This week our quick sketch workshop in San Rafael was devoted to gesture drawing, capturing the essence of a person’s pose in a few strokes. We warmed up with some images of people I photographed in India, then went to the Aroma Cafe next door to work “live.” There were plenty of people around—drinking coffee, eating a late lunch, reading and working at computers. We even drew each other.
A week-long art course in Tuscany, Italy,
‘sketching fast and loose’™ with Rhoda Draws: 4-11 July 2015
A wonderfully relaxing painting holiday in the beautiful Tuscan countryside, spectacular scenery, wonderful food and wine. For centuries artists have drawn their inspiration from the Tuscan landscape and you could find few better places to enjoy your art and improve your skills than our beautiful historic watermill, set beside the banks of a river in a gentle, wooded valley.
You’ll also visit castles, convents, ancient walled towns, hilltop villages slumbering in the sun and the stunning World Heritage Mediterranean villages of the Cinque Terre.
“An enchanting place – I really loved it, endless delightful subjects to paint” “From the moment I stepped into my apartment and saw and heard the river, I realised it was going to be very special”
“We’ve been on many painting holidays, but this was the best ever.”
Your tutor: Rhoda Draws
Rhoda Draws (that’s her legal name, since 2009) lives near San Francisco, California, where she draws, paints and teaches workshops in sketching ‘fast and loose.’
Rhoda likes to combine her love of travel with techniques for rapid drawing ‘on the go’. Her sketchbooks are filled with drawings created in Europe, North America and the Indian subcontinent. She works with waterproof pens and aquarelle (water-soluble) coloured pencils to create a variety of styles with a minimum of fuss.
According to Rhoda, quick sketching on location is ideal for making an illustrated travel journal, for improving your observational skills and for exploring ideas for more detailed projects. She says: “If you capture the essence of a scene or monument or person in a few minutes, the result can be a finished work of art.”
We should emphasise that everything is included in the cost of your holiday at the watermill: tuition, accommodation (including all linen and towels), pre- dinner aperitifs, all meals (including meals with wine at charming local restaurants) and all local transportation (to castles, convents, hilltop villages and including transfers to Pisa airport and an excursion by train to Lucca or the Cinque Terre).
You get to Pisa, we do the rest!
Prices are in English pounds [£(GBP)]. If you book before September 2014 you can enjoy next year’s course at this year’s prices: they start at £(GBP) 1,310 (about $2,150) per person per week (based on two people sharing), with a generous discount of £(GBP) 200 (about $330) for a non-painting partner. Single rooms are £(GBP) 1,399 (about $2,300), or £(GBP) 1,499 (about $2,470) with en suite bathroom.
If you would like to enquire about availability and/or reserve your place, please contact Rhoda or email the Watermill: [email protected], or call them on (UK number) +44 207 293 6246. www.watermill.net
My first SketchXpress art retreat will be held at Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, CA. You will learn my quick sketching and art journaling methods in an idyllic setting. Beginners welcome!
The buildings and furnishings of this historic “Refuge by the Sea” were designed by Architects of the Arts and Crafts movement, notably Julia Morgan. We will have the opportunity to sketch in a variety of breathtaking natural settings. You’ll also want to sit and sketch people relaxing in the rustic charm of the social hall, which boasts an antique billiard table and elegant light fixtures. See www.visitasilomar.org for details and images.
Saturday, October 5 through Monday Oct 7, 2013.
Based on double-occupancy at Asilomar Conference Grounds, cost is around $400 per participant. This includes location sketching demos and workshops, excursions to Monterey Bay Aquarium, a guided nature walk in Point Lobos and more. Not included are art supplies, meals and transport to and from Asilomar. I will help organize car pools to minimize travel expense. Shared meals at local cafes and restaurants will provide additional opportunities for sketching as well as socializing.
I need to have 5 or 6 confirmed signups by August 1st for this event to happen.
Right now, just let me know if you are interested, and if the dates work for you.
List of basic sketching supplies provided on request.
Several of the students in my Quick Sketch workshop are interested in sketching people. There are different approaches, depending on whether the people are very small, in a crowd, or an important element of the foreground. These two sketches were made yesterday on a pier in Sausalito, CA. I picked a spot about 40 feet from several young men seated on a bench. They all had very different “poses” making for a nice variety of gestures. I started the group of four people (plus one bird) on tan paper with graphite pencil, then switched to a Fine point black ink pen. Some of the pencil strokes are still visible. The brightest areas in the scene was the water, and I made several horizontal scribbles with a white Prismacolor pencil.
I moved to a different spot for a sketch with two of the original people. They are young Asian men with very different body types—one is stocky and the other very thin. I began with a very thin line ink pen (Micron.02). These lines were so thin they could easily be “corrected” with the Fine line Faber Castell pen. A quick impression of the San Francisco skyline and a waterfront restaurant in the background provides an environment for these fellows. Neither of them had any idea that I was drawing them.
Looking back on the events in my artistic life for 2012, I will count taking another bite out of Europe as a high point! It was a concert tour with i Cantori, a choral group based in Carmel, CA. In additional to the thrill of singing in some of the most awesome venues in Poland, Germany, Belgium and Holland I also produced some satisfying sketches of street scenes and town squares. Those drawings led directly to offering sketching workshops in San Rafael.
I added a few items to my art resume, including online representation by Xanadu gallery of Scottsdale, AZ. One of my Big Sarah paintings was accepted for “Au Naturel”, the annual nude art show in Astoria (Oregon) scheduled for early March. Even more exciting, and closer to home, is an invitation to prepare a solo show (my first!) in Pacific Grove, CA. That is set for May.
So, 2013 is already looking like an excellent year for exhibitions. I will continue to look for more opportunities to show (and sell) my artwork. The sketching workshops are beginning to develop a following, and might lead to a book project. I won’t call it a New Year’s resolution, but I intend to work on paintings, sketches or other art projects at least 4 or 5 days a week. As for Rhoda Draws A Crowd, I plan to generate more caricature gigs and follow up on convention and event leads once a week or more. Did I mention losing another 20 pounds?
I wish all who are reading this a very happy New Year.
Thanks to those who attended our workshop on Sunday, November 18th. It was a lively session. We began at Riley Street Art with some demos, a slide show and exploration of materials, focusing on water-soluble pencils used with a water brush.
Our first location, as usual, was at the Mission San Rafael Archangel. Shortly after our arrival about 100 people spilled out of the church and gathered for socializing and snacks provided by vendors. This was a delightful bonus! We had a chance to include some “generic people” in a crowd scene as part of our sketches of the church building and grounds.
Next, we headed for City Plaza, and by then a chill was in the air. We went into the Lighthouse cafe for some hot coffee and decided to stay there for sketching. Several choices there, including shelves full of various liquor bottles, people at the bar, tables and chairs.
The next workshop: Saturday December 22, from 2 to 5pm. Fee: $50.
Ongoing and returning students: you will be given challenges for developing skills at your own pace.
Sunday, November 18 12 to 3 pm
Saturday, October 27 2:00 to 5:00 Fee: $50
This month at Riley Street Art Center, 1138 Fourth Street, San Rafael, CA:
September 15, 11 am to 1 pm
I will present a slideshow of celebrity caricatures by a variety of world-class artists. Following that, I will demonstrate my own techniques, using both traditional and digital media.
September 22, 2 to 4 pm
I will present the basic principles of creating a satirical portrait, by doing a live demo and showing examples in a wide range of styles. Participants will practice drawing caricatures from photos as well as live subjects. Just bring your sense of humor!
Fee: $35, materials provided.