Thursday, June 30, 2016

Fun and Frustration

6/30/16 inks, brush pen, colored pencils
The Seattle Art Museum’s latest exhibit is Graphic Masters, an unusual collection of prints and pen and ink drawings by Dürer, Rembrandt, Hogarth, Goya, Picasso and R. Crumb. It was very enjoyable and illuminating to see engravings and other prints by Dürer and Rembrandt that I had only seen in books, and most of the others I had never seen before. Many of the engravings were surprisingly small – maybe no bigger than my sketchbook – and magnifying glasses were available to view the intricate details. Even though seeing prints in books is not the same as seeing the originals, at least they are often enlarged when reproduced. I left the exhibit with a greater appreciation for all of the works.

As a sketching opportunity, however, the exhibit was less inspiring; lots and lots of small prints on white walls didn’t exactly grab me. But as long as I was downtown, I made several small sketches of things I saw to and from the museum – the huge Hammering Man kinetic sculpture outside SAM; the small animal heads adorning a building’s planters; people on the bus.

6/30/16 Neopiko Deleter brush pen, Gelly Roll pen
My last sketch before hopping on the bus for home was the street scene at Third Avenue and University. Whenever I see layers and layers of urban buildings plus vehicles, people, street signs, trees and other “street furniture,” I get really overwhelmed and can’t put the elements together into a composition. I’m not at all happy with the sketch above, and it was frustrating after all the fun I had sketching the earlier isolated elements. But I know the only way I’ll get better at doing busy street scenes is to do more of them. 

6/30/16 Neopiko Deleter brush pen

6/30/16 Kuretake brush pen, Gelly Roll pen

6/30/16 Neopiko Deleter brush pen


  1. I like your isolated subjects but your street scene looks great too!

  2. I have the same problem with busy scenes. Craftsy has a few interesting urban sketching classes that help a little, Shari Blaukopf and James Richards....


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