September 1, 2014

BREAKFAST ALL DAY


Took a short break in Singapore to attend a wedding. The morning after was a late brunch at Dean & Deluga , Orchard Central. Nice quiet place that also serve breakfast all day and good coffee.

August 31, 2014

Book review: Urban Watercolor Sketching by Felix Scheinberger

By Róisín Curé

In the eighties, I attended a very prestigious art college for a year. On the instructions of our tutors, I learned how to scour rubbish dumps for objets trouvés, how to gather dead leaves and mossy branches for an installation and how to make a xylophone from scrap metal.

I certainly didn't learn anything at all about using watercolour. The very idea! Fast forward thirty years or so, and I used watercolour all the time...to colour in my drawings. I was very conscious that I never used watercolour for any pretty effects, or to summon atmosphere in a painting. I knew how to make a sketch look "real", and to that end, sure, I knew what I was doing. Turns out I had no idea what I was missing.

I found Felix's book by chance, browsing for something else. Someone had posted one of those flick-throughs as part of a review, I was immediately excited and bought it without hesitation. I also bought one for my sister, who is an accomplished oil painter, but a relative beginner in watercolour.

I don't know when I've looked forward to a book as much.


I wasn't disappointed. The book is absolutely stunning, as vibrant as the best kids' book you've ever seen; the format is great, a double-page spread for each topic, peppered with madcap illustrations full of life.
I've chosen a few pages to show just how impressive and vibrant the illustrations are. The first is from the section near the beginning which gives a little history of the origin of colours. It's like the opening act of a symphony...

I apologise to Felix for cutting off the edges of the pages, I think I'd be most unimpressed if my carefully-designed page was unceremoniously chopped, but my scanner isn't big enough I'm afraid. But doesn't the page give you a rush? It's so loose, so fluid, so...dramatic.

As I read through Felix's book I realised I'd had another of those epiphanies. I wrote a review of another book not too long ago, and I had said in response to a comment that there would never be a book that would make such an impact on me again, because you can't die twice: a bit of a smart-alec remark, to be sure, but now I can top it. Having read Felix's book, I've died and gone to heaven.

It's not only a delight to look at, but is extremely practical and useful. There's lots of stuff on putting colours together harmoniously, and the theory behind this. There's a section on which colours to put in your travel sketchbox (which I have now followed slavishly). There's fascinating information on using complimentary colours, being bold, and interpreting a scene just how you want to, like leaving lots of areas unpainted, forgetting measuring or counting (something  of which I had always been a keen practioner). Then there's loads of really useful techniques on different ways to use watercolour, all of which were new to me, and I've had a great time playing around with them.

Felix generously opens his bag for us to poke around in -


...which is a lovely thing to do because people always think that if only they had the tools someone else had, they'd crack the secret (well, I did anyway, before I learned that it the answer lay elsewhere i.e. non-stop practice).

Since I have absorbed this wonderful book, my eyes have been opened to the myriad possibilities of watercolour. My natural control-freakery still wants to measure, count and weigh, but I'm trying.

Here's another page, included just because it's beautiful:


I just love Felix's style and while it will probably be many years before I can be loose and sketchy in the way that I want to be, I've definitely learned loads and my work is very much the better for it.

It's also reminded me of something that can sometimes be forgotten -  the sheer, naked joy to be had with a pen and box of watercolours.


August 30, 2014

Urban Sketching Symposium Paraty 2014 - Day Four Highlights

Today was the final day of the Symposium, even though everyone felt like they had just arrived. It is the same every year - it never feels like enough time! We are happy about the connections that people have made here and we are proud of the things they have learned. We hope that participants take the good feeling of the Symposium back home with them, and continue meeting, sketching and sharing through the year.

Until next year, here are some highlights from Saturday.

Carol Pereira's photo of Paul Heaston's workshop. And a dog!

Carolina Maluhy's sketch from Norberto Dorantes' Line Flow/Live Spot workshop


Susan James' photo of Frank Ching from his workshop Architectural Sketching: Composition and Perspective

Sue Pownall's photo of Gabi Campanario's lecture Drawing for Publication: The triumphs and tribulations of a newspaper sketch columnist

Liz Steel's photo of "the morning sketchers group" - starting the day sketching for themselves before workshops and activities began

Norberto Dorantes' Line Flow/Live Spot workshop

Omar Jaramillo captures the reflections of Paraty's high-tide streets

Ronaldo Kurita's photo of Ch’ng Kiah Kiean's demo

Simone Ridyard's lecture Same World, Different Hemispheres

Suhita Shirodkar's photos from her workshop Never Fear the People

Thiago Salcedo's sketch of that Paraty light

All participants at the last sketch walk of the day!


College Game Day in Fort Worth!


If you can't be in Paraty, the next best thing is to be in the crowd watching ESPN's live College Game Day broadcast on the opening day of the college football season from Sundance Square Plaza in Fort Worth, Texas.  The Plaza is one of my very favorite places to sketch, and it's a pretty wild party right now--football fans from all over the region, marching bands, cheerleaders and Chef Tim Love grilling wild game backstage...high energy!  If you are wearing team colors today, good luck to you!

Sketching at Singapore's most bizarre theme park Haw Par Villa

Every end of the month, we sketchers from Singapore have a sketchwalk. Today, we visited Haw Par Villa, a theme park here.

The video below is what I shot today. Viewers' discretion is advised because there are some gory scenes.



The park was originally called Tiger Balms Gardens and was built in the 1937 by Burmese-Chinese brothers Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par. In 1988, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) took over the park and modernised it into a Haw Par Villa Dragon World. Entrance fees were imposed but the attraction did not do well and was forced to provide free entry 10 years later. Now, the park barely maintained.

There are over 1,000 statues and 150 dioramas depicting scenes of Chinese mythology and folklore. The designs can be really offbeat at times. STB still maintain the statues as I can see that their coat of paint are quite new and vibrant despite being exposed to the weather.

To check out some photos, visit my blog post, and for more sketchwalk videos, visit my Vimeo page.

- Parka

Urban Sketching Symposium Paraty 2014 - Day Three on Social Media

Another full day of sketching and sharing in Paraty on Friday. The sketchers are more settled in their temporary home, and are finding a minute here and there to share their adventures on social media.

There are fewer #uskparaty2014 posts on Twitter, but the ones that are there are great! Check out that horse!





Sketchers are sharing a lot of individual sketches on Facebook:

Thiago Salcedo's sketch, posted when "hot out of the oven"

Ch'ing Kiah Kiean warming up for his demo, Sketching with Dry Twig and Chinese Ink

Kumi Matsukawa's early morning sketch

Liz Steel's early morning sketch

Suhita Shirodkar from her workshop Never Fear People

Jessie Chapman's twig sketch following Ch’ng Kiah Kiean's demo

Roberta Gonçalves, Church of Sorrows with watercolor pencils


There's plenty of sharing on Instagram - these are just from the morning! Follow USk Paraty 2014 on Instagram or search for #uskparaty2014 to see the rest of the day.

Marc Holmes' workshop Tea Milk and Honey: The Three Step Watercolor Sketch

Miriam Ben's sketch from Lynne Champan's workshop, Afraid of Color?

And Miriam's photo of Nina Johansson's workhsop In the Mood

Jessie Chapman photo of these lovely gifts from Urban Sketchers Hong Kong

Liz Steel's photo from Thursday, when the higher-than-normal tide presented a challenge for getting to the afternoon workshop

Jessie Chapman's sketch from Simo Capecchi's workshop The Sketched Reportage

Ronaldo Kurita's sketch from Paulo von Poser's activity Collective Drawing

And Ronaldo's photos from Liz Steel's workshop Feeling the Edges

Fernanda Vaz de Campos' sketch from Marc Holmes' workshop

Ronaldo Kurita's photos from Fred Lynch's workshop Capturing Intangibles


And don't forget Flickr! You can search #uskparaty2014 on Flickr, also.

Liz Steel's photo of Richard Alomar's activity Unfolding a Sketching Story

Murilo Romeiro's sketch using dip pen and walnut ink

Omar Jaramillo's watercolor and Super5 sketch

Linda Permann's photo of sketchers sketching sketchers





August 29, 2014

Moleskine City Stories - Sketching London

Urban Sketchers and Moleskine are working together again for the City Stories project in London.



Moleskine City Stories is a live sketch event taking place on Saturday, September 6, at Moleskine's Covent Garden location and London Graphic Centre in London. Urban Sketchers Adebanji Alade, James Hobbs, Andrea Joseph, and Olha Pryymak will be sketching at the two locations, and will each conduct a brief learning session, describing their own take on sketching in public.

Moleskine is giving away 150 of their new Moleskine Sketch Albums, and encouraging everyone to sketch around the store and display their sketches in the stores, making them into creative labs and exhibition spaces.

The event is free and we encourage sketchers and drawing enthusiasts of all levels to participate - another way for people to meet, sketch, and share!

Locations and Times:
Moleskine Store
40 King Street
Covent Garden
WC2E 8JS
11:30 am - 5:30 pm

London Graphic Centre
16-18 Shelton Street
Covent Garden
WC2H 9JL
11:30 am - 5:30 pm

Information about:
Register for Learning Sessions:
London Graphics Center 

Moleskine Store Covent Garden

#moleskinestories #london #urbansketchers



Urban Sketching Symposium Paraty 2014 - Day Two - Full Day

Thursday was the first full day of the Urban Sketching Symposium, and it was quite full! The workshops were the first to start, 12 in all.

Lynne Chapman's Afraid of Color? workshop


Fred Lynch's Capturing Intangibles workshop


Kalina Wilson taking João Catarino's Reflections First of All workshop


Stephanie Bower's 180 Degrees workshop


Isis Chaulon taking Paul Heaston's Wide Angle Perspectives and Little Blank Pages workshop


Soon after, the Activities began...

Richard Alomar captured one of the best photos in Symposium history!


Ricardo Inke leading a sketching tour of Paraty


Xing Chen's lecture Neuroscience and Art


Ivonesyo Ramos leads his demonstration, Paraty Lamps


The Sketchwalks were the last to begin, as participants got a leisurely start to their sketching day.




Though everyone was engaged in different activities, all were there for the same purpose - to meet, sketch and share. There was plenty of that going on as well.

Omar working with sponsor materials from Moleskine and Cretacolor


Paul Heaston sketches everybody


Ana Paula Pereira captures the sketchbook display


Lynne Chapman finds time for her own travel journal


Matthew Brehm and Marc Holmes


Esther Semmens, Marc Holmes, Nina Johansson, Suhita Shirodkar, Liz Steel meeting early to make personal sketches before taking part in workshops and activities.


Friday is another full day, though less full for Workshop participants, who have the afternoon free to participate in activities, demonstrations, lectures, and sketchwalks. Stay tuned!