L.A. Love

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Sunset in Venice, Los Angeles, CA

Spent Thanksgiving weekend in L.A. eating, shopping, and sketching. Can't wait to go back!

Hollywood sign CA

Griffith Observatory LA


Looking Out from Nepenthe, Big Sur

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

View from Nepenthe, Big Sur, California

It's odd to live so close to Big Sur that we can go there on a whim. This is the view from Nepenthe, a cafe/restaurant that overlooks the water.


Goodbye, InkTober!

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Original Joes San Jose

Thank goodness the month is over. My daily InkTober drawings often devolved into strange late-night surreal scribblings, as I'd ask M. to give me prompt words. Here are the remaining ones, just to close out this bizarre month:

inktober - bbq island 10-17

inktober - surreal 4

inktober - surreal 5

Alcatraz from Fort Mason

inktober surreal chef

inktober bw faces

inktober mirror sketch

Santa Teresa Farmers Market

Sleeping Michael inktober2

inktober faces

inktober inukshuk

inktober spool doodle

surreal inktober 10-30

surreal inktober 10-31


The Week in InkTober

Saturday, October 17, 2015

I've been diligently drawing every day but just hadn't taken time to scan everything until today. So here's the massive catch-up post.

Last night M. and I had dinner at Pho 69 and checked out TechShop in downtown San Jose. In between I sketched the California Theatre, a '20s-era movie palace turned performing arts venue.

Calfornia theater San Jose

The day before, I drew the two trees and distant hills I see every day out our front door. They are tall and totemic and remind me that I am in California.

View out the front door

Finding InkTober subjects on busy weeknights was challenging until M. and I hit upon the idea of using word prompts (from vintage copies of Sunset magazine, found at Kepler's Books in Menlo Park) to inspire me to draw random things and tie them together.

M. thinks teacup-tuna-toilet-paper baby will go viral.


Me, I'm rooting for the Saltine desert.


It's hard to do it without any prompts -- I end up mostly drawing what's in front of me, and at 10 pm it starts with whatever I see in and around the mirrored bedroom closet doors.

Between feet

Last Sunday M. and I rode our bikes at Viva Calle SJ, an open streets event in which miles of San Jose roads were closed to cars. I sketched at the Aztec dance demonstration by Tezkatlipoka Dance Group and then drew the cyclists who had gathered at the information tents at Parque de los Pobladores.

Viva Calle SJ performance

Viva Calle SJ sketch


The Neighborhood Gang

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Wild turkeys, San Jose, CA #inktober

They loiter aimlessly and peck and scratch and strut and sometimes even use the crosswalk when crossing the street. And they will not be on your Thanksgiving table.


Interior Abstractions

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Drawn while sitting on the new sectional in our living room. A gift plant was the inspiration for the first.

Chrysanthemum abstract #inktober

Living room distortion #inktober


More InkTober Sketches

Monday, October 05, 2015

fast asleep

M. was a ready, if oblivious, subject for yesterday's drawing. I learned that although striped flannel sheets are cozy, drawing them takes a lot of patience.

Abstract in purple #inktober

Today I decided to play around with dip pens, a bamboo pen, a brush and various bottled inks. I used Levenger Regal and Forest, and Noodler's Cayenne.


InkTober Begins!

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Oct 1: Wild turkey trot #inktober

Suhita inspired me to participate in InkTober. An ink drawing every day in October. How hard can that be?

Today I chose to draw wild turkeys. There are several of them around our neighborhood.

Let's see how long I can keep this up.


Featured in New Book: Archisketcher by Simone Ridyard

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A few of my sketches appear in the recently published book Archisketcher by Simone Ridyard (North Light Books, 2015).

It's a visual feast of approaches to location sketching, with lots of examples for inspiration. I'm honored to be in the company of such amazing urban sketcher friends.

Ask for it at your local bookstore or library.

(And yes, that's the book sitting in my brand-new shed studio -- will be posting some pics of the building and interior soon!)


Birthday at the Beach

Monday, August 24, 2015

Santa Cruz, California

Before I lived in Connecticut I wasn't really a beach person. Now that I'm living inland, I crave a glimpse of water from time to time. It's a good thing we don't live too far from the ocean.

M. surprised me on my birthday with an impromptu trip to Santa Cruz, the original California surfer town. Our lovely B&B, West Cliff Inn, overlooked the boardwalk and the beach.

Just a few minutes' drive away is Natural Bridges State Beach.

Natural Bridges, Santa Cruz, California

Both of these sketches were done on a Fluid 100 hot press watercolor 8x8 block. I'm really enjoying the way paint behaves on this smooth surface.

Mountain View

Play Ball!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

It's not easy to draw people playing volleyball (though it's easier than drawing people bowling).

Sand volleyball, Mountain View, California


Getting to Know My Part of the World

Saturday, August 15, 2015

San Jose sprawls from urban to practically rural; I've only just started to explore it. From the hill behind our house you can see a panoramic vista of towering palms and carved-out hills, drought-parched grass and tile-roofed homes.

View from Santa Teresa County Park, San Jose, California


6th Urban Sketchers Symposium: Singapore - Part 2

Sunday, August 02, 2015

You can't go to Singapore without eating ... or shopping. Although I didn't get to see Orchard Road (inexcusable, I know - will have to go back), I did make one purchase: a Hero pen with a bent nib, from Straits Art. It's similar to the Sailor bent nib pen I already own, but shorter and heavier. Its nib lets you make thin and thick strokes by varying the angle of the pen.

I filled its cartridge with the super5 ink that we got in our symposium goodie bag. This is my kind of travel souvenir -- something I'll be using for several years that will remind me of a great experience!

After registration and an opening sketchwalk, the symposium's packed schedule of activities and workshops got underway.

This year, I led an activity for the first time. It was called "Putting the 'Urban' in Urban Sketching." The task was to incorporate found materials -- both as drawing tools and as paper/substrate -- into our sketches, in order to tell the story of a place. I was concerned that Singapore's famously clean streets would yield no interesting scraps to use, but I needn't have worried.

At Albert Mall Trishaw Park, Singapore

I was blown away by the creativity of the activity participants. One found a scrap of cardboard at Albert Mall food center; another used a splayed joss stick to do a great ink drawing.

I used a palm twig dipped in watercolors to draw this -- not easy!

Twig and watercolor sketches, Albert Mall, Singapore

In this sketch, I used a stray price label, a dried leaf, and coin rubbings to evoke the atmosphere of the vendors.

Vendors at Albert Mall, Singapore

Virginia Hein's excellent workshop, "Light and Dark with a Punch of Color" was a good challenge for me. I'm so used to working with line that it's hard for me to see just value shapes.

Value sketches at Singapore Art Museum, Singapore

Value sketches around SAM, Singapore

In Nina Johansson’s workshop, "Light in the Spaces Between," we learned to look at the areas between planes, to seek out the changes in value between surfaces.

Value sketch near Selegie Arts Centre, Singapore

Nina also showed us how to make subtle warm and cool shifts to our watercolor mixes without creating muddy colors.

Selegie Arts Centre, Singapore

Shophouses near Selegie Arts Centre, Singapore

Melanie Reim's workshop, "Found In Translation: The Influence of Calligraphy in the Figure and Environment," was inspirational. I loved "collecting" faces and figures with economical strokes of the brushpen in and around the Sri Krishnan Temple on Waterloo Street.

Collecting figures, Singapore

Collecting many faces with calligraphic strokes, Singapore

Collecting faces, Singapore

Worshippers, Sri Krishnan Temple, Singapore

Lady in green, Sri Krishnan Temple, Singapore

Priests in Sri Krishnan Temple, Singapore

The final sketchwalk was at the Singapore Management University courtyard. It was a tranquil oasis of green, with ample space for sketchers to spread out and choose different views. Some sketched the Singapore Art Museum across the road:

Singapore Art Museum, Singapore

I decided to complete my symposium experience with a sketch of the other sketchers.

Open sketchwalk participants at SMU, Singapore

And who could resist drawing our youngest participant, who patiently held this complex pose?

Our youngest sketchwalk participant, Singapore

All the energy from Singapore will carry us through the rest of the year and onward to our next symposium: USK Manchester 2016 here we come!!