From London to Paris

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

On our last day in London, we breakfasted at Smith's of Smithfield, in the area of Smithfield Market. The blackberry-mint smoothie was divine.

Then we took the Eurostar train to Paris. Here are a few impressions of the landscape outside the train. There were fields and fields' worth of acid yellow rapeseed flowers, too, which were gorgeous.

The weather in Paris was gorgeous, too. Here's a quick sketch of a cafe on Rue St Antoine:

When we went up the "butte" of Montmartre, we found lots of sketch artists making conte pencil drawings of tourists for a fee -- and so they themselves became the subject of my sketch:

Dinner one night was at a traditional French bistro, the General La Fayette:

We returned to London on the Eurostar on Sunday -- here's a passenger asleep on the train:

It's springtime in London

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Yes, that's where we are, and we couldn't have asked for better weather -- it's been hovering around 70 degrees here. So -- no excuse not to get the sketchbooks out! Yesterday I walked practically the length and breadth of the city, looking in at various shops like Green & Stone and L. Cornelissen for art supplies; Finnesse Lifestyle for the Aarika 'Foxi' earrings that I'd bought in Helsinki and promptly lost; Foyle's for some of the travel sketchbooking art books I wanted, etc. So the only two sketches I did were these, at the beginning of the day, both at Duke of York Square on King's Road. (I don't have a scanner with me, so obviously these are only as good as I can make them with a digital camera and Photoshop.)

Today, I decided to do the opposite -- I went to fewer places and got more sketching in. Here's the scene at a cafe on Earl's Court Road where we had breakfast:

Went out to Smithfield Market after that, and did a quick sketch while I was waiting for an appointment that never actually happened:

After a picnic lunch in the hotel room from M&S Simply Food, took the tube out to Kew Gardens:

I brought along this Muji notebook to experiment with -- I don't know that it's meant for drawing at all, but it has lovely brown kraft paper and so far I really like the way it works with a gray Pitt Artist pen and a gel-ink white pen. I sketched the above while in the gardens, and decided to add a little color with my Stabilo color pens later on:

Finally, I did a quick impression of people at a small cafe in Kew, near the railway station.

Worldwide Sketchcrawl #22

Sunday, April 12, 2009

It was pouring in Stamford and I didn't make it down to NYC so I did a solo crawl. First, had breakfast at the Post Road Diner in Norwalk, CT:

Went to the Stamford Town Center mall in the afternoon, where I sketched some mannequins at the XXI Forever store:

Had dinner at California Pizza Kitchen, and sketched the kitchen area while enjoying our meal at the bar:

Finally, went to see the Troupers Light Opera production of Gilbert & Sullivan's "Trial By Jury" and "HMS Pinafore" at New Canaan High School. Here are some quick sketches done while the orchestra was tuning up:

Hopefully I'll be able to join others next time!

Weekend sketchbook: Old Town, Alexandria, VA

Monday, April 06, 2009

Cherry blossoms – cobblestone streets – horse-drawn carriages – art galleries – great food – what could be better? As you can probably tell, I thoroughly enjoyed attending the sketchbooking workshop at The Art League School. Although the class was geared more toward beginners, it was still useful to go through the basics of drawing again – seeing negative shapes, practicing perspective, and so forth. The best thing about the weekend (other than the glorious spring weather) was that I was focused completely on drawing and painting, with no other distractions. So – here are the results, in roughly chronological order. (The drawings were done in a Strathmore 5.5”x12” sketchbook; the paintings were done in an accordion-pleated sheet of watercolor paper provided by the instructor.) Click on each image to see it larger.

Saturday, 4/4
Breakfast at Table Talk, a slice-of-Americana diner on Duke Street, was a hearty helping of eggs and potatoes.

(Pitt artists pens and Staedtler Aquarelle pencils.)

While waiting for the school to open, I stopped at the farmer’s market in Market Square on King Street and sketched a mozzarella vendor.

(Lamy Safari w/ Noodler’s ink in Lexington Grey and Staedtler Aquarelle pencils.)

After a morning of drawing exercises, we broke for lunch. A popular spot is the Firehook bakery on Union Street, with breads, sandwiches and pastries.

(Lamy Safari w/ Noodler’s ink in Lexington Grey and Pitt artists pens.)

Our final drawing assignment of the day – a series of drawings with a narrative, forming a cohesive, designed sketchbook page.

(Lamy Safari w/ Noodler’s ink in Lexington Grey and Pitt artists pens.)

Sunday, 4/5

This time, we breakfasted at Bread & Chocolate, a European-style eatery on King Street.

(Lamy Safari w/ Noodler’s ink in Lexington Grey and Pitt artists pens.)

The morning was filled with more drawing and watercolor exercises – and then we were off to sketch outdoors. I warmed up with a quick sketch of this horse-drawn carriage as I ate lunch at Mai Thai near the water.

(Lamy Safari w/ Noodler’s ink in Lexington Grey)

Then it was a race to fill our accordion-pleated booklets of watercolor paper with several sketches before painting them back in the studio. (For easy viewing, I’ve scanned them separately here. All were done with the Lamy Safari and colored with Winsor & Newton Artists’ watercolors.)

First, I tackled some buildings at the corner of King & Union Streets.

I then took my folding stool to a little arcade by the waterfront.

I started sketching the detail of this plant and thought that the guy eating lunch would fit into the picture, too.

I had only a few minutes left, so I quickly drew the shapes of this popular hangout – I liked the boldness of the colors.

Finally, I turned my attention to Prince Street, a cobblestone road right near the Art League School’s Duke Street Annex.

And that was my two days in Alexandria – can’t go wrong with sunshine and a sketchbook!

Rush-hour concert at Lincoln Center

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Went to see Charles Dutoit conduct the New York Philharmonic in pieces by Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky last night at Avery Fisher Hall. This was the view from my seat way up on the third tier.

(Lamy Safari with Noodler's ink in Lexington Grey, with watercolors, in Moleskine watercolor sketchbook.)