Quick Capture Sketching

More Sparks Lit on Spark!

A busy city scene is probably the most challenging subject for an urban sketcher, especially for one like me who has lived in the countryside for the past two decades. But oh, I can’t resist the challenge. It would be marvelous to go out each day and practice in a busy location, but winter temps here in the Pacific Northwest are not amenable to on location sketching, especially in the time of Covid. So what better time to learn some new skills, sketching along on Zoom with people who excel at capturing the lively city! 

(The art shown here is my student work.)

Jedidiah Dore is a New York City artist and passionate urban sketcher/reportager who teaches a series now on Sketchbook Skool’s Spark platform called Creative Urban Sketching

Creative Urban Sketching with Jedidiah Dore: a street scene in New Orleans

One lesson was about editing a complex scene – deciding before putting pen to paper what should be included and what left out. And the scene was one I remembered well and loved from a sketch trip to New Orleans almost two years ago now!

Let’s Figure it Out with Jedidiah Dore

In another class titled: Let’s Figure it Out: Drawing People, we were timed and coached in a way to simulate live action scenes and draw decisively. Continuous line gestural drawing, while looking more at a subject, who will move at any moment, than at the paper. This is from Jedidiah’s photograph, but in the spirit of live action.

We all want to “get it right” and know we can’t possibly succeed at that with a moving scene. So it takes a certain practiced surrender to let go enough to set the hand loose from the thinking mind.  A lifetime of practice surely. Works for me, because it’s such a high to be able stop the mind for a while. Most sketchers would agree.

And I took another fun urban sketch class on Spark with someone whose style many of you will recognize instantly – Ian Fennelly! Lots of patterned pen work and zany watercolor washes which I dutifully tried. It’s not my style, but I wanted to play with different pens and was happy to go wild with it and even get tangled up in all the patterns. Such a fun way to tell a story of a time and place!

In the Home of the Beatles with Ian Fennelly

So much of what I’ve learned about drawing and painting and dancing and playing music has been a process of imagining myself in the body of the master . . . trying to hold a pen or leg or hand in the same way, watching and feeling and listening from the inside. Almost an Alice in Wonderland leap into another perception.

One of my current master teachers is a two year old boy across the street who soaks up everything in his environment, interacts with it, seeks to understand it with all his senses, and never seems to worry about getting it wrong. So I’ll take my cues from him, and above all keep it fun!

Workshops This Spring!

It’s a busy spring season coming up, and I’ll be doing what I enjoy most – sharing approaches to painting and spreading my own creative wings with like-minded people! Hope you can join me.

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For more information about these workshops and to register visit my website!

Sketch with me this Spring!

To all you wonderful visitors from all over the world, I wish you were closer (or I was closer to you). But if you’re local to the S.F. Bay area or coming to visit, you are invited to our charming and slightly quirky little town of  Sebastopol (and environs) for some on-location sketch workshops with me this spring. Registration is open now! Here’s the scoop.

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To register for any of these workshops contact me.

And this is just part of what’s happening in the Urban Sketcher universe this spring. To see the rest of the workshop offerings from wonderful and diverse teachers around the S.F. Bay Area, visit Urban Sketchers.org. 

But don’t worry! Even if you live on the other side of the planet from California there will be sketch workshops closer to you this spring, in over 30 countries on several continents. I get goosebumps just thinking about it. You can find all of them on the Urban Sketch website here.

Intro to Sketching in Public

I love my iPhone camera as much as the next person, and whip it out to capture that special gesture, or bark texture or subtle light play. But the picture I take doesn’t capture the smells, the sounds, the conversations, the temperature and texture of the air, the thoughts that arise as I sit or stand in that moment.

It’s a bit of a mystery why, but nevertheless true, that the effort to transfer those impressions onto the page, in line, shape and color, accomplishes these things. I have found repeatedly that my sensory memory can be captured on paper, even in a rather rushed and rudimentary drawing with a bit of hasty text added.

Reading this you may sense a bit of my messianic zeal about sketching. I must say that in today’s monster rain storm, I am happy to burrow inside. But I am anxious to share what I’ve learned about sketching in public with folks who’d like to either get started or re-started, to incorporate it into everyday light or to be ready for upcoming travel.

So to get started this spring I’m offering an Introduction to Sketching in Public Workshop. With it’s lovely plaza, Main St. shops, Barlow attractions of shops, wine, food and art, not to mention colorful residents, there’s no shortage of spots for quick sketches and food to sustain the effort. I’ll be adding some of my Sebastopol sketches on the blog in the coming weeks. This one was done in an art store standing by the check out counter.

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This workshop is a way to get comfortable with supplies and approach so that you can continue in other settings.The best way to feel less exposed about the “public” aspect is to do it in a supportive group. I still prefer sketching in public with my buddies. In Sonoma Co. we have a wonderful sketch meet up group, the Ready, Set, Sketchers who meet monthly.

I will also be teaching a weekend workshop on Quick Capture Sketching April 29, 30 at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, which will provide more skills, resources and the opportunity to practice sketching on location.

Registration is open for both workshops now. For more information and registration visit my website. Hope to be sketching with you in 2017!