Monday, July 30, 2012

36th World Wide Sketchcrawl

As in Portland (2010) and Lisbon (2011), the last day of the USK Syposium in Santo Domingo coincided with a World Wide Sketchcrawl.  About 100 urban sketchers, including 5 from Texas, converged on the lively Parque Colon to capture impressions of the place and people.  I completed this sketch of the plaza, which was later bought at the USK silent auction by Shari Blaukopf (the sketch, not the plaza).  Make plans now for next summer's symposium.  Details are yet to be announced, but a memorable time is guaranteed.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Alcazar de Colón (1510-1512) - Santo Domingo - DR

Built by Christopher Columbus's son Diego. Was the center of the Spanish court in the Americas. The Palace hosted the legenday Spanish explorers Hernan Cortés, Francisco Pizarro and Ponce de León.

  Plaza de España 's panoramic from the Alcazar de Colón. Workshop by Simonetta Capecchi and Claudio Patane ( 3rd USK Symposium)

Sunday, July 22, 2012


The "common" pencil. Common as -- well, perhaps not common as dirt. But certainly common as a No. 2 yellow school pencil, right?

Pen and ink are experiencing a well-deserved resurgence among sketchers and visual journalists, and the lowly pencil has taken a back seat. But it certainly wasn't always that way.

In the latest article in my "Tools of the Trade" series, I explore the history (and adventures) of the unpretentious pencil. And, if you'd like to know more about it's connection to Napoleon, or it's role in exploring the American West please feel free to give it a read. Tools of the Trade #2 - Plumbago, Napoleon and a No. 2 Pencil

Fordson Tractor, Stehekin, WA, USA

Oh, and as to where the "common" No. 2 yellow school pencil originated -- it was originated in the late 19th century by the Koh-I-Noor Hardtmuth company of Czechoslovakia to distinguish their use of the finest premium grade of graphite in the world, which was imported at great expense from China. (Yellow was an imperial color in Mandarin China.)

So, is the pencil "under-appreciated"? Yes. "Unassuming"? I'll go along with that. "Common"? I don't think so. How about you?

Street Scene, Bellagio, Italy

Friday, July 20, 2012

Departure 4pm, 7pm, 8pm...sketch

As you already know Santo Domingo was a huge success and loads of fun. Getting out of town...not so much. The upside of delayed flights is sketching in the departure area. The lady in this sketch on the left with the droopy hair had a friend who arrived after this sketch. Her friend pulled a pint of rum and some chocolates out of her purse and they quietly had a nice visit and a few shots using the cap of the bottle for a shot glass. You see all kinds of things when you sit and observe.
Sketchbook is Strathmore Toned Grey 400 Series, white Conté pencil, ebony pencil - thank you Strathmore for the book.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Another great Urban Sketchers Symposium!

Urban Sketchers Texas had 5 representatives at the 3rd International Urban Sketchers Symposium in Santo Domingo...that's got to be some kind of record.  The schedule was grueling, but had plenty of opportunities for exploring and socializing.  The workshops consistently pushed us beyond our limits to new heights.  As an example, compare my sketch of the Parque Colon made before the symposium, and the one made during the "Improvising with Lines and Colors" workshop by Inma Serrano and Orling Dominguez.  I think the results speak for themselves.

Parque Colon, drawn before the beginning of the symposium.

Parque Colon, after inspired guidance by Inma and Orling.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Memories from Santo Domingo

Texas Team : Judith, James, Kay, Alisa ans myself
Kay and Judith at Workshop with Lynne Chapman
Jim at Catedral de Santa Maria
With Liz Steel

Judith and myself by Lampin

James by Lampin

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sketchcrawl in the Heights

Yesterday was the first little bit of dry weather we've had in days, but with my sketching friends away in Santo Domingo I was on my own. This little Victorian cottage has always intrigued me and it's only a short distance from my house.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

the bonfires of Sant John. Alacant. Spain

My last sketches in Spain.

One of the many monumets who are called Bonfires (Hogueras or Fogueres). They made of wood, cardboard, mud, paintings and nowadays of cork and polyurethane too. Burned in a very beautiful and emotive act called "La crema" (The burning), marks the end of the festival.

Concatedral de San Nicolas-Alacant-Spain.

Next stage Santo Domingo.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Back from South America

Patti and I have just returned from our 3-week tour of Brazil and Peru, visiting world class cities, cultural sites and iconic works of landscape architecture.  It was a unforgettable experience; I'll be posting images over the next few weeks.
The Kombi vans, featuring all manner of refreshments, are a ubiquitous site across southeastern Brazil.  I was particularly taken by the happy coconut drinks atop this one.

This was drawn from my hotel window in Petropolis, Brazil, in the mountain highlands north of Rio de Janeiro.
Lively street life near Kennedy Park in Lima, Peru.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Texas sketcher in España

D and I recently returned from our 20th anniversary trip to Spain. Thanks to Thomas (fellow TX sketcher and Madrileños) for getting a little sketch group together in Madrid. A couple of days after we arrived it was off to sketch. What a great way to start off a trip with local "friends". Thomas even arranged for me to join a group in Barcelona the next week. I'll post more images as time permits but I do have to catch up on the work I missed while traveling.  Luckily the light mist (the rain in Spain) didn't last long and we sketched from a park across from the cathedral.