Sunday, July 10, 2016

Reducing Your Sketching Gear

Getting ready for the  Urban Sketchers Symposium in Manchester,  my goal is to try to travel light and reduce the amount of sketching gear I take.  Everything I need for sketching now fits in my purse.

I purchased the Pocket Art Toolkit by Expeditionary .
The business card holder sized palettes fit in the kit. I have 28 colors in the wells and 3 pocket palettes.  It takes some getting use to working with  the smaller sized palette but I think I can get use to it.  All my travel brushes fit in a side pocket under the pens.  I added velcro strips to secure the side pocket and keep the brushes from coming out.

Today was the test day.  The pocket palettes surprisingly carry quite a bit of paint.  I will have to add more to it as the paint sinks into the palette leaving room in each well for more paint as it dries.

I am always nervous trying out something new like this.  It sometimes throws me off using a new palette.  With my old larger palette I know exactly where each color is.

Georgetown Garden Walk Garden No. 40 2016

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sketching En Route

The nice thing about being an urban sketcher is always having something to do.  If you have to wait for two hours on a flight or at a gate and forgot to bring something to read,  you can always sketch.  I use that opportunity to practice drawing people.  That is definitely my weak area in sketching. Or I try a new medium, in the above sketch I used the waterbrush which I hadn't used in a while.

The following sketches were done on my way back to Seattle from the Oakland Airport to home.
By the way, I was proud to use public transportation on both ends from Seattle to Oakland.  I used the Sound Transit Link Light Rail to get from Seattle to Seatac Airport for only $3.25.  From Oakland Airport  I took the shuttle to the BART Coliseum Station then caught BART to Fremont, CA for $9.65.  I did the opposite on my way home.  This allowed my family to just pick me up at the local BART or Sound Transit Station.  
Yay to public transportation.  Avoid the traffic!

Gate 28 South West Airlines we ended up moving to Gate 32

Waiting for our flight at Gate 32
Flight from Oakland to Seatac

Light Rail from Seatac Airport to Seattle.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Loosening Up the Sketch

The second sketch I did at  Stanford was of the Rodin Gardens at the Cantor Museum.  Did you know that there are many Rodin statues in the garden as well as on campus?  I had no clue.
I had very little time.  Maybe about 20 minutes and I wanted to work loose so I did this quick sketch using a brush pen and adding color with a water brush and painted over it.

It is nice to mix up techniques and approaches to sketching.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Value Adjustment

Last week I had a chance to sketch in California with sketcher friends Suhita Shirodkar and Laurie Wigham.  We all met up at the Stanford University Campus and sketched the Memorial church.

I was sitting in front of  an arcade looking towards the church.  The structure of the arcade was in shade and the church facade was also on the shade side but brighter than the arcade.  In real life we can see with clarity and much more brightness things that are in shade.  However when you take a photo of that same image the areas of shade appear darker.  And to create depth in a picture you also have to adjust or exaggerate values. 

Here are the two images of the view I sketched the first was painted on site using the values of the arcade as I saw it from where I was sitting.  The blue sky seems to have the same value as the arcade and everything looks flat. What is separating the shapes is not value as much as color.

This second scan was after I added another layer of color to the arcade.  This created more depth and makes the church and the sky appear brighter and in the sun.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

My Sketching Supplies for doing Plein Aire watercolor.

Next weekend we will be giving the Line to Color Workshop, so I am posting the sketching supplies that students will need for the weekend.
5x8 Sketchbook for ink line drawing  preferably with no spiral binding so you can draw across the page.

Watercolor sketchbook 5x8 landscape minimum.  Larger sizes okay

Drawing and painting tools. Binder clips to keep the page secure.  Painters tape to create a clean watercolor edge.
Water color Palettes
Above are different palettes.  There are many types of folding watercolor palettes that vary in price.
I used an old Winsor Newton mini travel palette and changed out the colors with my own Daniel Smith Tube Paints.  A mint tin with the lid sprayed with white enamel paint makes a nice small palette that you can easily fit in a pocket.  A vitamin pill container can be used as well to hold paints but you would need to bring a separate palette to mix and see paints.

Water bottles and water containers.  The bottles are to keep a reserve of clear water, the water container you use for painting.  It can be as simple as a hummus container or purchased collapsible containers.

Paper towels folded in a tin is a easy way to wipe excess water from your brush.  A sponge will work too.

Collapsible camp stool that you can purchase at REI or any camping store is good if you need a place to sit.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Magnuson Park

Yesterday I was at Magnuson Park.  I wanted to practice painting with values and light.  Not depending on lines to establish form. When you do that you have to simplify your forms and use contrast in value to determine the edge of a shape.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Just Practicing

I just got two new watercolor books.  One by Alvaro Castagnet, "Watercolor Masterclass" and another one by Michael Reardon  "Watercolor Techniques".  They both do a lot with light and atmosphere.  It usually starts off with their first layer of washes setting up the light...the underpainting.
Then letting that under layer dry completely before putting additional washes that start to define the views.

Here is a practice doing flat wash and gradated washes.  I was using Fluid hot press and had difficulty in getting a flat wash with out the bead creating a heavier value line.  I will have to try it with other paper to see if I can get a real flat wash.

Friday, April 1, 2016

My Basic Palette

I have been tweaking this basic palette for a while.  Trying to  get the essential colors I would have my students get that would give them a wide range of colors with out busting their wallet.
So I have come up with a six colors that will give you all that you would need and a final 7th color that gives you some more bright mixing.
The Basic 6 colors are the following. I buy Daniel Smith colors for their intensity and richness (and they are a local company)

Ultramarine Blue
Cobalt Teal
Quinacridone Gold
Hansa Yellow Medium
Transparent Pyroll Orange
Quinacridone Rose

7th optional Manganese Blue

Here are how the triads work  and you can see what you get when you mix the paints.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Sketching the Light Rail Stations on Opening Day

As many of you know the Light Rail station on Capitol Hill and University of Washington were opened on March 19th. There were free rides on the Light Rail that day so I decided to check it out and sketch the events.  Here are my sketches of the day.  I did eight ink line sketches in 4 hours. Painting them took the next 5 days to finish.

Demonstration for U-Pass at the University of Washington Station

Opening Day University of Washington Station
Interior Entrance to the University of Washington Station

Waiting for the Train at the University of Washington Station
Outside the Capitol Hill Station

Entrance to the Capitol Hill North Station

Inside the Capitol Hill Station

Waiting for the University of Washington Train

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Monday, March 14, 2016

Sketching the Grand Staircase at Suzzallo Library

Sunday Seattle Urban Sketchers gathered at Suzzallo Library to sketch. The weather was rainy and windy, so the library was a great place for indoor sketching. This is a sketch of the Suzzallo Grand Staircase that winds its way to the second floor Graduate Reading Room. It is a beautiful staircase and a challenge to draw in perspective. I did it in pencil so I could compensate for mistakes with an eraser.

Architecture 210 students we taught years ago didn't get that benefit and had to draw directly in  ink.  Some did it beautifully and in a timed sketch did some amazing work.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Interior Panoramas

Seattle Central Library

The landscape  5.5 x 8.5 " watercolor sketchbook lends itself rather well to a panoramic view when opened fully and drawn over two pages.  This is the case with the view of the interiors of the Seattle Central Library.  I was there for a lecture and purposefully went down earlier so I could sit in the main living room area of the library and sketch.  It is an immense broad space with sweeping views through the exterior glass walls.  Though it is a bit complex it is fun to draw.

Storyville  Coffee Pike Place Market

Storyville Line drawing
Here are two panoramic views of the interior of the Storyville Coffee shop at Pike Place Market.  The line drawing took 30 -40 minutes which was all I had time for before running down to meet a friend to see the Impressionist's exhibit at the SAM. 

I took a picture before I left so I could add color later.  The color was added yesterday during a wild windstorm that took out our electricity.  What a great excuse to paint!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Getting Back into Watercolor

I have taken a bit of a hiatus from my watercolor study.  Just pure watercolor.  I become torn with sketching the pen and ink and watercolor way vs pure watercolor on good paper.  With Urban Sketchers, the pen and ink approach seems to be my usual way to go.  But I love the the looseness of a pure watercolor painting... and am not always a success at it.  But I share this as a way of seeing process.  The above watercolor was my first attempt at this particular set up.   I just started painting on dry paper....and forgot about wetting the paper first to get the looser wet on wet look. 

This is the second attempt.  From a photo on the set up done the next evening. Simpler shapes and more direct with color the mandarin orange has more pop.

Third attempt, I wanted to pull the oranges up on the page and start to use more complementary colors to really make that orange pop.

Fourth attempt,  I usually am so literal with color... I just thought I would force myself to change up the color palette but stay true to the values.  This was really wet and lacks in some hard edges but you can still see what is going on.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Sketching on the Road

Today my husband and I drove from Seattle to Buckley, WA to check on his pick up truck that we are having fixed.  I thought it would be a nice excursion and opportunity to sketch some car parts at a auto wreckage lot.  Although there were other views that caught my eye.  One view was the store front of Leon's Market and the Shell gas station next door.  The light was hitting the store facade so brightly  you couldn't take your eyes off the bright yellow orange storefront!

The second location was an espresso stand we saw as we drove up to Buckley. It was in the shape of a Coffee Pot.   I just had to stop by to sketch this on the way back.  Cowgirl's Espresso was the name and of course it had a bikini clad barista!   

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sketching Sketchers

Dinner in Siem Reap Cambodia with Urban Sketchers at The Soup Dragon Restuarant

One of the fun things about the Urban Sketchers Symposiums are the drink and draws after the workshops.  Here you get to know sketchers from all over the world, have dinner and drinks and share sketches or sketch each other.  Being an architect I have never felt confident in drawing people.  That has always been my nemesis.  The drink and draws have given me a great opportunity to practice what I am weak at…drawing people.  It is a perfect situation  people sitting in one place for a very long time!  Here are some sketches from sketcher dinners and drink and draws.  It brings back fond memories of times I have spent with sketcher friends in wonderful locations.

Dinner at Landing Gold Villa Hotel in Siem Reap Cambodia
Drink and Draw at Six Gills after a Line to Color Workshop Seattle, WA
Drink and Draw at CCC Cafe in Barcelona, Spain
Drink and Draw at CCC Cafe in Barcelona, Spain

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Line To Color Workshop Seattle, WA April 22-25, 2016

Frank Ching and I will be giving our Line to Color Workshop in Seattle this April on the 22-25.
With a extended format we hope to provide more sketch, demo and education time with participants.
We will be sketching at Gas Works Park, Fremont and some iconic Seattle location to be determined.  

We have a special kick off for the weekend with a tour of Daniel Smith's watercolor manufacturing operations to see how they create and make their watercolors. Learn about their Primatek colors made from real gemstones. You will have time to play around with their colors at the Mixing Table followed by a meet and greet keynote presentation pizza dinner.

For more information see Line To Color Workshop .

Hope you can join us!