Friday, 13 February 2015

Book review - Urban Sketching Handbook: Architecture and Cityscapes by Gabriel Campanario




The author, Gabriel Campanario, is a staff artist at The Seattle Times and the founder of

If you don’t already follow the Urban Sketchers Blog, go there (after you’ve finished reading this post, of course) and add this blog to your RSS feeds. The blog hosts a vibrant community of urban sketchers, which are also featured in the book.

Just browsing the book and looking at sketches by various artists, with different styles and techniques, makes already this book special.

The author, in the introduction, set-out his goal:

“In this handbook, I lay out keys to help make your experience of drawing architecture and city spaces fun and rewarding. These keyscomposition, depth, scale, contrast, line, and creativity — are my own gold standards. I put a premium on composition and getting proportions right.”

And the book delivers on this promise.

The style is pleasant and very clear. Here is, as an example, a good quote on composition:

“A well-composed scene has a sense of balance and completeness. Every piece seems to fall in the right place. Move one and the harmony gets lost.”

The tips are down-to-earth and always practical.  Gabriel Campanario has a good way to deal with busy cityscapes where finding the horizon is difficult: “Forget the word horizon and just identify your eye level the line where your eyes rest when you look perfectly straight ahead.”

I also liked his take on adding people to your sketch:

“Add people to create a sense of scale. The height of a person is something everyone can relate to. Add at least one passerby to every sketch. Without that individual, it may too hard to know how big the setting really is.”

The verdict

This book is a quick read, but has a lot of substance. The author gives you practical advice in a concise way.

Beginners will have everything they need to get started and more experienced sketcher will still enjoy this well written and beautifully illustrated book. The collection of different styles will renew your appetite for urban sketching and may stir you in new directions.

Another feature that will delight practicing artists is that, for each sketch, the author specifies the titles and dimensions, but also lists the material the artist used and approximate time spent on the sketch.

The list of material is informative if you want to try new ways to sketch. For instance, the author uses a Lamy Safary fountain pen (Lamy Safari Fountain Pen - Charcoal - Fine) loaded with Noodler’s black ink (some of Noodler’s inks are waterproof, so you can paint over watercolour washes without any problem - for instance the Noodler's Black Waterproof Fountain Pen Ink - Bulletproof,3 ounce). I will give it a go.


The Book

If you are in the US (Amazon affiliate link):

If you are in the United Kingdom (Amazon affiliate link):


Monday, 26 January 2015

Painted pebbles


This was just a bit of fun. We have some pebbles in the garden and I had some oil paint left after a painting session... 3 painted paperweights.


Thursday, 22 January 2015

Henry Moore on appreciating forms in 3 dimentions


“Appreciation of sculpture depends upon the ability to respond to form in three dimensions. That is perhaps why sculpture has been described as the most difficult of all arts; certainly it is more difficult than the arts; certainly it is more difficult than the arts which involve appreciation of flat forms, shape in only two dimensions. Many more people are "form-blind" than colour-blind. ”

Henry Moore, in “Notes on sculpture” (“Writings and Conversations” – Edited by Alan Wilkinson)



Three Motives Against Wall, Number 1, 1958 - Bronze by Henry Moore






The book


Related articles




Monday, 19 January 2015

Abbey House Gardens - Malmesbury


Abbey Garden - Malmesbury - Watercolour (37 cm x 30 cm) by Benoit Philippe

Last summer, we were lucky to be invited by friends to their wedding. The ceremony and reception took place at the Abbey House Gardens (Wiltshire, UK). I took many photographs and will paint more scenes from this garden.

It is possible to visit the garden.

Abbey House Gardens
The Abbey House,
Malmesbury, Wiltshire, SN16 9AS

Website of Abbey House Gardens


Thursday, 15 January 2015

Self-portraits of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists


You can’t go anywhere today without seeing someone taking a selfie…

Artists did not need smartphones and left us self-portraits. Here are some self-portraits of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists in the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC (USA).



Self-Portrait (1858), oil on canvas (40.7 x 32.7 cm - 16 x 12 7/8 in.) by Henri Fantin-Latour 



Self-Portrait (1861), oil on canvas (25.1 x 21.4 cm - 9 7/8 x 8 7/16 in.) by Henri Fantin-Latour 



Self-Portrait with White Collar (c. 1857), oil on paper on canvas (20.5 x 15 cm - 8 1/16 x 5 7/8 in.) by Edgar Degas 



Self-Portrait Dedicated to Carrière (1888 or 1889), oil on canvas (46.5 x 38.6 cm - 18 5/16 x 15 3/16 in.) by Paul Gauguin 


Self-Portrait, Aged 21, oil on canvas (22.2 x 17.4 cm - 8 3/4 x 6 7/8 in.) by Edouard Vuillard 


The museum

The National Gallery of Art is located on the National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets NW along Constitution Avenue NW.
6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC
USA

Website of the museum: http://www.nga.gov