worldwide sketchcrawl

Jack London Square and Yoshi’s

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fountain pen, brush pen and watercolor on HP w/c paper

Last week Bob and I went to Oakland for a dose of city culture.  While Bob settled onto a bench with his Kindle book, I took advantage of the onset of TGIFriday at Jack London Square.  Standing above these benches I had ample time to sketch this man who alternately looked at the harbor and his cell phone.  I’ve been sketching people in public places for years, but it’s gotten easier, because now almost everyone is looking at their cell phone, and that freezes them in position, at least for a few minutes. jacklondon2

There was a lot of activity outside this restaurant, but amazingly enough a night heron was standing on the fountain outside for long enough that it almost seemed like posing.  The tricky thing about trying to capture the gesture in people though, is that often they return to a rather static posture and that’s the one you feel capable of capturing with pen, even if you prefer the dynamic one.

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We had a positively divine dinner at Yoshi’s (Bob’s birthday treat) and then saw the jazz show with Omar Sosa and his Quarteto Afro Cubano.  It’s not a very big club and you are packed in like sardines. So I was behind a tiny round table next to a couple who luckily were so In Love with each other that they scarcely seemed to notice as I filled the space in front of me on the table with pens and watercolor and sketched like a madwoman in the dark.

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People may wonder how you can enjoy the performance when you’re sketching it.  I don’t have a good answer for that.  I believe I enjoy it more.  And these performers were unbelievably great!  It feels like the concentration of attempting what always feels like the impossible (of putting the experience down on paper) actually draws the raw energy of the performance into one and it gets channeled onto the paper. . .it’s kind of electrifying, regardless of the results in the sketchbook.

If you are a sketcher, maybe you’d like to join in the next Worldwide Sketchcrawl, which is this Saturday, April 25.  We’ll be at the Petaluma’s Butter and Egg Days Festival.

Here’s the details:  Meet at 9:45am at Acre Coffee, 21 4th St. and head over for either the Cutest Chick contest or Cow Chip Throwing Contest. Throw in musical entertainment and a parade for endless sketching opportunities. Meet again at 4pm at the Apple Box Cafe on the water at the Great Petaluma Mill Shopping Mall, 224 B Street to share our sketches from the day.

46th Worldwide Sketchcrawl

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Pitt Artist Pen and watercolor in Strathmore 7.75X9.75″ w/c journal

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The Sketch Bug has bitten me again, along with a desire to try new things.  So I jumped at the chance to join the urban sketchers in San Francisco for the 46th Worldwide Sketchcrawl.  That’s right, all over the world people were sketching together and sharing their work on January 31st.

My passion has been sketching people in public places and intimate scenes, but I’ve been wanting to broaden that to include architecture and other city scenes.  I live in the country and enjoy the vineyard, mountain and forest vistas each day, but am a bit bored with sketching them.  The problem however is that I seem to be allergic to straight lines. After my day in the city I at least developed an affinity to cars and power lines, and hopefully I’ll learn to manage those beastly angles and perspective too!

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Bernal Heights was the setting for the meet-up in San Francisco.  My friend Carole and I arrived and I was immediately drawn in by the fragrance of the Waffle Shop, wasting precious time to eat my waffle and drink my coffee.  Meanwhile the others starting sketching on the street instantly! It’s so much easier to do this public sketching with others who are doing it at the same time.  Makes it feel as normal as walking your dog or pushing a stroller.

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Japanese brush pen and w/c in Strathmore journal.

After a long lunch break when we met up with an old sketch friend Jana Bouc, we found a busy spot on the street with traffic, trams, people of all shapes, sizes and preferences (oh how I love this about the city!) and even a Chinese Lion Dance for the children.  And we plunged in with our pens and colors.

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When  I found a sketcher and a building with a round edge (hallelujah!) I knew what the next sketch would be.  And then, way too quickly, the day was done, and we convened at the library  to share our sketches. . .

sketchcrawlsharingand to marvel at the different styles and techniques, not to mention the subject matter gleaned in this setting.  One sketcher even invited herself into a beauty parlor to do a glorious sketch of a woman under a hair dryer!  Am I inspired for more?  You bet.