Celebrating the Freehand Renaissance--sketching as a vital way to see and value culture, and to envision a better world.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

And the winner is...

This is one of the dozen little ink-and-watercolor sketches I did yesterday as "thank you" gifts from the trial-and-error process posted below.  At the end of the day, I think it's less about the place than the energy I felt in the place. Because it's so small (5 inches by 5 inches), both linework and color had to be boiled down to just the essentials.  That's probably not a bad lesson for larger works as well.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

From the cutting room floor...

So, I needed to create a dozen small, 5 inch x 5 inch original watercolors as gifts for an upcoming event.  I decided to do some VERY rough layouts from my sketchbook images to find a sketch that might work well in such a small format.  The first test run was based a sketch I'd made of a temple in Cambodia in 2006.
It's a fun image, and the color adds a lot of energy, but looked a little flat to me.  Also, I wanted to use the red "chop" of my name that I bought in China in the corner, but as you can see it didn't work very well on rough watercolor paper.  So, I tried a pelican's eye view of the top of the bell tower at LSU, looking out to the Mississippi River and the horizon beyond:
Again, a fun image even in this rough version, but that one didn't do it for me either.  Next I tried using a sketch of Brandenburg Gate from a trip to Berlin in 2008.  Not that everyone needs a sketch of this icon, but I thought the strong composition and exaggerated perspective made for something more visually interesting than the first two:
This one showed potential!  I decided to use it as the basis for the dozen little watercolors.  Check back in tomorrow to see how the "finished" version turned out.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sam I Am

Returning from Houston Sunday, I stopped to sketch the statue of Sam Houston on I-45 near Huntsville.  Like Dallas Cowboys Stadium and the hair of Texas debutantes, this thing is BIG.  David Adicke's sculpture is 67 feet tall and stark white against the dark green pines.  It's visible from a few miles away when approaching from the south, but I was struck by the closer view, revealing the contrast between the size of statue and the crowd of visitors around its base.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Dad Loves His Work

Work continues on my first book for John Wiley and Sons, Freehand Drawing Renaissance.  It's been a transformational experience.  Most days I'm rising about 3:30am (without an alarm), writing and/or drawing till 8am, walk the dog around the museums, back to the book till mid afternoon, then race to catch up on email, Townscape project work, meetings, errands and whatever else may have fallen through the cracks.  If I'm lucky I'll have dinner with Patti, pass out on the couch about 8pm, and get up to repeat it all the next day.  I couldn't be happier.


Best guess is that the manuscript is at 60% at this writing.  All is due May 21.  Hang in there with me...


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Five Copies for my Mother!

The cover is a detail from my sketch of a mosque in Istanbul.
Some of you may know that I taught a sketching workshop for design students in Istanbul last year.  I visited the city again three months later for the conference of the European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools (ECLAS).  I had a grand time sketching the city, and made some wonderful friends.  So, I was excited and honored when this Turkish landscape architecture magazine requested an interview to discuss drawing, design and creativity.  I guess I got kind of wordy (imagine that), because they came back to ask for more sketches, and made the interview their cover story.  The full interview is in Turkish, so I don't know exactly how my answers translated, but happily sketches speak an international language.

If you get a chance to visit Turkey, I can't recommend it highly enough.  Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the Mediterranean coast come together in wonderfully exciting place...high adventure indeed!
On-location sketches from the Parthenon and Lisbon.

Location sketches from Estoril, Portugal, Uchisar, Turkey and Notre Dame in Paris.

A tuk-tuk in Bangkok, and the famous floating market in Rajburi, Thailand.