“A Sense of Place”

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.

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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 :

  • July 11- Centennial Plaza  4:30-6:30 Tuesday
  • August 12- Backstreet Bagels  2:30-4:30  Saturday
  • September 9- Backstreet Bagels  2:30-4:30  Saturday
  • October 14- Backstreet Bagels  2:30-4:30  Saturday
  • November 14- Centennial Plaza  4:30-6:30 Tuesday
  • December 9- Backstreet Bagels  2:30-4:30  Saturday

Mexico Travel Journal Winter 2017 p20

From Ajijíc, we traveled with friends to the state of Michoacán.  Our first stop was to El Rosario Sanctuario de las Mariposas Monarca.  The experience of seeing thousands of Monarch butterflies was magical- un milagro!  (My beloved horse was born in Florida in a field of Monarch butterflies; hence he was named Monarch.  To watch a small clip of the Monarchs at Rosario, visit my Instagram account- see link to the right.)

After visiting the Monarchs, our next destination was Pátzcuaro, the picturesque city of red tiled roofs and blocks of red-banded adobe buildings.  Pàtzcuaro was  founded in the 1320s as the capital seat of the Tarascan state, which included Michoacán, Jalisco, and Guanajuato, rivaling the Aztecs in power and influence.  Even today, native peoples retain their colorful dress, food, and traditions.

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Mexico Travel Journal Winter 2017 p19

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The center of social life in Ajijíc is the Plaza.  Along one side is the Cultural Center; along another side is the old stone church, Capilla Nuestra Señora del Rosario.  The church was started in 1550 and dedicated in 1600.   Its unique masonry features small stones outlining the larger building rock.  Just down the street is the larger San Andrés church.

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wedding at San Andrés

Mexico Travel Journal Winter 2017 p18

Our next stop was Ajijíc on the shores of Lake Chapalla, back in the state of Jalisco.  The easiest way to get to Ajijíc from San Miguel de Allende is to board a first class bus to Guadalajara.  At the bus station, engage a taxi to Ajijic.  Sometimes it is best to agree on the fare before you enter the taxi.  Some drivers are very honest and friendly, while others are tempted to take advantage of Gringos.  Our driver was quite friendly, and like many of our taxi trips, we had the opportunity to practice our conversational Spgringos.jpganish with our driver.  Most drivers know a bit of English, and it is fairly easy to communicate with our “un poco de español.”

Ajijíc lies at an altitude of  5,000 feet along a tropical latitude that moderates the climate year-round to an average temperature of 72 °F.  With the perfect climate, colorful quaint streets,  and a strong dollar, Ajijíc is a popular haven for retirees, particularly from North America.  If you are looking for an authentic immersion experience into Mexico, this is not a destination for you.  Many Americans live here year round, and that influence has changed  Ajijíc from a sleepy Mexican village to a tourist-catering destination.

My first sketchbook entry for Ajijíc was another “window” view from our bungalow.  Enrique, our landlord, is an artist with carpentry skills.  He is creating a lush tropical sanctuary in his backyard, complete with four bungalows.  He has many contacts throughout Mexico, where he acquires antique furniture in a state of disrepair and building refuse, which he repurposes into charming features, niches, and furniture for his bungalows and courtyard garden.

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Dogs repose in along the sidewalk of a charming veterinary clinic

The perfect cup of coffee, Lake Chapalla, & closeup of the vet clinic sign