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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

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

dia-de-los-muertos-1

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

marcy-produce-1

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

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

Sketching shoes, hats & handbags

Our San Rafael sketching workshop was focussed on creating variety and contrast between two similar items. Variation can result from using different tools and techniques, such as pen vs. aquarelle pencils. Size differences are also effective, as seen in this dramatic sketch by Anne Marie. We went on location to Foot Traffic Shoes on 4th street. Here are more student sketches. A few of us experimented with a rainbow pencil…not water-soluble, but different colors appear as you twist it.Pat-gym sandals

Stephanie 3 sandalsPat-Rhodas new shoesAnne-rainbow shoe

Recombination, again

Seven of us went sketching on location today at the marvelous Folk Art Gallery on 4th street in San Rafael. Sharon, the owner of the gallery, was happy to see our group and gave us the run of the place! Once again, I challenged students to combine two items in an original way. Some very bold and exciting sketches emerged from this session. Two of us experimented with rainbow-colored pencils. All the sketches in this post are by students.

lion plus colorRuss devil-potJanet-ostrich-rabbitAnneMarie double2Stephanie-angel-anteaterfish-buffalo

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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