Studies from photographs

Here are a couple of little studies from photographs. The water and rocks is from a Sargent study. The palm tree street scene is a photo from the internet of Ocean Beach, CA. I lived there 30+ years ago.



It came….and it went. 2017 Brush Creek Art Walk wrapped up Sunday evening. I was so pleased to be one of the five paintings selected in the finalists. What is so wonderful for me, Jim Hamil was the judge. We own 4 of his original watercolor paintings that hang in a grouping on a wall by our dining table. I wish I was more excited about my painting, but I didn’t think it was my best work. But I was certainly thrilled to be selected in the final 5. Here are a few photos from the weekends event.

An addiction to art supplies.

Ok there I admit it. I’m addicted to art supplies. I mean seriously who could pass up these luscious watercolors?  Hand made in CO.  They arrived in a little box with a yard tie. Inside was a handwritten personalized note. Each color was hand labeled and carefully wrapped in foil. Yummy colors! This yellow ochre could pass as a Carmel! I was excited as a kid on Christmas morning. Greenleaf and Blueberry Company has a challenging system to order. Once a month they ‘release’ a select number of handmade colors. Some individual and some pan sets. Everything, I mean EVERYTHING, sells out in minutes. I skipped mass to be on line the second they opened! Serious business! And I had my shopping list ready. I wanted one small 3 color “Wild Bird Egg” set, $45. And 5 colors, individual 1/2 pans for $10 each. It was a splurge, and I was thinking not all would be available, unless I was FAST. And I was fast. Everything was in my cart, so I went back in to looky loo. Mistake. When I went to pay, all but 3 colors were available! I paid for them, then returned to see if anything was left. I found one more color. Lesson learned!

Urban Sketching tools of the trade. 

First I have a disclaimer. I am an art supply junkie. I love just about every art tool made. Even a sharpened stick. 

Simply put, you only need something to draw with and something to draw on. However, just having a paper and pencil might not allow you to have the best experience possible while you are urban sketching. 

The Basics

Many people like to sketch with pencil first so that they have the ability to erase mistakes or change the way they first drew something. If you’re using a pencil just to lay down the foundations of your artwork, any pencil should do. However, if you want to only use pencil for your artwork, you should be aware of the types of pencils available and which one would best for you. I have grown fond of a mechanical pencil Pentel makes. The Graphgear 1000, .07 lead. The clip retracts the lead. Genius! They feel great in your hand. 

If you want to really have fun, explore fountain pens! Check out Goulet Pens and Jet Pens on line. Fountain pen stores are few and far between. Fortunately we have one here in Kansas City, The Pen Palace. We also have a fountain pen club that meets once a month. They are a wealth of information. Someone usually brings part of their collection to show and sometimes one will be for sale. 

The old fashion fountain pen is fabulous to draw with. Parka Blog has several great reviews to tease you. Liz Steel’s blog also has a wealth of information for sketching pens at affordable prices. Liz is one of the Craftsy instructors as well. Fountain pens could be one entire blog, and there are many out ‘there’. 

Other pens…..
Sakura Micron Pens are waterproof, archival ink. This ink is also chemical-resistant, fade-resistant, bleed free and quick-drying as well. The waterproof quality also helps if you want to add watercolor to your sketch. These pens are also available in a variety of different sizes. (0.2-mm, 0.25-mm, 0.3-mm, 0.35-mm, 0.45-mm, 0.5-mm) and a brush and graphic tip too!  There are several brands to chose from. Pentel, Coptic, and others. Do your research to select pens that fits your needs. (Note that’s a plural… Pens.) 


If you want to add color, you have lots to chose from depending on the ground you are working on. Colored pencils, water colored pencils, pastel, markers, inks, acrylic and watercolors to name several options. Watercolor is my first choice.  I reasearched extensively and found Jane Blundell to have one of the best informative blogs. She has created volumes of research on watercolors. 

With your choice of medium, you are ready to select tools! BRUSHES! Yummy brushes! This will be a blog page on its own. And watercolor paper, journals and etc. more blog pages. 


Who started Urban Sketching? 

The global popularity of urban sketching is relatively recent. Although people have been documenting their lives by drawing the world around them for ages, the global community aspect of it has skyrocketed in the past 10 years or so.
In 2007, a Seattle-based journalist and illustrator named Gabriel Campanario founded a blog and online forum for urban sketchers. This allowed urban sketchers all over the world to share their artwork with others. is now a non-profit organization who hosts the International Urban Sketchers Symposium annually and offers urban sketching workshops all over the world. This year Gabi was in Chicago where the Symposium was held. 600 sketchers from all over the world swarmed Chicago! 

The manifesto pretty much tells you explains what urban sketchers are all about!

Around the same time, SketchCrawl was founded by Enrico Casarosa, a Pixar storyboard artist and director. SketchCrawl is a like a bar crawl but without beer. Well, sometimes with beer! You meet other local urban sketchers to walk around and sketch various sites throughout the day. It’s a great way to meet fellow artists and find new locations around your area. Meet your Tribe!