May 26, 2015

Sketching in Goa, India: Part 1

Suhita Shirodkar in India

1o short days in India. Too short for much more than a visit to my parents. And for sketching in and around the city of Panjim where they live. So these next few posts are just that: Sketches from the streets and markets of Goa, a tiny little state with spectacular white sand beaches. A state that was once a Portuguese colony and still loves it's siestas and little roadside chapels.

This is just a normal day at Bombay airport, where I wait to catch my flight to Goa. Sketched in pen and blue pencil.

And the perfect contrast to the busy milling crowds anywhere are the stray dogs who sleep peacefully through any amount of noise and chaos. They make such great models. Nothing can wake them up, and they don’t even notice when I stand right over them and sketch them.

Another common sight everywhere: the water tanker that fills up your water tank. Much of urban India suffers from water shortages, and if you’re lucky you can afford to buy water from a private company.

This three-wheeler, the autorickshaw can make it’s way through almost any traffic jam.

Here’s a lineup of them at the auto stand outside Panjim Market.

This is the tempo, a cousin of the auto that’s used for carrying all sorts of stuff.

And while I’m posting vehicles, here is a Royal Enfield, a beautiful Indian motorcycle.

And another Indian classic, a Hero bicycle parked in a side street.

Lots more sketches from India coming soon.

My Melbourne Sketchbook

by Liz Steel, in Melbourne Australia

Last month I was in Melbourne for 12 days on a sketching vacation. I feels like a long time ago because it always seems to take weeks for me to get around to scanning and posting all my sketches. So finally, I can now share them all with you.

Here they are in a single image

and here in an Issuu version so you can flip through every page.

As always with a trip to Melbourne I managed to sketch Flinders Street Station(FSS) a FEW times (this is an understatement!)… in fact I do try to sketch it every day I pass by it - one day I sketched it three times!  The opening image was my last sketch for the trip just before I headed to the airport and this ink sketch was done immediately after arriving.

I also sketched it from other angles - from looking down one of Melbourne's famous laneways and from the other side of the Yarra River. Yep! I am have a chronic FSS problem!

I continued my recent trend of sketching bigger street views in ink only - East Melbourne in a grey ink and Swan St Richmond in brown ink. Both were done using a Sailor pen with a Fude nib.

I also visited a lot of cafes and drank a lot of coffee. The coffee in Melbourne is amazing, however I think the tea is better in Sydney. Many of these cafe visits were in the great company of Urban Sketchers - Chris Haldane from Sydney, Paul Wang from Singapore or any number of the amazing local Melbourne Urban Sketchers. We were certainly looked after very well!

The biggest thing about this trip for me was the fact that my sketching was limited. I know that it doesn't look that way from the quantity that I achieved, but my left hand was out of action for a few days (recovering from an injection that I had a few days before the trip). As a result I did a number of sketches using my other hand (right hand)!

It was a lot of fun, although slightly frustrating, and I realised that most of my sketching skills have to do with my vision and the decisions I make rather than the execution, so having limited control using my other hand didn't make quite as much impact as I thought it would. It made me ponder whether my eye-hand coordination skills were transferrable between left and right and whether it was simply a matter of control - something that was improving every time I tried! It was also a lot easier to paint that it was to draw (this sketch of my food was all right hand!)

If you want to read more about my trip please visit my blog. As always I learn so much when I go on a sketching trip and come home with new ideas - these are summarised in my Seven Reflections from my Melbourne trip.

some sketches at the Seoul Forest Park

By Lee Yong-hwan in Seoul, Korea

a peaceful scenery in the Seoul Forest Park, pencil and watercolor, 24 x 32cm

Visitor Center and Management Office, pen and watercolor, 24 x 32cm

Insect Garden and Butterfly Garden, pen and watercolor, 21 x 29.6cm 

Outdoor Stage for culture and art, pencil and watercolor, 21 x 29.6cm

Giant Statue for playing new types of creativities, pen and watercolor, 21 x 29.6cm

Children's Sand Playground, pen and watercolor, 21 x 29.6cm 

Deer Corral in the Eco Forest, pencil and watercolor, 21 x 29.6cm

Foot bridge over the forest park, pen and watercolor, 21 x 29.6cm

Miss Anna from Germany joined Seoul sketchers, pencil and watercolor, 21 x 29.6cm
Seoul Forest is a large park in Seongdong-gu, Seoul. The park is an eco-friendly zone appreciated not only by the people of the city but also those visiting Seoul. Seoul Forest Park is rapidly developing into the premium city-park of Korea like Hyde Park in London and Central Park in New York. Seoul Forest Park  was opened in June 2005. The park has a long and diverse history over the years. A water purification plant was established here in 1908 to provide water for the royal family and citizens. Another area of the park was turned into an industrial area in the 1950’s. Seoul Horse Race Track, a golf course and a sports park were built here. In the early 2000’s the area was developed into a park. It consist of five parks : a Cultural Art Park, an Ecological Forest, a Nature Experience Study Field, Wetlands Ecological Field, and Han River Waterside Park. There are many people enjoying their weekend with friends and children all over the forest park.
Last Saturday, the weather was very fine, we Seoul sketchers met at the park and enjoyed sketching  in a very friendly atmosphere. I was excited by the colorful sceneries and sketched rapidly here and there in the pleasant park.

Discovering the Architectural Delights of Doncaster

by Lynne Chapman, from Sheffield, England

I can't believe that I have lived in Sheffield for so many years and yet never before visited Doncaster, which is just half an hour away on the train. I discovered by chance that there was a lovely Minster there, so did a quick search to see what else there was to draw. That's how I found out about the gorgeous Corn Exchange, which made my mind up to go there, for the next meeting of Urban Sketchers Yorkshire.

That was last Saturday and, at last, we had a lovely day with NO RAIN - hurrah! It was so relaxing, sitting on the grass, peacefully drawing the Minster in the sunshine. It was very gnarly, with loads of gargoyles and a fabulous rose window. I intended to do various sketches, inside and out, but got very into one complex drawing, so ended up spending the entire morning on just that. I used my Koh-i-Noor 'Magic' pencil to get the multi-coloured line, which gives a softer finish than black and doesn't overpower the subtlety of watercolour:

I'd made yet another concertina book before the visit (I can't use the 35 I made recently, as they are to be saved for my residency). The concertina format was perfect, because it could expand with me as I worked my way up the building. I like to draw big enough to explore the nooks and crannies, so would never have been able to fit it in otherwise.

We had lunch at The Red Lion, which looked from the outside like a little, traditional pub, but unfolded like a tardis once you got inside. Wetherspoons had recently spent millions on it. The indoor restaurant was a bit busy, but there was a lovely courtyard garden: a real suntrap. We pulled 4 tables together and spent a very enjoyable hour chatting, eating and, of course, doing quick sketches of one another. This is me, between two newbies sketchcrawlers, Richard and Alec, sketched by another first-timer with Usk Yorkshire, Steve Beadle:

We had about 6 new members this time, so there was loads to talk about. As we were leaving, one of our first-timers, from Doncaster, pointed out two enormous paintings on the wall of the restaurant, one of Doncaster Market and another of the race course. He had been commissioned to do them by Wetherspoons. We were all suitably impressed!

The Corn Exchange had the sun behind it. I could tell that squinting at it all afternoon would give me a headache, so I wandered around the adjacent market for a while, trying to decide on other things to sketch. It was no good though - the grandiose building pulled me back. 

As with the morning, I spent all my time on the one drawing and never even got to see the inside. The concertina book did its work again: this time expanding sideways. The building was huge (I had to work really hard to make myself fit it into the height of the book). 

We went back to The Red Lion for the sharing. There was some amazing work done - really inspiring stuff. I always enjoy nosying through people's sketchbooks. Having so many new members gave me plenty to look at and there was a good deal of 'wow'ing.

It was quite late by the time we started for home. I ended up on the train by myself, and was lucky enough to have a 'snoozer' opposite, so got out my rainbow pencil again. I showed it to him as I got off.

I had a really smashing day and I met some lovely people. I've got to go back some time though, to draw the inside of the Corn Exchange and have another go at some of the other views of that Minster.

May 25, 2015

Euphoric sketches in Turin

 by Mário Linhares, Sintra, Portugal

Last April I spent 12 days in Turin sketching with some fellows. 
The city have a very special sanctuary called Consolata, which is baroque. We went there on Sunday, for the holy mass, and stayed there sketching with our most colored material. Each 2 minutes we changed the pencil/pen/... and we should keep sketching during the entire hour.

The results were so euphoric that we keep sketching that way all day...

Outside, in Piazza Castello, when the watercolors arrived, I took the opportunity to paint the sky. The trees turned blue because a blue pencil came to my hand when I was supposed to draw them!

In this square, I try to use one single color in one single motive. We were changing materials very quickly... 

One week later, again on Sunday (this time the Easter Sunday), we repeat the dose!

Piazza Castello, inside a coffee shop. So cold in Turin that day...

Inside the train. Everybody was sketching in a multicolor euphoric way...
I think we all dreamed about overlaid colors! 

Venice Beach

Memorial Weekend is a perfect time to get out and sketch. I headed down to Venice Beach to draw the sun worshippers, Hare Krishnas, hawkers, skaters, musicians and joggers. I also squeezed in a painted study of one of the cool beach houses.

Autobahn focused on implied automotive relationships at the Olando Fringe Festival.

by Thor from Orlando Florida

Handwritten Productions presented Autobahn written by Neil Labute, in the Red Venue of this year's Orlando International Fringe Festival. It presented five one act scenes with the audience voyeuristicly looking through the windshield at couples in the front seats of their car. The show began with headlights shining in the audiences eyes. The first scene featured a young woman, (Kristen Shoffner) in a black skull T-shirt slouching down in the passenger seat. Presumably her mother, (Candy Heller) sat stoic and silent behind the driving wheel. The young woman chatted non-stop while the driver never spoke and always seemed a bit annoyed. It became clear over time that the young woman had beer released from a rehab program. She had learned how to give the staff all the right answers. The one thing she had learned is that she needed to have one person she could always confide in. She informed the driver that it was her lucky day because she would always confide in her. What she confided however was that she couldn't wait to start using again. She missed the rush, the heavenly high. It was clear that the stoic driver wasn't pleased, but she must have had a checkered past as well because the passenger felt no one would take the driver's word were she to try and turn the young woman in.

A boy and girl sat in a car with a bench seat at a lovers point. The girl, (Jillian Gizzi) was on edge because she thought the boy, (Adam DelMedica)  might want to break up with her. Instead then began to make out. When they come up for air she tells him  about the last boy who broke up with her. She sought revenge by mailing dead mice to his house from different locations. She rejoiced in the fact that police were unable to stop her. The boy's face turned pale as he heard about her fatal attraction and unending need for revenge. He had been happy with their relationship, but now he clearly wanted out but was to frightened to broach the subject.

The scene that hit closest to home for me featured an older man behind the wheel, (Lucas Perez) and a young girl curled up in the passenger's seat (Marisa Nieves Hemphill). From their first interactions I presumed this was a father and daughter. He chastised her for her behavior in a rest stop where her temper tantrum had gotten him quite upset. However, the more they spoke, the less close they seemed. I kept trying to guess her age. When she was curled up in the fetal position she seemed like such a young child but as they spoke she seemed to mature. The drivers affection for the girl seemed fine when I imagined he was her dad but when it became clear he was a stranger, his affection became menacing. He was her driver's ed instructor and he was taking her to a secluded cabin. I wanted to shout out, "Get out of the car!" But instead she chatted amicably seeking forgiveness for her outburst at the rest stop. He spotted a deer on the side of the road, and she begged him to turn around so she could see it. He refused. He was now clearly in control. She curled up again. He asked, "Can I touch your hair?" She asked "Why?" "Because I want to." he replied. The lights dimmed as he ran his fingers through her hair. Marisa, the actress in this scene, resembles a friend of mine who once confided that a relative had sexually abused her. This is more common than I ever imagined here in Florida. Another friend, who later committed suicide confided that her brother had done the same when she was very young. She had blocked that memory for years. When it resurfaced, she couldn't live with it. This scene sticks with me because I wish that the inevitable tragedy could be averted.

The plays title comes from the last scene in which the woman says that perhaps the Germans had it right with their Autobahn in that there should be no speed limits and we should speed through life never having time to see the people speeding past us. We are all in a mad automotive rush, but to what end, what final destination? I can't shake this play which first appeared at the Little Shubert Theater in NYC on March 8, 2004. This is what Fringe does best, five one act scenes that will linger forever.

Analog Artist Digital World

Sketch memories

by Laura Frankstone in Chapel Hill, NC

It's said often that sketches can evoke memories of times and places like nothing else can. Well, maybe Proust would object to that claim, but still. Last week, sketching in San Francisco, I found that sketches can also bring back powerful memories of OTHER sketches, if you've been at this sketchy business long enough.

Drawing a scene at the Oakland marina, I was immediately transported back to Bouziès,  France and a sketch I made there in 2010. Here is Oakland:

And here is Bouziès:

Here are two men sitting at a café last week in San Franciso:
And here are two men sitting at a café from last year on a trip to Portland. The dynamic is different in the two drawings, but I felt a similar ease of connection between the men as I drew.
And here is a couple captured at an airline lounge at San Francisco airport. As is often true these days, the couple were lost in the world of their electronic devices.

And here is another couple at the San Francisco airport five or so years ago. Electronic devices played a big part then, too. I called this sketch "Jerry, I'm telling you." I loved the wife's response then. I still do.

layers of paint

Among the new and shiny buildings in Christchurch there is still some old forgotten constructions standing that I like sketch and apply several layers of paint like someone did on the facade, not that there is much to salvage from this old house, is just a romantic view of a Christchurch that I never knew.

May 24, 2015

USk News: New workshop in Oxford "Pushing your Sketching Boundaries"

24 May 2015

USk is pleased to announce a new workshop in Oxford, UK!

July 08-12, 2015

Join Urban Sketchers Isabel Carmona, Miguel Herranz and Swasky for 3 full days workshop that will get you to know Oxford intimately and to develop your personal urban sketching techniques.

For more information or to register for this workshop please visit