A Day in Santa Cruz

Two weeks ago, I spent a whole day on the coast near Santa Cruz sketching with friends.

When I haven’t been out drawing for a long time, I feel rusty. Not so much with my hands, because I’ve been drawing at home. But with seeing. With finding within everything before me the sketch I want to capture on my page. And my only way past that feeling is to sketch, knowing that it will take time to see clearly.

We started our day at Natural Bridges Beach in Santa Cruz, and I didn’t try to find an unusual angle or anything out of the ordinary to start my day. I sketched this classic view of that lone standing arch. I’ve drawn this a few times, over the years. It was an easy way to slip into the day.

Then I turned to face away from the ocean and drew this grove of eucalyptus trees that hosts Monarch butterflies when they migrate through here.

We moved on to Wilder Ranch State Park after that and I sketched this abandoned machine not knowing what it was. Turns out it’s a manure spreader.

Since I had most of my lunch earlier in the day, I could squeeze in a quick sketch of Cathy and Laurie while they had their lunch. Sketched in two inks with a good amount of finger smudging involved.

I didn’t sketch these two, but here are Vivian and Uma. On the right, is Uma working plein air on fullsheet paintings!

I thought I’d draw some of the old farm structures that were around, so I started with this one.

But what really caught my eye were the shimmering color in the trees, and I tried capturing them in the next couple of pieces. I wish I had green gold in my palette that day. It’s the color of early spring and it was everywhere….

I was tired at this point, but also warmed up. And I was glad Uma was up for one more piece before we drove back home. We headed back to that eucalyptus grove I sketched in the morning and caught the warm light of the late afternoon.

I have such a great set of friends They are easy-going and fun to be with, always inspiring, and ready for a challenge. Seeing how each person captures the spirit of the place so uniquely and tries new things always pushes me to take my work a little bit further than I would on my own. And that is such a gift.

Here are the links to instagram feeds for Uma, Vivian, Cathy and Laurie.

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
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9 Responses to A Day in Santa Cruz

  1. Barbara Beynon says:

    I simply love looking at all these sketches from you day with friends near Santa Cruz. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. dana kay says:

    Oh how I love looking at this day! Makes me a bit jealous! So happy to see your coastal work! Love the looseness. I’m working on values. So looseness is down the road. Hahaha. I’m a bit too tight but I really enjoy what I do. Thank you for sharing! Hope to paint with you soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dana, value studying is a long and continual journey or me. I see color first, and learning to see value and use in my compositions is actually helping my color work! (but like you say, a long journey… learning as I go along!)

      Like

  3. art4coz says:

    It took your and Laurie’s several visits to scope out area, find the best locations and then sharing with us to create this chance for rest of us. Heartwarming, all of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Merilee says:

    I am interested in your easel setup for watercolor. Can you describe your equipment? Standing watercolor painting is intriguing to me, rather than sitting outdoors. I really love your work and it looks like great fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful paintings of Santa Cruz, I really like the one you did of the farm equiptment, and the trees/ orchard at the bottom.

    Liked by 2 people

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