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SKETCHBOOK: a creative tool and a way of life that celebrates design and drawing as vital ways to see and value culture, to discover ideas, and to envision a better world.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Part 2: Step-by-Step Fort Worth Workshop Demo

Today we'll complete the step-by-step demonstration started in the last post.  The location is the corner of Crockett and Currie Streets in the Crockett Row area about a mile west of downtown Fort Worth.  As mentioned in the previous post, this is the same sequence I used in my "Sketching the Energy" workshops May 5, 6 and 7, so if you weren't able to attend (or even if you were), enjoy!

This is where we left of yesterday (see the previous blog post).  We have a lively black and white line sketch with plenty of eye-catching detail and a strong pattern of darks to separate individual objects, add some needed contrast, and tie the composition together. 
I started with clear water washed over the entire sky area, then waited a bit for it to dry to a dull sheen.  Then I added some Cobalt Teal Blue (Daniel Smith), wet-in-wet, to the center of the sky area, careful not to spill over onto the center pole or rings. (Thanks to Paul Wang for turning me on to that color.)  I pulled the blue upwards in a kind of ragged pattern, until I was satisfied with the look of it.  Then I added some Naples Yellow (W&N) to the buildings, trees and sidewalks, applied wet on dry.  This yellow will show through subsequent washes of color, helping to unify the color scheme and lending a brightness to the whole scene.  The diagonal strokes on the building at left are intentional, to add some movement to the image. I've decided that the street and the vertical pole in the center of the scene will remain white.



Seduced by the freshness of that Cobalt Teal Blue, I used it to create shade and shadow on both buildings.  Again, some diagonal strokes on the left for a sense of movement.  Will it be enough to depict the shade and shadow?  We'll see.

Now for details.  First some W&N Permanent Sap Green (toned down with a touch of Cadmium Red) on the trees, careful to leave some yellow on the sunlit top of the canopies.  The red umbrellas create an important focal point, while balancing the cool blues and greens.  I repeated the color on clothes of pedestrians and people on the balconies.  This is another method to pull the composition together by having touches of the color "leap" into other areas of the sketch. I added a touch of the Cobalt Teal Blue to the rings hanging over the intersection, and a variety of "confetti colors" to the rest of the people's clothing.

I've noticed that I've inadvertently omitted the top shade canopy on the building to the left.  No worries; let's just add it now.  I've also decided that the Teal Blue for the shade and shadow doesn't lend enough depth and contrast to the scene.  So I've mixed some W&N Prussian Blue and W&N Alizarin Crimson into a rich purple/gray, in order to add darker shadows and shade to the buildings, the street in the middle ground and to the foreground.  For a final flourish, I used my trusty Uni-Ball Siglo white pen (UM153) to add some white for the twinkle lights.

That's all, folks!  If you enjoyed this 2-part series, leave a comment and let me know.  And consider showing some love by following the blog.  See you soon!   -Jim

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Step by Step: Fort Worth Workshop (Part 1)

Some of you may have seen photos of our "Sketching the Energy of Place" workshops in Fort Worth on May 5, 6 and 7 on Facebook.  We'll do another post with more photos here.  In the meantime, I wanted to show a step-by-step demo of the location we sketched on all three days. Today we'll focus on the black and white line sketch, and work the the watercolor in the next post.  This is the same sequence I demonstrated on location, so if you weren't able to attend (or even if you were), enjoy!



This is the finished demonstration sketch, to show you where we're headed.



And here's the scene as I photographed it on a Tuesday, late morning (meaning deserted).  There were plenty of people to sketch during our weekend workshop sessions.  


My typical starting point:  A frame to help me place the big shapes, and my eye-level line, about 5 feet off the ground.

I always add a few people first to establish the beginnings of a sense of depth, and to break the tension of the first marks on a white page.

Place the big shapes.  Here I have the major building outlines, and the support pole for cables in the middle.  I also added a car in the center.

Here I've added the decorative rings hanging over the center of the intersection.  Another car added on the right.

Next, have fun adding details...windows, signs, umbrellas, lights, and more people.

Finally, design with darks--use darker values to pop out elements, to add visually exciting contrasts, and to tie the composition together.

That's it for today.  Next I'll add a step-by-step demonstrating the watercolor sequence.  See you then!
Jim

Friday, May 19, 2017

Commemorating a Milestone for Landscape Architecture

Wednesday, May 17 marked the opening of the long awaited Center for Landscape Architecture in Washington, D.C. Housed in the historic headquarters building of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the Center gives ASLA "a bright new home that embodies the mission, vision, and values of the Society, and is also a showcase for sustainable design excellence."

I'm deeply honored that the Society asked me to create a watercolor sketch (below) of the newly renovated building to commemorate the Center's opening. High quality prints were given as a gift to the project's major donors at a formal dinner and a VIP reception earlier this week.  I personalized most of the prints for the recipients on the spot.

The American Society of Landscape Architects was founded in 1899.  The opening of the Center is a major milestone for the Society.  Congratulations to ASLA, its staff, officers, membership, the donors, and all who have worked diligently to make this dream a reality!

My watercolor sketch to commemorate the opening of the new Center for Landscape Architecture in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Another from San Miguel de Allende

It seems that there's a stunning building or landscape vista or lively cafe everywhere you turn in this town... This one was sketched on location in the early morning with a PITT Artists' Pen (brown ink).  I'm pleased with the watercolor...