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Monday, April 20, 2015

Grand Central Terminal

After spending the day learning from sketches/ideas from Maestro German Samper Gnecco, FAIA I was very inspire to go and sketch the world I see. Just before I got to the hotel on a very cold rainy spring night I went to the Grand Central Terminal and I began to record the place. It was late however there were few people coming in out of the terminal talking about their travels. The architecture in this place is very ornamented with very exquisite details. It feels like a gigantic Cathedral that celebrates traveling. Took 2 Hrs (taking breaks here and there) Black Ink on White Paper

Sketch Virginia

I just returned from a weekend of sketching in Richmond, Virginia. We had perfect sketching weather - the temperature was pleasant, the sun was shining, and the dogwoods were blooming. Sketchers came from around the state, and a few far-off places as well.

Marc Holmes led a two-day workshop on sketching techniques - we focused on building up a sketch from pencil, to ink, to watercolor, working from big, light shapes to small, dark marks as the sketch progresses. I had fun sketching the gargoyles adorning the entryway to the Branch House. Towards the end, we also explored dispensing with the scaffolding, and moving straight to watercolor. I had taken some of Marc's workshops before in Portland and in Barcelona, but he always has something new to offer, and I'm glad he was able to come down to offer this.

After the workshop, we had an open sketchcrawl down Monument Avenue, to which we invited the community. A couple dozen sketchers showed up from Richmond, Charlottesville, and the surrounding area. There are a lot of lovely houses along Monument that were fun to sketch.

At the end we met at a local bar where Marc challenged people to "sketch duels": we'd face off one-on-one, pull our pens and brushes out of our holsters, and sketch each other for just a few minutes, face to face. This was a lot of fun. My duel with Marc is below (check out his sketch of me in the green hat).

At the Virginia Center for Architecture, at the Branch House on Monument Avenue, Jessie Chapman has curated an Urban Sketching exhibit, with sketches from Don Gore, Rich Johnson, and some local Virginia sketchers. It is worth checking out - it was really neat to see their sketchbooks in person.

It was a fun weekend, and it was great to meet so many other Virginia sketchers.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Cherry Blossoms

The cherry blossoms in D.C. have now reached peak bloom, and I returned to the same spot I sketched from in February. No ice this time - but plenty of tourists with selfie sticks.

I also sketched the Japanese Lantern and the Pagoda, which sit among the cherry trees by the water. The Lantern was a gift from the city of Tokyo in 1954, and the Pagoda was a gift from the mayor of Yokohama in 1957. And the cherry trees themselves, of course, were also a gift from the people of Japan. It is now one of the most popular attractions in D.C., especially in the Spring, as well as a symbol of the friendship between our countries.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Marine Corps Memorial

The Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, sculpted by Felix de Weldon, was based on the famous photo by Joe Rosenthal, taken 70 years ago today of Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima.  The memorial is not just about World War II, though, but commemorates all Marines who gave their lives in defense of the nation since its founding.

The base of the memorial was covered with snow yesterday, though it had mostly melted off of the sculpture itself.  There were several snowmen in attendance, and I saw sled tracks alarmingly close to the GW Parkway (which would not be a good place to end up on a sled).

Thursday, February 12, 2015


"You are really honoring the Gods by simply giving the living time of sketching them compare to those that just come here to take pictures or just paying little attention as they were objects" - Brahmin at the Sri Siva Vishnu Temple, Lanham MD, January 2015. This is a very beautiful Hindu Temple once visited by Mr. President Obama which is located in the Metro area of Washington DC. The temple has multiple shrines with a lot of exquisite ornamental details. It feels as a galaxy of multiple Gods with their own distinctive function. The shrine that I sketched is Hanuman "The monkey commander of the monkey army" which is very popular with Indian wrestlers. This was another spiritual sketching in which I was recording what I was seeing and feeling at the same time enjoying the beautiful Vedic chanting of the Brahmins. It took 3hrs, Black Ink on White Paper.‪#‎washingtondc‬ ‪#‎usa‬ ‪#‎hindu‬ ‪#‎srisivavishnutemple‬

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Jefferson Memorial

This weekend I paid a visit to the Jefferson Memorial and the Tidal Basin.  A black and white image seemed appropriate for the grey day, so went with the dry twig and Chinese ink technique I learned about from Kiah Kiean.

The Memorial itself is modeled after the Pantheon, a building Jefferson himself admired (and imitated in his design for the Rotunda at the University of Virginia).  The inside has inscriptions from his writings, including the Declaration of Independence.

The Tidal basin was still frozen over from colder weather earlier in the week, but it was actually relatively comfortable outside today.  This has long been a favorite place of mine to walk around - and it's much less crowded in February than it is in April when the cherry trees are in bloom.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Union Station

My very detail memory is a very good friend of mine which brings fabulous visions of nostalgia from time to time.  The first time I came to Washington DC was by train coming from Michigan.  This was my first time traveling by train and I remembered thinking "wow just like the movies or like historical personas like Abraham Lincoln (Lol)".  I was following one of my dreams of architecture which totally changed my life in a very positive way.  The first thing I remembered before I entered the city back in the summer of 2011 was these majestic doors by one of the main gates at the Union Station.  This place is full of fantastic ornamented Greco-Roman style architectural details.  I did this sketch during a very cold sunny winter afternoon few days before Christmas 2014.  The place was full of very diverse travelers and it was a little chaotic from time to time.  2.5 hrs, Black Ink, White Paper. 

#UnionStation  #WashingtonDC  #UnionStationWashingtonDC  #Trains  #PublicTransportation  #GrecoRomanArchitecture  #USA  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

SketchCrawl @ Franciscan Monastery on 11.8.14

Here's a sketch of one of the recreated grottos at the Franciscan Monastery near the campus of the Catholic University of America.

and a visit to the U.S. Botanic Garden 

SketchCrawl @ SAAM / NPG on 1.4.14

I joined up with a dozen or so local sketchers for a SketchCrawl at my favorite museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery. We met up in the beautiful Kogod Courtyard and began sketching there. SAAMcourtyard
We visited the contemporary art galleries, I had fun working with scale - framing the sketchers and art with other art. SAAMcontGALLERY2 SAAMcontGALLERY

Monday, January 19, 2015

6 Year Old Children's Chapel Washington National Cathedral

This altar is located in the 6 Year Old Children's Chapel at the Washington National Cathedral which is a very spiritual as well as historical place here in Washington DC. The scale of this chapel is very friendly and designed for children of that age as well as full of Gothic architectural/sculptural details. This is the most peaceful and ornamented small chapel I had ever visited. In the altar we can find very ornamented bible story telling sculptures from angels, saints, Virgin Mary to Jesus. I must say during that day the quire was singing very angelical melodies that for a moment music, architecture, spirituality and sketching were all in harmony. 2.5 hrs Black Ink on White Paper.
#washingtonnationalcathedral  #childrenschapel  #washingtondc  #usk  #usa

Monday, January 12, 2015

Eastern Market Washington DC

During the 45th World Wide SketchCrawl we visited the Eastern Market in Washington DC which is located east of Capitol Hill in the historic neighborhood with the same name. This is a beautiful public market in operation since 1873 and is a place for food products commerce as well as art. This 19th century brick building is full of wonderful details and is one of the few landmarks in the city in which the main entrance has the name of the architect that designed this magnificent place- Adolf Cluss. It was a very warm fall sunny day and there were so many great aromas of fresh food as well as colorful beautiful works of art. It took me 2.5 hrs and I used black ink on white paper. #Easternmarketwashingtondc #EasternMarket #washingtondc #usa

Monday, December 15, 2014

The General Ulysses S. Grant Memorial

The General Ulysses S. Grant Memorial is located in front of the U.S. Capitol facing the Lincoln Memorial at the opposite site of the Washington DC National Memorial Mall Parks.  Grant during the U.S. civil war (1861 to 1865) was a 4 stars General  that served under the commands of President Abraham Lincoln in order to preserve the Union.  With his armies Grant helped to defeat the traitors slaving forces of the confederacy.  Later on Grant became President of the U.S.   This collage sketch took several hours during several days in different locations.  I did the equestrian statue during a warm sunny late November afternoon which is very unusual and there were diverse groups of people enjoying the memorial.  During the following week after work I sketched a map of the Mall near the Smithsonian "Castle".  Few days later I was working out in the Join Army & Marines base Fort Myers in Arlington, VA and there were few soldiers practicing a civil war demonstration.  I had the opportunity to sketch the style of flag that the Union Soldiers  carried to battle as well as the symbols for a 4 stars General.  The purpose of this sketch is to learn from the past as well as to investigate the history of great individuals that sacrificed for the U.S.  Equestrian Statue 2.0 hrs, Smithsonian Map 1.5 hrs, and Union Soldiers Practice Demonstration 1hr.  Total 4.5hrs Black Ink on White Paper.