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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
The 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.
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!