Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Sketching the Rose Parade Floats

This year I had a chance to sketch some of the floats that were on display after the Rose Parade with another artist. The theme for this year's floats was "Inspiring Stories" and all 40 floats on display are required to be decorated with only plant-based materials like flowers, leaves, barks, seeds, and grains. Many floats were indeed decorated with roses, and some floats smelled nice from the flowers. I learned that some of the flat color areas were achieved by mixing flower petals in a blender and gluing them down on the surface. I am impressed by the amount of artistry and effort that goes into creating them.

While I tried to capture the colorfulness of the floats, there were large crowds of people flowing through, blocking my view from time to time and some commenting on my sketches. After I painted one of the floats, I decided to "ghost" in the people in the front because they were indeed passing by.

shiho nakaza pasadena "rose parade" float flower floral sketch sketching watercolor "los angeles"

As the afternoon wore on, the day became colder and winter sun started to set quickly. The large float of a phoenix caught my eye, so I tried to capture one more sketch before the exhibit closed.

shiho nakaza pasadena "rose parade" float flower floral sketch sketching watercolor "los angeles"

Friday, January 02, 2015

First Sketch of the Year...Six Years Later

When I was accepted as Los Angeles correspondent for Urban Sketchers, I decided to sketch from life every day. More often than not, I do quick squiggles rather than a full-fledged painting, but I have kept that promise.

This is the first of my daily sketches on New Year's Day, 2009, at Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica:

Six years later, in 2015, I decided to come back to the same spot at night to capture the winter decorations, just like the first time....

BUT! Tonight was one of the coldest night on the record - the paint stayed wet from the cold, and I couldn't see the colors on my palette well as the stores started to close and the lights began to dim.

The painting itself was unsuccessful because I couldn't get all the colors down the way I wanted, but the experience itself was a success because I learned so much over the last six years of sketching every day. I remember fretting about making my sketch "perfect" six years ago - and now, I feel more at ease with my pen and paint without worrying too much about the outcome - after all, a sketch is a mark of a moment, a glimpse into a unique slice of life. Happy New Year, everyone!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Hint of the Holidays

My sketching friends and I went to Bruxie in Orange for a delicious breakfast with Belgian waffles. The first of the winter rains were pouring down so we did some sketching at the restaurant rather than braving the elements. A few touches of Christmas decorations were there - hope you are having a very merry holiday season!

shiho nakaza drawing sketching people watercolor ink Orange "Orange County" "Los Angeles" "location drawing" christmas holiday watercolor pen

Sunday, December 07, 2014

New Artwork Prints!

I have some prints for sale online, including an artwork with Christmas-specific theme for the season of giving.

shiho nakaza illustration holiday sketch christmas
Feel free to browse my prints - and you get free worldwide shipping + $5 off for orders before December 14 if you follow this link. Happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Post-It Show

I have 13 pieces of art at this year's Post-It show exhibit at Giant Robot/GR2 Gallery this Saturday December 6. It was fun to experiment with pen, markers and colored pencils. If you're in Los Angeles, feel free to stop by!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

45th Worldwide Sketchcrawl - Los Angeles: Union Station

The Los Angeles Sketchcrawl group decided to revisit our favorite sketching location: Union Station. This sketchcrawl was also a part of Big Draw LA events (http://thebigdrawla.org/), so I'm glad to meet new people that found out about this event through Big Draw LA event calendar. I could only stay for about an hour and was busy chatting with other sketchers, so I did a quick sketch in about 5 minutes, and added the colors with watercolor later. I chose to focus on the iconic lighting hanging inside the lobby area, and I love how morning light was filtering through the high ceiling and frosted glass.

shiho nakaza "Los Angeles" "Union Station" watercolor sketch sketchcrawl

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sketching Space Science Stuff

Going to public open house event at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena was on my list of "things to do in Los Angeles", so I jumped at the chance when I found that it was happening. What I didn't expect was the sheer amount of people that showed up.

It's heartening to see so many people interested in aerospace science, but it made for difficult sketching conditions. The crowd made it a challenge to find a place to draw without bumping into anyone or being my view blocked, so I colored these sketches at home. I tucked myself in an alcove between a fire hydrant and a display shelf to draw this giant vacuum chamber and an emergency shower inside the microdevices lab. There were many more fascinating-looking machines in clean rooms throughout the campus.

Shiho Nakaza JPL "Jet Propulsion Laboratory" Pasadena "Los Angeles" California sketching watercolor watercolour machine "vacuum chamber" shower

I went outside to escape the thickening crowd and jostled with another set of crowds to see some Mars rovers. I have learned from one of the many helpful JPL employees that that one on the top is a cousin of Curiosity rover that is currently on Mars, but it doesn't have a computer "brain" - hence, it's called the "Scarecrow".
The bottom one is an egress rover called "Bubba". I have multiple views of it because it was lumbering along over the rocks, just like it would on Mars, while its six wheels on levers help keep the solar panel flat and continuously facing up to the sun.

Shiho Nakaza JPL "Jet Propulsion Laboratory" Pasadena "Los Angeles" California sketching watercolor watercolour "Mars Rover" spacecraft

There were so many more I missed due to the long wait times to see them, but it's still exciting to learn that this is where the technology of the future is already happening today!