Yes you can Travelsketch! and More! Workshop Feb 8, 2020

Time to start off the 2020 with a workshop. A few sketchers have requested, so I will gladly respond.

There is a chance that this may be the only workshop for 2020. As many of you know, there is a good chance we will be moving to France sometime in the first half of the year. We are spending the first two weeks of March in France checking out some details, and then we will be busy getting things ready to make the move, so I can not guarantee that I will be able to have more workshops.

Of course we could hold the next one in France, that would be fun.

Date: February 8, 2020
Time: 12.30-3.30pm
Location: Mukilteo area, details after registration

We will be reviewing the basics of course, adding some new tips, and most importantly addressing your particular challenges.

To register go to the Workshop page. We have a limit of 10, and I already have three who have said they are coming so better to register early.

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Last week at Pen Ink and Paint

Actually this is for the last TWO weeks, thanks to Christmas and New Years. The holidays were enjoyable but as usual I am glad to move on into the new year.

An inquiry from Instagram reminded me that I don’t always make it clear that most everything I paint or sketch is available for sale. He wanted to buy an original that I did of him and friends sitting at Bits Cafe. So, yes, most everything is available.

For as long as I can remember I have been an early riser, mornings are my time to sip tea, get depressed by the news, then refresh and renew with meditation and prayer. Interpreting those thoughts in Sumi-e style paintings makes them much more meaningful. Adding a few words of French is good language practice as well.

Then of course a couple of quick sketches at family gatherings

Thinking of travel and other adventures for the coming year

Finished off the week with an acrylic on 5x7board, dreaming of rugged coastlines.

I hope one of your resolutions is to keep sketching your travels, be they near or far. Happy sketching,

Terry theTravelsketcher

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Last week at Pen Ink and Paint

The allure of Sumi-e style painting has not worn off. I like the delicate colors and scenes, as well as often finding the inspiration internally rather than painting from what is in front of me. The old Sumi-e painters said there were infinite shades of gray in the ink, they did, and many still do, use those shades to great effect. Yet using color is also a delightful part of the tradition.

Thinking ahead to the new year inspired this sketch of a road in Scotland. My Dad, stepmom and I drove down this over 10 years a go so it was easy to think of how many roads and turns the last decade has held, and then to ponder where the roads of life will take me in 2020.

A gray day in Mukilteo, wishing for a peaceful hideaway from the words turmoi, reflecting on Solstice and Advent, then a few flowers to remind of the renewal of spring rounded out the week.

Making a statement with art has never been my goal as it is for many, yet art can reflect the times and thoughts of life, an expression that is often simpler than words.

Keep sketching, and share them with us on Instagram, FB, or feel free to email me your most recent works, I enjoy seeing them

Posted in Sumi-e, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A busy week in theTravelsketcher world

The highlight of the week was Saturday’s workshop, Yes! You can travelsketch! Thanks to Lori we had a great venue, her beautiful home, she even provided a full spread of appetizers and beverages, thank you so much. From the feedback so far it appears we will have another workshop in January, probably the end of the month. Watch here for details.

We went back to some basics, a few folks had little or no sketching experience, all came through brilliantly. We sketched San Gimignano in Italy from a distance, and then a pizza for a whole different challenge.

Early in the week I did a sketch of three men at Bits Grill, right next door to where I live. One of them saw the sketch on Instagram and contacted me to buy it, what a thrill that was.

My varied sketching techniques continued – an ink and watercolor of the produce department at PCC in Bothell for next weeks Mukilteo Beacon, more Sumi-e ink style sketches, and of course the three men. I find that learning new techniques helps with older techniques, art is all about learning.

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Travel and art – it’s all about the journey

When we travel the trip begins with the discussion of where to go, often a year before we board a plane. Searching maps, checking hotels and trains, rental cars and restaurants, are all part of the thrill of travel. A trip will go through many iterations before we are done, and it keeps evolving mid-journey. The idea of a tightly planned schedule or a tour group led by someone else holds little interest – unexpected events are the grist for memories and captivating stories.

Like travel, art is best when enjoyed for the moment. This last year has been quite an adventure. After many years of traveling the world with a sketchpad in my bag I took the risk of offering workshops to teach others how to capture their own times and places, thankfully it worked out and the new sketchers I met have become friends.

This year I kicked my acrylic painting up a lot, specifically plein air. I experimented with new techniques, and tools, enjoying sunny days both warm and cold, out in nature. When not outside, my studio was a place to experiment. Instead of just painting from real life or photos I began to paint from what was in my mind, a whole new thing. What I realized was that I was often frustrated “driving around looking for something to sketch or paint.”

All of this primed me for our trip to Japan and Korea. At art stores I had seen these marvelous brushes that they make in Asia, expensive here, so I hoped I could get one while there. My first morning in Seoul, as is usual for me, I rose early and walked. Within a block or two of our hotel i went past multiple shops with entire walls of brushes, every size and shape imaginable. The shops had paper such as I have never seen, shelves and shelves of handmade papers that I had no idea what to do with, but the artist in me just knew it was good.

The first visit to a shop I bought a brush, mostly from size and looks. Nice bamboo looking handle, pointed bristles that were lightly colored at the base, brown at the tip. Little did I know how much I had to learn. It was not a watercolor brush, it is a Combination Sumi-e brush for ink painting.

Thanks to internet and YouTube I started off on a new art adventure that has captivated me. The brushes bend and stay bent, brushstrokes are magic, the art is expressive. My travelsketching is often detailed, Sumi-e strives to capture a feeling with a few strokes, and gray tones of ink. I am hooked.

Two more brushes bought, some amazing papers, and now I am off on the challenge of learning and loving it. Art is not a business for me, art is like travel, and I get to take a trip every time I pick up a brush or a pen. New challenges are like new countries to travel too, both to be savored and enjoyed.

Here are a few of my Sumi-e style so far

This was one of my first, the Kanji symbol is slightly off, but i am learning that as well.

I did these four small paintings as thank you gifts

Here are some others

The lesson, never stop trying new things, you just might find something that you love.

Posted in ink, Japan, Sumi-e, Travel | 1 Comment

Adapt your sketching style to the situation

What is your Travelsketching style? Trick question! You need more than one to make it work. Here are some examples of the different styles I have used on this trip to Tokyo and Seoul, with explanations as to why I used them

Really quick and loose – 5-minute sketches

We were in Tokyo for the honor of attending Saori and Dijiaro at their wedding, a week later they took us 56km out of Tokyo to this amazing tiny museum and cafe. I could have sketched multiple sketches, and spent hours doing so, yet that would inconvenience my traveling partners, and one must always be considerate. So I stood and quickly did the ink work, no more than five minutes. When we sat down for a cup of tea I added the colors. I got a sketch in, and was respectful of their time. Lesson here: practice 5-minute sketching.

In Seoul one morning I was out looking for coffee, it was about 6C, but the flowers were too stunning for me not to give them some attention. So a quick sketch with the paint added back in hotel room was the order of the moment. Lesson here: practice 5-minute sketching.

Savor the moment – take your time

We were in Seoul, waiting for my niece and family to join us for the Festival of Lights. Sitting comfortably on a rock by the stream I had plenty of time, well not unlimited time so I did hurry a bit, but probably spent 30 minutes on this.

In Shinjuku I got up early, grabbed coffee at 7-11 as no cafes in Japan open early, then headed for this temple, the sun was just rising. Tokyo is the safest city in the world so I was not concerned at all being out that early, of course the fact that I was sitting on the steps of the local police station while sketching added to my security. I spent an hour and a half on this, watching the sun rise, adjusting the sketch to the light every few minutes. These are the best times, when you are immersed. People walked by on their way to whatever their day held, I captured a moment, my moment. Some of the best times I have traveling are early morning sketches, with tea and the place my only company.

Sketching from a photo

There are times when all you can do is snap a pic on your phone. Unlike Urban Sketching, us travelsketchers know that photos are our way of connecting back with a time and place we could not spend the time with when it happened. This is a sketch from a photo in Seoul, we were visiting a Hanok village, but time was short as we had to catch a bus, so I took a photo of the tree and the rocks. Then in the hotel room, with some meditative music on the Bluetooth speaker I pondered the tree and its resilience, the rock and its strength while I sketched, nice way to end a day.

Posted in Japan, Tips for the Travel Sketcher, tokyo | 2 Comments

Seoul Sketching and Sumi Enchantment

Monday we flew to Seoul, South Korea, the first time there for both of us. Lots to sketch, but the amazing thing is I bought brushes for Sumi painting, which is so enticing me. Here are sketches and even a few experiments with new techniques.

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