Some pencil sketches done a few weeks ago at The De Young Museum.
Last weekend I did some sketching with MATT JONES at the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, where, along with my pals Bosco and Steve, we saw the FANTASTIC Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit, FROM THE SIDEWALK TO THE CATWALK.
Seeing a 30 year retrospective of his work made it clear how much of the visual style of the past few decades can be attributed to Gaultier, and not just in the field of fashion itself. He has done extensive design work in iconic films and styled many videos and album covers in the music business too. His cross-cultural fashion mash-ups are astonishingly witty. I was very impressed with the exhibit, though it was almost impossible to do any drawing due to the Disneyand-scale crowds that had shown up on the last weekend of the show. I only was able to do one sketch from the ONE dead-space within the swirling maelstrom of onlookers, which sadly gave a vantage point BEHIND one of the mannequins. When the crowds got to be too much, we went to the MASKS area of the permanent collection upstairs, where there is always something great to draw.
After a quick bite to eat, we did some more sketching outside the museum and called it a day. These sketches allowed me to FINALLY fill the little watercolour sketchbook I have been using for the past 10 months. Unlike all those before, I had resolved to fill this one ONLY with observational sketches (rather than doodles) and it has been a great exercise that I want to continue, though hopefully filling the NEXT one rather more quickly.
I recently worked in LA, helping my buddy RHODE with his personal project, brain-storming together in an intense schedule that did not leave time for much other than work. But on my last weekend in LA, Julia came to town, and we managed to squeeze in a day of sketching on the beach.
While everyone else was wearing swimsuits, we were the two dorks in dressed in sensible clothes drawing the SANTA MONICA PIER. But hey, there is more than one way to have fun in the sun!
Last weekend, Julia and I went up to the CAPAY VALLEY, a picturesque farming area about 2 hours drive from San Francisco, to attend an OUTSTANDING IN THE FIELD farm-dinner. The trip made a good excuse for a weekend of drawing.
Our posh dinner was set for Sunday so we planned to devote all of Saturday to exploring and sketching. During breakfast on the porch of our inn, we saw a deer and her two baby fauns walking through the garden and into the forest. With that charming sight in our minds, we put on back-backs and set off, musing on the advantages of country life. Our inn-keeper had given us walking directions to some interesting farms nearby but, when we arrived, there was nobody to ask permission to enter the properties. It felt presumptuous to ignore all the “Keep Out” signs and set-up drawing in the owners’ absence, so we retraced our steps back to our inn.
Suddenly, we were startled by a grisly scene; about 10 feet from the trail we walked on, one of the fauns we’d seen earlier that same morning was having its throat torn out by a huge black Labrador, while the clearly-distressed mother watched from a safe distance with her other baby. After a pathetic yowl, the faun was dead, almost before we knew what was going on. Thoroughly deflated, we decided to get in the car and go seek things to draw elsewhere.
Although the valley is incredibly pretty from one end to the other, it was surprisingly difficult to find a place to sit and draw, because everything picturesque is on private property, plastered in “No Trespassing” signs. On the other hand, maybe we were not looking hard enough; seeing Bambi slaughtered by Cujo had sucked the fun out of the day for us. Whatever the cause, by the end of the first day, all we’d found to draw was an abandoned school house. Driving back to our inn that evening, we saw an old rusty truck and resolved to draw it early the next day before our dinner.
The next day was a vast improvement over the first. We drew the truck as planned. While Julia devoted all her time to the truck and did a fantastic pastel, I managed to bang out another sketch, of a nearby wagon before we had to head off to our event.
The dinner we’d gone all that way to attend took place at one long, long table seating 140 people, placed between a row of trees in the fig orchard of CAPAY ORGANIC FARMS. For several months now, we’ve been getting a box of their produce delivered to our front door every other week, so when we heard there was to be a farm dinner hosted on their property it seemed like something we shouldn’t miss. The dinner was preceded by a tour of the farm itself which was an lovely setting for an evening meal with just about the best weather you could have wished for. Our table-mates were strangers but excellent company. Each of them had some connection to farming or wineries and we had lively and fun conversation that made the entire journey well worthwhile.
Yesterday was spent SKETCHING in the company of that incomparable urban sketcher MATT JONES, and his pals MARK STANLEIGH and JASON SPENCER-GALSWORTHY. After a very pleasant early morning walk across town, I met them all at the JAPANESE TEA GARDEN in Golden Gate Park.
In my recent location sketching, I’ve attempted to record all the detail as accurately as I can, with mixed success. For a change, this time I tried to distill what I saw into some sort of a gesture. Hence the scribbly approach, where tried to imply detail with scribbles of a ballpoint pen, without actually drawing it all. Not sure if it works yet..
After an few hours in the Tea Garden we had lunch and then some of us walked on to the Haight Ashbury area for a beer and some more sketching.
It was tempting to go back over these with some scibbly colour when I got home, which is probably what they need, but I’ll save that until NEXT time I try this approach.
Last Weekend, Julia and I returned from a fantastic 2-week visit to France. Our first few days in Paris were a blur of activity; sight-seeing, and meeting with my old friends, and the next few days at the FESTIVAL in Angouleme were more of the same, with book-buying besides! By the time we got to SAINTES on the Atlantic coast, for a visit with my Dad, the pace slowed down enough to finally fit in a little sketching, though nowhere near as much as I would have liked.
These first two drawings show some of the Roman artifacts that are highlights of a visit to the region around Saintes, including a spectacular Gallo-Roman Amphitheatre:
During our 2nd week, the weather turned decidedly colder and the sketching moved indoors. These sketches were drawn inside the chilly Cathedral of Saint Pierre:
We spent our last day in France inside the the Louvre, that repository of Western Civilization’s greatest hits… A day is not enough to see anything but a teeny fraction of what is there, so we decided to focus on SCULPTURES, and the sketching thereof:
As a consequence of being a nest of over-achievers for well over a millennium, France is a country with such an embarrassment of riches in History and Art that it is impossible to take it all in… but I can’t wait to go back and try!