Tag Archives: sketchcrawl

Sketchbook Peek: Happy Creek

The day before Memorial Day I was supposed to go on a sketchcrawl at the National Zoo. However, I’d underestimated the traffic-snarling power of Rolling Thunder. When it took me two hours just to get to Arlington, I decided to stay west of the Potomac and wandered aimlessly down I-66 until I stopped randomly in The Plains. After grabbing lunch at the farmer’s market, I stopped in Happy Creek Coffee and Tea and tried their nitro cold brew coffee. Quite tasty, even if I did have a little bit of trouble with the proportions of my glass.

(And yes, I know it says Honey Creek. I fixed it after scanning.)

Because the cafe shares its space with Haymarket Bicycles, there was a gorgeous chandelier made of bicycle parts and coffee paraphernalia. It was quite fun to draw.

So even though I missed the sketchcrawl, I’m glad I still took the time to do a little sketching on my own.

Sketchcrawl: Smithsonian

I met up with the DC Urban Sketchers group on the day after Christmas to do a little drawing at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. We met by the elephant in the foyer, drew that, then split up for an hour or so. I visited the T. Rex and the mammals hall briefly – an hour isn’t as much time to draw as I thought! Ordinarily I would have scanned in each page separately but I liked how this spread looked across both pages:

After lunch, I set off on my own to the National Gallery of Art to draw a few statues. This possibly Milanese helmet is the only drawing I care to share, though. The others turned out…not so great.

My First Sketchcrawl

I attended my very first official sketchcrawl this past Saturday. We started at the Maine Avenue Fish Market, then moved a little way down the shoreline to the Capital Yacht Club.

Drawing objects from a distance is very hard for me; I’m used to drawing still life mere feet away, or even photographs right in front of me. Plein air sketching is a new challenge. So because I have a tendency to over-explain/defend my drawings, I’m just going to present them without comment.

In conclusion: I had a good time and enjoyed the company of the artists very much, even if I felt more than a little bit intimidated when we all shared sketchbooks at lunch. Oh well – everybody has to begin somewhere!

Draw ‘Til You Drop at VisArts (NSFW)

Warning: there’s a lot of nudity in this post. Just so you know.

Though I have not yet actually participated in a SketchCrawl, I am a member of SketchCrawl Washington DC. It was through this group I heard about Draw ’til you drop, a marathon drawing event put on by Visarts in Rockville, Maryland, this past Saturday, January 14. (Hat tip to the very talented Ricardo Pontes for letting me know about it!) I probably wouldn’t have gone but a friend went ahead and registered us both, and I’m so glad she did. It was quite the experience.

The format was simple: 12 hours, 6 models. Each model did five 5-minute poses, then one long pose for the other 90 minutes (minus some for breaks, of course). I figure I drew for about ten of those twelve hours, and by the end of it I was pretty spent.

I arrived an hour late, but that was more than enough time to capture the first model’s long pose.

I was still warming up, but she came out all right. I could have stood to redo her hands, though. They’re a touch on the small side.

A lot of people were doing amazing things with charcoal and conte crayon and heaven knows what else, but I found I was happiest with my plain old #2 pencil, and ended up sticking with it the entire day.

The second model was a man – the genders alternated all day, actually – and he did a lot of interesting short poses. I didn’t scan in most of my five-minute sketches because they came out pretty terrible, but I liked this one all right:

He was thin but had good muscle definition. His long pose was seated. I know we’re artists and aren’t supposed to care about these sorts of things, but I was kind of glad I didn’t get the full crotch view for this one.

Most of my drawings show people facing to the right because that was the front of the room, and few of the models faced the folks in the back. Which wasn’t a big deal – we were certainly allowed to move around the room – but I stayed put because I was comfortable. See, when I walked in I didn’t see any of the plastic folding chairs everybody else was sitting on, so I grabbed an upholstered divan from the corner that was probably meant for the models. I doubt I would have lasted half as long had I not been sitting on a cushion.

Anyway, by that point my friend and I were hungry so we grabbed a delicious lunch at Lebanese Taverna. When we got back, the next model was in the middle of her long pose:

I liked this pose. It was such an interesting angle to be drawing from. It’s kind of hard to tell from my drawing, but she was lying on a bunch of pillows. I hope I hadn’t inadvertently stolen her divan.

The next man was even thinner than the first. My husband said my drawing looks like Ricardo Montalban as Khan.

I replied, “Congratulations, you now know what he looks like naked.”

Now, I’m a very impatient speedy artist, so I routinely finished my drawing within the first or second session of the long pose, and I rarely feel like drawing the same thing twice in a row. So I did a close-up of his head:

His hair was a little strange, with long bangs starting from a very receded hairline and combed forward over his eyes, but I did my best.

The last woman of the day seemed new to the modeling world. Unfortunately, she was neither muscular enough nor curvy enough to provide much in the way of shadows, so I found her difficult and unsatisfying to draw. I started out drawing her long pose with pencil, then busted out my pen and watercolor pencils to pass the time. However, I wasn’t using watercolor paper, so my poor sketchbook got pretty wrinkled:

By that time I was getting a little bored with drawing and my energy was flagging in general. There was still another full session after I finished this, so I drew the guy next to me:

He did not actually look like Beethoven-as-a-gangster in real life. And his drawings were gorgeous.

The final model breathed life into the last two hours of the day. His short poses were interesting and athletic, and he did a seated long pose in a position I’m not sure I could have gotten out of:

He was interesting enough that I drew him a second time:

…and somehow managed to shave several years off his age. Very weird. But I think I did a little better on the hair this time around. He had very complicated – but awesome – hair.

And that was it! Afterward my friend and I headed over to Dogfish Head in Gaithersburg and ate way too much yummy food. Good times.

Final tally: 10 hours, 9 finished drawings, 20 five-minute sketches, and a whole heck of a lot of great practice.

Sketch Crawls in DC

Local artist Elizabeth Graeber has organized a sketch crawl for this Saturday, July 17th, in Washington, DC. The itinerary is extensive, starting at the Washington Monument and ending at the National Zoo (via Dupont Circle). Registration is free; they just want to know how many people to expect.

I’m still waffling on whether or not to go. Ordinarily I’d be there in a heartbeat, but downtown Washington in mid-July isn’t the most comfortable of locales. That, and there’s a BC in DC meet in Silver Spring, MD, near a Moog Guitar Clinic in Wheaton that my husband is thinking of attending. So we’ll see.

However, I will definitely be attending another drawing event this month: Sketching in the Atrium at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washingon, DC. Registration is, again, free. It’s being held on July 31st, the same day as the next international SketchCrawl. (There’s another Corcoran event on September 4, which I may also attend.) Hope to see you there!

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