Monday, July 15, 2013

40th World Sketch Day - Sketches

                                    Colored Pencil on Mixed Media Strathmore Visual Journal
                                                                          5.5 X 8

Some of you may not have heard of a "Sketch Craw"  or World Sketch Day but it's kind of like an Internationally observed day to sketch everywhere around the world.  Oh no, now I have the Martha and The Vandellas song "Dancing In The Street" playing in my head.  Anyway, it's also kind of like a college bar crawl, going from place to place sketching for the day.  Wine or alcohol optional, but sketching your lunch is encouraged.  I however only had a few hours in the morning to spare so I invited lots of friends, students and other known sketchers to participate.  For more information see link:  or the Facebook Sketch Crawl site at:

The crazy weather we have had here in VA had me searching for an indoor/outdoor location close to home (due to a busy schedule), and of course a bathroom since there will be coffee involved ;-).  It seems the more I try to plan anything outdoors the rains come and ruin it.  So with coffee in hand, my small sketch kit and a folding chair I headed off to a local nursery to get started.

It is advisable if your inviting friends to a business location to call in advance to get permission.  In this case Richmond's "Great Big Greenhouse" was gracious enough to let us come in early at 8 AM.  A really nice nursery with wonderful plants inside and out.  It was really hard to NOT shop for plants and great garden and home accessories but get down to the business of sketching.

So I placed myself near the front entrance in the greenhouse so I could be aware of the few who said they might join me.  Near the collection of indoor ferns on sale.  After getting started on a small vignette at the edge of the plant table I greeted a previous student of mine, Cheryl who was happy for an excuse to get out sketch, shop and catch up.  You know this is also a great social event, if others hadn't been on summer vacation several others said they would have come.  Here's a photo of the ferns from my iphone:

I actually sat a little lower than this view when I did the above sketch.  The day went from threatening clouds to sunny skies so I opted to stay in the greenhouse.   I next moved on the Bonsai plant area which I love, and found a really neat asian garden lantern.  Since I'm on a quest to learn pen and ink sketching, I'm currently leaching myself this thru a 75 Day Sketch Challenge.  Only Ink is allowed, no pencil underneath  just ink.  I started this on June the 28th and will end it on Sept. 10th.  Each day you have to sketch something in your journal for 75 days.  I figure this would make me practice a more sure line, since it can't be erased or camouflaged by adding color.  Brenda Swenson started this challenge on her blog at:    She's a water color and ink sketcher and does some really great work.  So as I bungle thru sketching with a micron pen in a Dick Blick ink sketchbook I received as a promotion, I'm learning to shade, hatch and double hatch my way thru the challenge.  I hope by day 75 it gets easier and faster and maybe a tiny bit better.  (By the way I'm going to have to check out this sketchbook more as it does not show bleed thru, is smooth for the pen and it's soft grey sheets would take some white pencil for highlights. After the challenge that is. )

I actually love journaling, travel journaling and working my way thru new challenges.  Sketchbooks need only be for you, not shared or publicized but enjoyed.  Getting out my first sketches always makes me feel better about how far I have come on my art journey.  Danny Gregory, author of "An Illustrated Life" and "An Illustrated Journey" encourages folks to journal, and document, but most of all enjoy the process.   Although many do so in watercolor and pen, I choose to mainly work in my beloved colored pencil, but still I can see the use of ink when called for and definitely for the script part of the page.

I hope you enjoyed your weekend, whether on not you observed World Sketch Day or not.  The next one should be in October this year as they seem to do 4 per year.  Grab your sketchbook and whatever your favorite media or just a regular pencil and try it.  I know next time I'm planning on making it past lunchtime before I cave in and shop!  ;-) Keep it colorful!

And her new plant adoptees spent the rest of the day in her garden and conservatory getting acquainted....... 

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