Archive for the 'Field' CategoryPage 2 of 4

Sketchcrawl 15, Little Tokyo — part II of II

Tents and City
This (above) was near the cultural center. After sketching & painting the giant float, I felt I needed to loosen up and keep things simple. I liked the colors and the composition of this view, so I banged it out, just trying to focus on the key elements.
Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Street
A sketch of the monument to Ellison S. Onizuka and the Space Shuttle Challenger. The street this is on is actually named “Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Street” and is an exception to Los Angeles’ letter limit to street names (Though I’m not sure what that limit is. Maybe 16?). This monument and place is significant to me for at least two reasons. One, I remember when Challenger disintegrated. I was in my fourth grade classroom when we listened to the live broadcast on the radio. I remember a fair amount of emphasis being placed on the death of Christa McAuliffe, a schoolteacher from New Hampshire who was on the shuttle, and I wasn’t quite as aware of Onizuka. My fiancée Jamie, however, is from Hawaii (where Onizuka was from) and so I think more emphasis was probably placed on the death of Onizuka there. Granted, it was a tragic event for all involved.
Secondly, this place is significant to me, because I used to live here. I lived in Little Tokyo for about 2 and a half years, right on the 200 block of East 1st Street and the back of my building faced out onto Onizuka St.
Incidentally, I had a roommate from Japan who once told me that “Onizuka” translates to “Devil’s Tombstone.”
Smokin' Geisha
I sat at a table near a group of young (maybe 16-year-old) Japanese-American girls dressed in Kimonos, while they smoked cigarettes and talked about makeup. One of our other sketchcrawlers, Akiko, said she overheard one of them say, “Okay my dad is here, so I don’t do anything, okay? I don’t smoke and I don’t drink!”
Pippy Legwarmers
Another view from the back. It’s easier to draw people from the back, especially when they’re not going anywhere. I don’t think this girl was even Asian. Maybe hapa, but it was hard to tell if that was the case. She had her straight black hair in pigtails and her short kimono or “happi coat” with the big ribbon wasteband/sash (Obi) — plus legwarmers and sneakers!
New Otani Gardens
Lastly, we went up to the New Otani Hotel’s Garden. Where there was this inspiring view of the beautiful California Bank & Trust building.

Sketchcrawl 15, Little Tokyo — part I of II

Here is part one of my sketches from Sketchcrawl 15 (and the first sketches to go into my newly modified Moleskine)! A small group of five of us (in all of Los Angeles!) managed to meet up in Little Tokyo in the midst of the Nisei Week festival. It was really lively, with bandstands and food vendors and people everywhere. There was so much going on that I didn’t know what to sketch next.
300 block, E 1st. St.
It started out on E 1st Street, where we met in front of the tower at the Little Tokyo Village Plaza. This (above) is looking across the street with City Hall in the background and the renovated Chop Suey building at the far right.
Afro Kid
I sketched this kid with an afro as he passed by. It seems like sketching people in public often yields these angles from directly behind.
Go, Granny, Go
Did this one while in front of Yamazaki bakery in the Village Plaza. I saw this little old lady and just couldn’t pass it up. I realized her vehicle was like a little cherry sports car or something. Her whole appearance on this thing just cracked me up. I heard the “Go-granny go-granny go-granny-go” part of the song Little Old Lady From Pasadena playing in my head.
We made our way toward the cultural center building and I was stopped in my tracks by this giant. This is a float that I’m guessing was about 12 feet high or more and the exterior was made of paper. It had so much energy and character and vivid color. But I think I bit off a little more than I was willing to chew in a short amount of time. The pencil sketch I initially laid down had a certain energy and form that was lost when I then went in with the rushed ink. I would’ve liked to stay a little looser with the whole thing in retrospect. Gone in with expressive strokes of watercolor over the pencil and then just added accents of ink afterward where it would seem to need it. Still, I suppose all is fair in sketching, but sometimes less is more.
I will post part 2 of my Sketchcrawl results tomorrow!

Monterey Cypress

Monterey Cypress
I paid a brief visit to LACMA recently. It occurred to me that it would be a nice place to get an espresso in the sunny afternoon and it’s not far from where I live. Not much was open there at the moment, due to construction of some new buildings, but their permanent collection was open and I have a membership, so I figured I’d take a quick stroll. I stopped at this painting by Arthur Mathews titled, “Monterey Cypress” and decided to sketch it. These types of cypress trees are pretty common in my hometown of San Francisco, so it instantly called back fond memories and feelings of home. There is a sort of softness and friendliness in these trees and this landscape.

Paris Rooftops


This was one of the few sketches I did while on vacation in Paris, and the only watercolor. Done very quickly, looking out from our apartment in the Marais. This view was spectacular. Here’s a snapshot of a slightly different section of the view:


Naturally, I’ve been scolding myself for not doing more sketching while in Paris, of all places, but this was meant to be a romantic getaway for my girlfriend (now fiancée) and I, and so my attention needed to be on her instead of my sketches. I did take a lot of photos and have some great memories, so perhaps I’ll draw from those at some point.

Crazy Madness

Is all I see out my window.


Last night, I kept telling myself I was going to get up bright and early on Saturday, take my time having breakfast, get my stuff together, and drive over to Griffith Park for SketchCrawl 13. I’d probably get there early, stroll around a bit, or maybe take a detour along the way and pick something up to have for lunch later. I’d meet fellow sketchers, and have lots of fun sketching old trains and trees and dirt and… Then I started reading online about the Dvorak Keyboard (also see The Dvorak Zine). Interesting. Then I found a site that helps you learn Dvorak and I started practicing. Kind of like a video game, only much more monotonous. Adventures in typing! Exciting! What? It’s 3 AM? That’s impossible. Fast forward eight hours as I crack my eyes open. What happens next? Not a whole lot. No SketchCrawl in Griffith Park for me. However, I did manage to get outside a bit in the afternoon and do a little sketching in my neighborhood. Not so much a SketchCrawl, as it was a SketchStroll or even SketchSitDown. Yet, look! Sketches! I defied all odds and put pen to paper. Hoooray.

The house on the left is going to be torn down along with the house next to it (not pictured) and converted to a four-story condominium building. This is across the street from my building.


Another view of my street with Taxi Cab:


Looking in the opposite direction with couches that have been left to rot on the side of the road:


The house on the left in this picture is right next to our building. This one is slated to be torn down and replaced with a four-story condo, as well. Fun fun fun. Can’t wait. The building on the right is the one I live in. Built circa 1931.


Beachgoer in Bra

Another one from Sunday.

field34 - Beachgoer in Bra

Beach Day

It was a good way to spring forward.

field32 - Beach Day

A boy and his board:

field33 - A boy and his board

El Loteriador

field31_card - El Loteriador
Loteria Mexican Restaurant, Los Angeles Farmer’s Market

Olivia Matthew You Are So Cute

It was a beautiful day today. Sitting and painting in the dining room, with the windows open, I could smell the neighbors’ barbecue and hear super bowl partiers. I had just laid down the blue of the sky, when I noticed some odd cloud formations. They spelled, “OLIVIA MATTHEW” and I watched as it completed with, “YOU ARE SO CUTE.”


Trying to make out all the tangled wires was a bit frightening. And more frightening to know that I live next to this thing.

Foster Gardens Epiphytes

I’ve begun adding some watercolor to the drawing I laid down at Foster Gardens in Honolulu (see “Foster Gardens” post, January 15th, 2007). I’m tempted to either leave it as is, or continue coloring the whole composition, but I’m a little worried that I’ll muddy things. It seems a little unfinished as is, but I like it at the same time.


Sketchcrawl 12 1/2 (and 101st post!)

I participated in my first Sketchcrawl yesterday: “Sketchcrawl in Your Home!” I had lots of fun with my sumi water-brush pen and I think maybe this was a good warmup for lucky Sketchcrawl 13. Below are the results. I’ve also posted these to the Sketchcrawl Forum and Flickr Sketchcrawl Pool.

sketchcrawl12.5_01sketchcrawl12.5_02sketchcrawl12.5_02asketchcrawl12.5_03 sketchcrawl12.5_04sketchcrawl12.5_05 sketchcrawl12.5_06

Also, I want to add a note that this is my 101st post to the Art & Story Blog, so a mini centennial celebration of sorts is in order. Mind you, almost a quarter of those 101 posts have been made in this month alone. I’m on that kind of productivity kick.

Makapu’u Lighthouse in Color


Kaimana Favorite in Color

Pow! Here’s some intense color. Click for a larger version.
Also, here’s the original drawing once again for comparison:
Update: Note, I’ve been told that the colors come up a bit dark for some Windows users. Sorry, folks! It looks very bright on my Mac and I have no PC to check it with.

Blue Smoke

The last of the Hawaii sketchbook pages, “Blue Smoke in Aina Haina.”