Monday, September 26, 2016

"Inside Artists' Sketchbooks"

I was very excited to be a contributor to the Summer 2016 issue of Drawing Magazine--which was devoted to sketching and sketchbooks!  I am in some fantastic company here--a great variety of styles and approaches among the sketchbook artists.  This issue also features articles on travel sketching, 5-minute sketching and more--including a review of a new book about one of my heroes, "Richard Diebenkorn: The Sketchbooks Revealed".

Here's an article on with a sample of each of the featured artists' work, along with their sketching tips...Artist's Network






Friday, September 23, 2016

Traveling to Tacoma...

...for a gathering in August of urban sketchers--and the 4th Annual West Coast Urban Sketchers Sketch Crawl!    The local sketchers lead by Francis Buckmaster did a fantastic job of organizing the event, and it was a really fun weekend--no workshops, just everyone getting together to sketch the beautiful mix of old and new in downtown Tacoma.

Waiting at LAX for my plane is of course, always a sketching opportunity...playing here with shadow and light...





The plane and the bus from the airport into town...more sketching...


Our first gathering on Friday night with nearly 150 sketchers, with some quick portraits...













Tacoma on Saturday morning was warm and brightly sunny, it felt like LA weather to me!  The sketch crawl centered around the beautiful Bridge of Glass and the work of Tacoma Artist Dale Chihuly.  The view here includes the "Crystal Towers", and the new Washington State History Museum echoing the arches of the old Union Station building...


 More sketching from the Bridge of Glass--the tilting glass cone that tops the "Hot Shop" of the Museum of Glass...












A view inside the fascinating Hot Shop, with a team of master glass artists working--and theater seating above for visitors...we all sweat together here!

And a view of the train looking down from the Bridge...
Sunday morning wrapped up the sketch crawl, and it was great to see Gabi Campanario arrive with his family, and we made a dash over to the historic Theater District.  There were lots of interesting buildings here, but this wedge-shaped gem really caught our eye...I discovered it was originally built as the Hotel Bostwick in 1889, now has Tully's Coffee on the ground floor...


Way too soon, it was time to head to the airport to fly back to Los Angeles...and finally I got a sketch-able little glimpse of Mt. Rainier!  I can hardly wait until next year's West Coast Urban Sketchers Sketch Crawl...in Vancouver!


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sketching at the Museum...

Some wonderful shows have visited the Getty Center this summer, and with every visit I do some sketching.  The Richard Meier building always has dramatic light and shadows, and the 360 views of Los Angeles are fantastic!


 From an evening at the Getty Center, which coincided with a large brush fire some miles north--the sky looked bruised with red-violet clouds as the sun was going down...

Later, a fun gathering of artists!





The summer brought "Unruly Nature:  The Landscapes of Theodore Rousseau"--drawings and paintings of the great 19th c. French landscape artist.  I found his work so inspiring--I made several visits and lots of little studies.  I learned a new and very useful word: "ebauche"--a word used by critics to mean unfinished--but precisely the quality that makes his work feel very fresh, even raw at times.  Here are some little thumbnails studies in pencil, ink wash and markers...




Inspired by Rousseau's work, a view from the Getty of Los Angeles, looking southwest towards Santa Monica in watercolor and gouache on top of a pencil drawing...



 More Getty visitors...lunch next to the Sculpture Terrace...














More sketching inspired by Rousseau...first a pencil sketch of the hillside looking east...















I returned soon after to add watercolor and gouache to this view...


Summer evenings at the Getty--are lovely!  












Waiting for the tram to leave the Getty Center...a quick sketch of "That Profile" by Martin Puryear...











Currently on view until November 13 at the Getty Center is a spectacular painting show, "London Calling" with the works of Bacon, Kossoff, Andrews, Auerbach, Kitaj--and the absolutely stunning work of Lucian Freud.  If you're in Los Angeles--not to be missed!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Road Trip: San Diego

Catching up here with a summer's worth of sketching, and a road trip in July to San Diego!

I was again fortunate to be riding "shotgun", which means I get to passenger-sketch my way from Los Angeles, except for occasional navigation duties...

Lovely to see a turquoise ocean as we passed through San Onofre...where you also see the decommissioned nuclear power plant peeking around some trees...



Balboa Park was our destination...which I loved visiting as a child, and it's every bit as beautiful and gracious as I remember it.  The San Diego Zoo is vast--with far more habitat than animal "exhibits"--just as it should be.  Some quick sketches here of the pandas, and the gerenuks...


Sketching a view here of the "Skyfari" and the lovely Museum of Man over lunch at the zoo--in the flight path of the airport,  so Southwest airplanes passed by frequently...


Balboa Park takes many more than a few days to explore...gardens, theaters and something like 16 museums.   The architecture goes back to the 1916 Panama-California Exposition--and the grand buildings along El Prado promenade are referred to as "Spanish Colonial Revival" style--with wonderfully over-the-top ornamentation...I want to go back and spend more time sketching the way they catch the light!  


My last sketching stop at Balboa Park was the lovely Botanical Building, next to a long reflecting pool.  It seemed to me that people were more caught up with their phones than usual...and discovered later that this was the day Pokemon Go was released--apparently the Park is full of them!
Leaving San Diego, just had to visit historic Old Town, as restaurants and shops gear up for lunchtime visitors...


































And the road trip continues--home to Los Angeles...










Sketching in the Garden...

It's been great to teach two workshop series this year at Descanso Gardens.  The first, in February, "Sketching on Location" focused on the basics of drawing...seeing and drawing in line and shape, and the second in June (when the Gardens are most colorful!), "Sketching with Color".  I do a lot of sketching in advance to show students examples, and I love working my way through the basics...Descanso Gardens becomes a wonderful sort of outdoor "laboratory" to break down methods...and I always love learning from that process myself!

 I start with making lots of little thumbnails with fountain pen...composing and massing shapes
Always fun to add the visitors in the landscape...





Adding some color to ink thumbnails...





A little demo to show approaches to quick sketching with a limited palette (and limited time!)...




Some "notan" sketches in the Rose Garden with brush pen...



Experimenting with Inktense pencils--the gardeners at work making Descanso the beauty that it is...
Conversations in the cafe...


I love sketching at Descanso in any season...these are from the Rose Garden in February, when things are just beginning to bud...


And a shameless exercise in color in the Rose Garden at the height of summer color...