Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sketchin' at the Carwash...

After a surprisingly wet winter here in The Woodlands (suburb north of Houston) the sun is shining and my errands bring me near the local carwash. I received some coupons for free car washes for Christmas and am just now getting to use them. Basically my theory is that coating of dirt on my vehicle is like the hard protective shell that protects the finish of my car. Surely underneath all the dirt is a beautiful shiny finish. It is really my desire to have a clean interior that makes me pull in and get in line to get my car washed for the first time in months and months.
Using my new  sketchbook: Kunst & Papier A5quer No. 110614 with a horizontal format.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Mobile Sketchbook Library Comes to Town

The mobile sketchbook library arrived in Houston today on its cross-country tour. You can read more about the sketchbook project here. And you can see when it's coming to your town here. It's going to Austin and Ft. Worth next. I found out about its visit from Judith.
People enjoyed the beautiful sunny day to look at sketchbooks. Some were amazing, some were only so-so, but it was really fun to see what people did with them.
So I got a sketchbook to work in this year and we'll see what happens.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Little Public Art

There is a new installation of public artwork along Heights Boulevard. Some pieces have caused a bit of a kerfluffle, but the two giant lawn chairs by Paul Kittelson are a favorite. At any time of the day you can drive by and see people sitting in the chairs having their pictures taken. So, of course, I did the same while I was there.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Its Paraty Time! Sign ups begin Monday, March 31st!

2014 USk Symposium registration announcement
If you subscribed to our Barcelona Symposium Mailing List last year but never registered for our regular mailing list or our Paraty Symposium mailing list, you may have missed this announcement.

Registration for this year's Symposium in Paraty, Brasil, opens Monday, March 31, at 4:00 PM GMT*. At that time, details about how to register will be posted at http://paraty2014.urbansketchers.org/registration.
This year we will accommodate more sketchers than ever by providing several passes for different levels of participation.
Are you interested in the full learning and social experience of the Symposium? Register for the Workshops pass and with your $395 registration you will have access to the full educational event, including workshops and activities, as well as social encounters such as the nightly Drink & Draw.
Are you interested only in the social experience of the Symposium? Register for the Sketching pass and have a leisurely experience sketching with others and meeting old and new friends. Your $40 registration will get you a badge, access to all sketch crawls (two a day!), and access to the opening and closing receptions and the Drink & Draw.
Or are you looking for an experience that is a little bit of both of these? A social time with a little bit of learning? An educational time without the commitment of the full workshop schedule? Register for the Activities pass and your $195 gets you access to a variety of lectures, demonstrations, and activities such as sketching tours, portrait exchanges and critiques. It also gives you time for more open sketch crawls, as well as access to the receptions and the Drink & Draw.
For complete information about the Symposium, including Schedule, Programming and Faculty, visit http://paraty2014.urbansketchers.org.
Don’t wait to register! Space is limited for Workshops and Activities passes, but not for the Sketching pass.
Hope to see you in Paraty!
For more information contact symposium@urbansketchers.org
(*To find out the equivalent time in your city, use this Time Converter.)
Urban Sketchers is a grassroots 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering the art of on-location drawing. Consider making a donation today. Go to urbansketchers.org to make your tax-deductible contribution via Paypal.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Join Us Saturday in Fort Worth!

USk Texas SketchCrawl: This Saturday (3/22) from 2:30-5pm. This month we'll meet in downtown Fort Worth at the foot of Main Street in front of the Convention Center (Main at 9th Street).  It’s a great setting, surrounded with sketch subjects like Main Street itself, the Flatiron Building, the new Kennedy memorial, the comings and goings at the Intermodal station, and various forms of Saturday street life shenanigans. We will meet and chat briefly, then disperse to sketch singly, in pairs or groups as you wish.  We’ll reconvene at the General Worth Square at 4:30pm to share sketchbooks and for a group photo, then adjourn for downtown fun on your own.  Hope to see you there!  Questions?  Ask jim@townscape.com

Monday, March 17, 2014

Red Tail landed in my sketchbook.

Spring Break has come and gone. The family and I took a week long road trip to lovely Savannah GA. Why oh why didn't I know about SCAD art school when I was headed off to college so long ago. Savannah is crawling with art students. On our return drive we stopped in Mobile, Alabama at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. They have a submarine, which we were able to walk through. I can't imagine living in such close quarters with a large group of people. Thanks Vets!!
While the guys toured the USS Alabama, I took a break to sketch this P-51D Mustang. It is the kind of airplane flown by the Tuskegee Airmen, Red Tail Angels, during WWII.
The grounds of the museum are full of aircraft, tanks, helicopters and many interesting displays. It is enough to fill pages and pages of a sketch book. I was lucky to fill these two.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Trip to the Houston Livestock Show

They've just extended the rail line within blocks of my house, so I decided to ride the rail down to the livestock show and save the traffic and parking hassle.
It also gave me the chance to draw while I rode. Already I like this plan.

The main thing with drawing in the livestock show is avoiding the hordes of small kids on school trips to see the animals. Of course it's also spring break so there were families there as well. And everyone wanted to watch the chicks hatch. The chicks and the toddlers were equally excitable and hard to capture but I got a few good ones.
And a nice lady captured ME trying to sketch the chicks. The biggest ones were about ten weeks, the little guy by the egg on the far right was born this morning.
I always love a trip to the birthing center to see the new lambs. Mostly the sheep hate the crowds, but  this mom seemed very Zen about the whole thing. 
And I also love looking in on the pigs. This Red Duroc was out cold. Yes, that's his tongue lolling out of his mouth.

There's a lot to draw just at the livestock show: the carnival, the food venues, the booths the judging rings. You could go back every day and never capture it all. A relaxing train trip home made it a great day.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Fort Worth Sketchcrawl!

Fantastic weather and a great turnout for our Saturday sketch outing in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards.  Thanks to everyone who came out!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A great time sketching with Texas Tech Landscape Architecture students!

Last week I was privileged to conduct a two day sketching workshop with a group of landscape architecture students at Texas Tech University.  These are a few of the exercises and demos that we did.  The two days culminated in a location sketching session on campus.  What a great group of students!  Thanks to Instructors Christine Casanova and Katherine Nelson for recognizing the importance of sketching in the creative process and for giving me the opportunity to share a few of the things that I have learned over the years!

We enjoyed a short session of location sketching to wind up the 2 day event.
Pen and Ink w/ watercolor added later-Moleskine 5x8" watercolor sketchbook

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Next Sketch Outing in Fort Worth February 22

The weather is looking good for our SketchCrawl next Saturday, February 22.  Let’s meet at our regular time of 2:30pm in front of the Livestock Exchange Building, 131 E. Exchange Avenue in the heart of the Stockyards.  As usual, we will meet briefly, then draw until 4:30, and then gather to share sketchbooks and a group photo.  The Stockyards are a “target-rich environment” with a wealth of interesting subject matter for sketchers, so it ought to be a grand time.  You may want to linger afterwards for happy hour or dinner with old and/or new friends.

I have a new fountain pen I need to break in, so I’m ready to go.  If you have questions let me know…looking forward to seeing you there! -Jim@townscape.com

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Signage and Inspiration

I haven't been sketching in quite a while and I'm afraid it shows. But this morning there was a post by Suhita Shirodkar that got me thinking. She's been drawing the old neon signs in her town. I have a great example just blocks from my house. The Admiral isn't so much a motel as a "motor court"...or it was once. Back before I-10 crossed the country, North Main, Airline and Old Katy Road were the main roads out of town and The Admiral sat at a crossroads. Now, sadly, it's a rent-by-the-week place, but they still light up the old neon at night. For a while I kept hoping someone would buy it and do something wonderful. Now I suspect when the land is valuable enough it will just go away.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Free Sketching Workshops

discussing a shot during location filming for Lesson 3

Urban Sketchers - Texas is a relatively new group and we regularly extend invitations for other Lone Star sketchers to join our growing ranks. There are also a lot of folks out there who are intrigued by sketching but lack the skills (or the confidence) to draw in such a public way. But USK-TX hasn't reached a point where it can offer its own workshops (yet). Fortunately, the folks at the Strathmore Artist Paper company are offering a series of FREE online workshops that focus expressly on developing and sharpening basic drawing skills!

in one of the "bonus" videos we'll be adding watercolor to this pen & ink piece from Lesson 3 

I'll be teaching the first four lessons (beginning March 10 and running through the next three weeks). And we'll be covering everything from line and shape drawing, to tone and volume, to perspective, to portraiture -- with a look at a variety of media and technique options, and a variety of papers, along the way.

testing out one of the papers for Lesson 1

So, if you or someone you know has been intrigued by urban sketching but has held back because of weak skills, I'd like to invite you to join the free workshop (we already have over 600 participants from 6 continents signed up, so you'll have plenty of company)... and then consider joining USK-Texas for an upcoming sketch crawls.

discussing composition in Lesson 1

For more information about the free workshops please visit http://www.strathmoreartist.com/artist-studio/about/ or visit my blog for a behind-the-scenes look at what we'll be covering.

a Line & Shape demonstration for the Lesson 1 Instruction Sheet

Monday, January 27, 2014

USk - Austin WW SketchCrawl 42

    Love Balls food truck | uh?... happy motoring! (your mileage may vary!)
    created on iPad with Procreate and Wacom Intuos Creative (pressure sensitive) Stylus

A wonderful time was had by all at the WW SketchCrawl #42 as USk - Austin crawled around a couple of blocks in the heart of Austin's UT Campus urban area at the  the Spiderhouse Cafe and Ballroom and the original Trudy's Texas Star.  Sterling sketching weather met us at this sprawling indoor/outdoor cafe that is a warm, vibrant,  embodiment of the "Keep Austin Weird" spirit.    Good times, and free refills on tap! .... happy motoring!   Please be sure to join the fun at USk - Austin whenever you're in town!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

42nd Worldwide SketchCrawl in Fort Worth

Our Fort Worth/Dallas contingent of Urban Sketchers Texas will meet at 2:30pm in Sundance Square Plaza in downtown Fort Worth for Saturday's 42nd Worldwide SketchCrawl. The weather is supposed to be great...come on out!  It's an opportunity for creative people to meet each other, draw together, and share their sketches with each other and online.  These events are "global;" sketchers from around the world gather in their cities on the same day to participate and post their sketches online.  It’s a great way to spend an afternoon, make new friends and celebrate our city!

What are the rules?
1.  There are no rules.
2.  Anyone can participate, be it to draw for 20 minutes or the full scheduled time.
3.  Any level of ability is welcome, from veteran artists to first time sketchers.
4.  Bring your own sketching gear. 
5.  Kids under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

We will meet in the plaza where Main St. intersects Fourth St.  Anyone who wishes to participate is welcome!  We will chat briefly, then disperse to sketch the visual treasures of Downtown Fort Worth.  We’ll reconvene at the plaza at 4:30pm to share sketchbooks and for a group photo, then adjourn for downtown fun on your own. Downtown on-street parking is free on weekends.  More information at www.fortworthparking.com.

Questions?  Contact Urban Sketchers Texas through jim@townscape.com

Kimbell Art Museum Expansion in Fort Worth

I was asked by the Fort Worth Business Press to write and illustrate an analysis of the newly completed expansion of the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth.  The expansion takes the form of a new building by Italian architect Renzo Piano, which faces the original building by legendary architect Louis Kahn across a beautiful formal green in the larger context of Fort Worth's Cultural District.  The original Kahn building is widely considered one of the greatest buildings of the 20th century.  It is heavy and muscular, at once feeling ancient and modern.  Piano's new building, while roughly the same proportions as the Kahn building, has a lightness and transparency that acts as both counterpoint and complement to the Kahn.  It's well worth a visit to Fort Worth to revisit the Kimbell, and check out this new addition to the city's architectural legacy.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

New Years - New App

Although I didn't capture anyone smiling or laughing my husband and son and our neighbors  had a super New Years Eve at their lake house. It was a constant round of gaming and eating and shooting fireworks out over the water. Here we are playing a game. Plus circling up around the firepit outside and enjoying a beautiful chilly night. The photo shows the sunset and the day after New Years the wind whipped up a completely different view. I downloaded an scanner app for my phone and took this picture of my sketchbook. It worked pretty well. If it weren't for having to scan pages, I would certain post more. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Thank Heavens for Mild Texas Winters!

WIP image from the first bonus video (Fort Worth Botanical Garden)

Last week my film crew and I began shooting a series of four online workshop lessons (to be followed by several "bonus" videos) for Strathmore Artist Papers.

Because of the tight schedule some of the lessons will, no doubt, have to be filmed indoors. But, thankfully, we have an abundance of mild (if not continuous) winter weather here in Texas. So, my crew and I will take advantage of every bit of sunshine, and every bit of warmth, to go out "on location." (And, so far, we're having a blast!)

The workshop will run from early March through the beginning of April and registration is free.

Monday, December 16, 2013


GENTLE REMINDER: THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTING EDUCATIONAL PROPOSALS FOR THE UPCOMING SYMPOSIUM ON PARATY, BRAZIL IS NEXT FRIDAY, DECEMBER 20TH, 2013!!!! Looking forward receiving your proposals for either a workshop, a lecture, a guided sketchcrawl, you name it!!!!. Be creative and submit any ideas that you think it will make USk Paraty 2014 an event impossible to forget!!!!  Follow the link below.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday Night + Texas = High School Football

My son is in the marching band at the local high school, so starting in August it seems like…all band…all the time. The highlight finally comes when football starts and it is time for HALFTIME performance. When halftime ends, it is time to visit and sketch from the stands. I confess not knowing the quarterback's name. Football season has finally come to an end, the band won a national competition so all in all, a good fall.