Urbansketching in Davis and Woodland

I had been more into sketching buildings lately especially after taking the Sketchbook Skool course on Urbansketching.

In Davis, I was drawn to these very old apartments that I’ve seen for over 30 years. Located next to them was a sandwich shop that I took my then very young sons after a play at the park. What struck me about these apartments was the entry facade, not often seen in modern day buildings.

072018 Apartments across Central Park
Apartments across from Central Park, watercolor sketch in Moleskine watercolor sketchbook, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches by Marlene Lee


Nearby to the apartments are these very new townhomes. Colors and brickworks are what makes these modern day places unique.

072318 Townhouse across from Central Park
Townhouse across from Central Park, watercolor sketch in Moleskine watercolor sketchbook, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches by Marlene Lee


A month later I ate at one of my favorite places in Woodland, California. A hole in a wall place that served Italian and Scandinavian cuisune. They are known for their outdoor oven.

081718 Guinevere Cafe & Bistro
At Guinevere’s Cafe & Bistro, watercolor sketch in Moleskine watercolor sketchbook, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches by Marlene Lee

San Francisco Trip Sketches

My husband and I spent a few days in San Francisco. (It was a much needed rest from caring for my mother 24/7).

We stayed in a hotel right in the heart of downtown San Francisco. From our window view I can see the construction workers on the future Mexican Contemporary Art Museum.

Construction of the Museum of Mexican Contemporary Art watercolor sketch by Marlene Lee


After our visit at MoMA (Museum of Modern Art), we relaxed at Yerba Buena Park. Despite the cool breezy wind, many other people also relaxed in this beautiful park.

Afternoon at Yerba Buena Park
An Afternoon at Yerba Buena Park watercolor sketch by Marlene Lee


After breakfast in the following morning we stopped again at Yerba Buena Park. I was able to get a few sketches of people in while they were doing either Tai Chi, Chi Gung or dancing to music. I believe there’s a senior center nearby. Also I sketched in the rock garden there.

Morning Routines at Yerba Buena
Early Morning Routines watercolor sketch by Marlene Lee
Rock Garden
Rock Garden watercolor sketch by Marlene Lee

Sketchcrawl at the UCD Arboretum

We met at the steps of the Mrak Building on the UCD campus right along the arboretum. The regulars met as well as out-of-towners from the Sacramento area – Carmichael.

Two young girls with their mother join us. After an attempt to sketch the Taiko drummers who regularly practiced on Saturdays mornings at the top for the garage parking building, the nippy wind forced us inside the Manetti Shrem museum. Here I was able to captured the two girls.

I used Noodlers Kiowa Pecan ink filled in a TWSBI fountain pen. I love my TWSBI and the color of the ink but the ink was something to get used to. I discovered with the palm tree drawing that the ink is water soluble. I had to be very careful on the amount of water to apply without destroying the lines. Other that it produces a very interesting effect…

Amy, 8 x 5 inches in Moleskine watercolor sketchbook, watercolor and ink by Marlene Lee
Sophia, 8 x 5 inches in Moleskine watercolor sketchbook, watercolor and ink by Marlene Lee
042818_Palm Tree
The Palm Tree, 8 x 5 inches in Moleskine watercolor sketchbook, watercolor and ink by Marlene Lee

Sketching at the Manetti Shrem Museum

“Let’s Draw Davis” sketchcrawl met at the Manetti Shrem Museum in Davis, CA. Beautiful day but a bit nippy. The Wayne Thiebaud Exhibit is on display now so I head on inside to view. I captured some of the sketchers and the iconic horse sculpture inside the museum.

Manetti Shrem Museum Entrance
Manetti Shrem Museum sketch by Marlene Lee
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A Young Urbansketcher sketch by Marlene Lee
012818_Andrew's Shoes
Andrew’s Shoes sketch by Marlene Lee
012818_Horse at MS Museum
Horse Sculpture at the Manetti Shrem Museum sketch by Marlene Lee

Let’s Draw Davis Sketchcrawl

The sketching group that I meet every month met today in the over 100 degree F heat to sketch Davis. The goal was to sketch the hidden spots that are so common in downtown Davis, small boutique shops and unique restaurants. I managed to sketch an antique store front but sketching the sketchers inspired me more.

“5-Minute Sketching: People”

The book is out! “5-Minute Sketching: People” by Pete Scully. I’m happy to say some of my sketches are included in this book. First ever published!

This book is about how to sketch people quickly. As an Urbansketcher correspondent Pete offers great tips about proportions of the face and body and sketching techniques for people sketching. It can be purchased in Amazon. The sketches are great; done mostly by Pete but he also included sketchers from around the world. I had discovered a few favorites. (I had included only the pages where my sketches appeared.)

In Los Gatos, California

This past weekend I went to a workshop in Los Gatos on alla prima portrait painting. We stayed at a hotel, Garden Inn that had a relaxing patio with palm trees and water fountains. Couple with a cool breeze, it was a wonderful way to start a busy weekend.

Garden Inn Patio at Los Gatos
At Garden Inn Patio in Los Gatos

We went to La Boulanger for breakfast twice. Each time we went there was a homeless woman eating breakfast  with her neatly packed belongings nearby. I was impressed how she carefully wrapped and packed each one.

Well Packed
Well Packed

Let’s Draw Davis Sketchcrawl

After a long absence, our Davis sketching group finally meet again. We started off at the Davis Farmers Market around 10:30 am. The weather was perfect; warm not hot and breezy. Packed with people for their fresh food shopping, there was also a rally going on. A grand opportunity to sketch groups of people standing still in one place.

070916 No Crude by Rail Holbein2
“No Crude by Rail” Rally at the Davis Farmers Market

After completing the rally sketch, maybe within an hour, I spotted this tent with fabrics blowing in the wind. The challenge here was getting the perspective of the tent and the other tents right. Also trying not to be overburdened with details of the numerous fabrics and tote bags on display. Another nice challenge is to create an impression of crowds of people passing without drawing every single one of them.

It happened that I knew one of the women in that booth. She and I had sons who had played on the same soccer team for many years. She loved the sketch and took a photo of it right then and there.

070916 Colorful Fabrics at Davis Farmers' Market Holbein2
Colorful Fabrics at the Davis Farmers Market

In the afternoon, I walked more into the center of town. Less people since the farmers market closed down after 1. I spotted this popular coffee shop with its umbrellas and patrons enjoying the warm afternoon.

070916 Saturday afternoon at Mishka's Holbein2
Saturday Afternoon at Mishka’s Cafe

At 3:30 pm the sketchers who stayed until the very end got together to share our sketches. It was a great outing and I am definitely looking forward to the next one…though maybe I’ll try to be brave and go on my own.

070916 Let's Draw Davis sketchcrawl.JPG

My sketchbook kit: Holbein Multi-Drawing Book, 7 1/2 x 5 3/4 inches, waterbrush for  watercolors, pencil and a Lamy pen filled with Noodlers’ waterbased ink.

Check out these websites on urban sketching: Pete Scully (who is in the yellow shirt is the coordinator) and Urbansketchers.