After extensively sketching the urban architecture of Washington, DC, I figured I would take a shot at rural architecture while visiting a farm in suburban Maryland. I thought that this would be pretty easy, but I was rather mistaken; while I had developed a visual and aesthetic fluency in the architecture of historic urban neighborhood buildings, rural farming structures were something totally different, and were more challenging than I thought (I also had limited time to do these sketches.) Hopefully, I’ll get back to attempt these again some day.
Recently, my wife and I stole away for a relaxing weekend – sans children – to the Lancaster area of Pennsylvania, where we spent the time sleeping, sleeping, reading, sleeping, napping, and sleeping. We stayed at the lovely Swiss Woods Inn, just north of the very charming town of Lititz. If you’re looking for an incredible and relaxing bed and breakfast in the Lancaster area, look no further than Swiss Woods. The grounds are absolutely lovely, the amenities cozy and clean, the people warm and friendly, and for us hyper-busy Washingtonians, secluded and peaceful.
While I didn’t plan to do any sketching for the that weekend, I did tote along two small sketchbooks and some supplies, and I managed to do two quick sketches. Below was a 20 minute study of an authentic Swiss cowbell, part of a nice little collection of cowbells in our room (we cyclocrossers love cowbells!), and underneath that, and even faster two-minute sketch of an Amish horse and buggy, which was quite fun because how often does an urban sketcher get to sketch horses?
About seven years ago, we took a trip out west to California, visiting San Francisco and Yosemite National Park. Far removed from the practice of sketching at the time, I none the less toted along a small sketchbook, some pens, and a few colored pencils. Here are two sketches I did in Yosemite, which barely begin to capture the awe-inspiring visual grandeur and mind-blowing dimensions of the place.
I will be taking a break from posting this week while I stuff my face and over-fill my belly during the one-two celebratory punch that will be Thanksgiving and Chanuka. Though the two holidays don’t share anything in common – one being a major American holiday and the other a minor Israeli festival – the convergence of the Gregorian and Hebrew calendars last brought the two events together 153 years ago, and mathematically will not do so again for roughly 70,000 years, so I plan to take full advantage of this once in a lifetime event to feast on copious amounts of oil-fried turkey, cranberry sufganiot, and of course, some fine craft beers!
These are from a sketchbook back in 2003, done during a day trip to Jones Beach on south shore of Long Island, NY. I started with a few pencil sketches to figure out the mechanics and actions of how the waves broke, along with the lights and darks they created on the water. Next, I threw down two watercolor studies to capture the color of the water and sky.
Not only did I enjoy the sketching that afternoon, but also the lovely summer day spent with my girlfriend. I think she liked the sketches, too; nine months later, she married me!
Here’s a drawing I did in 1996 of a violinist in the Israeli city of Tzfat. I initially took a picture of him, then worked from the photo to do the rendering. This was shortly after my art school days (pre-digital), so my emphasis was on rendering flesh tones, coloring, and detail, but in glazed colored pencils rather than the more traditional oils and watercolors that were always pushed by the teachers at the time. Everything else was rendered in ink.
Here’s the first of a new series of postings titled “Retro Sketch”. These are pages from my older sketchbooks, which I compiled before I began this blog, including sketchbooks from before the days of sketch blogs in general.
This first piece is from 1996: an on-site sketch of the Machtesh Ramon in Israel’s Negev Desert. This was done with watercolors and watercolor pencils, and as I quickly discovered, working with water-based mediums in an arid desert is quite the challenge, as your water dries out rather quickly.
Over the past few months, I’ve been participating in Alphachimp Studio’s “Rockstar Scribe”, an introductory course to graphic recording. One module of the course emphasizes typography and letterforms in sketch-noting and graphic recording. Not too long ago, I found a unique opportunity to practice this particular discipline: I was in Brooklyn, NY, strolling along the ever-eclectic and visual vibrant Kings Highway. Barraged by a cacophony of old-world schlocky signage, I broke out my sketchbook and pen, and went to work sketching interesting letters and words. As I was doing this, raindrops began to fall, and I eventually retreated into one of the many unique eateries and pastry cafés to be found in this rather kitschy, yet storied and very visual, stretch of Brooklyn.
Here are some sketches from a recent quick trip to the beaches of the Delaware Shore. Though I was there just for some sun, sand, surf, and family fun, I did manage to do a few quick sketches. The first sketch is of the Atlantic View Hotel in Dewey Beach, Delaware. Located between the flashier beach towns of Bethany and Rehoboth, Dewey is smaller and quieter, and the Atlantic View, which was clean, quaint, and very friendly, is right on the beach and has everything you need to enjoy a true beach vacation. The second sketch is from the DogfishHead Brewpub in Rehoboth Beach, where if you love great craft beer, you absolutely must visit. The third sketch was done by my kids to keep them busy while I enjoyed the beers in the second sketch.
All good trips must come to an end, and we eventually had to leave Israel. As we prepped for our early-morning flight out of Ben Gurion, I swapped out my travel sketch journal for my regular sketchbook. As I began drawing the El Al 747-400 that would take us to London before boarding a connecting flight to the states, I realized that I only had about 45 minutes left to grab the last bites of Israel’s awesome food. After a quick wake-up of coffee and croissant, it was over to Burger Ranch for more meaty Israeli kosher goodness. I did two quick drawings on the plane, but by the time we got to London, I was so exhausted that I put to the sketchbooks and pens away, and saddled up to a British airport pub for a pint of British ale.
Thanks to everybody who stopped by to look at these sketches. I hope you enjoyed them, and hopefully I’ll be able to get back to Israel and do some more drawing soon!
These pages cover our last day in Yerushaluyim. We started at the Shuk Machane Yehuda, a large oriental-style open-air market where I sought the colorful spice stalls that are the money-shot for sketch artists and photographers alike. It’s also a great place to shop, meet, and eat some fantastic Israeli street food and café fare. Afterwards, it was off to the ultra-orthodox neighborhood of Meah Shearim, where a I sketched a street corner scene, all the while drawing an audience of curious, yet very friendly haradim, and making friends with the surrounding merchants. Finally, as the daylight waned, we headed over to the beautiful new Mamilla Promenade overlooking the walls of the Old City. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the right colors to capture the spectacular sunset skies, but I did get a nice drawing from Café Rimon, a great place for a lovely sunset dinner.
I highly recommend a trip to Israel; it’s really a lovely, vibrant, and very fun place. Be sure to bring a bathing suit for the warm Mediterranean beaches, an appetite for some of the finest foods, wines, and craft beers anywhere, and of course, cameras and sketchbooks to capture the visuals and aesthetics of this truly fascinating country.