Apr 11, 2018

Sketchbook #112: Found Flower and Dealing with Mistakes

I try to separate the process of making form the process of critiquing my work but sometimes there is no way around it - something just looks wrong on so many levels even before I finished it. That was the case with these flowers - I was not patient enough to really draw the structure and colors were not right and values too... That is when I decided to make a new layer and make a line the main character of this page. And used pencil for it. Not only pencil over gouache brings me joy - which immediately helped my attitude, but actually, it helped me to slow down and adjust some previous decisions to make this a more interesting sketchbook page and richer memory.

Sketchbook #112: Found FlowerSketchbook #112: Found Flower

Apr 10, 2018

Sketchbook #112: California Poppies

California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica - a state flower of California) are amazingly bright. I always try to go on a hike and see them in the wild - on the hills or in the fields. But I find the best outcroppings by a highway or in a city - the closer to a road the better. I am not sure why.
I find myself sitting by the traffic painting and drawing these amazing shapes at all times of the day as they are beautiful when they are closed and open, young and old, singular flower or a whole meadow.

Sketchbook #112: California PoppiesSketchbook #112: California Poppies

Apr 9, 2018

Urban Sketchers Bay Area 10x10 Workshop

This Saturday I had a pleasure to teach an Urban Sketchers workshop at the Stanford University campus. The theme was "Gouache Your World" and it was was designed for people who never tried gouache, who were already learning and wanted to get some tips, and for people who tried and were frustrated with this medium.

Each participant received a kit to take home: a board which can be used as a support and a mixing area at the same time (we used these boards as supports for the workshop), and an airtight palette with 24 wells - twelve of which had samples of artist quality gouache.

We talked about gouache's secrets, about main mistakes that people make when starting with the gouache, and how to avoid them. Then we went over layering, brushwork and my approach to learning faster and more efficiently. And then we painted some exercises and surrounding University sights. Our location gave us a lovely view at the Stanford Tower and university grounds. At the end of workshop I shared my last two sketchbooks to illustrate how I use gouache in them along with ink, watercolors, and collage.

Big thanks to everyone who made this workshop possible - Bay Area USK organizers - Laurie Wigham, Suhita Shirodkar, and Cathy McAuliffe and wonderful group of students who joined me for this fun learning experience. Double thank you goes to Cathy McAuliffe for her assistance during the class itself.

I had a blast teaching this class and I’m looking forward to an upcoming June gouache class which will be a part of a Trio Workshop I am preparing with the wonderful artists Gay Kraeger and Suhita Shirodkar.

USK is planning to repeat these series in the Fall - so if you did not make it to this class hopefully you will join me then.


And I am collecting feedback from people to see if there is enough interest to run a Gouache 2.0 class to take some concepts deeper and just PAINT MORE. Let me know if you are interested!

There are NINE more classes this spring from the USK 10x10 - check them out!

Apr 6, 2018

Sketchbook #112: Reading Time and Cello

Some things are hard to draw, some are even harder. But drawing an upside-down face was actually easier. Either because I stopped drawing face and concentrated on shapes or because it was new and unusual and I had more enthusiasm for it. What is hard to draw is when there are hard an complicated things going on and lots of emotions are flowing around. Drawing during classes for me is harder when homework was not done well...
Sketchbook #112: Reading TimeSketchbook #112: Reading TimeSketchbook #112: Cello

Apr 5, 2018

Sketchbook #112: Found Flower

I think it's some sort of orchid-related flower - based on the structure. But there was a whole bunch of them on one stem.
Sketchbook #112: Found FlowerSketchbook #112: Found Flower

Mar 30, 2018

100 Views of Silicon Valley: Baylands / Shoreline Park

The Baylands Nature Preserve and adjucent to it Shoreline Park are an amazing part of Silicon Valley and home to many birds, amphibians, mammals (some of those are running, biking, flying kites and kayaking on she lake).

100 Views of Silicon Valley: Baylands / Shoreline Park

Mar 29, 2018

Sketchbook #112: The story of old bulbs

I found some old flower bulbs in my storage this spring and realized that without any prompt from me, without a ray of light or any soil or water, they started to sprout some green leaves. Since the process began I decided to stick them in some soil I had in a box and the project was born!

These are sketches that depict my fretting as to what kind of flowers I might have (the choice was between daffodils, tulips, and hyacinthus). There was some drama too: one day my neighboring squirrel dug out some of the bulbs and one even got on the ground outside... but it did not stop the project. Plants are amazingly resilient! Sketchbook #112: The story of old bulbs18Sketchbook #112: The story of old bulbs

Mar 27, 2018

Sketchbook #112: Black Belt Training

Black Belt saga continues with more training, tai-chi, stretches, preliminary testing and me drawing people who go through this for the first time and those who've been through this already several times and those on support team. I miss dogs who used to come to the training sessions but we changed location and I almost never see the joy of "my master is running by" :)

Sketchbook #112: Black Belt TrainingSketchbook #112: Black Belt TrainingSketchbook #112: Black Belt TrainingSketchbook #112: Black Belt TrainingSketchbook #112: Black Belt TrainingSketchbook #112: Black Belt Training

Mar 26, 2018

100 Views of Silicon Valley: Sunnyvale

Sunnyvale is an amazing city filled with fruit trees and cozy houses. I love and use it's library (upper left) and always noticed a cell tower above police station from afar.
I watched the last cherry orchard in Sunnyvale become an apartments and shopping center (though there is still a little store with an old sign - all that is left of the old ways of he fruit valley - before the silicon days. Oh - and bottom left "El Paseo de los Suenos" - an abstract sculpture which brings in it's idea California settlers, geological structure and solstices.

100 Views of Silicon Valley: Sunnyvale

Mar 21, 2018

Sketchbook #112: Magnolia Flowers in Gouache

I love all kinds of magnolias - from the gentlest flowers whose shape follows the wind to strong cups of pure white color to a thick-petaled monsters of several layers that supported prehistoric beetles before bees existed. And did I mention the fuzzy qualities of buds? Drawing them is always a joy!

Sketchbook #112: Magnolia Flowers in GouacheSketchbook #112: Magnolia Flowers in GouacheSketchbook #112: Magnolia Flowers in Gouache

Mar 20, 2018

100 Views of Silicon Valley: Mountain View - Google

Google occupies a wide range of different buildings in Mountain View and around the area but they all have some things in common: colorful umbrellas, chairs, and google bikes. And googlers everywhere :) Soon there will be a whole set of specifically google buildings - I sketched the construction site at the beginning of this project. Based on what's in the proposal it will be a grand building - but I am sure my way of recognizing a place by a bright set of yellow, red, blue and green will work there too :)

100 Views of Silicon Valley: Mountain View - Google
Here is a couple of process shots:
100 Views of Silicon Valley: Mountain View - Google 100 Views of Silicon Valley: Mountain View - Google

Mar 18, 2018

Sketchbook 112: Reading Time

We just finished one book where everybody dies and started another one - there were several deaths in the first two chapters already...

Sketchbook 112: Reading TimeSketchbook 112: Reading Time

Mar 17, 2018

Sketchbook #112: Black Belt Training

Black belt journey is filled with many repetitions of the same techniques. As kids and adults go over the same set of exercises trying different approaches, tips, and tricks for better form and a stronger result I find myself doing the same with the sketching same poses over and over - this time I decided to draw negative spaces around people.

Sketchbook #112: Black Belt TrainingSketchbook #112: Black Belt Training

Mar 15, 2018

Sketchbook #112: Black Belt Training

I continue my record of the journey to the black belt - parallel pen, black ink and lots of hot tea during a very early morning training.

Sketchbook #112: Black Belt Training Sketchbook #112: Black Belt Training Sketchbook #112: Black Belt Training Sketchbook #112: Black Belt Training

Sketchbook #112: New and Old