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!
Here are two individuals I sketched on the Metro one morning. The bottom individual was easier to sketch; from an angle, I’m less likely to be noticed by the person I’m sketching, and I can sketch more continuously. When the person is in front of me, however, it’s much riskier. Hopefully, they’re too engrossed in their smart phones and tablets to notice, though I still need to predict when they’ll look up, at which time I put down the sketchbook and pen. Generally, I’m sketching them in bits and pieces, switching between working in a focused and controlled manner, and a manner which is rushed and spontaneous.
The key to sketching happiness, especially when time is tight, is to find a reliable subject matter. For a little while, I was sketching the streetlights on a busy nearby corner. The more that I drew them, the better I was able to think visually about them. I eventually found the one that I really wanted to draw, and what details in particular I wanted to focus on. Hence, here – after about two weeks of sketching streetlights – is my 10 minute masterpiece. Enjoy.
Before I was carrying a small sketchbook and fountain pen on the Washington, DC Metro, I was carrying a slightly bigger sketchbook and a travel watercolor set on my hikes in upstate New York. Here are two of those sketches, both done in 2003. The first is a valley in Minnewaska State Park, near Gertrude’s Nose. The second is from Anthony’s Nose in Bear Mtn. State Park, looking south down the Hudson river towards Indian Point and New York City.
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.
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.
I haven’t posted in weeks as I’ve been involved on a large production project. Coupled with the Tour de France, summertime fun, family, and now the Olympics (cycling), I pretty much checked-out for a little while to take a much-needed break. Of course, my pen didn’t stop moving and I finished-up my latest 4×6 sketchbook. Here are some catchup sketches, and there’s more on the way.