urban sketchers

Epilogue to Chicago

The Urban Sketch Symposium was officially over July 30. But of course I’ve left so much out of my story. . .like KK’s (Kiah Kiean Chng) demonstration of his “stick” and ink drawings and Rita Sabler‘s inspiring lecture titled “Urban Sketch as a form of Protest”. And then there were the demonstration tables with all the vendors who filled our “goody bag” with materials to try!

chicago36Contents of the goody bags!

Bettina and I were staying at Roosevelt University housing on the 21st floor where there is a study lounge with floor to ceiling windows and a 180 degree view of Lake Michigan, Millennial Park, and well, many of the coveted architectural wonders and city views. So we invited a couple teacher friends up to enjoy sketching. And the next morning the room filled up with many of the Symposium teachers, each approaching the scene in his/her trademark way while we watched and did our own.

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Rob Sketcherman here on his iPad. Gail Wong finishing a several foot long accordian fold sketchbook, Virginia Hein doing her color magic, Shari Blaukopf getting it all in with freshness and detail, Uma Kelkar painting those beautiful soft edges.

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My sketchbook was not wide enough for the other side of the room where Marc Taro Holmes was painting the entire scene with brush only, Suhita Shirodhar appeared at some point (check out her blog posts about the Symposium), Laurel Holmes and Joel our treasurer, Bettina and Cathy McAuliff. And to add to the excitement of the morning a helicopter was delivering an air conditioner to the roof of the Art Institute next door! A handy bit of orange accent to include in the sketches!

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After that we took the time to eat an actual full midday meal, which we hadn’t had time for previously in the week! And then headed to one of the other iconic sketch spots, the Chicago Theatre.

And then the for last sketch of the week, one of the lions in front of the Art Institute Chicago, where we indulged in a full day of art viewing. My favorites, Gauguin, Saul Steinberg, and The Paintings of M. F. Husain.

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(The tail was a necessary after thought!)

But I’d missed sketching a scene I saw daily, mostly because it involved sitting under the train with its deafening roar and smelly eructations. So I did the next one from a photo at home.

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And so I’ll end it there, with the very same train that took us to the airport the next morning for only $3. What a bargain!

Chicago: Part IV

On the last official day of the Symposium, there was time for a few more sketches while things were winding up for the big picture taking (of all 570 people from 34 countries and then the evening festivities.

But I thought also to share some of the small sketches/thumbnails I did to get my bearings while in the city, using water soluble graphite in a cake form with my water brush and pen.

 

I often liked these small ones better than the finished pieces. When the visual scene is most complex is the best time to go super small to simplify it.

The soaring green “gargoyles” on the library had been calling out all week to be drawn!

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And then in the afternoon the final sketchwalk with all participants while the city was busy closing down the public areas by the lake in preparation for the big Lollapaloosa music festival.

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The city workers were hanging the sign, piece by piece as many of us dashed off a sketch of the brave native on horseback. My friend Cathy read my mind as she commented, “Is this the Indian they stole Chicago from?”

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Once again here I am trying to prove myself as an authentic urban sketcher (even if a country girl at heart), seeing how many buildings and traffic I can pack into a quick sketch while on the corner of a busy intersection!

Then we were all getting ourselves arranged on a grassy hilltop for the grand Symposium picture, made more fun by a drone that circled around filming us from all angles.

Followed that evening by the closing party and announcement of the location for next year’s Symposium, in Porto, Portugal. Maybe you’ll be there?!

But there’s more! An epilogue, as we stayed a couple more days in Chicago. Stay tuned!

And if you’d like to join me and the Ready, Set, Sketchers! in Sebastopol this Saturday, we’ll be meeting up at 10am and sketching the Gravenstein Apple Fair. All are welcome!

Join us at the 44th Gravenstein Apple Fair for the next “Ready, Set, Sketch” meet-up!

Saturday August 12 from 10:00AM-1:00PM

We’ll meet at the entrance to the park at 10am.

Ragle Ranch Regional Park

500 Ragle Road

Sebastopol, CA 95472

 

 

Urban Sketch Symposium

Just back from Chicago and the 8th International urban Sketchers Symposium. In short, my mind was blown, by the city (my first time), and the event. 570 people attended from 34 different countries on four continents. There were workshops, demonstrations, sketchwalks, lectures, concerts, performances, and loads of socializing with sketchers of all backgrounds: painters, illustrators, architects, reportage artists, graphic artists, and more! Pant, pant! and very little time for resting, eating and such! Who cares. You can do that kind of thing at home.

My first chance to open the sketchbook was on the Architectural Boat Tour on the Chicago River where one is immediately confronted with several of the grandest, tallest buildings: the Wrigley, Tribune, and (yes, sorry to say) Trump buildings.  I must admit that I was quite overwhelmed, but dove in as I knew I must, at least to warm up.

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One and a half hours later my camera was full of architectural wonders and my mind with interesting factoids but stomach was empty, so we headed to a restaurant along the river.

chicago02 Still warming up here, doing a quick sketch of my friends Cathy and Laurie.

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Our room was on the 21st floor of the Roosevelt University dorm, a fabulous vantage point with views of the lake on one side and the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower on the other (used to be the world’s tallest building). And down below the trains. The geometry of the trains in relation to buildings fascinated me, so I gave it a try. Also I figured if I could appreciate it a bit more perhaps the incessant noise from it would not bother so much! And indeed, at least in the room, I got used to it.

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Michigan Avenue in the way to get most places you want to go in the beginning. It was a good place to start practicing the one point perspective and getting those people in!

This story will proceed in segments because I’m off for the weekend again, so please stay tuned!

 

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.

Urban Sketch workshops

Urban Sketching workshops near you!

If you are interested in urban sketching workshops, read through this post carefully, for
1) Workshops around the world
2) Workshops in the San Francisco Bay Area
3) And a workshop I’m teaching- in Sonoma County!

Workshops Around the World

This is an exciting year for Urban Sketching! Urban Sketchers is 10 years old this year and they’re celebrating with year-long workshops all over the world. Excited? Click  this link to see where all the workshops are. Each city lets you pick from 10 workshops being held throughout the year.1010

Workshops in the San Francisco Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay Area chapter of Urban sketchers is excited to be holding it’s own series of 10 workshops all over the Bay Area: 10 teachers you’ve been wanting to take a workshop with and I am one of them! And the workshops are geared to all levels of sketchers!25_usk-10classes-san-francisco-bay-area2

For more about these workshops and how to register, go to this link. We have quite a fantastic lineup of workshops, so register soon.

Whether you are signed up for a workshop, thinking of signing up, curious about urban sketching, or just want to meet and hangout with urban sketchers, everyone is invited to our launch party on Saturday February 11 at Arch Art & Drafting Supply in San Francisco. The event will kick off with a sketch meet-up at San Francisco’s Mission Bay at noon, followed by the launch party at Arch Art & Drafting Supply at 1:30. UsK classes will be introduced and individual instructors will be available for a meet-and-greet session. Come join us even if we’ve never met before, we’re a friendly bunch!

I will be teaching the last workshop of the series titled Sketch vignettes to share the story that interests YOU! on June 10 in Freestone, CA. In this three hour workshop we will explore tools for quickly getting to the story you most want to tell in your sketch. We will build the sketch out from the point of your greatest interest, connecting it to its context and leaving out all that isn’t needed to make a more powerful impact. Principles of vignette design and utilizing the white of the paper will be practiced along with simple drawing and watercolor applications. I hope you can join me ! For more information and to register visit the 10 X 10 S.F. Urban Sketchers web page.

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North Bay Urban Sketchers

Also known as the Ready Set Sketch group, the North Bay Urban Sketchers meet up on the second Saturday of each month to sketch together at a different Sonoma County location. The group is coordinated by Richard Sheppard and welcomes anyone, beginner or experienced artists who wish to get out and sketch in public alongside others. Typically there’s an initial meet up place to greet everyone, followed by time for sketching in the vicinity either alone or with others, and then a time at the end to look at all the sketches together and meet some other sketchers.

There was a fine turn out yesterday for the meet up in Occidental and sunshine to warm the art spirits!

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fountain pen and w/c in 8 X 8″ hand.book sketchbook

Occidental is a friendly little town nestled in the redwoods between Sebastopol and the ocean and happens to be one of my favorite spots for sketching. This white church right up the road from Howard’s Cafe was back lit, which meant staring into the sun to sketch it. But I must say that after so much rain and cold, it was a delight to experience the tentative warmth of that winter sun.

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Next spot was the pub Barley and Hops across the street, and once again, facing into the sun I zeroed in on just the porch and the elegant palm fronds.

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I can stay away from sketching people only so long til the urge takes over! And there’s few better subjects than sketchers because they are mostly still.

If you’ve been wanting to try some sketching outdoors, why don’t you join the Facebook Group, Urban Sketchers- North Bay, and come along some time?!

#SBSADrawingaDayChallenge

 

 

Coming Soon, Reunification

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Lamy Joy fountain pen and watercolor in 8 X 8″ hand.book w/c sketchbook

A lovely day for another sketch of the tractors and earth-moving at Old Courthouse Square where they are busy with a Santa Rosa city “reunification” project. Unfortunately there was little visibility of the work since the entire area is encompassed by green covered fencing and busy traffic.

So we situated ourselves at the corner across 4th Street, where the view was generous with urban “entourage” (as the urban sketchers call it). Meaning lights and signs and umbrellas and bikes and more. As usual I did not plan to be so detailed, but the day was lovely and there was time, so why not put it all in? Do you see Becky on her stool at the end of the columns? I thought I’d try out some more designed text as well.

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It wasn’t quite lunchtime yet so I had time for a more abbreviated sketch of the “green wall” obscuring the construction. The restaurants and stores in the area really need people to know that they remain open in spite of the construction. We got hungrier and hungrier smelling the mouth watering aromas emanating from Flavors’ open door.

#OldCourthouseSquareReunification, #FlavorsRestaurant