We met today at Centennial Plaza, Montrose, Colorado for the first session in improving on site architectural sketching. Beginning with pencil, we practiced getting correct proportions in an elevation view of City Hall. After recording big shapes, we added smaller shapes, and finished with architectural details and foundation plantings. Using a fine tip waterproof marker, we refined shapes. Then students were introduced to techniques for adding watercolor to enhance their sketches.
Students learned new skills and gained confidence in their drawings. Said one participant, “I wish I had known this when I went to Durango last month.” We will continue these ideas next month, again focusing on elevation view and proportions. Drawing is a learned skill. With instruction, support, practice, tips, and techniques, you will learn to capture a sense of place in your sketch book.
Join us for the next “A Sense of Place” sketch journal workshop. There is always review of concepts and techniques, so don’t be intimidated if you miss a class. You can catch up in no time! Sign up using this link: WORKSHOP REGISTRATION
We meet monthly on the second Tuesday or Saturday of each month :
I am offering two approaches to sketch journaling this summer. In Montrose we will focus on capturing a sense of place through the study of onsite perspective. In Gunnison we will express our thoughts, ideas, and feelings through visual journaling.
The Montrose Class is designed for those
who want to use journals to record their travels, but have found perspective difficult. If you have struggled with perspective, I will present an easy system to convey accuracy in your drawings with perspective. Drawing is a skill, and it can be learned. Drawing is not just for “natural artists.” If you love to travel and want to make your trips more meaningful, join us at Centennial Plaza at Tuesday, June 13 from 4:30-6:30 PM. Bring a small sketch book, pencils, eraser, straight edge or drafting square, fine line black pen, small watercolor kit with a brush, (like Prang student watercolors), small cup for cleaning the brush, and a sponge. REGISTER HERE $25 We meet either the second Tuesday (4:30-6:30) at Centennial Plaza or Saturday (2:30-4:30) at Backstreet Bagels each month. Dates: TUESDAY- June 13; July 11; November 14; SATURDAY- August 12; September 9; October 14; December 9
The Gunnison Class is designed for those
who have kept journals or want to start keeping a journal with more pizzazz than simply writing about the day. We will use a variety of visual strategies to bring your journals alive with drawings, color, pattern, and text. Classes are held at the Gunnison Arts Center through a partnership with Western State Colorado University. Optional university credit is available for these classes. Classes begin Wednesday June 14, 2017 and run every other Wednesday through August 9th. To register, contact Gunnison Center for the Arts 970-641-4029 or use this link: GAC EDUCATION
To get to Puerto Vallarta to catch our flight back to the States, we broke our journey into two days. We took the ETN bus to Guadalajara and spent another night at the Hotel Dali, then took our final bus ride to Puerto Vallarta, again staying at the quaint Hotel Bellmar. We like to stay on the top floor, which is a huge grunt with luggage, but the view is worth the climb. We stay in Viejo Vallarta Centro, so no beach views. Instead one looks out on the busy, colorful street life.
Our flight was scheduled to leave at 4:30, so that gave us time to make one last drawing before leaving Mexico. I took many photos of street life, charmed by the papeles banners, the shiny piñata-like sculpture banners, and other handicrafts Mexicans create to celebrate life. I captured Calle Iturbide, an appropriate ending to my Mexico sketch journal. (Iturbide was another revolutionary independence hero.) The view is looking toward the ocean. The street ends in a plaza on the beach where many artists display their work. I wanted the emphasis of this drawing to be on the banners, so I eliminated the ocean view. I chose to add paint only to the banners to further emphasize the celebratory theme of this ink drawing.
photo collage left to right/ top to bottom: Tlaquepaque street view with shiny miller piñatas, Puerto Vallarta papeles, Ajijíc papeles & street vendor, door knocker San Miguel de Allende, door knocker Pátzcuaro, veterinary clinic Ajijíc, antique bicicletas at the tire shop in San Miguel de Allende, street musicians Pátzcuaro, street view San Miguel Deb Allende.
From Pázcuaro, we took an ETN first class bus to Morelia, capital city of Michoacán. We learned that the ETN fares were just a bit higher than Primo Plus, but were far more comfortable. There are only 36 seats on ETN, the air conditioners always work, (despite the gas crisis), and the bathrooms are pristine.
From my journal, “2/6/17 2:00PM MORELIA, capital city of Michoacán… Lined with well preserved 17th & 18th century Baroque and classical buildings, including MORELIA CATHEDRAL, presiding over the city’s main square, Plaza De Armas. Morelia was named after Mexico’s revolutionary hero, Morelo.”
This sketch was made from the Hotel Viray, overlooking the beautiful architecture that characterizes this city. Morelia is perhaps the most beautiful city in all of Mexico. Morelians are proud of their city; evidence of recently restored buildings and buildings under restoration are found throughout the city. Most of these historic buildings are open to visitors. Note the second beautiful cathedral just down the street from Morelia Cathedral. The building with the large overhanging entrance near the second cathedral is the theatre. Many Mexican cities boast lovely old theatres, as the performance arts have been well regarded in Mexico for centuries. I hope to return soon to Morelia and stay at the Hotel Viray.
Pátzcuaro is known for it red-banded buildings and red tile roofs. Coming back from Tzintzuntzán, the taxi driver took us along a route with steep streets that paralleled the House of Eleven Patios. Built into the hillside, this side of the city gives the best views of Pátzcuaro’s picturesque, unique character. We knew this would be our destination for sketching the following day.
To get there, walk southeast of the Plaza Vasco de Quiroga to an entrance with two high arches. The entrance is marked, “La Casa de los Once Patios.” Built around 1743 for the Convent of Santa Catarina, this is the only place regionally with Dominican influence. The Dominicans founded Santa Marta Hospital here.
The House of Eleven Patios features the highest quality craft artisans in the region. Many also work onsite. The range of local crafts is broad from musical instruments, textiles, copper, and ceramics. The shops rise eleven levels up the hillside. The alleyway continues to climb to the top of a steep slope, where Mexican families and tourists come to enjoy the vista and take photos. Both Kurt and I were inspired by the view and captured our impressions.
Tzintzuntzán: musical, magical name for the former Tarascan capital on the shores of Lake Pátzcuaro. Tzintzuntzán means “place of the hummingbirds.”
Outside the biblioteca in Pátzcuaro, we boarded the colectivo to Tzintzuntzán, which takes passengers to villages around the Lake. We were able to use our broken Spanish to visit with a mother and her charming daughter along the way, who gave us the lowdown on the archeological ruins.
Before the Spanish conquest, the village of Tzintzuntzán was the capital city of Tarasca, on the shores of Lake Pátzcuaro, with a population of 30,000. Tarasca was strong, able to repell repeated Aztec attacks. In 1520, the Tarascans could not fend off the Spanish. Today Tzintzuntzán is a sleepy village that boasts an important archeological site. Called Taríaran, “House of the Wind,” it is located above the town on a large platform excavated into the side of the hill, overlooking the lake. The ceremonial center contains a large plaza, several buildings which housed priests and nobility, and five yácatas. These semi-circular pyramids were wooden temples where important rites were performed. As I sketched, I noticed architectural slits in the stonework, much like at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, which make the whole site function as a large stone astronomical calendar.
In my sketch, I included a bit of the village landscape, the lake, and the volcano, all important elements in the history of Taríaran.
“Dia de Marcado Viernes; 2:00 2/3/2017 Patzcuaro, Michoacán”
In the Plaza Gertrudis Boca Negra, just a few doors from our hotel, every day is Market Day. On the day of this drawing, it was the official Market Day. Capturing all the activity: color, sounds, smells, hustle & bustle……was a challenge. It was particularly so because the people were very friendly and curious. Usually people left us alone as we drew, but here the people liked to look over our shoulders and ask us about our drawings. Having so much attention, in addition to expressing the mood/atmosphere of the square was a bit daunting. When I could finally immerse myself into the scene and my drawing, I was able to record my experience.