April 1, 2015

Drawing Attention – April 2015

Urban Sketchers Events and Workshops

Early Bird registration for the 6th International Urban Sketchers Symposium in Singapore is on now! Standard registration begins April 11.

"Omar Jaramillo (USk Berlin) has done a fantastic job of developing sponsorship opportunities for the International Urban Sketching Symposium and establishing relationships with sponsors worldwide," said USk Board President Elizabeth Alley. "Omar has decided to step down from the Executive Board but will continue to serve as the Sponsor Coordinator. Thank you so much, Omar!"

Urban Sketchers workshops around the world are filling fast! See the Urban Sketchers blog for details on workshops in Richmond, Virginia (USA), Coventry, England, Lisbon, PortugalMiami, Florida (USA), and Volterra, Tuscany (Italy). "Line to Color" in Orange County, California (USA), is now full.

The third annual West Coast Urban Sketchers Sketch Crawl will be in San Diego (USA) Aug. 7 - 9, 2015.

As part of its biannual in-person meeting in Azores, Portugal, the Urban Sketchers Executive Board held its first live chat sessions with sketchers March 2 on Facebook. Held twice that day to reach as many urban sketchers as possible, the hour-long chats accepted questions and comments with responses from the board. "There were lots of great (hard) questions asked [and] good ideas," said Communications Director Brenda Murray. "It was so cool to see the interest from our sketching community." The board hopes to offer more online chats in the future.

Have you heard about the new Urban Sketchers editorial guidelines? Any sketcher who regularly publishes on a regional Urban Sketchers blog can now be listed on the global USk Correspondents page and be recognized as an Urban Sketchers correspondent. This means that more sketchers will have their work exposed to a worldwide audience. "With more correspondents in more places, we can do a better job of fulfilling our mission of showing the world in sketches," said Editorial Director Gabi Campanario. Learn more about the new editorial guidelines.

News from Urban Sketchers Communities

Sketch by Flavio Ricardo
The Feb. 20 edition of the online magazine Creative Bloq featured an article about the 2013 Urban Sketchers Symposium in Barcelona.

Urban Sketchers Brazil and the sketches of Flavio Ricardo were in the news March 23 in an article about Sketchy Hour, an event organized by Daniela Hladkyi of São Carlos.

The Stewart Hall Gallery in Pointe Claire will present "A Sketch in Time," an exhibit of four artists from Urban Sketchers Montreal (Canada). Shari Blaukopf, Jane Hannah, Marc Holmes and Raynald Murphy will exhibit their sketchbooks and recent paintings in the Project Room of the Gallery July 5 through August 31, said Shari. On July 5, the gallery will also host a sketching day with the public and Urban Sketchers Montreal on the spectacular lakeside grounds of Stewart Hall Park, followed by an exhibit of the day's sketches in the Art Gallery.

The Tri-City Herald (USA) gave Urban Sketchers Tri-Cities great coverage March 15. The article includes photos from a recent sketchcrawl in Richland's John Dam Plaza. A video of the outing features Jim Bumgarner.

On March 6, the Record newspaper (Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada) featured KW Urban Sketchers' role in ending the $59/day permit that used to be required of street musicians and other performers. A May 30 event called "Permitted" will celebrate the permitting change, encouraging artists and performers of all kinds, including sketchers, to make music and art in the streets.

Sketch by Eduardo Salavisa (see news about his exhibit below)
Cathy Johnson has an interesting way to bring together far-scattered urban sketchers from the U.S. Midwest region. "I came up with the idea of having a Virtual Sketchcrawl on the third Saturday of every month," Cathy said. "People sketch wherever they are, and then share it with a #virtualsketchcrawl hashtag. We've been doing it for three months now, and it works beautifully!" A small local group meets in person also. See the group's Facebook page for sketches from a recent virtual event.

Andre Sandmann of Zurich (Switzerland) reports that the Foundation Beyeler in Basel will sponsor a sketchcrawl in conjunction with the museum's annual summer open house party Sept. 15. As part of the program, Andre will offer a workshop and presentation about Urban Sketchers. Andre also said that Swiss National Television recently televised a program about Urban Sketchers.

Richard Alomar of Urban Sketchers New York City (USA) is working with the American Society of Landscape Architects and Urban Sketchers to organize SKETCH OUT/LOUD in April. Part of World Landscape Architecture Month, the month-long event is intended to promote urban sketching among landscape architects, architects and designers worldwide. All urban sketchers are invited to participate by adding the hashtag #skol2015 to sketches of parks, plazas, streets, front yards and other examples of landscaping.

Tim Richardson of USk Birmingham reports that the group's blog was recently updated. "We've started putting book reviews on there, and it's become very popular," Richard said. The blog also shows the contents of members' sketch kits and sketching tips.

Another USk blog that offers inspiring posts is Urban Sketchers Chicago. A recent post, "Lessons From Your Own Sketchbooks," by Andrew Banks, encourages sketchers to learn from and be inspired by their own past work.

Urban Sketchers Málaga (Spain) is back in the news with an article in the March 2 edition of SUR.

An image from "Sketching the Line" 
Also in the press recently was Urban Sketchers Stuttgart (Germany). On March 10, the Stuttgarter-Zeitung featured the group sketching at the natural history museum in Rosenstein Park.

Sketchers in Action

For the second consecutive year, "Sketching the Line," an international exhibition of sketches of commuters by commuters, selected sketches to display on digital screens in the Toronto Transit Commission subway stations and the Edmonton Light Rail Transit stations, reports Marie-Judith Jean-Louis. This year, three of the ten selected sketchers were from Toronto: Marek Badzynski, Marie-Judith Jean-Louis and Wilfred Wong. Other artists include Tony Yin Tak Chu (Canada), Deborah Dendler (USA), Robert Guenther (Germany), Kathleen Newman (Canada), Vincent Roche (Canada), Louise Wilde (UK) and Nick Wildermuth (USA).

Via del'Arco di San Calisto
by Matthew Brehm
The Virginia Center for Architecture is sponsoring "Urban Sketchers: Sketch Virginia," an exhibit in partnership with Urban Sketchers and Glave & Holmes Architecture. Featured sketchers will include Rich Johnson and Midwest correspondent Don Gore. Marc Taro Holmes will lead a series of workshops the weekend of April 17. Curated by USk Membership Director Jessie Chapman, the exhibit runs April 9 through July 5 at the VCA in Richmond (USA).

Matthew Brehm (Idaho, USA) has just won the prestigious Award of Excellence from the American Society of Architectural Illustrators for his watercolor sketch of Via del'Arco di San Calisto in Rome, Italy.

Richard Alomar (USA) will give a presentation on "Urban Sketching: Decoding Place" at the Foundations in Art: Theory and Education National Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Eduardo Salavisa of Abrantes, Portugal, has an exhibit of 90 images from his sketchbooks as well as 72 of the sketchbooks themselves. Entitled "The Sketchbook. Being aware of what surrounds us," the exhibit is on through May 2 at the Abrantes municipal library.

San Francisco (USA) urban sketcher Cathy McAuliffe recently sketched the installation of Richard Serra's sculpture at the SF Museum of Modern Art. As she sketched, a San Francisco Chronicle photographer captured her sketching, and her photo was included in an article about Serra's work.

Liz Steel (Australia) will offer a travel sketching workshop in Launceston, Tasmania, in October.

Melanie Reim's reportage sketches of a dog show.
New York (USA) artist Melanie Reim has been keeping busy! Her reportage drawings are appearing in several group shows. Chiens et Pain, drawings from early mornings in Collioure, in the south of France, are in Mascot Gallery, New York City, 16th annual Dog Show, and in New Views: FIT Art and Design Faculty Show, Fashion Institute of Technology, also in NYC. Her reportage drawing of the USS Intrepid has been accepted into the Society of Illustrators West Annual Exhibition, a juried show. And finally, Melanie was recently featured in DART, the Design Arts Daily online publication.

Shout it Out in Drawing Attention

Not seeing anything about you or your Urban Sketchers group in Drawing Attention? Then we want to hear from you! Please send your urban sketching news items with links and images to: drawingattention@urbansketchers.org. Or tag me, Tina Koyama, on news you post on the Urban Sketchers Facebook page. Subscribe by e-mail. Happy sketching!

Looking for the source

New year in Iran began on March 21. During the Nowruz holidays, people are expected to visit one another (mostly limited to families, friends and neighbors) in the form of short house visits, which are usually reciprocated.

Timche “Haj Karim Poosti”

I’d like to share some works from a month ago about light sources in bazaar. It’s not very hard to find the sources of natural light in bazaar and enjoy of this observation and sketching that.

Timche “Haj Karim Poosti”

Timche Malek 

March 31, 2015

Hail Hydrants!

By Pete Scully in Pacific Grove, California

fire hydrant on lighthouse, pacific grove

I have been fire hydrant free for about two years now. Except for one barely visible underground one in London last year, oh and one I found at a bus station in Barcelona at 2am in the summer of 2013 (yes, sketching fire hydrants at 2am, you've all done that), I've actually not sketched fire hydrants in a really long time. I've been on a hydrant diet. I walk past them in the street and I'm like, no, I don't need to sketch it, I can just keep on walking, it's totally fine. I'll just 'remember' it, and tell people about it later. This period of what I like to call 'dehydration' has been surprisingly easy. You see, I don't like to sketch the same hydrant twice if I can avoid it, or the same type of hydrant (if I have sketched an identical one already). There are not very many hydrants in Davis left I haven't drawn, and I don't get to many other places as often as I'd like, so there's been no hydrant sketching. However I spent last weekend in Pacific Grove, on the Monterey Peninsula in California, and they have great fire hydrants there, and there was this one on Lighthouse Avenue, all weather-worn and oxidized, and oh I couldn't resist, I just had to sketch it. There was an amazing ornate Victorian building across the street worthy of any oil painting but I didn't care, I was sketching this old thing instead (actually it's not that old, 2006 it says, and actually I did sketch the old building too afterwards). This hydrant, whose name by the way is Jones, reminded me of an old junked Dalek, or maybe a repurposed cannon from a decaying warship, an angel with a dirty face. This ended up being the only hydrant I sketched on our little vacation, but I'm definitely back on them now.

The Depot stands empty

Marcia Milner-Brage in Cedar Falls, Iowa, USA

Seldom used train tracks cross Main Street at 5th in downtown Cedar Falls, Iowa. The Rock Island Line long ago ran passenger trains through town. This was the depot. It was built in 1870. For most of the 30 years that I've lived here it's been a bank. Before it was a bank, it was a restaurant. Ten days ago, Regions Bank closed this branch office. It was my bank, conveniently walking distance from my house. Too many people are doing their banking online, we were told, to keep it open. The bank consolidated their three local branch offices into one. Now, I'll need to get in my car to do my banking and to chat with the tellers we've come to enjoy as friends. The building is vacant and for sale. 

Last week, I was wearing my winter coat and boots. Yesterday, I stood on the edge of the eerily empty parking lot of The Depot, the temperature 70 degrees Fahrenheit, gnats biting my ankles, a  March wind chasing crazy cloud formations above the long roof.

One of the tellers, who worked at this branch for 19 years, commissioned me to do this drawing. I hope she likes it.

Traveler in Tindouf: The slaughter of the goat

By Javier de Blas in Tindouf, Algeria

February 28, 2015 — Ahmet, Shabu's father, celebrates my arrival with the slaughter of a little goat. Although I'm pretty much a vegetarian, I'm grateful for the hospitality and I witness the ritual.

One must not be as scrupulous as those who, like myself, live under the assumption that what we don't see may not actually exist. That's a refinement of hypocrisy.

Ahmet held the goat as he slit its throat at once and the animal squirmed for less than a minute. Jamudi helped holding the goat and Aziza cleaned up the walls splattered with blood. As they empty the animal's guts, I observe the emptiness in its eyes. There's no sign of panic or pain. Only the mark left from a life that vanished, leaving a blank expression. I'm in shock, but I don't feel horror or guilt. Only compassion. There's a lot of truth behind this simple and, here in the desert, necessary act.

Sketched for thirty minutes, drove for six hours

By Kumi Matsukawa in Kanagawa, Japan

The very next day I went to Yokohama, I again determined to sketch something and headed to Misaki fishing port , Kanagawa prefecture where I visited with some friends just one week ago.
(This is the report of that day I did on USk Japan blog; written in Japanese)

To get the port, I decided to drive instead of using train. Oh well, it was such a nice day, so many people loved going out by car or something other leasons, and the traffic was really jam packed! More over on my way back home, I drove wrong course to cruise really unnecessary long distance and I ended up being behind the wheel for six hours! ( That much time, I could have traveled to somewhere overseas ) Well, anyway my mission which forced by myself was completed within thirty minutes. Sketched the view of the port using primary colors.

Misaki fishing port 0330

March 30, 2015

Ciclavia in the Valley

by Shiho Nakaza in Los Angeles, California USA

I always enjoy riding my bike during CicLAvia, when normally car-centric streets in Los Angeles are closed to cars and open to everybody else to walk, skate, or bike. This time it was in the Valley, around Studio City, Universal City and North Hollywood area. It was overcast, which made for a pleasantly cool day for exercising and flat, even light for sketching. I rested at a coffee shop with a friend while looking at The Sportsman's Lodge across the way with lush garden area with palm trees.

USk News: New Workshop in Richmond, VA

17-18 April 2015

USk is pleased to announce a new workshop coming 17-18 April 2015.

Join sketching artist Marc Taro Holmes for a two day sketching workshop in Richmond VA, sponsored by Strathmore. This workshop coincides with Architecture Week at the Virginia Center for Architecture, and the ongoing exhibition Urban Sketchers: Sketch Virginia.

The primary goal for the workshop is to loosen up participant’s pen drawing, and encourage working rapidly, in a more relaxed style. Ultimately leading toward new skills with reportage and sketching from life. 

For more information about this workshop including schedule and registration information, please visit http://workshops.urbansketchers.org/2015/03/urban-sketchers-sketching-richmond.html

Westminster: the election campaign starts

By James Hobbs in London

They're off. As from today, the UK general election campaign is underway, and this is very apparent when I cycle through Westminster, the home of government, where helicopters are hovering over Downing Street as the prime minister heads to the palace, and TV crews are setting up makeshift studios on the green across the road from the Houses of Parliament. (That's the top of Big Ben poking into the sky on the right hand side of the drawing.) UK elections are relatively swift – the vote is on 7 May – but this time the result is too close to call: none of the main parties are on the crest of a wave, and the smaller parties may well end up holding the balance of power again.
I admit it: I love an election.

Red blooming tree

by Marina Grechanik, in Ra'anana, Israel

Spring is here in all its beauty and there are a lot of blooming everywhere. 
I love especially this red blooming tree in my neighborhood - its huge beautiful flowers grow before its leaves, which emphasizes even stronger the bright splashes of red on the bare tree branches.
Here are three quick sketches of the same tree I did during the month. The last one done a few days ago, when only few red flowers left on my tree :(
Luckily, I have my sketches. And I can wait until the next spring ;)

Test-Driving my new Concertina Sketchbook

By Lynne Chapman (of Usk Yorkshire) in Manchester, UK.

This month's SketchCrawl day was a bit different. It was super-social! Simone Ridyard, who runs Manchester Urban Sketchers, set up a street-sketching day with the Society of Architectural Illustration. It seemed like too good an opportunity to miss, so us folks at Usk Yorkshire and also the Birmingham Urban Sketchers group joined in.

The event didn't kick off until 11am, but I got a slightly early train and so managed to squeeze in an extra sketch at the beginning of the day. 

The Palace Hotel, just round the corner from Oxford Road Station, is a stunning colour, especially with the sun on its red bricks. Better still, you can get a great view of it from the warmth and comfort of the Corner House cafe, on the opposite side of the road. I passed a very relaxed 45 minutes with a sketch-buddy, then we had to hot-foot it across town to the meeting place for the official start. 

A group of 20 or so people were milling about when we got there: some familiar faces, some people I had so far only met on Facebook, some new introductions. After the hellos, we split into two groups, with half of us drawing the buildings visible from Bridge Street and the others venturing down to Chapel Wharf. The modern architecture provided an exciting interplay of shapes, especially with the sweep of this suspension bridge:

I sat myself in the sun but, unfortunately, my spot quickly got swallowed up by the shade of a tall building behind me. Once out of the sunshine, is was FREEZING but I couldn't move until I had finished my painting. Just five minutes before I stopped, the sun taunted me by working it's way back round. Typical. I was very pleased with the results though, so it was worth the pain. 

I had decided to take one of my new concertina books for a trial run. You might remember that I made a test book, to perfect the technique, so I sketched in that throughout Saturday, running my sketches together. I love that the concertina format lets me keep unfolding new pages, so I can add more space as I go along. Everything worked a treat, so that's good news after all my cutting and folding and sticking (although I had a major water-bottle leak in my bag, which was nearly a disaster).

Everyone regrouped before lunch, to share the work so far, because some people had to head off. That's when we took the photo at the top. Then it was reward-time. We were too big a group to eat as one, but I went with 10 people for lunch at a fantastic Greek self-service restaurant. We were all too busy scoffing to sketch. Gorgeous food (and cheap too!).

The afternoon's sketch-venue was the area around Albert Square. I have wanted to sketch the Town Hall for a while, but until recently it has been surrounded by builder's barriers. It's a monster of a building, so I tackled one tiny section, being very careful this time to pick a truly sunny spot. 

At 4pm, we regrouped again at a pub, where we looked through each other's sketches and got the chance to chat to some of the people from other groups. It was all too short unfortunately, as I had to dash for a train home. 

It was still sunny though and there is one section of the journey across the Pennines to Sheffield, which is especially lovely in good weather. It's only visible for a very short time, so I had my watercolour pencils and sketchbook ready - this time a ready-made, mini Moleskin concertina, just A6. 

It was a thoroughly lovely day. Thanks so much to Simone for organising things.

March 29, 2015

Drawing 'Bladerunner' part 2

The Ennis house, Los Feliz. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and used in Ridley Scott's 'Bladerunner' as Deckard's apartment. 30 min. quick sketch with pencil and ink pen. Time-lapse film. 
Part 1: Drawing the Bradbury Building is here

Remembering a Great Leader


This panoramic sketch was done in Moleskine Japanese Album Large.

Last week was the saddest week for Singapore. Mr Lee Kuan Yew, our founding Prime Minister passed on at the age of 91 on Monday 23 March and we, the sketchers had our March sketchwalk at Esplanade Waterfront on Saturday to celebrate the achievement of Singapore which is synonymous with the wonderful life of our remarkable leader. Last week, there was an amazing outpouring of emotions by Singaporeans at large that people queued up for ten hours to the Laying-in-State to pay their last respects at the Parliament House.

While we were sketching in the shade at the Waterfront, people in the long long queue behind us were standing under the scotching sun in a orderly manner, no one complaint or grumbled. There were volunteers who supplied water, buns and umbrellas. I even saw a lady carrying an ice box with icy towels given out to people in the queue!

The next day on Sunday, despite heavy downpour, thousands lined the streets of Singapore when the cortege traveled from Parliament House to University Cultural Centre for the State Funeral where foreign dignitaries from more than twenty countries were there waiting in the hall. People dropped everything and the entire nation observed a minute of silence at 4pm. Good Bye Sir, may you rest in peace!

I like to share with you one of the famous quotes from Mr Lee Kuan Yew:

"I have no regrets. I have spent my life,
so much of it, building up this country.
There's nothing more that I need to do.
At the end of the day, what have I got?
A successful Singapore.
What have I given up?
My life."

Look at the sketch, within a generation; in a short span of 50 years, we transform the country from a mud land to a first world country. Thank you Sir!

El Campo Santo Cemetery, Old Town San Diego

By Lydia Velarde

The Roman Catholic El Campo Santo Cemetery was established in 1849. One of the graves here is that of Yankee Jim Robinson who was hung at the site of the Whaley House, two blocks away.

Yokohama windy day sketch trial

By Kumi Matsukawa in Kanagawa, Japan

I was determined to go out for sketching using primary colors only today. And I brought quickly customized palette filled with only red, yellow and blue pigments; headed to Yokohama Minatomirai district. There, many people were enjoying seeing blooming cherry blossoms. At beginning, it was warm and I felt pretty happy, I thought I can make the most of daytime. But soon the wind started blowing hard, that kept flipping my sketchbook, blew away my hat and pallet, and I needed to chase these items several times while drawing... I should have brought much stiff pallet, some clips to fix paper, and a cap that hold my hair from blowing .... Lesson learnt.

This is my today's palette and the way how I started.
Cherry blosom trees and Landmark tower

At this moment I felt chilly and decided to stop drawing. As you can see many people started leaving.
Cherry blosom trees and Landmark tower

Cherry blosom trees and Landmark tower