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.
Continuing to work with tan paper, on a handy 5.5 x 8.5 inch spiral-bound sketchbook that fits snugly into one of the pockets on my “gardeners’ vest.”
I like to stick with black and white as much as possible. The Farmers’ Market sketch benefits from a dash of color.
Here are some sketches created during a choral concert. Some lines were done “blind”, that is, without looking down at the paper. That is a great method for practicing eye-hand coordination.
Here are some sketches on tan paper, from several years ago. Using black ink and a white Prismacolor pencil (or white gel pen) works well to create highlights and shiny bits. I apologize to my students for the symmetry of the sketch with a fountain! I keep telling them that “symmetry is for sissies!”
I prefer to omit color and stick with black and white. The color of the paper provides the mid-tones. I added the Strathmore Toned Tan sketchbook 5.5 x 8.5 inches to my materials list for workshop students.
I spent New Year’s Eve drawing caricatures for party-goers at Harrah’s Reno hotel and casino. I couldn’t help but sketch this little woman sitting for hours at a Poker game machine on New Year’s Day, still wearing her party hat from the night before.
Wanting to avoid being caught driving through the mountains in a blizzard, I traveled by Amtrak. That required two buses and a train going, but only one bus and a train coming back. So, I did a bit of sketching in station waiting rooms.
I walked to the Nevada Art Museum, which had several cool exhibits, and stopped for a few minutes on the way back to sketch this colorful parking structure near Harrah’s.
Just returned from my week-long sketching workshop in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. So many fascinating people, places and things to draw! This was the week of Dia de los Muertos, so we got to see a wide array of displays associated with this holiday. Decorated skulls, Catrina figures (those glamorous skeletons, with the wide-brimmed hats) and more.
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.
I visited the Exploratorium in San Francisco just in time to observe the amazing Strandbeesten, or “Beach Creatures” before the exhibition is returned to Holland. These kinetic marvels are the invention of the Dutch visionary Theo Jansen. Made mostly of ivory-colored PVC pipes, they are complex arrangements of tubes, connectors, some fabric wind-catchers, and a variety of feet. Sketching them is a challenge requiring the willingness to let go of accuracy.
On my way back to catch the Ferry, I stopped long enough to sketch the Ferry Building and some of the crowd strolling the Embarcadero on this sunny Sunday. Stages of the sketch show a quick layout in water-soluble colored pencil, followed by an ink layer. Finally, a couple of additional colors, some water effects, and….voila!
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.
Lisbon was the last stop on our concert tour. Sketch above shows a section of the huge Jeronimo’s monastery in the Belem neighborhood. The OLA frozen treat stand was actually on the opposite corner, but it made a great contrast to the monumental architecture.
Pauline and I stayed an extra four days in a 3rd story flat that she found through airbnb. Here’s a view from our bedroom window in the Bairro Alto neighborhood.
After riding on the famous tram #28, we stumbled upon a flea market, at the foot of the Panteao Nacional.
The Rua Augusta Arch is the center of a lively commercial district, where we had an elegant lunch. On the opposite side of the arch is the waterfront, the site of Eurocup activity, including jumbotron video of matches. During our visit, Portugal beat Croatia, and there was quite a bit of yelling, cars honking and whatnot. Several days after we returned home, Portugal actually won the Eurocup! YAY!