Just a month after the intensive sketching retreat here in San Miguel. Thirteen attendees from Canada and the USA gathered for a week of tutorials and on location sketching. I joined forces with Christina Merkeley, a Canadian process professional and Graphic Recorder/Facilitator. Here are just a few sketches and memorable moments.
The students who joined me for my third annual Day of the Dead sketching workshop in SanMiguel de Allende came from as far away as California, British Columbia and New Zealand!
Our visit to the Mask Museum in San Miguel provided a fascinating look at about 600 authentic masks used in indigenous festivals and rituals.
We had opportunities to sketch people preparing themselves for the costume parties and parades, as well as the collection of folk art at Galeria Atotonilco.
My sketch of the colorful scene in El Jardin on the night of November 1st features a fat mariachi horn player, and just a few of the many costumed revelers, with the illuminated Parroquia church as a backdrop.
On the following day we went to a large cemetery, where we could respectfully observe the tributes to dead relatives prepared by families. Flowers and snacks were arranged around graves and monuments. I improvised a sketch using elements plucked from the scene.
A glorious climax to the day was a performance of Mozart’s Requieum inside the Parroquia. I arrived almost 2 hours early to be sure of a seat. This is music I know intimately, as a choral singer. I was able to capture an impression of the audience during this sublime event.
Six of us had a lively sketching session at Fabrica la Aurora, a complex of galleries, studios and shops which used to be a textile factory. It was a Thursday, so the topic was THINGS: still life or objects such as potted plants, tall space heaters, ornate lamps. Here are the sketchbooks we “throw down”at the end of the class.
On Thursday, August 3rd, I gave my San Rafael workshop students a challenge that I learned from the recent Urban Sketchers Symposium. After a warmup with photos from great Chicago architecture, we went to City Plaza down the street. The task— combine three points of view into one sketch. (Thanks to Veronica Lawlor for that exercise). Here are some of the results. Thanks to Anne, Kimberly and Stephanie
Chicago, my home town, hosted the 8th annual Urban Sketching Symposium, with over 500 sketchers attending worldwide. What a great opportunity to return after 25 years, to see the familiar as well as new architecture and art.
The Falkirk Mansion in San Rafael is just a few blocks away from our workshop HQ at Rileystreet Art Supplies. It is a favorite venue for us, due to the amazing architecture of the mansion and the breathtaking variety of plant life in the gardens. The scattering of sculpture and found-object artwork adds even more to the array of choices to draw. Here are some sketches by students.
Jean Gjevik’s delightful sketch of a section of the mansion has a fairy-tale quality.
Patty chose to feature the decorative glass on the veranda, in the shade!
Stephanie chose a whimsical sculpture, paired with an aloe plant. She makes them look as if they are dancing together
Kimberley manages to combine three views very successfully: a large stone planter, a front view of the mansion and a section of the veranda.
Anne captured the colors and curves of the mansion.
I spent several hours enjoying the sights and sounds at the annual Fillmore Jazz Festival in San Francisco on Sunday. In this sketch I began with some of the onlookers, using a Micron 08 pen. That woman with the backpack on the left is Jean, one of the two students who came with me for the event. For contrast, the band is drawn with a bolder pen, the Faber Castell SB (small brush) pen.
The singer was wearing a bright red outfit, so I continued that theme for color. A yellow stripe on the street suggested the secondary color. I figure most sketches can be done successfully with a minimum number of colors. Unless, you’re using a rainbow pencil, as I did for the lively dancers, here.
I had the opportunity to practice working on toned paper at a birthday party for a fellow sketcher. Several other urban sketchers were guests, and we all enjoyed drawing each other in the dim light of the Tonga Room at the Fairmont Hotel. The tropical umbrella drinks may have helped!
The San Rafael Thursday sketchers had their first session working with toned paper. After a warmup at the Rileystreet Art store, we went on location to Knimbles, a resale shop that features clothing, shoes, jewelry and a wide variety of ornamental objects. The challenge in working with tan or gray paper is to allow the paper color to be the mid-tone, while using black for darker areas and white for highlights. Choosing an appropriate subject is also part of the process.
Another fine day for sketching outdoors. Just two blocks away from our workshop HQ at Rileystreet Art Supply is the magnificent Mission San Rafael Arcangel. I encouraged students to divide their sketchbook page into two or three sections and to zoom in on interesting elements of the main church or adjunct structures.
Student work shown here is by Michael, Nathalie and Kimberly. We also see Victoria working on a sketch of the bronze bells with their wooden support.