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.
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.
That advice is posted in the window of “Foot Traffic”, a great shoe store on 4th street in San Rafael. My Thursday workshop finds many styles to sketch, along with some hats and handbags. Here is some recent work at Foot Traffic (left) and Macy’s (right). The green line drawing of a sneaker was done “blind” (except for the two areas of quick shading). By “blind”, I mean keeping my eyes on the shoe and my pencil (or pen) on the paper. Part of the process involves drawing the object in one continuous stroke, if possible. This is a powerful exercise for learning to draw what you see, and it is the essence of eye-hand coordination. Also, when you can’t see your drawing, you can’t be judgmental of your skill!
One of my favorite venues for sketching people is the Aroma Cafe on 4th street in San Rafael, CA, a couple doors down from the award-winning Art Supply store, Rileystreet. This sketch was done with colored pencil.I love this colorful victorian building on B street @ 3rd. There is a guitar store on the ground floor, and I was delighted to see this old Chevy pickup truck parked in the perfect spot.
First, I began with dark red aquarelle pencil, then added blue and green, to establish the basic structure and lay in some of the darkest values.
Then I added some line work with a Micron black ink pen, size .08. More color, including yellow ochre, was applied. A few strong black accents were added with a Faber-Castell B (brush tip) pen. Finally, water from a Japanese water brush was used to release pigment from the colored pencil strokes.
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.
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.
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.