sketch workshop

Apple Press and Petaluma Sketching

If you live in Sebastopol there’s still time to bring your apples over to the free apple press and enjoy the nectarian pleasure of your own fresh apple juice. The volunteer crew will help you out and even clean the press after you and all with enthusiastic smiles. I guess I was too busy with art and such this season to bring my own apple harvest in, so instead I harvested some sketches last Saturday morning.

applepress

The sponsor of this is the Slow Food Russian River group. For those of you who don’t know, the term Slow Food refers to “an alternative to fast food and strives to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourages farming of plants, seeds, and livestock characteristic of the local ecosystem.” Slow however is not how I would refer to the folks doing the apple press procedure. So my pen was moving pretty fast!

And then I got totally distracted by a little girl who was washing apples and then feeding them into the press. When she came over to check out my paints I couldn’t resist loading up a brushload and handing it to her. She knew what to do with it of course. Here’s Adeline’s version of the activity.

applepress2

Then last week we were checking out the scene for the upcoming Watercolor Simplified for the Sketcher workshop in Petaluma on October 14. We were delighted to find the most appealing spots for sketching, not to mention eating, easy parking etc. So I’m quite looking forward to offering this workshop. For instance there’s the Great Petaluma Mill and the backdrop of those, are they grain shoots?

petalumamill

and the cutest bistros, bakeries etc to go for the lunch sketch which is always assigned.

wildgoatbistro

Check out the meal I had. And yet even so I was tortured by the men sitting across from us who ordered a spectacular gluten free chocolate cake and only ate a bite or two! They were so friendly that I know they would have given me the rest, but truly I was already full. I’m quite impressed with these urban sketchers who draw and paint their food when it comes. I’m always too ready to dig in.

There’s still one spot left in the workshop. If you’re interested, visit my website for more info and to contact me.

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Color Mixing

I have another on-location sketch workshop coming up October 14, Watercolor Simplified for the Sketcher! In preparation I got to thinking about all the obstacles to painting with watercolor on location and worrying a bit about this promise of “simplifying” it. From experience teaching these day-long workshops I know that some students will open up a freshly bought and previously unused palette on the day of the workshop. Many of us know this is a recipe at least temporary dismay!

So I’m asking all the students to make a color mix chart with their paints before class. I’ve done quite a few of these over the years and there’s no better way to get acquainted with your palette while learning the subtleties of mixes. You learn how to make black and gray and brown without having them in your palette to muddy things up. (Of course palettes with manufacturer supplied pigments may have those colors in them and then you can choose not to use them!)

colormixchart_edited-1

Simply put, you mix each pigment on your palette with each of the other pigments. This chart helps. I picked the eight pigments I would have most difficulty parting with at the moment and made a grid of eight squares. Then I painted squares of those colors across and down in the same order. Next I mixed the colors of each square according to the grid, the vertical with the horizontal. It takes focus, and there’s some value variation based on how much water gets in the mixture and the amount of each pigment in the mix. (The camera has distorted the colors here a bit, but you hopefully get the idea. )

And now I know how to mix an olive green and a brick red and the prettiest violet and deepest forest green, and a purply dark and a mauve. And by doing this I also know which pigments are so intense that they overwhelm the others, and which ones will never give me a dark. I’ve been painting for 23 years and I still learned something from doing this today.

I actually have more paints on my palette, a couple more blues (DS Cerulean Blue Chromium and HB Horizon Blue) and an orange ((DS Pyrrol Orange) that I wouldn’t want to part with. But I think I’ll jetison the Payne’s Gray and Ivory Black. We sketchers just can’t stop futzing with palette colors. It’s too much fun.

So now back to figuring out how to live up to the promise of Watercolor Simplified! Email me if you want to sign up for the workshop. There are still two spots left at this writing.

Intro to Sketching in Public (Sebastopol)

It’s always a crap shoot to schedule an outdoor sketch workshop in March! But somehow we slipped between the rain storms for an idyllic weather day last Saturday in Sebastopol town for the Intro to Sketching in Public workshop. We took over the stage area on the Plaza for the introductions and then spread out in the plaza for the morning of demo and sketching.

plazastagegroup

We look at bit bundled up here, but it was warm in the sun. After some drawing warm ups I demonstrated continuous line drawing and shared thoughts about how we decide what to put in and what to leave out of a quick sketch.

plazafountain

I certainly left out more than I put in! All those cars and benches and things. I’d still be there sketching if I’d put them all in!

madmod

Lunchtime and the afternoon was spent in the Barlow where there’s plenty to eat and sketch. I picked a spot across from a clothing shop for a 5 minute sketch and then added the color in a demo later, adding splatter and white pen detail with the Uniball Signo white pen. Once again I left out way more than I put into this scene, capturing only the “bling” that attracted me.

whatisit

Last stop of the day was in front of everyone’s favorite coffee shop, Taylor Maid, and the Floral Design shop. There are still areas of the Barlow that are undeveloped, like this scene from bygone years across the street  And if you can tell me what it is, I would appreciate knowing. Does it have something to do with apples? Grains? Wine? Beer? None of the above?

Sketching at home

When it’s not the season for travel or time for local event sketching, there’s always what is close at hand. I no longer sketch my food and drink, which is recommended by some of my favorite luminaries such as Danny Gregory and Liz Steel. But I’ve had my eye on the rusty mailbox next door, and then there’s always the goats at the bottom of the hill.

mailbox

Lamy Joy fountain pen and watercolor in soft cover Beta Stillman + Birn sketchbook

And then there’s the town I live (outside of), Sebastopol, where I’ll be teaching two workshops this spring. The first is “Introduction of Sketching in Public” on March 25th. So I’ve been wandering around town with the eyes of a tourist sketcher to find what one could capture quickly in a workshop setting.

sebastopol

A lovely water fountain in the plaza and an exercise in connecting it with the background while leaving out most of the rest of what was there! That’s the hard part.

sebastopol2

I found a bench in the sun and had a few minutes left to doodle some people. I often end up liking these “doodles” better than the more finished ones. You’d think I’d learn.

sebastopol3

But another day I had more time, and a good spot to sit with a friend and kept sketching awhile after my subject had left. Of course they always leave before you’re done!

pogodahead

fountain pen and watercolor in Toned Tan Strathmore Art Journal

And then there’s always the selfie. This one done while on an hour-long phone call in front of my computer (one looks for time where it is to be found), which might account for having lost a bit of the top of her head. Oh well.

I’ve had people tell me I should paint more attractive self portraits of myself, but this is so much more amusing. I think I feel a series coming on. After all, you don’t have to pay this subject to sit and she’s always available to sketch live!

The Barlow

Local. Food. Art. Wine. This is how the Barlow here in Sebastopol wants to be known. The buildings share the upscale “warehouse” look. You can taste the beer and coffee where they brew and roast it, then move on to wine tasting, shopping, get your hair done and even watch a traditional Tibetan Tanka painter at work. I often meet friends there for coffee. But yesterday we were out sketching. The pink pig and orange umbrellas at Zazu caught my eye.

zazu

 Brown deAtramentis Document ink and w/c in 8 X 8″ hand.book sketchbook

I’m really trying to stick with what interests me and leaving the rest out. It’s a tad less realistic that way, but more satisfying. When you’re standing on the street on a cold, damp day, the picking and choosing of subject matter is a necessity. Luckily I had my down jacket and knit cap on. I can’t imagine sketching in the snow like some of my Urban Sketch friends do, like Marc Taro Holmes in Montreal. Brrrr!

woodfour

I was struck by the angles on this view and propped my book on a post for a quick one. More orange umbrellas – I can’t resist! There’s room for text there at the bottom, but I was more interested in lunch at that point. Maybe the lunch at Village Bakery should go there.

If you’ve been thinking you’d like to join me to get going on some sketching, I’ve got just the thing! My Introduction to Sketching in Public workshop coming up March 25 will get us out enjoying Sebastopol, the Barlow included, with sketchbook in hand. My favorite way! For more information and to register visit my website.

#SBSADrawingADayChallenge