Sebastopol Farmer’s Market

Where do you find 100 People to sketch?

Last year I joined the challenge to sketch 100 people in a week, thinking I would never find that many people or that much time. Fiddlesticks! Go have a coffee somewhere or sketch your family/friends for the 100th time. And if it’s raining or you’re pressed for time or tired, turn on your computer or iPhone (it’s obviously already on, right?) Our world abounds with people to sketch. And we people are so very interesting with our funny facial expressions and ethnic characteristics and hats and slouchy postures and hairdos. As a sketch subject, it’s the antithesis of boring.

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fountain pen and watercolor in spiral Field Watercolor Journal, 8 X 8″

Here’s a couple examples of my recent “people finds”. This fellow was playing along with the group on stage at the Sebastopol Farmer’s Market, which, if you’re local, is the premier people sketching spot all day every Sunday.

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Four musicians I could see from my bench. I could have listened all day to the Andean folk sounds of Cuyuy. The guy on his knee on the left was playing a drum that I couldn’t see. The two next to him kept changing instruments. You just have to keep sketching whatever you have a good view of at the time and hope it comes out looking like an understandable scene!

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Another day it was rainy and cold and I got an announcement from Playing for Change ,a music station I subscribe to, about a new recording. They record the same song performed by people all over the world at the same time and it’s so inspiring! Also, it’s great for people sketching, so I got out my beige toned Stillman + Birn sketchbook and a bit of gouache. Just hit pause and start drawing!

But if you’re going to try for 100 people in one week, you can do quickies in pencil or brush pen or any medium you want on any kind of paper. To my way of thinking this is not a contest. If you like to draw, it’s a way to give that draw muscle enough of a workout that by the end of the week you can say, “Wow! this drawing thing is getting easier and easier.”

The week starts tomorrow. Use the #OneWeek100People2018 hashtag if you share your sketches and are into that kind of thing. Or just do it for yourself. I’ll do it with you.

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Sketching Between the Puddles

Normally at this time of year here in Sonoma County wouldn’t we be enjoying more predictably sunny days? Instead we’re dodging downpours on a regular basis, and LOVING IT! Gardening days are pure bliss because all the plants that have been biding their time throughout our five year draught are going bananas now!

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So last weekend we planned to visit the goat farm and sketch the baby goats, but that plan got rained out. So we headed over to Harmony Farm Supply and sketched in the sprinkles of rain and under an overhang while garden-fever was in full swing and customers were hungrily selecting additions to their spring gardens.

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Oh, by the way, while being frustrated that it was not a baby goat sketching day, I did a quick one of this handsome young one (Redwood Hills Farm) from a Facebook photo. Good practice for when the sunny day comes!

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Next day, Sunday, was sunny! The Sebastopol Farmer’s Market never disappoints with seasonal fruits, veggies, baked goods, plants, crafts, live music and more to tempt, well, everyone! Greedily I did a series of vignettes, some while standing.

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And then found a sunny spot out of the way to draw the tents and a guy picking out a pastry.

Some of this was practice and thinking through the schedule for my next sketch workshop April 29, 30 in Sebastopol, which will feature on location sketching along with the opportunity for some good eating! If you’re interested, visit my website.

Questions Like When to Stop

The biggest city in Sonoma County, CA and the county seat is Santa Rosa. Right now the city is undergoing a major revamping in the center. Courthouse Square is soon to be a lovely park area with no cars driving through (as was the previous case). Bob and I were downtown and I wanted to check it out for a possible sketch project to record the transformation.  Of course I’m already too late for that, since I didn’t sketch the “before”, but Im thinking I’d like to sketch the cranes and signs and construction scene when they’re back at work after the Labor Day weekend.

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fountain pen and brush pen and watercolor in 8X8″ hand.book w/c sketchbook

Capturing urban scenes is a relatively new challenge for me. There’s so much detail for the eye to focus on, and I’m learning little by little what to put in and leave out.

And then there’s also the question of when to STOP! It’s hard, because putting in all the shadow shapes is time consuming and not always necessary.

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Sometimes, as at the farmer’s market yesterday, I decide to just see how many layers I can put in to capture the story. My idea was to do a vignette, leaving white space, but I was having so much fun adding in characters that I just kept going.

The three young mothers in the foreground had toddlers constantly jumping into their laps and then running around in the grass. The guy behind them was a jazz musician playing on the ground rather than the stage for some reason. Great sounds!

And various people sat down on the bench next to me during the 30-40 minutes I was there and wanted to start up a conversation with me. It’s hard when you’re sketching, but Sebastopol is a very friendly town and people talk to you everywhere like you’re an old friend. Hmmm. Reminds me a bit of Ireland!