July 6, 2015

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Montreal

By Shari Blaukopf, Pointe Claire, Quebec

It was almost exactly like Georges Seurat painted it in "La Grande Jatte" — people gathered on the banks of a river on a glorious Sunday afternoon, sailboats in the distance, cool breezes coming off the water — except the island was Montreal, the river was the St. Laurent and the people were sketchers. The event "Picnic Vernissage" was organized by the Stewart Hall Cultural Centre and Art Gallery in Pointe Claire, in conjunction with Urban Sketchers Montreal. It was a day of drawing and picnics on the grass, followed by a vernissage of sketches in the gallery.

When you plan these types of events, you're never sure how many people will show up. Our typical Sunday sketching outing in Montreal has about 25-30 people on a good day, but I guess the spectacular setting and the perfect weather was a real draw, because we counted over 80 sketchers including some from Toronto, Vermont and Quebec City!

Many of the sketchers chose to draw and paint the mansion overlooking the lake that houses the gallery and Cultural Centre. Here's my drawing of the building from a few weeks ago.

I was hoping to get more drawing done at the event itself, but all I really had time for was a sketch of one of the giant poplars on the lawn. Our hosts spoiled us with food and drink, and there were so many people to talk to.

At the end of the day, gallery volunteers hung all the work, where it will remain all summer long. The quantity and variety of work completed by the sketchers during the event was astounding! If you are in Montreal during the summer, please stop by and have a look. 

July 5, 2015

Violectric Debut Revolutionary LED Instrument Lighting “Violuminescence” at Bite.

By Thor from Orlando

Bite Night, hosted by the Orlando Weekly was held at The Orchid Garden and Ballroom at Church Street in Downtown Orlando from 7pm-10pm on June 29th.   I went to the event specifically to sketch the premiere performance of Violuminence. 

Michelle Jones the founder of Violectric asked her husband, Jerry Jones, the groups technical director to design the diodes along the rims of the instruments which made them glow like souped up Harley Davidson motorcycles. Violuminescence produces unique, lighted string instruments that can be remote controlled to enhance any performance in an unrivaled manner.

When I arrived, the event was just getting started but there were already long lines for food. I immediately started hunting for my sketch opportunity. I ran into Ilene Lieber the groups pleasant and hard working PR representative and she let me know that the Violuminence performance would start at 9pm in front of the DJs table on the main floor. That gave me several hours to sketch in the Orchid Room's magical turn of the century decor. When Violumenence began, I added color starting with the blue glow of the instruments. The instruments glowed in every color of the rainbow as if celebrating the recent Supreme Court decision allowing everyone to share the rights of marriage.

“We are beyond excited to finally unveil Violuminescence to the public later the month,” said founder of Violectric and Fretless Rock, Michelle Jones.  “This will be the first opportunity for public audiences to experience Violuminescence and revel in this truly spectacular and awe-inspiring musical innovation.  We are known for getting audiences up out of their seats and dancing along with us as we play, and we look forward to blowing away all our loyal fans with Violuminescence and hopefully gaining many more new ones worldwide.”

When the violins performed Journey's Don't Stop Believing, everyone in the room started singing along. "Shadows searching in the night". It was really a magical moment. The crowd was hooked and I sang along as I sketched. The violinists weren't passive. They began moving around the room finding their way through the crowd.  By the time my sketch was done, the crowd was starting to thin out. All the food vendors had packed up. Darn it. I hadn't tasted a bite so I can't report on how good the food was. Genevieve Bernard and Seth Kubersky told me that the food directly across the room from me was absolutely delicious. I am pleased by the rich warm and cool colors that I could catch with my digital sketch.  For more information on Violectric contact 407-434-1261 and for more information on Fretless Rock by Strings Etc visit their web page.

- Analog Artist Digital World

Sketcher-in-Residence at the 'Atmospheres' Conference

by Lynne Chapman, from Manchester, UK

I just scanned all the sketches I did of the 'Atmospheres' conference at the Morgan Centre at Manchester University, as a precursor to my residency with them, starting on October. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, scribbling constantly, and filled 6 metres of paper! 

The conference was covering all kinds of sociological issues around the idea of atmosphere (the atmosphere of 'moshing' at a Heavy Metal concert; creating an appropriate atmosphere in care homes...) It was all really interesting and very accessible to a non-academic. 

I made accordion sketchbooks especially for the occasion. My remit was to record what I saw and do my best to conjure the atmosphere of the conference itself. 

At the end I gave a 15 talk on Urban Sketching and showed the results via a visualiser. I then co-delivered a paper with Professor Sue Heath, talking about the residency and showing more examples of my sketches, to try and convey what we are hoping to get out of the year. 

I will be a fly on the wall for 2 days a week, recording elements of the life of the Morgan Centre and its team and following key researchers, capturing what I can of their research projects. can't wait!

As you can see, I carried on working after the conference had finished and recorded my journey home, so it was more or less a door-to-door account of my experience of the event.

All the Hong Kong sketches coloured

After three weeks, I've finally completed colouring all the sketches I drew in Hong Kong and Macau. There are a few still in black and white because I had forgotten to take reference photo for them.

I like Macau more than Hong Kong because the wider range of architectural styles. In Hong Kong, it's mostly high-rise residential or commercial buildings. In Macau, you have those, but you also have the flashy casinos and the European style buildings from the Portuguese colonial period.

Hong Kong is quite impressive though. You can look at Hong Kong Island's skyline from Tsim Sha Tsui and not be able to see any gaps in between the buildings. Cost of living there must be high. Yet when I look at those Cost of Living charters, I see that Singapore is higher than Hong Kong. However, I can't find a place in Hong Kong that sells a bowl of noodles cheaper than I can easily find in Singapore. That's weird.

Below are selected sketches from the 97 I drew.

Big Buddha at Ngong Ping Village.

Ocean Park

Macau General Post Office

Ruins of St Pauls

Statue at a small garden beside Ruins of St Pauls

Prosperity tree at Wynn

View from The Peak

People are still protesting

You can see all of them on my blog and the original black and white sketches on my Google+ page.

- Parka

July 4, 2015

People in my town

 It is a hot summer in Isfahan and also Ramadan has begun.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting to commemorate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad according to Islamic belief. This annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month lasts 29–30 days based on the visual sightings of the crescent moon, according to numerous biographical accounts compiled in the hadiths.


Here are some sketches of my people. I have worked on some sketches in photoshop, and you may like to see more of them on my blog. Wish you enjoy them.

In Central Library of Isfahan Municipality

In Hasht-Behesht garden
An old work/ Women wearing hijab(chador) on Sheikh-Lotfollah mosque's stairs

July 2, 2015

USk Portugal Aljezur

Last weekend in Aljezur, southern of Portugal the meeting of Urban Sketchers was like I like! Less urban More countryside and beach!

Support to the Greek people

By Eduardo Salavisa in Lisbon, Portugal

OXI means NO in Greek. A small, but good, protest in Lisbon in support of the Greek people.

A Few Days of Painting in Umbria

Matthew Brehm in Umbria, Italy

I led my students on a brief visit to Umbria last weekend. We stopped for the better part of a day in Spoleto, then spent two nights in Perugia before two more nights in Assisi. All of these are "hill towns" and they're among my favorite places to sketch. Always challenging subjects, always amazing light, and generally a peaceful, unhurried daily life. The food is outstanding too, of course - lots of cinghiale and tartufo. I was trying something different this time, working on watercolor blocks rather than in a sketchbook, and found it to be easier in many ways to apply nice large washes without constantly wrestling with the book. The paper (Arches Cold & Hot Press) is also much better than anything I've encountered in even the best sketchbooks - it simply takes the water better. We're now back in Rome, and I hope to post some of my work from this crazy, incredible city soon!

July 1, 2015

Drawing Attention - July 2015

Urban Sketchers Events and Workshops

The Sixth Annual Urban Sketchers Symposium takes place later this month in Singapore. More than 300 participants will be there, making this our largest Symposium yet! Sketching and Workshops passes will be available at the event beginning July 22. If spaces are open in individual workshops, they will be for sale to Activities and Sketching pass holders. Hope to see you there!

Not going to Singapore? Then maybe one of these other exciting Urban Sketchers events is closer to home:

Isabel Carmona, Miguel Herranz and Swasky will help you "Push Your Sketching Boundaries" during a three-day workshop in Oxford, England, July 8 - 11.

Join Isabel Carmona, Mercedes Carmona and Swasky in Segovia, Spain, for "Water Marks" on Aug. 5 - 8.

Amsterdam and Liverpool are the locations for "Sketch It On," a series of Urban Sketchers workshops with Frank Ching, Norberto Dorantes and Simone Ridyard Aug. 13 - 23.

Sketch the color and tradition of Kinvara and Galway, Ireland, with Róisín Curé during "Sketching the Wild Atlantic Way" Sept. 2 - 6.

"Painting in Ischia Island around Aragonese Castle," Oct. 8 - 11, will be offered in Naples, Italy, with Simo Capecchi, Caroline Peyron and Kelly Medford.

Reportage sketching of the "Farm to Plate" process in Chatham County, North Carolina, is the subject of a workshop with Stacye Leanza Oct. 22 - 25.

San Diego (USA) will host the Third Annual West Coast Urban Sketchers Sketch Crawl Aug. 7 - 9. This free event is a marathon of sketching, socializing and fun.

News from Urban Sketchers Communities

For the third year, Urban Sketchers France held a national sketch outing, this time in Strasbourg. Sketchers in all regions of France attended, as well as from at least 10 other countries, bringing the total to 300 participants. See the event's Flickr group for photos and sketches.

Urban Sketchers Chile celebrated National Heritage Day May 31, a day when buildings with architectural heritage are open to the public. Sketchers met in the center of Santiago and drew the Palacio de la Moneda, the government palace, and many other buildings of the 18th and 19th centuries. "The Heritage Day turned out to be an excellent opportunity for Chilean urban sketchers to value and enjoy our architectural heritage in the best way we know," said Rosario Muñoz.

Southampton Urban Sketchers' exhibition at City Art Gallery
In preparation for their second USk Chicago Sketch Seminar July  11-12, Urban Sketchers Chicago offers helpful tips on how to dress and prepare for workshops this summer! Check out the blog post, "Dressed for Sketch-ess."

Southampton Urban Sketchers had an enthusiastically received first exhibition at the City Art Gallery April through June. The exhibition was organized as part of the celebrations for Fifty Years of City status. The exhibit was organized by sketchers Kay Brown and Darren Shorter and Pete Jarvis of Southampton Solent University. Display boards from the exhibit will now be shown at the medieval Wool House.

Urban Sketchers Málaga's exhibit poster
Urban Sketchers Málaga has an exhibition at the main station of the metro train in Málaga. Titled "Metro Sketchers," the exhibition includes drawings the group made on train rides and during a visit to the workshops and maintenance facilities. "We are very grateful to Metro de Málaga for their hospitality to our USk group and for the invitation and building up of this nice exhibition that all metro passengers watch at the lobby of the station when they get down the wagons," said Luis Ruiz. The exhibition was featured in a leading magazine, Via Libre, about Spanish railways. Photos and sketches are shown in the group's Facebook album.

Sketchers in Action

Liz Steel (Australia) has just re-offered her online SketchingNow Foundations course. In 12 lessons, she explains essential concepts for spontaneous sketching on location and how sharpening the way you think will help you sketch faster and more accurately.

Just in time for the summer sketching season, Shari Blaukopf (Canada) has launched a new online video course, "Sketching Landscapes in Pen, Ink and Watercolor" on the website Craftsy.com. The course covers all aspects of plein air landscape sketching, from composition and color to texture and line work.

Javier de Blas' book of Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria
Javier de Blas spent March in the Saharawi Refugee Camps of Tindouf (Algeria), a banished population. He is now crowdfunding a campaign on Verkami to edit the publication of his series of sketches from the camps.

Sue Pownall, co-founder of a new UK group, Essex and Suffolk Sketchers, was recently featured in The Connection, a local magazine, in an article about urban sketching.

Ch'ng Kiah Kiean (Penang) and Alvin Wong (Hong Kong) had a joint exhibition, "Sketching the City II," at the Hong Kong Fringe Club in June.

Sue Anne Bottomley (USA) has published a 253-page book, Colorful Journey, An Artist's Adventure Drawing Every Town In New Hampshire. She drew all 234 towns on location over a two-year period. The book is available on Amazon.com.

Ken and Roberta Avidor (USA) have blogged about their sketching adventures in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Cathy McAuliffe sketched the victory parade for the Oakland Warriors.
Cathy McAuliffe of the Bay Area (USA) Urban Sketchers enthusiastically sketched the recent celebration for the Oakland Warriors. She reports, "It was all yellow and blue in downtown Oakland for the Warriors' NBA Champions Parade! Huge crowd, estimated to be 1 million, gathered to cheer their team that won the first Championship title in 40 years."

Cathy also was just interviewed by the blog Wanderarti about her spring trip to Japan, where she sketched her way through Kyoto.

Simone Ridyard (UK) has a brand new book on sketching architecture: Archisketcher. The book includes many examples of beautiful urban sketches by well-known sketchers worldwide. Released in the US in July and in the UK in September, the book can be preordered on Amazon.com or at North Light Books.

USk correspondent and Advisory Board member James Richards’ (USA) works of Cuban sites related to Ernest Hemingway’s life and work there were the subject of a solo exhibition, “Hemingway’s Cuba,” at the Nobel Prize-winning author’s home (now a museum) outside Havana. Part of the Havana Art Biennial, the exhibition also coincided with the International Hemingway Colloquium, an annual gathering of Hemingway scholars, which closed the conference with a viewing of the exhibition.

James also led a group of 40 on a five-day “Sketch Cuba” tour through Havana and the western side of the island. The sketchers and a group of Cuban artists led by renowned artist Jose Antonio collaborated on a drawing of “Havana Impressions.” The canvas was displayed during the Havana Art Biennial and will be shown in the U.S. later this year.

Asuka Kagawa of USk Australia recently posted her travel sketches from Spain. She included comments about her materials and how she uses them to optimize sketching while on the road.

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!