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Cafe Society

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. nathalie-cafemichael-cafepatti-cafepatty-cafestephanie-cafe

Fall Foliage

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.patty-n-annemariepatty-leavesannemarie-leaves

Beach Beasts…and more

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.SF ferry bldg-1

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!SF ferry bldg-2SF Ferry bldg-done

Outdoor Antique Market

Five of us gathered at the Marin County Civic Center parking area for this event, held the second Sunday of the month from April to October. After a brief demo, the first assignment was to fill a page with several objects. Finding items that are interesting but not too complicated is important.

Antique mkt objectsThe next step was to sketch a few objects and suggest the environment with additional background elements. There wasn’t much time to attempt the final challenge…sketching people in the scene. This location is worthy of another visit next month.

Panama-Pacific International Exposition, 1915

On Saturday, the San Francisco Sketchers Meetup group met for a walking tour of the area occupied 100 years ago by the PPIE. The educational stroll, led by a park ranger, terminated at the Palace of Fine Art. This was the site of the French exhibition of art that was loaned to the expo as a way of protecting it from looting during the “great” war.PalaceFineArt-1I used my new Noodler fountain pen for the first time. It has a flexible nib, so line weight is variable, based on pressure. I am hoping this pen will be less “temperamental” than the Sailor Bent nib!

 

Sketching people at the market

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.Safeway-student2Safeway-1Safeway-student3

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!

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

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

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

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