Saturday, 28 July 2012

New Orleans Characters

"There's a lot of places I like, but I like New Orleans better"
Bob Dylan

New Orleans has more character as a city than anywhere else I've visited.  I had enough time to walk to get the touring out of the way and be comfortable to just hang out.  I drew several street scenes, but gravitated to some of the people who animate this unique place.

Cigar smoking cops,  Freddy the Realistic Mystic and the cook at FredRick's Deli.

New Orleans Street Jazz

"Your applause is nice, but it don't buy no ham and rice.

Please leave us a bit before you split."

Friday, 27 July 2012

Cajin Spices

The sky was turning dark and there was some distant thunder .  Eddie told me, "in N'orleans it thunder, it gonna rain".

I walked over to the French Market for shelter and spent a couple of hours sketching under cover.

This was perfect opportunity to try something from one of the Urbansketcher Symposium workshops  - a combinations of illustrating patterns and capturing people.

Eddie and Bo

"They got funny chickens.
They got got funny dogs.
They got funny everything."

I was sketching in the French Quarter of New Orleans and was sitting close to Eddie and Bo while I sketched the Spotted Cat nightclub and heard several pearls of wisdom, including,  " Gentlemans ain't so nice when it comes to money".

Thursday, 26 July 2012


On the way back north from the Outer Banks we were able to spend a half a day in Annapolis.  I've been here before and will again as I absolutely love the heritage and maritime character.  This sketch is the inner harbour.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The Outer Banks

It was fun to drive the length of the Outer Banks.  It confirmed how wonderful Ocracoke is, as the other famous towns - Nag's Head, Kitty Hawk and Cape Hatteras are condo clusters and considerably larger than Ocracroke.

Ocracoke Harbour

It doesn't get much better than this - no chain stores, boats of all decriptions and the traffic is mainly golf carts and locals on bikes...some riding with cell phones and/orsipping beer.

The Ocracoke lighthouse is white, without the distinctive black graphics that distinguish the other lighthouses along the Outer Banks.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Beaufort Marintime Museum

The skeleton of a10m long, adolescent sperm whale hangs over the exhibits in the Maritime Museum in Beaufort North Carolina.  The whale inexplicably beached itself and perished not far away at Cape Lookout.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Cape Lookout

We had a steady wind and 4 -6 foot seas on our jaunt out to Cape Lookout from Beaufort.  We shared the bay with a Coat Guard cutter, but even with their presence were nervous to swim as we had heard of shark attacks here a year ago.

Friday, 20 July 2012

North Carolina Marintime museum

I had a couple of hours to visit the Maritime Museum in Beaufort at the south end of the Outer Banks while transiting through on a sail boat earlier this week.  Its a wonderful small museum which is augmented by a traditional wood boat building workshop.

One of the benefits of sketching is that if you ask, you can often get in past where the public are allowed and engage staff in conversation about what they are doing.  It was about 90 degrees F that afternoon, but the offshore breeze was moving through in the shade of the workshop made it quite comfortable.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Sketchcrawl 38 - Santo Domingo

This was my first real sketchcrawl experience with a large number of participants. In addition to the symposium participants, many local sketchers turned out and filled Parque Colon, a major square and sort of city living room in the heart of Santo Domingo's colonial zone.

Normally sketching is a solitary activity, but in a sketchcrawl there is a sense, not only of  camaraderie, but also an infectious enthusiasm, from viewing the range of subjects and styles.

USK Symposium - Day 2

Both workshops on Friday stressed taking in the whole environment by preparing several quick, small 'thumbnail' planing sketches before settling in to do a drawing.

Tea, Milk and Honey

Marc Holmes set out a very clear, three step process for  watercolour painting.  The analogy is that the tea is the first ingredient - a light washes.  Next, milk, an application of the denser colous as shadows .  And finally strategic placement of dark values as the honey,  which really brings the painting alive.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Las Mercado - The Market

This workshop was about telling stories by drawing people in the open market. It was a hot, noisy and incredibly busy place and a real challenge to try to draw people as they went about their activities.. The illustrators among Urban Sketchers talk about 'the narrative' and 'telling stories'.  The emphasis is on body language, patterns and the experience of the place as opposed to accuracy.

Santo Domingo

I'm in the Dominican Republic attending the Urban Sketchers Symposium.  There are about 120 participants from 16 countries.

Its been both stimulating and frustrating.  Stimulating in that there is such a rich mix of approaches and perspectives.  Frustrating, in that it's tough to push out of my 'comfort zone' and do things differently.

I knew that I would not likely have much that I wanted to show from the  workshops as they are usually a series of exercises , so much as techniques to bring away and integrate into my sketches.