October 1, 2014

Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History

I sometimes wake up in the morning with a strong urge to sketch a specific topic.
In the past I've had an urge for classic cars, buildings, construction machines, people etc

This morning it was Dinosaurs and since I've sketched most of the dinosaurs in my area, I drove 2-1/2 hours to New Haven Connecticut to go see the Peabody Museum of Natural History in the Yale University campus.

This was my first time in the area and I was equally impressed with the school campus and the architectures in the area. I think I might even make another trip down here just to draw the buildings in the area!


Rua Erva Mularinha - Jardim Marília - São Paulo - SP (25/09/2014)

Deu que esses dias cometi este desenho de uma encruzilhada. Nela você pode escolher em qual rua entrar, vai depender do seu caminho. Jardim Marília é para cima, Brasília para baixo, Parque Savoy City descendo à esquerda e de onde eu estava era à beira do caminho. Fosse 5 horas da tarde a rua estaria abarrotada de carros, mas era cedo, algumas pessoas passavam, ônibus e lotações e de vez em quando um cão vadio. As calçadas são meio sujas por aqui, de modo que: esqueça o cheiro.

Nine Elms, London: coming soon

This view upstream from the Thames embankment opposite the Houses of Parliament in London is the kind of view I like the best: the obvious thing to do is draw the well-known sight (see below), but what is behind you often tells another story. Past the moored pleasure boats, Lambeth Bridge, and the tower blocks of Vauxhall is a thicket of construction cranes that are working to change the face of Nine Elms. This disused industrial land larger in area than Hyde Park is being developed into a residential and business district, with homes for 30,000, jobs for 25,000, new US and Dutch embassies (by 2017), and there are plans for a new pedestrian and cycle bridge and rail stations. I've written before about the tortured landscape of Vauxhall; big changes there are also part of the plan.
The view below of parliament and the towers of Westminster Abbey peeping through was drawn from exactly the same spot.

European Heritage Days

Recently the European Heritage Days were celebrated. In Portugal the several Urban Sketchers groups in different cities were asked to participate. The idea was, in each city, to make a route that involved 3 National Monuments and draw them.

In Lisbon we started in the Ruins of Carmo (first drawing), passed through São Roque’ Church (second drawing) (both churches were part of the Lisbon Symposium), and finished at the Gloria Lift (third drawing) (and yes! The lift is a national monument).

The drawings will be showed in an itinerant exhibition all over Portugal.

September 30, 2014

within my walls



It's been very long since I've posted, and I suppose it's due to the fact that I just don't get out much these days. When we lived in Germany, there were trips to Stuttgart and Colmar, Barcelona and Nice. Now that we live in California's central valley, the architecture here just doesn't inspire me, and I find it hard to get out with my sketchbook. But, on the bright side, the weather here is always perfect sketching weather, so I just need to adjust my eyes to seeing the things around me with new perspective. I truly believe that no matter where you live, the content is there for the taking if you truly invest some time looking for it. In the meantime, I will draw scenes like this, from inside my house.

Two years after the final flight

It's been two years since I sketched the space shuttle, Endeavor, on its way to California Science Center (in this post), and my fellow Los Angeles correspondent Virginia sketched it when it arrived at the Science Center here. I finally had the chance to see Endeavor in its final home before the exhibit closes intermittently for payload installation. It's quite amazing to see it up close with scratches and dirt - a well-earned proof that it flew 25 times into outer space and back to earth.

sketches at beauty parlor

An old woman took her grand son to the beauty parlor.
He was loved by old ladies in the shop. I could hold him for a while and remembered the past of raising my kids. She could finish her perm well by their help.

heating treatment for better perm

On August I went to beauty shop located at Eunpyeong-gu twice for my mother and myself. While waiting I could sketch many. I washed them at home because there was no room to spread painting gears. The hair designers(dressers) moved very often. So I had to observe well to catch the same pose. I smile when I see the baby drawing remembering how cute he was.

Procissão da Luz

Carnide is an old and village like Lisbon neighborhood.
Since 1463 Carnide is proud of the procession that honors Our Lady of the Candles, in the last Sunday of each September.
It is a memorable happening with thousands of proud citizens, Bishops, Priests, Firemen, Guards, lots of helmets, berets, uniforms and banners.
Neighbors watch from the windows and balconies and show colorful quilts.

It happened again last Sunday, between showers and a proper sun.

The City of Christopher Wren

Sketching Wren's City, Aug 2 2014
London, UK: Many years ago, when I was a teenager with a travelcard, I would often get the tube on a Saturday afternoon and head into the City of London to explore, to figure out the labyrinth of grey-washed streets in my head, and I remember very clearly becoming a little obsessed with Christopher Wren, the famous architect with a big wig who built St.Paul's and who lived on the fifty pound note. I had just climbed narrow staircase inside the Monument, the large column commemorating the Great Fire of 1666, and I said to myself on the train journey home, oooh I am going to write a book about all of Wren's buildings in the City, no wait, I'll DRAW them all! That was more than twenty years ago, and I never did. But now in this age of high-speed sketchbooks and global availability of pens I figured the time was right to re-visit this modest and crazy dream (that's also the title of one of my favourite books, which is not about Wren but it could be). So from the sunshine of California I decided to, you know, organize a sketchcrawl. It was a really, really good idea, and a really, really fun day!
Sketching Wren's City

It was called "Sketching Wren's City", and every participant was provided with a hand-drawn map and a mission - go forth and find Wren. London's sketchers gathered, appropriately, at the Monument to the Great Fire. The Great Fire, you say, what’s that? Well in September 1666 a baker called Thomas Faryner in a street called Pudding Lane had the misfortune of having a fire start in his bakery one night, a fire deemed so insignificant that the Lord Mayor, awoken with the news of flames rising above the rooftops, famously said that, well, it could be extinguished by, er, female urine (he used a slightly coarser phrase). However, the fire spread, and kept on spreading, and no amount of wee (male or female) was able to make up for the lack of a decent fire-fighting service (if only they had fire hydrants in 1666, eh!). The City of London was destroyed, including the grand old St.Paul’s Cathedral, and a good number of churches. Enter Christopher Wren, and his fire-proof wig. He had been redesigning London on a grand scale since, er, before the massive unforeseen and entirely coincidental catastrophe that gave him his big break, and now here was his chance. The people of the City however did not want a grand urban-planned metropolis, they wanted their land in the same place thank you. So London kept its medieval street plan, and Wren got to work on the churches. It was a Wrenaissance, if you will. As a special thank you to London for giving him a Great Fire that basically set him up for life, Wren built the Monument, topped with a blazing golden ball; it was designed so that if the column fell over, the top would rest exactly where the fire started, which must have made the City planners a little nervous. Behind it in this sketch there is a brand new building called the Cheesegrater, because all of London’s new tower blocks have to have some silly name or other. If the Monument were built now it’d probably be called the Bunsen Burner or something.
The Monument
I crossed over the busy traffic junction at King William Street and Cannon Street to sketch the couple below; to the right, St.Edmund King and Martyr, and to the left, the rather unassuming St. Clement’s Eastcheap. St. Clement’s…now where do you know that from, ah yes the famous song, “Oranges and Lemons”. This is the St.Clement’s of the song, not St.Clement Dane (the more famous one, located on Strand), and probably so alluded to because of the fruit cargoes offloaded from the riverboats nearby. Or maybe just because it kind of rhymes with lemons. I sketched in an alleyway. It’s not one of the more interesting pieces of Wren architecture. In fact it’s almost as though he couldn’t be bothered at all. “Oranges and lemons, do me a favour, I’ve got fifty-odd churches and a bunsen burner to build,” he was reported to have said, before designing the more handsome and dashing St. Clement Dane. This one is the forgotten little brother.
St Clement EastcheapSt Edmund King and Tomato
I met my good friends Simon, the actor, and Tamara, the director (this sounds like we were about to make "Urban Sketchers: the Movie"; hey that's a great idea, let's get on that! Casting ideas below; I want to be played by Michael Fassbender) and we sketched the wonderful domed church of St. Stephen Walbrook, one of Wren’s most beautiful churches. Oh, on the inside that is. It was closed this day, so we made do with sketching its, um, wonderful exterior, Starbucks and all. Still, it was very nice to catch up with old friends and do some sketching. St. Stephen Walbrook by the way was Wren’s dummy-run for St. Paul’s (spoiler alert, St. Paul’s is domed as well) and the inside truly is a delight to behold, ok it’s not the Aya Sophia or anything but it’s still pretty nice.
St Stephen Walbrook sm
After finishing St. Stephen Walbrook I bumped into international-travelling urban sketcher Sue Pownall, and we walked over to St. Mary-le-Bow on Cheapside. The approach to this old church up the narrow Bow Lane is lovely, although the buildings are now modern you can just use a bit of imagination to fly back through the centuries and picture the narrow timber-framed houses leaning into each other over dirty streets, the sound of the Bow Bells echoing through the dark, bustling lanes. Yes, this is the church of the Bow Bells; the tradition is that a Cockney, a true Cockney, was born within the sound of the Bow Bells (and not Bow in East London as many wrongly believe), that is, within London. Cockney is synonymous with all Londoners now, London being much bigger than in Dick Whittington’s day, though of course he famously heard them from up on Highgate Hill, calling him back to his destiny as London’s Lord Mayor. It's a yarn all Londoners know. The Bow Bells were important to London not because of fanciful stories and cockney categorization, but because in the middle ages these were the bells that rung to sound the curfew, and the closing of the city gates. If they rang and you were outside the city, you spent a night sleeping in the filthy gutters of Southwark or Finsbury. These days you can just get a Night Bus, and it’s a similar experience.
St Mary Le Bow sm
Ok, skip to the end...St.Paul's Cathedral is Wren’s masterpiece, but its significance to London is much older. There has been a cathedral dedicated to St. Paul’s on this site, since St. Augustine brought Christianity to the Angles and Saxons. The fourth incarnation, a huge Gothic cathedral, was built in the twelfth century and was one of the largest buildings in Europe, but alas, the Great Fire of 1666. Along came Wren. As I’ve mentioned before, he had plans to rebuild London including St. Paul’s on his drawing board for several years before the convenient fire, and for London’s landmark cathedral he wanted not another towering spire but a large Romanesque dome, technologically advanced and rivaling the greatest buildings in Christendom. The wooden model of his first design is still on display, but it looks rather different from the final building. This was late seventeenth-century England, not a time to make your premier church look, well, too Catholic. It was shaped like a Greek cross, and the nave was not long enough; it just didn’t look 'English'. Wren went back to the drawing board, and in the end built the Cathedral we have today. It’s hard to think of more ‘London’ building than this. During the darkest days of World War II, when bombs flattened everything around it, the dome of St. Paul’s stood untouched, a symbol of hope for a city devastated. The ‘people’s church’ this was, and probably because of that, it was here that Prince Charles married Lady Diana in 1981 rather than at the traditional Westminster Abbey.
St Pauls sm
There were about thirty of us sketching London in total that day, many who had to leave before the end, but those of us who made it gathered at the steps of St.Paul's to look at each others' sketchbooks. It was so nice to meet old and new sketching friends, including fellow USk correspondent and extraordinary art-blogger Katherine Tyrell, and afterwards many of us gathered at the Old Bell pub on Fleet Street for some post-sketchcrawl socializing. Some truly beautiful sketches were made this day, an inspiration. I really love meeting sketchers in London, but especially after fulfilling an ambition I've had since I was fifteen. Thank you for coming along with me!
Sketching Wren's City, Aug 2 2014
Sketching Wren's City, Aug 2 2014Sketching Wren's City, Aug 2 2014

Why not try sketching Wren's City yourself? Here is a link to the hand-drawn map.
by Pete Scully

Eyewitness sketches of Hong Kong pro-democracy protests

Urban sketchers are capturing the increasing wave of anti-government protests in Hong Kong. These are some sketches from Monday, a day after the police used tear gas, pepper spray and batons to break up protesters demanding democratic elections. You can follow the Hong Kong urban sketching community in the Urban Sketchers Hong Kong Facebook Group, and Sketching Occupy Central.

Alvin Wong

"Organisers announced the KICKOFF of OCCUPY CENTRAL. thousands of people came in to Central to show support,and the people blocked the main road which link the West to East. We were right at the spot, and at around 5:30pm, police began to push people away and throwing tear gas to the people with no weapon but only an umbrella and goggles. But the people went back and continue to occupy at the location and spread to other locations as well."

Terry Lai

"The day after tear gas bomb attack by barbarian police on citizens handing up, it makes Hong Kong people even more unity. At Chater road, it was already filled up by many citizens. Here, with the backgroung of HSBC Main Buliding, Standard Charter HQ, Citibank Tower, the development of Hong Kong is actually based on the core values - Democracy, Freedom, n Justice. For those already at the highest position, dun u forget?"

May Chiu
"I drew from a restaurant of one of the high risese, seeing that the people come from different corner and the group is getting bigger and bigger. All have the same urge : "We want Democracy!""

Gary Yeung

"I was standing on top of the city's Mass Transit Railway Entrance roof with a group of protestors. By the time I finished the sketch, the sky had darkened and the streets around me were all packed with people, showing their support for those who suffered yesterday."

Luis Simoes

Adolfo Arranz

New Life breathed into Old Ireland in Galway

While out and about sketching a few weeks ago, I was asked to paint a thatched cottage in my local village by its new owner. I was delighted, as I've watched the restoration take place since last winter, and I'd even done a quick sketch while my kids were doing sport nearby once. That sketch didn't get very far. This time, I'd have carte blanche to indulge myself as much as I liked, and as much time as I needed. That red. Those chimneys. Everything. I couldn't wait to start.

Eventually the decks were cleared and off I went to do the job. It was really hot, unseasonably so, and I thought conditions would be perfect. But the sun blazed right in my eyes and I'd forgotten my cap. I tried to balance my spare sketchbook on my head, and tie it on with the bag from my stool, but even though I've more or less given up on the dignity front, it was too much to sit in my very own village looking like a lunatic. Besides, it kept falling off, my head not being flat on top. I kept trying to get the drawing right, and it kept being wrong. I was easily distracted, as I always am when the drawing isn't working, and painted this little shield bug, which wanted to climb to the top of my shoulder, and was probably most unimpressed at being thwarted in its progress and parked on my forearm a few times to be drawn.

Why couldn't I throw the lines of the cottage down as easily as I drew the shield bug? Pressure, I guess - one had a client waiting for it, the other didn't. I tried twice more to get the lines of the cottage right, and twice more they were totally wrong. Then I remembered a technique that I read in Felix Scheinberger's book Urban Watercolor Sketching, where you tell yourself the sketch isn't the "real" thing but only for fun. Just like the shield bug. Lo and behold - the new drawing went swimmingly. I went back the next day to paint the drawing, in my baseball cap, and had a wonderful time. I might point out that thatched roofs can be very hard to do because if you draw all those cut ends of reeds, it's going to look overworked and heavy. So once again I took inspiration from Felix's book, and used a combination of splattering and salt to get a nice texture. Sadly I splattered the sky too but never mind.

Michael, the new owner, has done a spectacular job on the restoration. Everything has been done with the greatest care and attention. The furniture has been picked up from various auctions, windows have been enlarged and it is simply immaculate inside. He's delighted with his new painting, and I loved doing it. Better again, he's asked me to paint the fireplace with a roaring fire in it, along with its magnificent stone arch (like everything else in the cottage, salvaged and lovingly rebuilt from the original fireplace) and the beautiful dresser (hutch), full of blue and white china. I really can't wait, and the fine mugs of tea and plentiful biscuits provided by Michael have nothing to do with it - honest.

September 29, 2014

Rescued Tree

This yellow tree is a Kentucky Coffee. It’s on the boulevard along our house in Cedar Falls, Iowa, on the 11th Street side of our corner lot. We planted it 6 years ago to replace a large maple that had been toppled by a violent windstorm. My husband is passionate and opinionated about trees. He was set on a Kentucky Coffee and not just a spindly sapling. Even though it is a native species, nurseries didn’t have any. “Just not in demand”, we were told. My husband tracked this one down: a local arborist (with an interest in obscure trees) had rescued it (dug it up) from the University of Northern Iowa campus when a building project would have otherwise necessitated cutting it down. My husband swooned with tree love from the moment he spotted it growing on the arborist’s orphanage-for-rescued-trees acreage.

Fertilized, deep-root watered through dry spells, and pruned of lower branches so the snowplow and garbage truck wouldn’t swipe it: it’s been pampered. We see it from our kitchen table window. It’s grown straight and tall and bushy, obviously happy in its new spot.

In autumn, it is the first deciduous tree in the neighborhood to change color and lose its leaves. From first hint of yellow to all the leaves falling is a matter of just a few days.  There was no time to procrastinate to get this painting done. I chose this angle because of how the much larger maple, beyond, framed it. I did a preliminary sketch in my pocket-size Moleskine before launching onto a 12” X 18” Fabriano Artistico cold press watercolor block. I did a quick under-drawing with Derwent brown ochre pencil, then just watercolor. By the time I started to paint, the vehicles, recorded in the sketch, had moved. I chose to leave out the stop sign, wanting to highlight the sidewalk, the shadows and the trees further down the street.