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.
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.
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.
This sketch was created as part of my demonstration of techniques for improvising a scene by combining elements that are not necessarily visible at the same moment.
The blue wash is the result of my dissolving a couple of tiny figures at the bottom of the page. Then I began again, with two people who were seated in different areas of the market. The whimsical sheep and goat are papier mache creatures hanging from the high ceiling. Signage, a striped awning motif and light fixtures were added, to represent several similar items scattered throughout the market scene.
Drawing people from behind is often advisable, in order to be sneaky, and to avoid having to depict the face.
The San Rafael sketching group has found another great venue for sketching on location — The Folk Art Gallery on 4th street. Owner Sharon Christovich graciously welcomed us into this amazing shop, where we enjoyed sketching carvings, masks, textiles, figurines and a variety of ornamental objects from around the world.
There is interesting architecture on B Street in San Rafael, around the corner from Rileystreet Art Supplies, where my Thursday drop-in sketching workshop meets. Here are the stages in my sketch of part of a building.
The first “pass” is done with a dark red aquarelle pencil, to put the basics down as quickly as possible. Then I used a Micron .08 pen to add some line work. Next I added turquoise pencil strokes and used water to blend color. The final version includes some dark accents made with a Faber-Castell B (brush) pen.
All seven of us had a great sketching trip down the Pacific coast to Monterey and Cambria/Hearst Castle. Although the weather was cloudy and drizzly most of the time, we still managed to find (mostly) indoor subjects for sketching. From the ornate pool table legs at Asilomar’s social hall to the collection of tchotchkes at our airbnb Victorian house. After the breathtaking tour of the Upstairs Rooms at Hearst Castle, we found out way to the lavish indoor pool to sketch the marble sculpture and mosaic tile decor. One the way back to the bay area, the elephant seals provided yet another opportunity for sketching.
Join me and a small group of sketchers for a weekend road trip down the Pacific Coast: January 9-10, 2016. We’ll carpool from the Bay Area, stop in Monterey for lunch and sketching (possible locations include Point Lobos and Carmel).
Then we’ll head down to the charming town of Cambria for more sketching, dinner and check into our lodgings (to be arranged). The following day we’ll take the Hearst Castle tour and then sketch the amazing architecture and sculpture.
Workshop fee (instruction, demonstrations and personal coaching) is $120. A deposit will confirm your space in this sketching adventure. $60 deposit(Fully refundable if the trip is cancelled for any reason.) Please reserve your space by December 1st! This event is fully booked!