Saturday, January 21, 2017

Solo exhibition of Los Angeles-inspired artwork

Solo exhibition of Los Angeles-inspired artwork currently on view at:

Ginger Corner Market
217 South Michigan Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91106

Opening reception: February 12, 2017 3-5pm

Email Sector Seven Contemporary Art Gallery for questions about purchasing artwork.

Framed originals shown below are available for sale for under $250.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Los Angeles Plein Air Festival

I enjoyed painting some scenes at Los Angeles Plein Air Festival this past weekend. Unlike last year, when I roamed all around Downtown LA from the City Hall to The Broad, I concentrated on 3-block area around 5th-7th Streets and Broadway to Main. There were still a wealth of things to draw, and the weather was a tad cooler than last year, too, so that helped.

The first stop was Spring Street Arcade. Its filtered skylight reminds me of buildings I saw Manchester this summer (as it turns out, it was modeled after Burlington Arcade in London). I ate at Crepes Sans Frontieres inside the Arcade, and I ordered a honey lavender crepe to complete the French feel. This is a rare sketch of mine that includes food since I'm usually eager to eat first!

As the afternoon wore on, the light started to shift. I went to sketch in front of the Regent Theatre and Prufrock Pizzeria next door. Their pizza was tasty.

I came back the next day to watch my fellow urban sketcher Virginia's demo at Historic Downtown Farmer's Market. I was able to get this view because the street was closed off to car traffic and I could sit in the middle of the road.

I also spotted a Halloween decoration of giant spider and its web covering the pediment of Crocker Club, which is somehow appropriate for ornate façade. I would say it's very "goth" though I know the building isn't in a true Gothic style.

Afterwards, a group of sketchers and I went to Clifton's Cafeteria for lunch. It was my first time visiting this venerable L.A. institution filled with visual feast of kitschy elements. More autumn decorations are set up here: pumpkins are everywhere. 

I sketched a lot and ate well among my fellow artists - a great weekend, indeed!

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

One more collection of sketches from Manchester

Here are some more sketches I made in Manchester outside of Urban Sketchers Symposium. (And what I've learned in the sketching workshops here.)

What struck me the most when I first landed in Britain this summer are the clouds, which are ever-present and dramatically shifting by the minute. They are so fun to paint (when it is not downright pouring rain) and are a refreshing change from flat blue sky back home. Thanks to Ketta and Mario for letting me know about this view from the eighth floor of Manchester School of Art.

I had one day to free after the Symposium, and I relished the chance to sketch and catch up with other like-minded folks while exploring the city. A group of us went to Manchester Cathedral. This city is full of intricate Gothic buildings, and while I enjoyed looking at and sketching this building, it was quite overwhelming to get the details in... I indulged in sketching the gorgeous details of windows, gargoyles, and ornaments. I loved looking at them and figuring them out with my pen. The square ornaments by the windows all had different designs on them!

After lunch, our group went to John Rylands Library, which is another beautiful Gothic building and easily the most ornate public library I've ever visited. I sketched the outside of it at Liz Steel's workshop; I now went inside to do a small portion of the interior. I only had time to do a sketch below, but I enjoyed being in this space.

After a quick sketch in the library, I just couldn't resist English afternoon tea with homemade scone at the Café inside Manchester Town Hall. The afternoon light filtered through the arches.

I rode the train out of Piccadilly Station the next morning to head out to part 2 of my UK trip, this time to London....

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

What I learned from the workshops at Urban Sketchers Symposium in Manchester

And the symposium begins in Manchester....

Besides specific subject matters at each workshop, I learned how to be a better urban sketcher by responding to my environment better through my drawing.
  • Be ready for the changing elements: for sun (hat, sunglasses), wind (binder clips to hold down paper, windproof jacket, and especially rain (umbrella, parka/hoodie).
  • Experiment with different materials: while I mainly use watercolor, at some point I switched from my usual Uni-Ball Signo gel pen with sepia ink to 4-color Bic ballpoint pen because the gel pen ink was not flowing over the watercolor washes that never seem to dry.
  • Try different approaches: line, value, color. Mixing them up helped describe many types of buildings in Manchester: red bricks, Gothic details, and modern glass buildings towering between them. 
First morning of the workshops was rainy and gloomy. I'm learning that the weather changes quickly. At LK Bing's workshop, our group sheltered under the arches of Manchester Town Hall corridors. It is challenging to sketch in the rain, but it is a refreshing change for someone like me who live in a dry climate. I had fun combining pastels, water-soluble marker, waterproof pen, colored pencils and watercolors. I did small thumbnails on mat board, and a slightly larger piece in my trusty Stallman & Birn Beta sketchbook. I think the sketches convey the appropriate moodiness.

As luck would have it, my afternoon workshop on color mixing with Jane Blundell was indoors in Manchester School of Art. The soft, even light from overcast sky filtering through the window was ideal for doing color work. A few days later, when the sun came up and people were gathered for drinks at jazz festival happening in Albert Square, I try one of the triads I learned (warm yellow/warm red/cool blue) using using only quinacridone gold, pyrrol scarlet, and pthalo blue green shade watercolors from Daniel Smith. But the air is so damp that color wheel I painted a few days before on the opposite page transferred to the facing page, creating the yellow circle on the upper right. I like the happy accident, though: it looks like the sun :-)

The next day I take another workshop on drawing soaring spaces from Stephanie Bower. I was back at Manchester Town Hall, and was looking at grand hallways inside the neo-Gothic building. In my effort to get better at drawing buildings, I try to understand how arches are constructed by drawing a bunch of lines.

That afternoon was drizzly, but I still enjoyed sitting under the bridge to watch Daniel Green's demo on painting reflections. This was in Castlefield, which is a fascinating area of Manchester full of bridge underpasses, arches and canals. I only got to do a note-taking sketch here but would love to explore it more next time.

I continue to take more workshop on architecture the following day at John Rylands Library, this time from Liz Steel. She really explained how buildings have volumes and edges, and her passion about architecture makes me appreciate them and be fascinated by interesting buildings all around me.

I am learning a lot about sketching buildings on this trip. I continue sketching....

Monday, August 22, 2016

Sketches from Manchester: before the symposium

I am collecting the sketches I made at annual Urban Sketchers Symposium, and recalling fond memories of drawing together with like-minded folks from around the world. This year, the Symposium took place in Manchester, UK. It is a walkable city full of canals, brick buildings, Gothic details, and modern glass architecture to explore with my drawings. I had about a day-and-a half in Manchester before the official events started, and I already love this city.


My first sketch in Manchester: I have arrived at the Palace Hotel, which is built in 1895 during the height of Victorian era. This is the bar area showing original columns and tiles. I note that the courtyard behind the bar is covered in glass skylight to keep the elements away.

This is a sweeping view of the Palace Hotel from Whitworth Street, with Oxford Street train station to the right.

Canals run below the busy Oxford Street, where the Palace Hotel is located. This is a view of Chepstow House as seen from Rochdale Canal path. It was peaceful aside from geese fighting among themselves.

On the next day, I scribbled some sketches of what I noted at Manchester architecture tour: cityscape next to River Irwell, Imperial War Museum, Etihad Stadium (home of Manchester United), Ancoats (birthplace of Industrial Revolution), and Stevenson Square in Northern Quarter. It was an informative and fascinating introduction to Manchester.

In the meantime, this pub, Peveril of the Peak, has a green tiled front, which makes it stands out from typical red brick buildings common in Manchester. Many of us were gathering here to drink and draw each night. Check out this post to see other sketcher's take on the same pub!

And the symposium begins...I'll be posting more sketches in another post.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

That summer morning when I saw a fuel tank through the thicket of trees

That summer morning when I saw a fuel tank through the thicket of trees...there was a story waiting to be told, so I sketched the little girl when she walked by. This scene reminds me of something that can appear in Studio Ghibli animation....

I caught a glimpse of ET-94 Space Shuttle fuel tank once again (after sketching it when it arrived in town about a month ago). It is now resting at California Science Center, and I discovered this view when I was invited to paint at Los Angeles Nature Fest event at in Los Angeles County Natural History Museum (other sketches from that day is here.)

Los Angeles Urban Nature Festival

I am honored to be invited by Los Angeles County Natural History Museum with a group of fellow sketchers to attend their L.A. Nature Fest event last weekend. I loved seeing many colors and shapes of plants in bloom at the Nature Garden, and it made me appreciate the biodiversity of this area, even in the middle of the city.

I was introduced to a shadow garden by a docent while I was hunting for a place to sketch. This is a small habitat inside the NatureGarden on the grounds of the museum that allows the birds to feed freely. The birds are well-camouflaged but I saw more than three or four different types of birds in the short time I did this sketch.

The event was well-attended by families with kids. A stilt-walking butterfly performer delighted kids, and it made me smile, too.

While I was painting outside, the contrast of oak leaves in the foreground and the graphic shapes of whale skeleton in the glassed interior caught my eye.

It was not too hot, but as the afternoon wore on, I decided to step inside to cool off and chill with the dinosaurs. While I like to do a "classic" museum sketch, I enjoyed painting outdoors, too!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Reunion with the Shuttle

I feel fortunate to have sketched the Space Shuttle both before and after its move California Science Center. When I learned that ET-94, the only remaining Space Shuttle fuel tank, is coming to Los Angels to be displayed together with the Shuttle, I had to sketch it. On my bike ride home one day, I rode by the ET-94 docked in Fisherman's Village in Marina del Rey. While it is narrower than the Shuttle, the tank was still very massive. A truck that will haul it on its final journey looks tiny in comparison.

I hope to sketch both the Shuttle and the tank when a new exhibit is constructed to show them together in a few years' time.