Super Bloom, Soda Lake

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Super bloom Soda Lake

The recent rain has caused an explosion of wildflowers in California. Yesterday, we decided to take a day trip to Carrizo Plain National Monument, just east of San Luis Obispo. The swaths of gold were truly spectacular. I sketched the blooms near the salt encrusted Soda Lake. M. took a photo of me as I was working.

Suma sketching super bloom

I sketched this on Bee Paper's Super Deluxe Mixed Media sketchbook, which has been recommended by several sketchers as a good, reasonably priced workhorse surface. While I've been happy drawing on Bee's Pen Sketcher's paper, the Mixed Media one just isn't my jam for ink & watercolor work. Its weight and tooth feel more suited to dry media.


At Vasona Lake, Los Gatos

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Vasona Lake Park Los Gatos gouache

Glad that a fellow artist has resurrected the long-neglected South Bay Plein Air Meetup group. Yesterday there were three of us at Vasona Lake County Park in Los Gatos. Since I was squeezing this session in between errands and appointments, I chose to do a quick painting in gouache on Canson Mi-Teintes Touch toned paper. The sun was hot and climbing, so the paint dried almost instantly. The whole thing took less than an hour from setup to signature.


The Diptych Is Done!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

My paintings of the hills behind our house are done and framed and up on the wall!

Hills of Gold diptych

Golden Open acrylic on canvas. Really pleased with the gold floater frames from Here's how they look in the room.

Living room with diptych


Day 5: Challenge Completed!

Friday, March 10, 2017

It's a wrap. Started out with sketches after breakfast at the office cafe.

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Continued through the messy commuter hour.

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Ended with the grooves of Open Mic Night at Hub's Cafe.

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Thanks Marc and Liz for this fantastic challenge!


Day 4: The Challenge Continues

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Switched to a Stillman & Birn sketchbook as I ran out of pages in the Bee Pen Sketcher's book I was using before.

OneWeek100People2017 10

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Just 23 to go!


Sharpen Your Pencils: #OneWeek100People2017 Starts Tomorrow!

Sunday, March 05, 2017

M on couch with Chromebook

Move over Inktober. Here comes a mad March challenge from Marc Taro Holmes and Liz Steel: Draw 100 people in one week! That's ~20 people a day, starting ... tomorrow!

I warmed up yesterday by playing with my latest digital toy: the Adonit Pixel stylus on my iPad Air 2, using the app Adobe Sketch. I find Adobe Sketch to be more intuitive than Procreate, possibly because I'm familiar with Photoshop, and the stylus seems to play well with it.

Test portrait with Pixel stylus

Want to join? Find some people. Sketch. Share on social media with the hashtag #OneWeek100People2017. I'll be posting here, on Instagam, and elsewhere.


Mark Your Calendars: Los Gatos Plein Air 2017

Sunday, March 05, 2017

I'm delighted to have been juried into this year's Los Gatos Plein Air event. More than 30 invited artists will be painting in and around Los Gatos, California, from June 13-16, with a public sale and festival on Saturday, June 17. I'm excited and more than a little nervous to be in the company of such artists as Donald Neff, Mark Monsarrat, Marti Walker, and Suzi Long!

Santa Teresa, San Jose, CA

In past years, artists have generally been allowed to paint within a 15-mile radius of Los Gatos, so I've been using some mapping tools to see what's in the area. Last Sunday I walked around downtown Los Gatos, and this weekend I hiked in Almaden Quicksilver County Park, which has some great views of the surrounding hills. I'm excited to figure out my "shot list" of what I'll paint over the four days of the event.


Launch Party: Urban Sketchers 10x10 Bay Area

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Last weekend, the skies cleared just in time for the Urban Sketchers 10x10 Bay Area launch event. We started off with a quick sketch at Mission Bay with the SF Sketchers (who were celebrating their 5th anniversary).

Mission Bay, San Francisco, CA

Then it was on to Arch Art & Drafting Supply, where we noshed on finger foods, shopped, and heard from the workshop instructors. We ended the day at Thee Parkside, where we sketched over drinks and a late lunch.

Back patio at Thee Parkside, San Francisco, CA

There are still spots left in the workshops -- learn more and sign up.


Sketching in the Margins

Sunday, February 19, 2017

It's been raining a lot here in California this winter, so we outdoor sketchers do what we can. We sketch indoors, even from television if necessary.

Super Bowl 2017

And sometimes there is a break in the clouds, so we take advantage of it. Even on a weekday, on the way to work.

San Jose Diridon platform


10x10: Check Out the Urban Sketchers 10th Anniversary Workshops

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Interested in learning about urban sketching or sharpening your skills? Check out Urban Sketchers' 10x10 -- a series of workshops around the world to celebrate the nonprofit's 10th anniversary.

Here in the Bay Area, you can take workshops from ten awesome artists throughout 2017. Sign up for as many as you like. They're just 3 hours each -- perfect for busy schedules.

The workshop I'm teaching is in San Jose on June 24, titled Putting the "urban" in urban sketching. We'll draw what we see around us and have some fun incorporating signage, textures, and found materials into our sketchbook pages. So excited!

If you'd like to know more, stop by and see us at the 10x10 launch party on Saturday, February 11. The event starts off with a sketching meet-up at San Francisco’s Mission Creek Park Pavilion at noon. At 1:30 pm, we'll head over to Arch, where we'll introduce the instructors and the workshops. You'll get a chance to meet and mingle with all the artists and register for the classes.

Learn more about the workshops and how to sign up here.


Bearing Witness

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

This past Sunday, at San Francisco International Airport.

Documenting the ban protest at SFO

People making signs for the protest at SFO

Protest at SFO

When there is lack of imagination at the highest levels, it is vital for our democracy that we support the arts. So sing. Dance. Draw. And share, and show the world.


Mornings in Monterey

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Monterey CA marina

Was in Monterey this week for a conference, so I went off to sketch before breakfast each morning.

Monterey CA wharf



View from My Doorstep

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Santa Teresa, San Jose, CA

Last weekend, I challenged myself to paint close to home. As in right outside my door! I'm really enjoying water-soluble oils for plein air work. This was painted with Winsor & Newton Artisan oils on a small gessoed panel.


Escaping the Rain: Los Angeles

Saturday, January 28, 2017

We drove down to LA over MLK Jr. weekend to escape the deluge here in the Bay Area.

To pass time before a dinner reservation, I decided to get my hair cut and ended up sketching Oyuna, the owner/master stylist at New Look Salon as she worked on another customer. I like what she did with my hair.

3rd Street Hair stylist LA

The next day, we had breakfast overlooking the ocean in Rancho Palos Verdes. I was hoping to see tidepools at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park, but we didn't find any.

Rancho Palos Verdes CA

On the way home on Monday, we stopped in Santa Monica. I set up my Strada easel and painted the thick clouds above the ubiquitous beach volleyball nets.

Beach volleyball, Santa Monica, CA

Still searching for tidepools (no luck), we paused at Carpinteria State Beach near Santa Barbara. I sketched the people walking along the sand.

Carpinteria State Beach, CA


Three from the Road: Connecticut

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Mystic road shadows

I didn't do a lot of sketching over the break. It was a whirlwind of family and friends in three states.

Christmas Eve church service Dec 2016

But it was really good to be back on the other coast. And to have my usual blueberry rooibos tea at our favorite cafe, Lorca, in Stamford, CT.

Lorca Dec 2016