Sketching Grace Cathedral In San Francisco

Sketching Grace Cathedral in San Francisco

A large group of urban sketchers met in Nob Hill yesterday to sketch the enormous and breathtaking Grace Cathedral. Featured sketchers were the Aussie women, Liz Steele and Jane Blundell. Notice my “leaning spire” in one of the sketches below. After seeing some of the sketches by others, I decided it is a feature, not a bug!

Student sketches

On Thursday, August 3rd, I gave my San Rafael workshop students a challenge that I learned from the recent Urban Sketchers Symposium. After a warmup with photos from great Chicago architecture, we went to City Plaza down the street. The task— combine three points of view into one sketch. (Thanks to Veronica Lawlor for that exercise). Here are some of the results. Thanks to Anne, Kimberly and Stephanie

Sketching Falkirk Cultural Center

Sketching Falkirk Cultural Center

The Falkirk Mansion in San Rafael is just a few blocks away from our workshop HQ at Rileystreet Art Supplies. It is a favorite venue for us, due to the amazing architecture of the mansion and the breathtaking variety of plant life in the gardens. The scattering of sculpture and found-object artwork adds even more to the array of choices to draw. Here are some sketches by students.

Jean Gjevik’s sketch

Jean Gjevik’s delightful sketch of a section of the mansion has a fairy-tale quality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patty chose to feature the decorative glass on  the veranda, in the shade!

Patty’s sketch of the veranda

Stephanie’s sketch in the garden

Stephanie chose a whimsical sculpture, paired with an aloe plant. She makes them look as if they are dancing together

Kimberley’s composite sketch

Kimberley manages to combine three views very successfully: a large stone planter, a front view of the mansion and a section of the veranda.

Anne captured the colors and curves of the mansion.

Anne sketches the mansion

Fillmore Jazz Festival, San Francisco

Fillmore Jazz Festival, San Francisco

Fillmore Jazz bandI spent several hours enjoying the sights and sounds at the annual Fillmore Jazz Festival in San Francisco on Sunday. In this sketch I began with some of the onlookers, using a Micron 08 pen. That woman with the backpack on the left is Jean, one of the two students who came with me for the event. For contrast, the band is drawn with a bolder pen, the Faber Castell SB (small brush) pen.

The singer was wearing a bright red outfit, so I continued that theme for color. A yellow stripe on the street suggested the secondary color. I figure most sketches can be done successfully with a minimum number of colors. Unless, you’re using a rainbow pencil, as I did for the lively dancers, here.

More Toned Paper Sketching

More toned paper sketching

Continuing to work with tan paper, on a handy 5.5 x 8.5 inch spiral-bound sketchbook that fits snugly into one of the pockets on my “gardeners’ vest.”

I like to stick with black and white as much as possible. The Farmers’ Market sketch benefits from a dash of color.

Here are some sketches created during a choral concert. Some lines were done “blind”, that is, without looking down at the paper. That is a great method for practicing eye-hand coordination.

Antique Market Sketches

Antique Market sketches

Once a month, throughout most o the year, there is an outdoor Antique Market at the Civic Center complex in San Rafael. It’s a great place to find a wide variety of objects, artifacts, vintage bits and pieces to draw! Working with tan paper, using a thin pen (Micron 08) and a Brush Pen, along with a Prismacolor white pencil. I had a white gel pen with me, too, but it had dried out.

 

When working with toned paper, I like to stick with black-and-white as much as possible, but sometimes the right color can make quite a difference. A bit of yellow ochre pencil helps to sketch the brass objects.

Sketching On Toned Paper

sketching on toned paper

Here are some sketches on tan paper, from several years ago. Using black ink and a white Prismacolor pencil (or white gel pen) works well to create highlights and shiny bits. I apologize to my students for the symmetry of the sketch with a fountain! I keep telling them that “symmetry is for sissies!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I prefer to omit color and stick with black and white. The color of the paper provides the mid-tones. I added the Strathmore Toned Tan sketchbook 5.5 x 8.5 inches to my materials list for workshop students.

Mission San Rafael Arcangel

Mission San Rafael Arcangel

Another fine day for sketching outdoors. Just two blocks away from our workshop HQ at Rileystreet Art Supply is the magnificent Mission San Rafael Arcangel.  I encouraged students to divide their sketchbook page into two or three sections and to zoom in on interesting elements of the main church or adjunct structures.

 

 

Student work shown here is by Michael, Nathalie and Kimberly. We also see Victoria working on a sketch of the bronze bells with their wooden support.

 

 

 

 

 

Sketching The Central Coast Of California

Sketching the Central Coast of California

Five students joined me on a road trip down the coast to sketch Hearst Castle, with stops in between for sketching in Capitola and Old Monterey. Capitola features a brightly colored motel complex, as well as a beach scene. We had a delicious lunch at Zelda’s. We arrived at our airbnb house in Cambria, which featured sweeping views of forest and the ocean.  After breakfast, sketching on the main street of Cambria, with a variety of cafes, galleries and store fronts to draw.

 

 

 

 

 

Hearst Castle offered us a rich variety of subjects! Architectural elements from the Mediterranean, marble statues, and a breathtaking collections of artifacts from all over the world. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the way back home, our last stop was Monterey, for lunch at Rosines’ and sketching the outer walls and decorative elements around “Orientations”, an Asian antique store. We all tackled the challenge of the “wavy wall” and carved stone lamps. Along with my sketch, here’s an excellent one by Patty.