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
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 sketch
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!
Patty’s sketch of the veranda
Stephanie’s sketch in the garden
Stephanie chose a whimsical sculpture, paired with an aloe plant. She makes them look as if they are dancing together
Kimberley’s composite sketch
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 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.
The Players Guitars store at 840 B street in San Rafael is on the ground floor of a colorful Victorian building, and a favorite subject for sketching when the weather is fine. Seven students and I did a series of sketches of the building, from different points of view.
We also had permission to sketch inside the store, which is so small only two of us could work at a time. The array of instruments was breathtaking…so many shapes, designs and colors! Here is some excellent work by students.
This week our San Rafael workshop went on location to one of our favorite places—the Folk Art Gallery on 4th Street. Along with other artifacts, we had the opportunity to create quick studies of some delightful carvings of animals, with intricately hand-painted surface designs. Here are some samples of student work, as well as my own.
The San Rafael workshop took shelter from wet weather by sketching people at the Aroma Cafe. Just two doors down from our Rileystreet Art Store HQ, this location is excellent for finding people sitting in one spot for extended periods….working on their computers, mostly. Drawing people waiting in line to place their order provides more of a challenge….the line moves pretty quickly.
Student work is shown here, using a combination of aquarelle pencils and ink pens.
Here is some excellent recent work by students in my San Rafael and Napa, CA sketching Fast & Loose workshops. The native American masks are by Anne. She used a rainbow pencil for most of it, as we’ll as some waterproof ink (Micron 08 pen) and some aquarelle colored pencils. The rainbow pencil has become a favorite of mine, as well as several of my students.
The produce sketch below is by Marcy, and the pillows by Stephanie. Stephanie used rainbow pencil strokes for the pillow on the right.
Last Thursday’s San Rafael sketching workshop featured fall foliage (not easy to find in California!). My effort shows two trees in the area, while students Patty and Anne Marie zoomed in on a pile of dead leaves, with amazing results.
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.