Sunday, September 14, 2014

5th Urban Sketching Symposium: Brazil - Part 3

Can you guess the mood? Nina Johansson had us channeling stress and calm and sadness and joy in her workshop and interpreting those emotions in our marks and our colors.

Mood exercise, Paraty, Brazil

Calm | stress mood exercise, Paraty, Brazil

Amazing how choices of color and line style can completely alter the feel of a sketch.

Fish market, Paraty, Brazil

Paul Heaston taught us about wide angles, challenging us to cram everything we could see from ear to ear into a fisheye rendering of the world.

Fish-eye view sketch of Paraty, Brazil

View down the lane, Paraty, Brazil

Our lovely B&B, Pousada Pontal Gardens, had a two-person kayak for guest use. So we carried it to the beach and bobbed along the water. As M. paddled, I held on for dear life (it reinforced my dislike of sit-on-top kayaks) and sketched the view, leaning over to dip my brush in the water.

Sketch from the kayak, Paraty, Brazil

Too soon it was time to leave. I kept a pen and sketchbook handy from sunrise at Pontal Beach to day's end in Rio, so I could capture little vignettes from the transport van.

Fishing boat, Paraty, Brazil

Vignettes from the minivan, Paraty, Brazil

Quick sketch from the minivan, Paraty, Brazil

Boats in the distance, Paraty, Brazil

Sketch of Christo Redentor from the minivan, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

We spent the last two days relaxing at the Sheraton Rio, listening to the hypnotic crash of the waves on the beach. We had fabulous food in Leblon, especially at Q Bistro Brasileiro.

Lunch at Q Bistro Brasileiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Before heading to the airport, I sat in the Sheraton Club Lounge and drew the Chacara do Ceu favela on the hillside. Interesting to sketch, to be sure, but heartbreaking -- when the rains come in the summer, we were told, the sirens sound for evacuation as it's not safe for the residents to stay lest there be a landslide.

View of Chacara do Ceu favela from Sheraton, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

I miss you already, Brazil -- and now I see why you make us get a 10-year visa: we can't resist your lures for long.

Read Part 1 | Part 2

Saturday, September 13, 2014

5th Urban Sketching Symposium: Brazil - Part 2


Sketchwalk in the square, Paraty, Brazil

Paraty, halfway between Rio and Sao Paulo, is a time capsule colonial town that seems to hold a different festival or conference every week. There are horse carts and cobblestonesboulders and pousadas with questionable plumbing. And hummingbirds, and tiny birds that sip greedily from cut watermelon slices (who knew?). Walking involves carefully choosing your steps, except when the tide comes and you have to wade, ankle-deep.

Street in Paraty, Brazil

In Simonetta Capecchi's workshop at the Engenho d'Ouro distillery, we chronicled the making of cachaca, the famed sugarcane liquor found in the caipirinha.

At Engenho d'Ouro, Paraty, Brazil

More from the cachaca distillery, Paraty, Brazil

Sugarcane to make cachaca, Paraty, Brazil

Tasting and selling cachaca, Paraty, Brazil

When I tired of the machinery I turned my watercolors to the misty mountains beyond.

Mist behind the cachaca distillery, Paraty, Brazil

With Lynne Chapman we splashed color and drew lines and used mixed media to get over the fright of making marks on a blank page.

Line over color, Paraty, Brazil

Colored line exercise, Paraty, Brazil

Water, water everywhere in Paraty, Brazil

Read Part 1 | To be continued...

Friday, September 12, 2014

5th Urban Sketching Symposium: Brazil - Part 1

View of Ipanema from Sheraton, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

As of a few weeks ago my passport has a stamp from a new continent: South America. I admit I was skeptical when the venue for this year's symposium was announced. But I fell hard for Rio, and Paraty was charming in its way. I see now why Rio is called the "cidade maravilhosa" (marvelous city).

Before heading to Paraty, we stayed a few days at Casa Beleza, a lovely and quiet B&B in the hilly, artsy Rio neighborhood called Santa Teresa. On our first day, we ran into fellow sketcher Rita Sabler lunching at Rustico.

Rita sketching at Rustico, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

View from Rustico in Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

At Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf Mountain), we stayed and gawked till the sun had set.

Sunset at Sugar Loaf, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Dinner was at Espirito Santa, which specializes in delicious Amazonian food.

Dinner at Espirito Santa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The views from Christo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) were equally fabulous.

View from Christo Redentor, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

We skipped Copacabana and sank into the sand at Ipanema beach.

Ipanema and Leblon, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

In the business district of Centro, we made the requisite stop at Confeitaria Colombo, the art nouveau cafe with its lavishly decorated mirrors and floor-to-ceiling displays of decorative plates...

Confeitaria Colombo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

...and then I sketched a narrow slice of old Rio (Arco do Teles) as the light began to fade.

Arco do Teles, Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

To be continued...

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in Queens

Finally got around to going to this event last weekend, after talking about it for years. Teams of people race one another across the water in massive boats with dragon heads, way out in Flushing Meadows Park.

Participants in the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, Queens, NY

Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, Queens, NY

It takes a while to get there by public transportation, and by the time we did it was nearly time to turn back as we had other plans for the afternoon and evening.

Figured I'd take a few minutes and sketch since we'd spent so long trekking out there. So I scribbled a few lines and splashed a few colors around in the blazing sun as I listened to the incredibly peppy emcee exhort everyone to consider Hong Kong! If we ever wanted to open a business! Gotta say, he was pretty convincing.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Guest Room

The guest room

I've always liked the way the light comes into the tiny window of the guest room on a weekend morning and slowly spreads across the furniture.

Prismacolor colored pencil on Canson Mi-Teintes Touch paper, sketched as I looked through the doorway into the room.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

On the Eastern Shore for Plein Air Easton's Quick Draw

Oxford Boatyard, Oxford, Maryland

I'm currently reading James Michener's epic, Chesapeake, having been inspired by our recent trip to Maryland for Plein Air Easton's Quick Draw competition.

Yes, I grew up in MD, but had never managed the trip east from Annapolis to meander around this side of the Bay. The Eastern Shore seems a world apart from the just-outside-DC areas of the state - it has a slower-paced, New England-meets-the-South aura, with roadside crab shacks, corn-rich farmstands, and wide open spaces between the fingerlike waterways.

We explored Easton and St. Michael's, biked and bird-watched in Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and kayaked the calm waters near Oxford.

I chose to work in watercolor for the Quick Draw and happily sold my work to a local collector within ten minutes of the horn signaling "brushes down."

The Red Roof, Easton, Maryland - SOLD


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Weekend with the Family

M.'s annual family gathering in Mystic, CT, always offers opportunities for some sketching in between games of cornhole, kayak runs and shopping excursions.

Buoys on a shed, Mystic, Connecticut

Docks, Stonington, Connecticut

We ended the weekend with a picnic lunch at Misquamicut State Beach, just over the border in Rhode Island.

At Misquamicut Beach, Rhode Island

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