Our Thursday afternoon sketching Fast & Loose workshop went on location yesterday to the ceramics show at Falkirk Cultural Center in San Rafael. The theme of the exhibition by the Terra Linda Ceramics collective was “unleashed.” And we took it one step further, by freely reinterpreting and combining some of the pieces on display. Sketches here are by Lois Donaghey and Anne-Marie Dana as well as myself.
On Saturday, the San Francisco Sketchers Meetup group met for a walking tour of the area occupied 100 years ago by the PPIE. The educational stroll, led by a park ranger, terminated at the Palace of Fine Art. This was the site of the French exhibition of art that was loaned to the expo as a way of protecting it from looting during the “great” war.I used my new Noodler fountain pen for the first time. It has a flexible nib, so line weight is variable, based on pressure. I am hoping this pen will be less “temperamental” than the Sailor Bent nib!
After some warm-up sketching at Rileystreet Art store, seven of us went on location to the Safeway store on B street in San Rafael. There are special challenges when sketching people live: working quickly of course, choosing a moment when there is action (such as, reaching or bending down), and expressing that action with only a few pen lines or pencil strokes. I prefer a wide colored pencil stroke to achieve the gesture. Shopping carts or hand baskets, along with some rough indications of shelves or display cases will help establish the setting. Student work is shown here, as well as my own.
Lisbon was the last stop on our concert tour. Sketch above shows a section of the huge Jeronimo’s monastery in the Belem neighborhood. The OLA frozen treat stand was actually on the opposite corner, but it made a great contrast to the monumental architecture.
Pauline and I stayed an extra four days in a 3rd story flat that she found through airbnb. Here’s a view from our bedroom window in the Bairro Alto neighborhood.
After riding on the famous tram #28, we stumbled upon a flea market, at the foot of the Panteao Nacional.
The Rua Augusta Arch is the center of a lively commercial district, where we had an elegant lunch. On the opposite side of the arch is the waterfront, the site of Eurocup activity, including jumbotron video of matches. During our visit, Portugal beat Croatia, and there was quite a bit of yelling, cars honking and whatnot. Several days after we returned home, Portugal actually won the Eurocup! YAY!
Our first stop in Portugal was the town of Sintra. I stood in the middle of a busy intersection, surrounded by tourists, many of whom took an interest in my work. Several Japanese folks followed me as I moved from this location to our bus, adding color and detail as I went.
After three weeks of sketching in the Iberian Peninsula, I’m eager to catch up. Let’s begin with Barcelona, the only city on this trip that I had visited before—22 years ago. The moderniste architecture was even more amazing than I remembered. Variable thickness lines in the sketch above were done with a Sailor bent nib fountain pen. When the pen dried up, I searched for waterproof ink all over Barcelona, with my new friend…Maria Picasso, a fellow member of ISCA, the International Society of Caricature Artists.
This Barcelona skyline was improvised from the terrace at our hotel. The elements were all there, but I moved them around and changed their size. Notice the Sagrada Familia cathedral in the background…it’s still not finished! The playful forms at Parc Guell are some of Antonin Gaudi’s most delightful creations.
I spent three days on the Monterey peninsula, and I forgot to bring my sketching supplies along. That turned out to be a good thing, because I discovered a great resource—Imagine art supplies in Pacific Grove.
Here are stages in my sketch of
El Torito, a Mexican Restaurant in Cannery row.
My first strokes, in red aquarelle pencil, didn’t please me, so I used green to fix it. I used this very quick pencil layout to guide my ink drawing, using a Micron 08 for the thin lines and a Faber-Castell B (Brush) pen for the bold black accents. More color was applied.
The final sketch has water-brush effects and a few details
created with a uniball Signo opaque white pen.
The sketching workshop in San Rafael yesterday focussed on people. After a refresher on basic proportions of the human head and body, we warmed up by drawing from photos, then went to the Aroma Cafe for practice “in the wild.”
The blue and green couple, above, was created by a new student with no prior experience. I did add some finishing touches, using an indigo colored pencil.
That big guy with the beard and curly pony tail was an attractive subject for several of us. Here’s my version, in purple and gold.
Sketching people without their knowledge is a skill worth developing. Find an advantageous point of view at just the right distance. Work very fast to lay out the basic “line of action” of the pose (Thanks to Suhita Shrodkar for that term). People sitting by themselves are likely to move around less than folks who are sitting together. Hand gestures while talking are a challenge. You can choose one position and draw it from memory, or make the moving hand deliberately out of focus.
This fellow was waving his right hand around quite a bit as he talked. A collaboration between me and a student ended up with a closed hand held up to his face.
Another collaboration, below, shows a man with white hair seated against a black background. Using that dark area for contrast made the white hair stand out nicely.
The Napa Valley workshop today was the first session of three. After some warm-up sketches in the Art store, we went on location to the produce department of Whole Foods.
Here is my sketch of some onions and artichokes, in two stages. I began with a very quick colored pencil layout, followed by an ink sketch, using the Micron .08 waterproof black pen. Additional color was thrown in: purple, olive green, bright green and dark blue for the background tone. Water effects were added, along with some bold strokes from the black Brush pen.