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.

Challenge: draw 100 people in a week

The SF Sketchers “virtual Meetup” challenge, to draw 100 people in a week ended yesterday. I had “only” 72 as of last night, and here are some of my favorites. One of the best parts of this challenge was meeting people. Just start sketching in a public place and folks are likely to stop and look over your shoulder. If you’re friendly, this often leads to a conversation about drawing, and perhaps how much the other person wishes they could raw, or find time to draw, etc. Then I just whip out my card, showing sketches from Spain and Portugal and tell them about my workshops.

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

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

A wedding painting for Ryan & Trisha

Here’s my most recent wedding painting. It’s 18 x 24″ and features Ryan and Trish, accompanied by friends and family. Trish’s two sisters are wearing purple, while her best friend is raising her glass to toast the happy couple. I even included the fellow who caught the garter!

The ceremony took place in a gazebo decorated with wreaths. Signage for “Bella” and “Notte” is a reference to R & T’s favorite Disney movie—Lady and the Tramp. The couple was thrilled with the finished painting, which I presented to them just before they left on a honeymoon trip to…..Disneyland!

Fruit and Vegetables

The first session of the November series of sketching workshops in Napa began, as usual, with a visit to the produce section of Whole Foods. Shoppers are beginning to recognize me or ask about what we are doing. One fellow suggested we sketch at the Bale Grist Mill near St. Helena….it has a fully restored and functioning water powered mill. Sounds like an excellent day trip.

 

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

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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

Student work

Here is some excellent recent work by students in my San Rafael and Napa, CA sketching Fast & Loose workshops. The native American masks are by Anne. She used a rainbow pencil for most of it, as we’ll as some waterproof ink (Micron 08 pen) and some aquarelle colored pencils. The rainbow pencil has become a favorite of mine, as well as several of my students.

The produce sketch below is by Marcy, and the pillows by Stephanie. Stephanie used  rainbow pencil strokes for the pillow on the right.stephanie-pillows

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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