figure gestures

Portraits Plus. . .

I left my pencils and paints home this week for the Portrait Party at Sebastopol Center for the Arts and brought Prismacolor felt tip pens and my pocket brush pen. So no mistakes allowed. It’s all good, because you don’t have enough time – with the one to ten minute sketch periods – to make it “right” anyway.

We take turns posing for each other, the hardest part for me since I hate to sit still. By the end I was standing and sketching and moving to the music we could hear from the Peacetime concert band playing next door at Ives Park.


At some point we started doing whole body poses, trying to get some attitude in them and most of us switched to putting more of the body in the  drawings.


I combined a dark liner with a shading pen to get some quick volume.


Loved Cary’s pose, the Rosey the Riveter “attitude”. My paper was too small to get the whole figure on the page, a constant problem for me, regardless of how big the paper is! So many times the feet and the top of the head don’t make it in.

There are two more Portrait Parties scheduled – August 29 and September 26. Put it on your calendar if you would like to join us next time. We meet at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts from 5-8pm. Beginners and pros are all welcome.

A Weekend of Urban Sketching

I had been looking forward to this 3 days in San Francisco.  My husband Bob was at a photography portfolio review, leaving me to get out on the streets and sketch!  No shortage of subjects in S.F., that’s for sure. I carefully assembled my supplies and outfit for my new urban sketch persona.  The trick is to have everything you need for comfort and art making compact and accessible.  Only thing is the list of all those things gets so long that you might as well be packing for a trip to Europe!

My new vest with 15 pockets really helped. I’m not kidding.  15 pockets, which means you have to memorize where you put things. But it worked great!  So now I need a whole new wardrobe of all vests with lots of pockets.


Ready for my first day out.

My husband Bob made me a lovely sketchbook with BK Rives printmaking paper in it.  This paper is so soft and lovely.  But there’s a bit of a learning curve for me to use it, as I discovered with my first sketches in Chinatown.


I did a rough blocking out of the card players in Portsmouth Square and midway they all got up, rearranged their “furniture” and played musical chairs. Only the lady in purple stayed put.  So I erased the pencil and that’s when I discovered that the paper was too soft.


But I had to try the cherry blossoms and I knew this guy was stoned and not likely to move. . .


One of the challenges I’d assigned myself was a true urban sketch of a building with some complexity.  Sitting among the smokers in the park, but on a comfortable bench with a view of this restaurant, I plunged in, trying all my different pens while trading texts with my friend who suddenly showed up in town and wanted to take me for a drink.  (oh yeah, it was my birthday)


Next day I had planned to sketch the 164th annual St. Patrick’s Day festivities downtown, including the parade of 200 floats.  But first, while waiting for the bus, I saw the nude bike-a-thoners pedal by.  (no sketches there!)  Arriving to a sea of green bedecked humanity I instantly understood the this was not a very accessible sketch venue.  Too hot in the sun and everything moving!  Nevertheless I tried some figure sketches.



  • the guard in front of the Asian Art Museum
  • parade4
  • the ubiquitous cell phone
  • Next:  Pirate Ships on the Bay with the SF Urban Sketchers