Whole Foods Market – Berkeley

Whole Foods Market – Berkeley

Today was the second (and last) session for my sketching Fast & Loose offering as part of the Urban Sketchers 10 x 10 series. Here’s a photo with all 8 students displaying the terry-cloth wrist-bands I provide for dabbing their water-brush.

The only supplies used were aquarelle (water-soluble) colored pencils and a water brush to release pigment and create color blends. Students were encouraged to be bold and fearless, using the minimum number of strokes. I shared tips for achieving good compositions: zoom in on just a few items, create variety wherever possible: tonal range, amount of detail,  sizes and shapes.

Wonderful energy in our sketches of fruit and vegetables, then after a break, fish and baked goods. Here are some samples by members of the class….bon appetite, or buen provecho!

Guitars! Guitars!

The Players Guitars store at 840 B street in San Rafael is on the ground floor of a colorful Victorian building, and a favorite subject for sketching when the weather is fine. Seven students and I did a series of sketches of the building, from different points of view.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also had permission to sketch inside the store, which is so small only two of us could work at a time. The array of instruments was breathtaking…so many shapes, designs and colors! Here is some excellent work by students.

Sketching Folk Art

Sketching Folk Art

This week our San Rafael workshop went on location to one of our favorite places—the Folk Art Gallery on 4th Street. Along with other artifacts, we had the opportunity to create quick studies of some delightful carvings of animals, with intricately hand-painted surface designs. Here are some samples of student work, as well as my own.

Oakland Museum

Oakland Museum

Sunday! Free day at the Oakland Museum and a chance for about 35 sketchers to descend on the special exhibit, “the Rise of Sneaker Culture.” For a change of pace, I went downstairs to the natural history section, where I improvised a composite of California wildlife. Using my new Stillman & Birn softcover sketchbook. I found out that I’d better stick with the hard-cover series, because I work standing up with no support for my drawing surface.

Sketching In The New Year

Sketching in the New Year

I spent New Year’s Eve drawing caricatures for party-goers at Harrah’s Reno hotel and casino. I couldn’t help but sketch this little woman sitting for hours at a Poker game machine on New Year’s Day, still wearing her party hat from the night before.

Wanting to avoid being caught driving through the mountains in a blizzard, I traveled by Amtrak. That required two buses and a train going, but only one bus and a train coming back. So, I did a bit of sketching in station waiting  rooms.

amtrakwaiting

I walked to the Nevada Art Museum, which had several cool exhibits, and stopped for a few minutes on the way back to sketch this colorful parking structure near Harrah’s.

renoparking

San Miguel De Allende Sketches

San Miguel de Allende sketches

black-catrinaJust returned from my week-long sketching workshop in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. So many fascinating people, places and things to draw! This was the week of Dia de los Muertos, so we got to see a wide array of displays associated with this holiday. Decorated skulls, Catrina figures (those glamorous skeletons, with the wide-brimmed hats) and more.sma-parroquiabistro-mi-casa

dia-de-los-muertos-1

Cafe Society

Cafe Society

The San Rafael workshop took shelter from wet weather by sketching people at the Aroma Cafe. Just two doors down from our Rileystreet Art Store HQ, this location is excellent for finding people sitting in one spot for extended periods….working on their computers, mostly. Drawing people waiting in line to place their order provides more of a challenge….the line moves pretty quickly.

Student work is shown here, using a combination of aquarelle pencils and ink pens. nathalie-cafemichael-cafepatti-cafepatty-cafestephanie-cafe

Fall Foliage

Fall Foliage

Last Thursday’s San Rafael sketching workshop featured fall foliage (not easy to find in California!). My effort shows two trees in the area, while students Patty and Anne Marie zoomed in on a pile of dead leaves, with amazing results.patty-n-annemariepatty-leavesannemarie-leaves

Beach Beasts…and More

Beach Beasts…and more

I visited the Exploratorium in San Francisco just in time to observe the amazing Strandbeesten, or “Beach Creatures” before the exhibition is returned to Holland. These kinetic marvels are the invention of the Dutch visionary Theo Jansen. Made mostly of ivory-colored PVC pipes, they are complex arrangements of tubes, connectors, some fabric wind-catchers, and a variety of feet. Sketching them is a challenge requiring the willingness to let go of accuracy.SF ferry bldg-1

On my way back to catch the Ferry, I stopped long enough to sketch the Ferry Building and some of the crowd strolling the Embarcadero on this sunny Sunday. Stages of the sketch show a quick layout in water-soluble colored pencil, followed by an ink layer. Finally, a couple of additional colors, some water effects, and….voila!SF ferry bldg-2SF Ferry bldg-done

Outdoor Antique Market

Outdoor Antique Market

Five of us gathered at the Marin County Civic Center parking area for this event, held the second Sunday of the month from April to October. After a brief demo, the first assignment was to fill a page with several objects. Finding items that are interesting but not too complicated is important.

Antique mkt objectsThe next step was to sketch a few objects and suggest the environment with additional background elements. There wasn’t much time to attempt the final challenge…sketching people in the scene. This location is worthy of another visit next month.

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