18 April 2012

North High School, Wichita, KS

I have always loved the Art Deco design of the high school my parents went to. Much more attractive than the larger East High that Bill and I attended.

Built in 1929, it has lots of tile insets & panels and a terra cotta roof, plus sculptured busts of Native Americans and American bison. The same local architect, Glen H. Thomas, later designed a nearby bridge to match, which was featured in American Bungalow magazine.

Arriving too early for last week's watercolor class (which meets in a church nearby), I parked on a side street and did a quick sketch of the tower and part of the building -- now hidden by maturing trees. I added color later at home.

Before leaving for class, I also did a quick sketch of Jack's Hamburgers, a walk-up eatery right across the street from the high school which has been there continually since my parents' school days. I remember my mom taking me here as a child -- the first place I had sprinkles on my ice cream cone!


  1. love your use of color. :) especially the white on grey paper. the color pops!

  2. There actually isn't any white used here. The lightest areas are the true color of the paper itself, a creamy beige paper called Niddigan. The lightest color of the building was nearly the same color so I left them (and the trees) unpainted. I love the way watercolor pops on this paper!

  3. It just dawned on me that you might be talking about the second sketch, not the high school. Duh! -- sorry! The second sketch is indeed on grey paper; I used both Niddigan and Fabriano Tiziano papers in this journal.

  4. Hi Vicky. I love your site/blog. I don't know your age but I thought I would mention that the "sprinkles on your ice cream cone" were actually from the Zesto ice cream store right next to Jack's North High Carry-Out hamburger shop. It was all the same building but two different stores. I just wanted to mention this because my parents owned and operated the Zesto Ice Cream shop for several years in the late 80's and early 90's. A cherished time in MY life! Thanks!

    1. What a cool history! Of course, as a small child, I didn't separate the two businesses in my memory. It would have been lovely to work in a place where you could view the awesome design of North High!


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