Garabateando@Park(ing) Day 2011, Condado, PR

Today I went to Condado for Park(ing) Day, a worldwide event in which citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary parks for the public good.  The Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico Graduate School of Landscape Architecture students, through their ALAS organization, started promoting this event locally two years ago, but this year, the participation of students from every design school in the country was a premonition that it could be something special.  The other schools were: New School of Architecture at PUPR, the School of Architecture of the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras, the School of Architecture of the PUCPR in Ponce, the International School of Design at Universidad del Turabo and the Escuela de Artes Plásticas de Puerto Rico; students from Ponce held the event there, but all the other schools went to Condado.

It was a vibrant day, full of surprises for the public, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to try to do a sketch of every park.  I didn’t make it, but I had a fun spending time with friends, colleagues, students and family.  Here are my sketches for the day:

Garabateando@Old San Juan

We had planned to go sketch at the historic Cemetery of San Juan, but it happens that it is closed on Saturdays at noon.  We tried to sketch it from the nearby hills, after all it is a wonderful view of the Atlantic Ocean, the San Felipe del Morro fort and part of the cemetery viewed from above.  I hadn’t finished my first sketch when it started to rain really  intense.  We took shelter at the nearby Cuartel de Ballajá, and did a few sketches there.  Today I went again to Old San Juan and managed to do a sketch of the Capilla del Cristo before returning home.





More digital doodling…

Here are a couple more sketches made on the iPad, the courtyards of both buildings of the Escuela de Artes Plásticas in San Juan.  Each took about 25 minutes.

Garabatos digitales

Here are some of my recent digital doodles made on my iPad, using my favorite drawing app.  It’s called ASKetch.  It is extremely simple and straightforward, and that is exactly the beauty of it.  I also like that it doesn’t try to emulate different kinds of brushes and media… you can make strokes that may resemble charcoal or graphite, but with not quite the same.  I will be using it more, trying to push its possibilities.

Garabateando #9@El Capitolio, #10@MAPR & #11@CAAPPR

Haven’t updated my blog in a while, but have kept sketching.

Two weeks ago, at El Capitolio de Puerto Rico:

Last week @El Museo de Arte de PR:

and one of the paintings inside, “La Agricultura” by Augusto Marín. It’s strange that I used pencil for this one, as it is very brightly colored.  But I had wanted to sketch in pencil again, so …

And today @CAAPPR, home for the Colegio de Arquitectos y Arquitectos de Paisajistas de Puerto Rico.  I really was hoping to sketch the inner courtyard, but it is closed on Saturdays.  So I had to sketch the front and back of the house.  The annex is a recent addition that was also partially closed.  Here are my sketches:

Garabateando#8@Parque Luis Muñoz Rivera

Today we went to sketch to Parque Luis Muñoz Rivera in San Juan.  It was a beautiful, bright day, lots of people in the park.  I had gone a couple times before but I never had seen so much energy in the place.  The park is well kept, with very nice shadows from trees and very colorful tropical plants.  I managed to do a few sketches while enjoying some great company and conversation with long time friends.  Then the rain cut our day a little short, again… but at least had a lot of fun.

Selected for Strokes of Genius 4!

Last March I posted my experience sketching with Prof. Tom Leytham from Norwich University and his class.  I credit Tom for helping me loosen up as well as making the sketching process much more enjoyable.  I finally understood that the important thing about a sketch is that it is a personal interpretation of the energy of a subject, be it a space, building or object.

While sketching at the Castillo San Felipe del Morro in Old San Juan, Tom asked me to try his beloved Sailor brush pen.  I wasn’t used to sketching with ink, much less a brush pen.  The tip is soft, so I had to adjust my regular stroke; also, there are no intermediate values, so it’s either black or white.

It was just past noon, the Caribbean sun hitting on us hard.  I remember being dead tired, the glare of the sun bouncing on the floor of the main plaza almost blinded me, so that’s what caught my attention.  I then attempted to capture the energy of the space as I was experiencing it.

It was a sketch that took me less than a minute, so it was quick, bold and simple.  It had none of the bindings of my previously tight drawings.  I just fell in love with that sketch and has become my favorite.

Some time later I received an invitation to take part in the Strokes of Genius 4 competition, for a chance of being featured in an upcoming book.  I was about to discard the email, but the theme of this edition caught my attention: Exploring Line.  I remembered the joy I felt doing that sketch, representing shadows with a line and even the lines that weren’t there but anyway you could see.

Was that sketch good enough for a publication?  After all, the invitation was calling “from quick contour sketches to carefully rendered drawings”.  Still a little hesitant, I submitted my sketch.

Today, three months later, I received a notification that the winners were selected.   I clicked the link and, third on the list: Aparicio, Luis E.

Yay! I still feel goosebumps while typing this.  I was one of the 112 artists chosen from 1650 entries.  I don’t know how rigorous the judges were, but at least, being selected for a “Strokes of Genius” publication sounds awesome.

Thanks Tom, for lending me your pen…

Quick lunchtime sketches

I had almost forgotten how much I enjoy sketching with pencil, same old #2 pencil we were forced to use for math classes in grade school.  I’ll be using pencil a bit more, to practice value, shades and shadows.  Call me crazy, but I do love the smell of a freshly sharpened pencil and the whisper it makes when shading on paper.  Yes, there is the downside of the smudging, especially for us lefties, but it is cheap, versatile and easy to get.  By the way, my favorites were Berol Mirado #2, now extint…  The current version by Papermate just doesn’t smell the same…

Here is a couple of quick sketches I did yesterday at lunchtime, #2 pencil on canary yellow tracing paper:

Sketching with oil pastels for the very first time

Today I also sketched for the first time with oil pastels.  I have been exploring different media and decided to try something new.  I bought the cheapest set in the store, so I knew they wouldn’t behave as well as if they were artist grade, but I’m not going to spend on professional pastels if I wasn’t going to like it.  Also, I’ve always sketched pretty small, so it also is part of an effort on sketching bigger.

We went to sketch to the Plaza de Guaynabo, a really small and cozy town square. For it being the first time, I guess I could say the pastels felt ok.  I’m not thrilled by the results, but I sincerely thought it would come out looking worse.  I was sketching on 9″x12, which is more than twice the size I usually sketch in.  I liked some aspects of the oil pastels, as well as disliked other.  I like the spontaneity oil pastels allow, as well as the workability; you can correct big mistakes pretty easily.  I also like the bright colors.  Though, I’m not sure if I like them for sketching architecture, for the lack of detail achievable.  Or probably I have to think differently, understand and accept the limitations of the medium, and use their strength to my advantage.  I’m gonna look for some tips online and keep trying to see if I can accomplish something nice someday.

Sketching at *$

Today we stopped at Starbucks for a quick sketching session.  I’m not that crazy about Starbucks, but it is comfortable, I can get some coffee and most patrons are so still that it can be a good practice spot.  Right now I’m trying to be loose while adding a little precision and detail.  Here is my sketch: