Mar 31, 2008

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Sketchcrawl #18

On March 29th, 2008 people in more than 50 locations participated in this World Wide Event Sketchcrawl.

It was raining on Friday, and like many I said to myself rain or shine I am participating. The meeting place was Ghirardelli Plaza in San Francisco, California. What a great location, great views, nearby beach, dock and antique ships and also great place for a chocoholic like me.

Below are the sketches of the day, along with a couple of watercolors. It was a challenge to get the colors I wanted, nonetheless It was a great experience – even if it was a little cold and windy at times.

Restaurant sketch and Flute player

Restaurant sketch and Flute player

Balclutha (1886)


The challenge for me was the mixing of the colors and the water not looking like I wanted it to look, I also realized the first cables I painted were too thick, so I switched to a micron pen to do the rest. Overall it is an improvement over my previous watercolors and I am happy with the result.

Balclutha WikiPedia

Hercules Tugboat (1907)

Hercules Tugboat

The challenge for this one was the angle. the dock (should I include it or not) and the reflection on the water.

I was afraid at first to attempt the sketch because of the angle, so what I did was to create a thumb-sketch to get an idea of how to handle the issue, after that I first sketched the larger tugboat on pencil and then used a micron pen 02 (waterproof) to go over the pencil lines, lastly to colorize the boat.

I had fun doing this watercolor, It was such a pleasant portion of the day (not windy and sort of warm) it seemed that all the views were so refreshing upon finishing this, It felt like I had reached some stage of stillness or something similar, the colors seemed so vivid, and I felt so good. In all a very rewarding day.

Hercules Tugboat Wikipedia

This time I got the chance to stay until the end of the day and participate in the exchange of the sketchbooks. Ronnie del Carmen got it right when he mentioned on Sketchcrawl’s forum that the sharing of work can be a little intimidating, it was but eventually it wasn’t so bad. The funny thing is that I heard people express the same fears I had, and heard many explain why X looked this way or why Y looked that way (as I also heard myself saying). A couple of times I encounter a situation where it appeared the person liked mine better than theirs (or maybe i just thought that lol) and I felt that their approach was better than mine.

I also heard people say that they were afraid of sharing at the end of the day and that may have been a reason why they left early. I overheard someone else mention that their friends were afraid of participating at all (because they felt their work may not be good enough).

The lessons as I see them for me and I presume are for others too, are to let go of the fear of not getting it right, because the more you do the task the better you will get at it.

I think the reason why it may take some of us longer to improve faster is simply because we are afraid of ‘playing’ with the medium and see what accidents might occur, and the fear of sharing both at the end of the day (in Sketchcrawl context) as well as when we are in the process of creating something and someone steals a peek.

I actually used to try to turn my sketchbook away when I thought someone was looking and when I was working on the tugboat a person stopped to look and much to my surprise I stopped and actually showed it to the person, who responded “muy bueno” – yeah, it felt good!

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Feb 27, 2008

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“After Life” Directed by Hirokazu Koreeda

A couple of days I came across this movie and I have just started to watch it. I wanted to share it here since it seems to be related to the first post entered in this blog.

While the movie is not about art per se, I feel it may place some perspective in your life, and the actions that are taken from day to day.

The name of the movie is After Life the premise of the story is as follows:

After death, you get to choose one memory, and only one memory of everything you experienced in life, all the other memories will be forgotten. You are given three days to decide what to select, then a movie gets created out of that memory before you get to move on.

While I have not finished the movie as of this writing, I must say that the first 20 minutes that I have watched are already quite interesting and thought provoking… thought provoking because I too started to think what would be the best memory I could possibly keep if I was in that situation, and again what other opportunities lie ahead of us that could potentially replace whatever memory we choose to select in this instant.

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Jan 29, 2008

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Self Talk

Just had to share this with you. I’m sure some of you may have already realized this, and/or maybe read the same book (don’t remember the name at the moment – still at the store).

It made a mention of the self talk that we put ourselves through when we sketch. We think (using some of my own here šŸ™‚ ), “there is no way that the arm can be that long” or “the head is too large” etc, etc. If I recall correctly the book suggested that instead of having that type of conversation with one self, we should be thinking something like “this angle should be like this” or “the distance between this eye and the other eye is this much” etc. I mentioned that to my wife and I heard laughter of agreement.

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Jan 18, 2008

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The attachments that hold us back.

Typically upon someone mentioning the word attachment we may initially think of material attachments. Possessions we own and may not want to let go of …

There is the possibility that it may never cross our mind that besides material possessions we are also attached to our way of thinking… and this trickles down to our creative processes and impairs us from working and/or progressing properly.

Some of us may not even realize we are attached to the fear of not ever completing something (or starting it for that matter), or be good enough, etc., a self perpetuating circle – a self talk of doubts.

Related to this topic, I came across a book a while back… its simple, small, of nominal cost, can be opened on any given page and/or read randomly, and it contains what I would describe as the perfect antidote to rid oneself of creative stagnation (maybe not right away).

Art & Fear

Here is a little story from this book, that makes me laugh every time I read it: a young student who began piano studies with the Master says “But I can hear music so much better in my head than I can get out of my fingers.” To which the Master replied, “What makes you think that ever changes?”

If it hadn’t occurred to you that maybe you are reacting automatically to some artistic situations, perhaps its time to take a few moments and try to analyze why that may be and refocus your energy. These type of books have helped me refocus when needed.

What other books that you have read can you share with us and the readers here?

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Jan 6, 2008

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No regrets!

Last week I was having a conversation with my wife and mentioned the topic of regrets in relation to dreams and aspirations.

Those activities we have always wanted to do but for one reason or another have not had the time (or have allocated the time) to start, continue or complete.

I was mentioning that I could picture myself on a bed somewhere during the last moments of my life with a list of “regrets.” All of those activities I wish I had done, and never did.

However, why wait until I am 80 (scratch that, just saw a news video today where they were rescuing a 101 year old lady, I’m robbing myself 21 more years of life)… why wait until I am 101 years old to ponder about those activities I never did and always wanted to do, why not make the list now and just pretend for a moment I am “there” without actually being “there” and begin the planning process.

What a perfect time to start, not because it is the beginning of the year 2008, but because we have recognized that our experience through life continues regardless of us working to achieve those goals or not. Not to say that we are not aware or have not been aware, but that we may have gotten distracted along the way.

Therefore if upon reading this entry, you the reader also recognizes that the same thing may be happening to you, do not despair… after all it is said that the journey of one thousand miles starts with one step, is just a matter of taking that first step.

If you on the other hand have been busy completing all of your projects and goals, then we appreciate your dedication and wish you well as you move forward. If you have any insights as to what you do to keep you on track, I’m sure others besides ourselves would find the information of value, therefore we thank you in advance in case you decide to share.

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