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Report from Santo Domingo

July 21, 2012

Over the course of the symposium we went to three sketch crawl sessions, took classes from Eduardo Bajzek and Veronica Lawlor, ran my own watercolor sketching workshop three times, dropped in on the evening portrait party, and talked endlessly about urban sketching.  A perfect way to spend a long weekend in the Caribbean with a hundred of your friends.

Here’s one of my multipage PanoSketches from the pre-workshop warmup sketchcrawl.

This is what Kalina was working on beside me:

The stuff of mine I’m most happy with was from Eduardo’s class “Straight to Color”. He had us working directly with shapes, skipping the line drawing phase, and trying to focus on large forms, followed by observing the negative space between objects.

Eduardo opening our minds to big shapes!

My first one was a bit conventional.  But…

This is the one where use of negative space really clicked for me. You can see below, in reality, it’s just a mass of foliage. But you can make good color decisions that clarify each major shape and then cut in the edges with the shadows. This really helped me with drawing palm trees on our post-workshop vacation :)

In my own sessions, I was presenting the Tea, Milk, Honey exercise I wrote about the other day. We had everyone follow along a simple step-by-step example, (in this case a window on the Ruinas Monasterio de San Francisco) then let them loose to take on whatever they wanted to do in a larger piece.

My demo window, and then some people doing the window exercise:

Unfortunately, I sold my favorite of my own demos!  And forgot to get a photo of it before giving it away! But I do like the way this other one turned out:

This ended up being a nice example of Tea, Milk, Honey. The three steps of successively stronger opacity are clearly visible in the sky, shadow and darks in the vines. As well, it’s a nice example of the amount of area covered by the Tea, as compared to the relatively tiny accents of the final Honey darks.

These ruins really were impressive – unfortunately, we couldn’t go inside (it wasn’t structurally safe) and – on top of that, it was so hot, we had to limit ourselves to views from shade. Nobody was willing to bake their brains out standing in the full sunlight. But still, a great location to do our workshop.

Ultimately, my favorite workshop piece, my strongest visual impression of Santo Domingo, was during the final sketch crawl.

Veronica (in her workshop Decisive Moments) had asked us to do thumbnails of various storytelling moments all around the Parque Colón. Out of all the sketches, the image that stuck with me was the huge cloud of pigeons orbiting around the statue of Columbus.

People come out to the square and chase these pigeons back and forth. They drizzle corn over their kids and turn them into squealing human scarecrows. There’s always a horde of birds swirling around. It gave me a chance to study the pigeons in motion. Like any creature, they have a set of postures that repeat over and over. One I just couldn’t quite get is the ‘chest out, wings back, coming for a landing’ pose.  Something to work on!

There was so much more to see in Santo Domingo – you can never get it all while you’re at a workshop. Strangely, I only drew one church while I was here. This is not like me at all. But! We did go to the beach and spend a few days sketching palm trees. More on that later.

I’ll close my Report from SD with some sketches from the nightly Portrait Party:

Simo Capecchi

Jason Das

Genine Carvalheira

Frank Ching

6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2012 12:23 PM

    Hi Marc — Wow, I wish I could have joined you. You make the place look like a visual FEAST! It looks like you have some sort of an armature to hold your palette out to the side of the tripod. What is that–How does it work–Where did you get it?

  2. Valerie Cousins permalink
    July 21, 2012 5:01 PM

    Glorious work all. Thank-you so much for sharing sketches and ideas.

  3. sketchysteven permalink
    July 22, 2012 10:21 AM

    Looks like a blast! Thanks for the visual run-down…. that Columbus sketch is incredible!

  4. Nish Patel permalink
    July 23, 2019 8:46 PM

    Marc, love your books. Would appreciate if you can send links of products of new field setup. Finding DIY stuff is not my cup of tea and I just started learning water colors, I can help you with AI and software stuff if you want…😀


  1. Finally I can show these! | Citizen Sketcher

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