East Coast

From City to Beach

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Traveled to New York for a work conference the week before Labor Day, so I got in a few sketches before breakfast/between meetings:

190828 New York City 2

190828 New York City 1

Spent the long weekend in Mystic, CT, with family. Just as we did last year, we spent a morning watching the waves roll in at Misquamicut Beach in Rhode Island. (And cooling off with a Del's frozen lemonade, naturally.)

190831 Misquamicut Beach RI 1

190831 Misquamicut Beach RI 2


Recap: Sketching Techniques

Sunday, September 08, 2019

My workshop last month -- Sketching Techniques: Layer It On! at Arch Supplies in San Francisco -- combined outdoor sketching with indoor exercises. It was great to see everyone's exploration of mixed media, including layered watercolor and colored pencil.

Here's a peek at some of the demo sketches.

Thanks to everyone who joined!

Sunday drive

Hiking at Big Sur

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Woke up a few Sundays ago craving a leisurely pre-birthday weekend drive, a hike, a swimming hole. Big Sur River Gorge, accessed through Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, checked all the boxes, plus rock scrambling and wading, to boot. How had I not known about this??

190818 Big Sur River Gorge

But we didn't stop there. The one-mile hike to the beach at Andrew Molera State Park gave us this view, below. In the sky, gulls and swooping pelicans. On the sand, just a smattering of people and several driftwood beach shelters. Bliss.

190818 Andrew Molera State Park Beach

local colors

Playing with Inks

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Last month I took a workshop with Judi Pettite called "Wild Ink" at the knit/sew/dye boutique A Verb for Keeping Warm in Oakland. We learned all about the process for turning materials such as indigo, buckthorn, black walnut, and eucalyptus bark into saturated inks.

I've been thinking a lot about creating a sense of place in a drawing through the palette of colors used, and it's even more interesting to consider local plants as a source of those pigments.

We had fun testing and playing with the various inks, and got to take six bottles home.


10th Urban Sketchers Symposium: Amsterdam

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Just back from the annual Urban Sketchers extravaganza, aka sketching in extreme heat. Thought it would be a lovely 70F-80F in Amsterdam, but no such luck; temps hovered around 100F pretty much the entire week, making it very challenging to be outdoors in the afternoon.

Here are the highlights:

Tuesday, July 23.
Took the bus out to Volendam, a fishing village turned tourist magnet. I sketched the buildings facing the marina, and we had fun watching a demo on cheese-making.

190723 Volendam marina

That evening, after our Urban Sketchers Advisory Board dinner, I went out sketching with the lovely Uma Kelkar and Elizabeth Alley. The light on the Amstel river around 10 pm was absolutely gorgeous. I started with a line drawing, then added a first wash for the highlights before finishing with the darks.

190724 Amstel River at sunset - Amsterdam, Netherlands

Wednesday, July 24.
USK Symposium sponsor Royal Talens invited the faculty and board members to tour their factory and Experience Centre in Apeldoorn, about an hour and a half from Amsterdam.

It was fascinating to see how paints, pastels, and other art supplies are made. We walked quickly, so it was tough to capture even a little sampling of all the steps in the process. I'll never look at my tube colors the same way again!

190724 Royal Talens tour 1

190724 Royal Talens tour 2

190724 Royal Talens tour 3

190724 Royal Talens tour 4

190724 Royal Talens tour 5

190724 Royal Talens tour 6

190724 Royal Talens tour 7

Thursday, July 25.
My morning workshop was with Joerg Asselborn. It was called "Catching Windmills." We took the tram out to De Gooyer, to see one of the few windmills in the city.

We started out with semi-blind contour drawings and proceeded to capture small details like the windows. Finally, we put everything together in a sketch of the whole structure. It was a challenging subject, but it was very helpful to break it down and truly "see" each part before tackling the whole.

190725 De Gooyer windmill Amsterdam

In the afternoon, I escaped the soaring temps by visiting the Van Gogh Museum.

Friday, July 26.
The heat was relentless. This morning's workshop was with Karen Sung. It was called "Growing a Drawing." She challenged us to think outside the square/rectangular format of the paper and to add paper wherever it made sense, to extend focus areas. I liked the concept, though the scene before me wasn't very inspiring and the alternating smells of garbage and cleaning solution (from restaurants preparing to open) were distracting.

Still, I managed to crank out a sketch or two.

190726 Hotel Atlanta Growing your sketch Amsterdam

In the afternoon, M. met me and we rented a Bakfiets cargo bike.

It was very uncomfortable to sit in given the extreme heat, but we toured about in it for a while, visiting Jordaan and going past the Anne Frank House. It was nearly impossible to sketch from the bike, but I tried.

190726 Jordaan from cargo bike Amsterdam

190726 house from bike Amsterdam

We ended up at the book market, where I got out and did a quick drawing while M. went to get ice cream.

190727 Book market Amsterdam

In the late evening, we took a canal cruise. This was a better opportunity for sketching in motion, and I was able to do four mini sketches while waiting for the tram and also while on the boat.

190726 Amsterdam thumbnails

Saturday, July 27.

My last workshop was with Marina Grechanik. I've long been a fan of her colorful, layered sketches of people in context, so it was great to see how she worked.

We practiced doing portraits and capturing emotions before "hunting" people's faces at the local flea market. For our final sketch, we had to keep portraits as the main focus while telling a story, a narrative of the market. I founded a shaded spot at a cafe to draw some bored stallkeepers as they waited for customers in the searing heat. It was fun to let go of conventions and just play around with color!

190727 Flea market Amsterdam

All too soon, the symposium was at an end!

Next year we'll all meet up again in April ... at #uskHongKong2020!


A Lakeside Fourth

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Bunting? Check. Parade? Check. Kids waving flags? Check, check, check! M.'s family reunion on the shores of Lake Erie in Ohio gave me the perfect opportunity to teach a sketching workshop at Lakeside Chautauqua's Rhein Center, and the Fourth of July holiday timing just added to the fun.

Despite the heat and humidity -- and kits with Prang watercolors(!) -- the group did a great job capturing small-town Americana vignettes.

Here are some of my demo pieces from the workshop, plus some of the other sketches from the weekend.

190704 Demo sketch Lakeside Ohio

190703 Red white blud demo sketch Lakeside

190704 Parade Lakeside Ohio

190704 Parade Lakeside Ohio 2

Shuffleboard is more difficult than it looks!

190706 Shuffleboard Lakeside Ohio

190706 Shuffleboard Lakeside Ohio 2

Bikes and golf carts are everywhere at Lakeside.

190705 bicycle Lakeside Ohio

On our way to the airport in Cleveland, we stopped at Sherod Park in Vermilion. The lake was angry, and the waves lapped at my feet as I drew.

190707 Lake Erie Sherod Park Vermilion Ohio


City of Contrasts: Hyderabad

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Spent last week in Hyderabad, India, for work. The previous time I was there was ~15 years ago; most of the development northwest of the city didn't even exist at the time. It is truly a marriage of old and new. I arrived early on a Sunday, so I had the chance to tour about and sketch.

Near the office early Sunday morning, the main activities seemed to be security and street sweeping. The street sweepers still use whisk brooms.

190623 Hyderabad 1

I stopped to sketch an impromptu game of cricket in a courtyard. This was my first time attempting to capture the action. Clearly I need to study it more.

190623 Hyderabad 2

There were people out on their balconies speaking on their mobile phones surrounded by drying clothes. The clothes say lots about who's living there.

190623 Hyderabad 3

190623 Hyderabad 4

In the afternoon a few colleagues and I headed out to Charminar by Metro and rickshaw.

190623 From rickshaw Hyderabad

190623 Charminar 1

190623 Charminar 2