Thanks to all the participants in the Line to Color workshop Gail Wong and I led this past weekend in the Fremont neighborhood and Gasworks Park in Seattle. We appreciated the energy and willingness of everyone to endure the less than ideal weather conditions to draw and paint this weekend. When sketching while traveling or simply out and about, we often cannot control how hot, cold, or wet it is. We can only do the best we can.
After drawing on location for so long, I sometimes forget what it is like to be a beginner. More than a few participants mentioned how mentally tiring it was to draw all day, which, in thinking about it, shouldn’t have surprised me. Drawing, and the seeing it requires, does take effort, especially for beginners struggling to resolve the difference between what we know about something and how it might appear to the eye.
During these workshops, Gail and I rarely have the time to do any drawings of our own except for the quick demos we may do in our sketchbooks as we work with each of the participants one on one. Yesterday, to wrap up the workshop, we gathered at Seattle Center for a final session and I finally had the time to do a couple of sketches. The first is the view looking out from under the canopy at the base of the Space Needle, and the second is a contour line drawing of Space Bloom, an installation that combines art, science, and technology to enable the floral sculptures to sing and dance throughout the year.
Gail Wong and I will be teaching another in our series of Line-to-Color workshops in Seattle April 22-25, 2016. For more information about the schedule and registration process, please email Gail at glwarc at gmail dot com.
I want to thank Saleh Uddin, Arefeen Ibrahim, and the faculty, staff, and students of the Department of Architecture at American Internarional Universuty-Bangladesh for their warm welcome in Dhaka. In addition to giving a presentation during AIUB’s 10 year anniversary festivities, I had the pleasure of hosting a workshop one afternoon at Louis Kahn’s National Assembly Hall. Here are a couple more photos of the event (Thanks to Professor Ibrahim) and a few pages of explanatory sketches from my sketchbook.
Thanks to Professor Ibrahim for the photos.
During last summer’s Urban Sketchers Symposium, the Singapore Art Museum was the site for my workshops. Opening in 1996, the museum is housed in what was originally St. Joseph’s, a 19th-century mission school run by the La Salle Brothers.
Both before and after the workshops, I had the opportunity to draw two exterior views of the the museum, which focuses on the contemporary arts of Singapore, Southeast Asia, and Asia. The difficult aspect of both of these views was controlling the amount the wings of the building curve as they extend out from the main body of the complex, neither exaggerating, nor minimizing the amount of curvature.
Before returning to Seattle from Medellin, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to spend a couple of days on San Andrés, an island in the Caribbean Sea with an English past but tied politically to Colombia. Situated 470 miles north of Colombia but only 140 miles east of Nicaragua, it is, along with Providencia and Santa Catalina, part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. I was able to spend a day drawing some of the historic structures on the island with a small group of staff and students from the Jardin Botanico de San Andrés.
As part of the conference this week at the Medellin campus of the National University of Colombia, I was able to offer a couple of workshops for the students, something I always enjoy doing. Last Wednesday morning, we met at Botero Square in downtown Medellin, a hub of activity and urban life named after Fernando Botero, whose large, voluminous works are scattered throughout the park.
Here are examples of the sketches that I use to demonstrate capturing the essential structure of a scene.
I spent an enjoyable weekend in Portland co-teaching a Line-to-Color workshop with Gail Wong. We had the benefit of pleasant weather, Portland offers great sketching sites, and we had the opportunity to work with an ardent group of sketchers. As in any workshop, there is little time to sketch on one’s own but I managed to do one before the group met on Sunday morning and a couple more later on in the afternoon when members of the Portland Urban Sketchers joined our group at the Portland Saturday Market site on the riverfront.
Here are a few more sketches from my recent visit to Manhattan, Kansas. The second is of the International Student Center, which I studied because of its unusual inward orientation to a courtyard, unlike most of the other structures on the KSU campus.
I did this very quick sketch during a walk through the 8000-acre Konza Prarie, a former cattle ranch and now a tallgrass prarie preserve in the Flint Hills of northeastern Kansas, jointly owned by the Nature Conservancy and Kansas State University, which conducts ecological research and manages conservation in the preserve. I drew only the path ahead of me and a treeline in an arroyo between two ridges. All of that white space you see are prarie grasses, a mix of big bluestem, little bluestem, Indiangrass, and switchgrass.
A quick sketch of a scene on the Kansas State University campus in preparation for two days of workshops for beginning students in the College of Architecture, Planning & Design.