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Urban Sketcher Symposium: Chicago

Chicago, my home town, hosted the 8th annual Urban Sketching Symposium, with over 500 sketchers attending worldwide. What a great opportunity to return after 25 years, to see the familiar as well as new architecture and art.

Sketching On Toned Paper

sketching on toned paper

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.

Sketching The Central Coast Of California

Sketching the Central Coast of California

Five students joined me on a road trip down the coast to sketch Hearst Castle, with stops in between for sketching in Capitola and Old Monterey. Capitola features a brightly colored motel complex, as well as a beach scene. We had a delicious lunch at Zelda’s. We arrived at our airbnb house in Cambria, which featured sweeping views of forest and the ocean.  After breakfast, sketching on the main street of Cambria, with a variety of cafes, galleries and store fronts to draw.

 

 

 

 

 

Hearst Castle offered us a rich variety of subjects! Architectural elements from the Mediterranean, marble statues, and a breathtaking collections of artifacts from all over the world. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the way back home, our last stop was Monterey, for lunch at Rosines’ and sketching the outer walls and decorative elements around “Orientations”, an Asian antique store. We all tackled the challenge of the “wavy wall” and carved stone lamps. Along with my sketch, here’s an excellent one by Patty.

San Miguel De Allende Sketches

San Miguel de Allende sketches

black-catrinaJust 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.sma-parroquiabistro-mi-casa

dia-de-los-muertos-1

Lisbon

Lisbon

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.

Lisbon rooftops Bairro Alto 72Pauline 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.

Lisbon flea market 72After 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.Lisbon Rua Augusta Arch2 72 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!

Lisbon Eurocup

Portugal!

Portugal!

Our first stop in Portugal was the town of Sintra. I stood in the middle of a busy intersection, surrounded by tourists, many of whom took an interest in my work. Several Japanese folks followed me as I moved from this location to our bus, adding color and detail as I went.Sintra-Japanese tourists

Sintra street

Seville

Seville

In Seville, we enjoyed a Flamenco performance and paella dinner. I found more Moorish architecture to draw. The building with a green-and-white striped tile dome is on the Avenida de la Constitucion.Seville-green striped dome 72

In addition to the usual waterproof black pen and aquarelle colored pencils, I added some decorative scribbles with a white gel pen.

Cordoba

Cordoba

Continuing to catch up with sketches from Spain, the highlight of this town is the Cordoba Mosque. The breathtaking series of candy-striped arches is shown here, along with my attempt to capture it on paper.Cordoba mosque-1I also had the opportunity to sketch a street scene, featuring this “Marrakesh” souvenir shop. While I was working, the owner of another shop, just out of frame, came to his doorway and offered me a chair. I was nearly finished, so I declined, but I crossed the street to show him the sketch. He immediately brought me next door to meet the owner of the Marrakesh shop. He took a photo of the page, and we agreed to Friend each other on FaceBook.Cordoba street 72

Granada

Granada

We begin to see more Moorish influence in architecture and ornament. I am delighted with the colorful tile patterns on walls and domes.

Plaza de Santa Ana-stage1Granada Plaza de Santa Ana 72

The Mediterranean Sea

the Mediterranean sea

On our way down the coast of Spain, toward Valencia, we stopped at the little town of Peniscola, where a medieval castle was used in the filming of the 1960s epic “El Cid.” (remember Sophia Loren?). Climbing the steep and winding streets, I got a good view of  this charming house overlooking the Mediterranean.

Peniscola view of Mediterranean 72

Medit view

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