I did a little urban sketching while in New York last weekend: street scenes, subway riders.
Today I did some urban sketches at two markets in Washington, DC. The first is a neighborhood store called the Broad Branch Market, on Broad Branch Street, NW. A good friend recommended it, and I'm glad she did! I was struck by the friendliness of the place. The customers all seemed to know each other, and several ate snacks on picnic benches in front of the shop. Teenagers hung out with friends, and parents brought kids to the soda fountain and deli. This isn't my best drawing because I was struggling to adjust to a new fountain pen, but I still like it.
I then went to check out another recommendation, the Circle Yoga building, but I had trouble finding a spot with a good vantage point. Instead I sat in my car at the parking lot behind Magruder's liquor store and sketched that. I was struck by how quickly patrons arrived, purchased, and departed. There was little of the interaction I saw at the Broad Branch Market. I suppose you don't go to a liquor store to socialize. I freely admit I bungled the lettering on this one! I was going to paint over it with gouache but didn't get around to it.
I took my sketchbook, fountain pens, gouache and water brushes to Bethesda Row today to sketch for a couple hours. I did this first drawing mostly with water-soluble ink and water, though I did add a little background greenery in gouache. I could have added much more detail everywhere, but I decided to leave it as is.
I then wandered over to the pedestrian mall across the street, which looks through an arch at the Apple store on Bethesda Avenue. I've always wanted to draw this arch! I drew the outlines with water-proof ink in a fountain pen with a fine nib, and I added color with gouache (opaque watercolor). Fun!
Today my son graduated from The Catholic University of America at its 129th Commencement ceremony! Because I'm on the faculty at Catholic, I had the honor of greeting my son on stage and handing him his diploma. That was great!
Also, the theme of the ceremony was remarkable. It was about immigration, and about welcoming. First the University awarded several honorary degrees to immigrants from Cuba, Syria, Pakistan, Italy, and Lebanon. Then we heard from the main speaker, Archbishop Jose Gomez, who spoke movingly of immigration's role in American history and culture. President John Garvey described a painting he hangs in his home that welcomes guests, and he urged graduates to welcome guests into their own lives. And one of the closing speakers quoted Emma Lazarus: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."
I brought my sketchbook but forgot a writing implement. My new best friend from the Drama Department loaned me a pen, and I drew the sketch below with it. I'm pleased with it, though I got hot and tired by the time I reached the right half of the page, and my vertical lines there wandered off in the wrong direction. Still and all, the picture captures the essence of the thing. Hats off to CUA for a great Commencement!
Today The Catholic University of America held its Honors Convocation for graduating students -- including my son! The event took place in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. I wore my red academic robes, processed in with the faculty, and got a nice front-row seat. I had my handy sketchbook with me, so in between applauding and cheering, I did some drawing! I hope to do more of the same tomorrow at Commencement.
I bought a Sailor fountain pen and decided to give it a whirl at Mazza Gallerie, in the Friendship Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC. I brought along a waterbrush so that I could create ink washes -- diluted areas of ink used for shading and blending. I started in the lobby area, which features big comfy chairs. Lots of people flop in them to snooze or, more commonly, to use their phones.
The fellow below didn't notice me, but his companion did. They liked my drawing.
Here are a couple more guys with phones.
I then wandered over to a nearby McDonald's and has a small order of fries. While eating, I sketched a group of boisterous friends at the table next to mine.
I also sketched people waiting in line to order.
Then I wandered into TJ Max and sketched a few folks shopping. Shoppers move around more than I expected, so this was more of a challenge. Here's a shoe-shopper.
Finally I wandered back to my starting point and sketched one more person in a chair. It was a nice afternoon!