Car Wash

Taking my car to the carwash doesn’t happen very often at all. Here it is in pictures.

The process is so quick, it’s hard to keep up. I made each of these mini sketches a couple of minutes apart as my car advanced another spot closer in the long line. It’s quite a juggling act, driving a car length to advance in the line, getting back to capturing the action, then moving again.carwash1

And then when I got to one-spot-before-the-car-in-the-tunnel, they started soaping and spraying my car. And my sketches descended into confused visions seen between soap suds.

This last one is while my car got cleaned on the inside and wiped down.

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One Tall Crane

This was a huge construction crane. Every time it spun back and lowered it’s hook, these men would pick up and quickly attach yet another huge air conditioning unit for the crane to pick up.

If I had thumbnailed this and figured my composition, I might have fit the whole height of the crane in, but I think it works this way too, with the crane so tall it doesn’t fit on my paper.


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Back at Stanford Memorial Church

I’ve sketched the Stanford Memorial Church years ago. So it’s interesting to go back, sketch it again and compare my sketches. This time I had the added bonus of sketching with Laurie Wigham and Gail Wong.

It was mostly a grey, shadowless day, with lots of very busy-looking students striding across to class. I even saw one person riding their bicycle while reading notes (rushing off to an exams? Finals week??) Here are my two sketches.


And here are Laurie and Gail, and all our work, out on the grass.

It was a really short sketch session, but I’m so glad I met them. One of the nicest things about the big Urban Sketching family is meeting up with a sketcher you don’t see often and drawing together. Thanks Laurie and Gail!

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Long study/quick study


On the left, a longer (40ish minutes) study. On the right, about 15 minutes, maybe less. The longer study on the left preceded the shorter one.

What isn’t here is the 2 quick sketches of this same pose that preceded this: in charcoal on newsprint and then on tinted paper.

The more sedate a pose gets, the harder it is to keep it looking vibrant. And I’m always tempted to work just quickly and gesturally because it comes naturally to me and I find it to be fun. But longer studies like the one on the left help me
a) learn to slow down
b) observe more carefully
c) get better at understanding anatomy
d) get better at drawing that quick, gestural piece I love doing
e) do something outside my comfort zone

Enough reason to plug away at them, right?

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Annual Art Show, Part 2

The other really fun part of the Annual Art Show is when the Middle School Orchestra plays. Looking back at the 3 sketches I made, maybe I should have focussed on different compositions, tried different things…but once I zone-in and start drawing to the music, I just want to keep going.



The three sketches are in the order I sketched them in. Do you have a favorite?

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Annual Art Show

school_art3Every year, I get to be one of many Visiting Artists at our school’s art show. I’m always setup with a table, but like to walk around with my book and sketch, so I used the table to set up books on sketching for my ever-growing collection: who doesn’t like a table full of books with pictures that you can flip through?

I love drawing people looking at art. There is the art on the wall, and there are people walking past it, and the challenge for me is to capture that fleeting moment when a kid spots their piece on a wall and points it out to a parent, or when they reach out and touch a piece they find fascinating.

Then, I wander over and sketch other artists.

On the left, Daichi Ito strikes a classic ‘standing-and-sketching’ pose. Here, the little kids use digital media to draw and Daichi uses his ipad and sketches them in Adobe Sketch. And then I stand back from the scene and capture it all in analog. Somewhere in there is something poetic that I don’t have the words for. On the right is probably the most popular booth of the evening, with Kathy Clayton decorating all sorts of cookies: Hello Kitties, rainbows, hearts, flowers and more.

In the cafeteria, where all the art is on display for the evening, is a piano kids can come and play at.

On the left is Aaron, playing the Star Wars theme. On the right a sketch of people looking at art that I never finished, because I ran off with my sketchbook to watch the Middle School Orchestra play outside.

Those sketches? Coming tomorrow.

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Wine and sketching go together well

When you travel with kids you winery-hop until the kids complain. A lot. We only got as far as 2 wineries.

Stop 1 was kid-friendly Sequoia Grove in Napa, with tall redwood trees and a little fountain to set by.


Stop 2 was St Clement’s in St. Helena, with this lovely house from 1878.


Wine and sketching really do go well together.

If you love sketching and you’re visiting Wine Country, there’s no better inspiration than Richard Sheppard‘s book, Impressions of Wine Country.


You can read a review of the book here.

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