April 20, 2015

Greenwood Memorial Park and Cemetery, San Diego

By Lydia Velarde, San Diego
The thing I like about The Greenwood Cemetery are the large statues and tombstones. I especially like the angels.

Good Days in Galway

By Róisín Curé in Galway, Ireland

Ah yes...my small part of Galway has once again cast off its cloak of misery and gloom, winter has fled to the north somewhere and we're all basking in sunshine. I was doing stupid stuff in front of a screen and then I had to get out so I stuffed my sketch kit and folding stool into a rucksack, hopped on my bike and sped off, my head at a funny angle because the stool was digging into my neck. The hedgerows smelled marvellous - is that what fresh new nettles smell like? - dandelions of the most intense yellow had just made their late-spring arrival and the sun cast neon blue shadows of leafless trees onto the twisting country roads. I considered stopping and drawing them, but I had a destination, so I pressed on. Then I remembered that if the sun went in, sketching the trees' shadows would come to an abrupt end anyway.

I stopped at Killeenaran Quay and whipped out the sketching stuff. The tide was very low: it's a spring tide, one of the few times you can reach Island Eddy on foot.

I was determined to capture those rivulets of water in the mud. The sunshine made it all a lot easier - there's nothing like strong shadows to give you a short cut to a successful sketch, because it's so much easier to see edges of things, and of course the contrasts are much better defined.

I sat in perfect happiness for a long time - in fact I was late for my next appointment - but it's days like this that you remember why you're so grateful to have the means to make sketches. 

Yesterday I sketched as my kids launched their Optimists down the slip at Galway Bay Sailing Club:

I had to be extremely fast because the little lads and lassies were so eager to get into the water. Sure, the bay looked heavenly in the sunshine, but the kids are always eager to launch, whatever the weather. This isn't my normal way to sketch (I'm usually much more tight and careful) but needs must, and within a few minutes all the boats were gone. I didn't really mind being forced to stop as my fingers were numb anyway from the previous sketch I'd done, of the boats still in dry dock in the sailing club. I had started it a few weeks earlier, but gave it up yesterday as a bad job soon after I started, because stuff had moved since my last visit to the site three weeks earlier. This is only part of it - it's about three times the size, so you can't see the lovely blue sky above the clouds.

I wasn't sorry to go indoors and chat with some of the other parents who had brought their kids to Sunday sailing. "What I like about sailing," said one other mother, "is that you can actually get involved. With Irish dancing all you do is ferry the kids around - you can't do anything but sit on a chair for two hours." The mum in question is amazing - she helps her son rig and de-rig his boat. My husband helps our kids too (and berates them loudly for not doing it themselves, since they're supposed to be learning to do it all alone), but all I do is sit around and sketch. I should maybe have felt guilty for doing nothing to help, but I didn't. Instead I looked around the clubhouse and saw some lovely flags, and thus spent the rest of the time sketching while the kids larked about on the beautiful blue playground that is Galway Bay.

The flags were an urban sketcher's idea of heaven, incorporating interesting shapes, bright and varied colours - and they didn't move, or not more than the gentle breeze from the open door could manage.

Sitting in my kids' sailing club while they have a good time. A sunny Sunday afternoon, left in peace to sketch. Irish flags everywhere. These are definitely the good days.

More of my work here.

The streetlamp reminds me of the workshop I took in the former symposium in Paraty

By Kumi Matsukawa in Kanagawa, Japan

The other day I walked around by the stream and found this view point. I was able to see the looking down view of the city , the stream, the slope and streetlamp. This lamp reminded me of Norberto Dorantes's workshop (Line Flow:Live Spot). During his workshop, I drew two similarly composited drawings. I enjoyed drawing objects with unbroken-line which gave me new insight and new look on my drawings. This time I used watercolor but I basically practiced what I have learnt at that time.

Workshop I (Line Flow:Live Spot)-2

Workshop I (Line Flow:Live Spot)-3
These are done during Norberto Dorantes's workshop I Line Flow/Live Spot (5th international Urban Sketching Symposium ) pen / Paraty, Brazil

Traveling downunder to Sydney & Melbourne

By Paul Wang, Singapore

Devonshire Street, Surry Hills, SydneyTaylor Square, Oxford Street, Sydney Bourke Street, Sydney
I just returned from a wonderful month long yoga teacher training and vacation in Sydney and Melbourne. Other than spending lots of time doing yoga (6 days a week for 1 month), I also had the privilege of meeting and sketching with local aussie sketchers from USk-Sydney and USk Melbourne. They were all very hospitable and lots of wonderful time sketching together. I must not forget my dear friend Liz Steel who came to hangout with me in Sydney. Countless cafe hopping sessions, lots of coffee drinking and of course busy sketching when we are not eating or chatting. It was in Australia that I had my 1st CRONUT (Croissant + Donut) and CRUFFIN (Croissant + Muffin) too.

The highlight of my trip was USk-Melbourne's invitation to give a talk about my Urbansketching journey over the last 5 years. This is the first time that I actually documented my own journey which started in 2010 and super amazed to see the different phases I went through. My thinking and sketching was very different then. I can now see where and when I shifted. I think I progressively became more and more wild and crazy too. The morning of the event we had an overwhelming crowd of 60 who turned up to listen and sketch with me. Lots of first timer eager to find out more about Urbansketchers too.

Sketching at Centre Place with 4 awesome ladies.Wonderful day sketching & hanging out with the Melbourne Sketchers @ Errol street, North Melbourne.

You can view more of my sketches and photographs here or here.

Also check out Liz Steel's blog post about our outing with the Melbourne sketchers here.

April 19, 2015

Vietnam - Street Scenes and Landscapes

Guest Post by Peter Andrews, Terrigal, Australia

Vietnam is a place of contrasts between the energy and chaos of the cities and the serenity of the charming rural landscapes, coastline and World Heritage Sites. I have tried to capture this contrast in the sketches I made during a recent visit with my partner over 2014/2015 Christmas New Year Period. I hope you enjoy them.

Street Scenes
Life is lived on the streets. Hanoi and Ho Chi Min City are noisy, bustling with activity and strange smells.

Hanoi still retains some of its fine colonial French architecture but this tends to be subsumed in the mass of wiring, signs, makeshift shades and awnings, add-on structures, aerials, merchandise, temporary kitchens scattered amongst an endless sea of parked motorbikes and push-bikes.  

Ho Chi Min City is home to around 12 million people and it seems they all own a motorbike.

Ho Chi Min City - The Ben Thanh Market is an amazing place to spend a few hours.

Landscapes, Coastlines and World Heritage Sites
The day trip to Ha Long was a spur-of-the-moment decision, but it turned out to be a fantastic day. I was working between an A5 and A6 Moleskine. Because the boat was moving, the view was constantly changing. I had to work very fast to get the scenes onto paper. Lunch gave me an opportunity to add some wash. 

Ha My Beach is home to a number of small fishing villages.

Ha My Beach Restaurant

Ha My Beach - the round, shell-like boats are made from waterproofed canvas stretched over a frame, and simply left on the beach. This sketch was an exception to my normal technique.
This is drawn on a 20x40cm 300gsm watercolour paper. It is much larger than I would normally use – reflected in the finer line work and detail. It took a little longer because I was working at a bigger scale.

My Son Sanctuary 

Hue – Imperial Palace

 Hoi An, Lunar Festival

I like to work fast, try not to over think what I am doing and let the sketch emerge. I usually draw standing up. I don’t use set-up lines, and leave the pen on the paper most of the time – not continuous line drawing but tending towards it. Increasingly I am sketching over two pages – I like the exaggerated horizontal format without the need to carry a large sketchpad. The join in the centre of the two pages influences the composition; I don't want it to occur on a complex part of the scene – sometimes I use it to divide the composition into two parts.

I enjoy the immediacy of black and white and it allows me to carry the minimum amount of material and equipment. Usually I fit everything in my pocket (no backpack to weigh me down).
Landscape format A5 or A6 size watercolour Moleskine that will fit in my pocket.
Felt pen or rollerball pen (sometimes I just carry the refill because it is smaller and you don’t really need the rest of the pen). I have tested different pens and refills because I like to use water-soluble ink. Although the pens I use are black, when the line work is washed it will change colour, sometimes sepia, sometimes blue and sometimes a purple tinge, depending on the paper type or pen I am using. When I don’t want the line work to dissolve, I use a colourfast non-soluble ink pen like Rotring Tikky or Micron.

I have started to carry a water brush pen – in the past I would simply apply a wash with my finger and whatever medium I could find – water, coffee, coke or wine – coffee and red wine add an interesting colour to the wash.

Much of the work is deliberately small so that when it is enlarged it becomes grainy and starts to fracture. It becomes more like graffiti, particularly when it is blown up on a large format plotter to A2 or A1 size.

Peter Andrews is an Architect and Urban Designer from Terrigal, Australia. You can see more images of Peter's Vietnam trip and other works on his Flickr site Panda1Grafix.

Finding Shangrila in Cairns Australia.

by Thomas Thorspecken

The Shangrila is a five star hotel right on the water in Cairns (Pier Point Road, Cairns QLD 4870, Australia). The room was spacious and well appointed with large photos of reef Corals decorating the walls. Terry went for a walk after we checked in, so I did a sketch from our balcony. As you can see, our view was of the expansive parking lot. I kept the sketch loose by putting watercolor washes down first and only adding line work where it was needed. I should work this way more often. In the distance I could see crowds of tourists walking the main street shopping and looking for restaurants.

After the sketch was done, I flicked on the TV and found a fascinating program that showcases artists who explain their painting process. It was a fabulous show and I got to watch a painting develop from start to finish. I don't know why there isn't a show like this in the states. I guess the audience might be consider a bit limited but I thought it was an awesome show. Another program featured four portrait artists who were all assigned a commission to paint a military veteran's portrait. Only one artists work would win the grand prize and hang in a British museum. With high stakes, it was fascinating to see how each artist handled the commission. There was yet another show that featured a convicted forger teaching artists how to paint like John Singer Sargent. I was transfixed. We need programs like this in the states. The arts are so revered and appropriated in Australia.

Shangrila was our home base for a day trip to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef. After my bout of sea sickness while whale watching, I did research online to find ways to avoid it happening again. One remedy suggested saltines the day before, so I got a box of saltines and popped some Dramamines and drifted off to sleep. Tomorrow would be a long day.

Analog Artist Digital World

April 18, 2015

Sketches from a visit to the Burke Museum at University of Washington

This morning a handful of Seattle Urban Sketchers volunteered to be artists in residence at the Burke Museum on the University of Washington Campus.  Tina Koyama arranged this event with the Museum.  The Burke staff set up tables in the entry foyer with objects as well as  paper and pencils to encourage visitors to try their hand at sketching some of the objects in the museum.  We were located at different parts of the museum as live sketch artists.

I had been wanting to see the Native American Mask that was the inspiration for the Seahawk's Logo which is currently on display.  So I focused most my time in that portion of the museum doing a few vignettes of that area.   I found time before I left to sketch a display of Mastodon bones in a different part of the museum.  Because of medium restrictions,  I chose to sketch in pencil. 

The Native American Display Are of the Burke Museum.

The Mastodon in the Prehistoric section of the Museum.

To see more sketches and pictures from that day check out http://seattle.urbansketchers.org/2015/04/an-urban-sketching-event-at-burke.html  Tina Koyama's write up of the event.

April 17, 2015

Two hundred years of legacy and heritage

Kalimat di atas merupakan headline untuk pameran sketsa Indonesia's Sketchers (IS), hasil kerjasama IS dengan Kedutaan Besar Belanda dan Erasmus Huis dalam rangka memperingati 200 tahun berdirinya Kerajaan Belanda. Pameran yang menggelar 30 karya sketsa ukuran A# dan 7 accordeon sketchbook ini melibatkan 30 artist dari 6 kota di Indonesia; Jakarta, Bogor, Bandung, Jogyakarta, Semarang, dan Surabaya ditambah beberapa sketchers dari masing-masing kota sebagai cabang IS di daerah. Obyek sketsa merupakan bangunan peninggalan masa lampau pasca VOC (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie) yang banyak tersebar di kota-kota di Indonesia.
Satu kesempatan yang baik bagi IS untuk dapat tampil diri dalam upaya menguatkan eksistensinya sebagai komunitas sketsa, disamping juga sebagai upaya untuk lebih mendekatkan seni sketsa (live sketching) kepada masyarakat luas terutama generasi mudanya.
Pameran yang sedang berlangsung hingga 30 April 2015 ini merupakan pameran nasional pertama IS karena melibatkan seluruh komunitas IS daerah. Tak mudah mewujudkan satu kegiatan pameran yang cukup representatif seperti kali ini, perlu kerja keras serta dedikasi yang cukup mengingat sebagian sketchers yang terlibat aktif dalam kesibukan mereka sehari-hari, baik sebagai pekerja kantor atau profesional.
Disamping pameran, IS juga menggelar workshop, sketchwalk dan sketchtalk. Ketiga kegiatan ini lebih diutamakan untuk kaum muda; pelajar dan mahasiswa.
Semoga pameran kali ini mampu menjadi pemicu bagi IS untuk lebih banyak menjalin kerjasama dengan berbagai pihak agar bisa menyelenggarakan kegiatan budaya serupa dalam rangka lebih mendekatkan seni sketsa kepada masyarakat luas.

Berikut hasil liputan singkatnya. Enjoy it!
Acara pembukaan dibuka oleh Duta Besar Belanda untuk Indonesia; Mr Rob Swartbol.
Pose sejenak...
Dari kiri ke kanan: Mr Ton van Zeeland (direktur Teater dan Galeri Erasmus Huis), Atit Indarty (IS founder),
Yanuar Ikhsan (Ketua IS), Mr Rob Swartbol (Duta Besar Belanda), saya dan Donald Saluling (Ketua Pameran)
Sebelas dari 30 peserta pameran.
Dari kiri ke kanan: Yoso Bayudono, Seto parama Artho, Donald saluling, Wahyu SP, saya, Artyan Trihandono,
Nino Puriando, Iqbal Amirdha, Soleh Hadiyana, Yanuar Ikhsan dan Hani Handayani.

Suasana ceria penuh keakraban...
Acara workshop dan sketchwalk selama 2 hari di 4 lokasi di Jakarta.
Sketchtalk; presentasi hasil karya dari peserta workshop dengan dipandu oleh Kris Wardhana, Nashir setiawan,
Donald Saluling, Benny Zhuang, Toni Malakian dan saya sendiri.

Clockwise: Senoaji Wijanarko, Aryo Sunaryo, Iqbal Amirdha, Yulianto Qin, Kris Wardhana, Hani Handayani.

Clockwise: Yandi Prayudhi, Wahyu SP, Yuventus Win, Toni Malakian, Dhar Cedhar, Darman Angir.

Clockwise: Harry Suryo, Nashir Setiawan, Gunawan Wibisono, Adji setiawan, Artyan Trihandono, Jatmika Jati.

Clockwise: Yanuar Ikhsan, Andry Daud, Erick Eko Pramono, Donald Saluling, Nino Puriando, Yoso Bayudono.

Clockwise: Soleh Hadiyana, Muhammad Thamrin, Yoes Wibowo, Seto Parama Artho, Benny Zhuang, Rudi Hartanto.

The Making.
Bagi kami yang biasa membuat sketsa dengan sketchbook dengan ukuran yang relatif kecil (A6, A5 atao A4), tidaklah mudah ketika dituntut untuk membuat dalam format A3. Ukuran pena terpaksa menentukan sesuai dengan format kertas agar garis yang dihasilkan proporsional.
Saat membuat Menara Syahbandar saya harus membuat beberapa thumbnail, dimana saya tidak pernah melakukannya saat bersketsa di sketchbook.
Hampir sebagian besar sketcher di setiap kota mengalami masalah yang sama, yaitu cuaca. Hujan dan panas yang ekstrim cukup mengganggu kami saat kegiatan menggambar berlangsung. Saya sendiri sempat mengulanginya sampai 2 kali. Kali ke dua baru saya mendapatkan hasil yang sesuai dengan kehendak...

Menara Syahbandar dibangun tahun 1839. Dahulu menara ini berfungsi sebagai menara pengawas untuk kapal-kapal yang keluar-masuk Pelabuhan Sunda Kelapa. Kini kondisi menara ini sudah miring. Kemungkinan akibat pengaruh dari pembangunan sekitar dan getaran yang diakibatkan oleh kendaraan berat yang lalu lalang tepat dibelakangnya.
Panas terik dan bau yang tidak sedap membuat konsentrasi menurun drastis!
Hampir 4 jam saya bergelut dengan situasi seperti ini sebelum gerimis menghentikan tangan saya, kemudian berkemas kembali ke menara untuk berteduh dan meneruskannya sambil menunggu hujan reda. Finishing touch saya lakukan di rumah karena hari mulai gelap...
Foto-foto doc. Indonesia's Sketchers


José Louro, in Algarve

Just a few weeks ago we had sun here in Portugal. Usually march his cold but this year the Easter bunny gives us not eggs but warm weather. Maybe because the end of the spring is a time to reborn, just notice now that all drawings have female characters in most.
These two drawings were changing the tools, felt pen and bic/watercolor, and the sketchbook.

Well, if you want to see more females peek:

Drawing small in The Perfect Sketchbook

Below are some sketches I drew in The Perfect Sketchbook, a small 3.5 by 5 inch sketchbook that was made possible by a successful Kickstarter campaign. Unfortunately, the sketchbook is not sold commercially and is available only to those who backed the project.

Anyway, this post is about drawing small. This is the smallest sketchbook I've drawn on. I like detail work and I imagined this sketchbook would be extremely challenging to work on. It's challenging sure, but it's a different sort of challenge.

Drawing on a small sketchbook requires some different skills than drawing on a larger sketchbook. The most important of course is to be able to simplify your art. That would be making important subjects more prominent, not sweating the small details.

Sometimes it's fun to break out of your comfort zone to grab a different material to work with, in this case for me a sketchbook size that I don't usually work with.

Drawn at Changi Airport

A talk inside a bookstore

Singapore skyline from the Esplanade waterfront.

Student hostel at Nanyang Technological University of Singapore.

Singapore Art Museum

- Parka