fast approaching.
The music coming from the Asian Pacific Cultural Center’s night market increased this sense of possibility. It invited people to visit and join in the fun. I did take a chance to walk through the market before drawing to see the various stands giving out stuffed toys, sharing information on various Asian and Pacific countries and cultures and offering games.