October 30, 2014

Americans for the Arts - June in Nashville

In June I drove over to Nashville to attend the Americans for the Arts conference as an Urban Sketchers board member. I have attended it five previous times (five!) while working at Urban Art Commission. But this is a different kind of Urban.

It took me a while to get comfortable, partly because of the previous association with my career in public art, and partly because Urban Sketchers as an organization doesn't fit into any kind of mold for US non-profits. We're an all-volunteer, US-based global organization that aims to include everyone, regardless of age or skill-level, in a hands-on, on-location practice. 

But I met a lot of nice people who were really interested in what we are doing, and they all patiently listened to me talk through my thoughts about what we were doing at the conference in the first place.

That's Ben Folds on the left there - he's one of the nice people I met. Just kidding, I didn't meet him, but I did sing with him! As did the other few hundred people there.

Ah, the Eye of Sauron building in downtown Nashville, a.k.a., the Batman Building.

On this morning it was like I woke up knowing that using my Pentel Aquash ink-filled brush pen would be a great way to sketch people, and I've been hooked ever since. Hooked!

You can't throw a rock without hitting some sweet tea around here.

I love the Ryman Auditorium. I took some alone time and ran over to sketch it. 

Overall it was a great experience. I love being a part of Urban Sketchers and I love learning, and deep down I really do love Nashville. (Don't tell anyone in Memphis that I said that.)

October 29, 2014

Sketches from Last Month, Before It's Next Month

In early September, it's still summer in Memphis.

No, I do not sketch at my desk at work. Don't be silly.

With my new Super5 fountain pen :)

Lunch spot.

Lunch spot not facing the river.

Good times with my girlfriends.

Look! A cat on the internet!

October 27, 2014

Memphis Monday - Stax Museum of American Soul Music

In February the Memphis Urban Sketchers went to the Stax Museum to sketch, and I finally got around to posting my sketches! Head over to the Memphis Urban Sketchers site to see more.

This is the gold Cadillac that belonged to Isaac Hayes. NBD.

October 20, 2014

Memphis Monday - Robert Gordon at Booksellers of Laurelwood

Robert Gordon, who wrote the incredible book Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion, spoke during the Mid-South Book Festival at Booksellers of Laurelwood, and a few friends went to hear him. He was there with Sidney Kirk, who played piano on most of Isaac Hayes's records.

Since I already read Respect Yourself (I rated it a 4: Holy Crap That's Good), I bought his book It Came from Memphis. Can't wait to read it!

October 09, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Italy 2004

Toby and I left for Florence, Italy on the first day of October, 2004. It was our first overseas trip, which meant our first flight to Europe, my first time in a foreign country, and my first real trip with a sketchbook. I mean, I have always carried a sketchbook, and I'd been on plenty of trips with them, but this was the first time I brought a sketchbook especially for the trip with the purpose of filling it up. It was also my first Moleskine! At the time I was only on pencils, so I had my Moleskine, a few 4Bs, and a pencil sharpener.

Our connecting flight was in Paris. Everything was so different! I remember getting us some yogurt for a snack, which at the time seemed weird. It was also my first Coca-Cola Light. Mmmmm. Then we were in Italy. Or did we have another connecting flight? I don't remember now - it was 10 years ago, and it was the first time I took xanax for flying.

There's so much writing in this book, it surprises me. I dug out the sketchbook that I was using before the trip, and realized it was a whole different thing than what I carry now. It was full of notes and doodles, with few sketches from life. So at the time, all of the notes and the writing made sense. Now I guess I save the writing for this blog.

I like to show this book to my sketchbook classes - this last sketch in particular. Compare the shading on it to all of the previous sketches. It's so much better! Something clicked as we stood in line for the Uffizi, and I remembered how to draw. And I noticed it, too - I could tell it was different and better. After that the sketches are bigger and fuller, and I was more eager to make them.

But still sort of scribbly. This is exactly the kind of thing I tell my students not to do - these wishy-washy lines like the shadow at the bottom of this sketch. Do you want to put a shadow there? Then make it look like you did it on purpose, 2004 Self.

Oh but then there's this. Still one of my favorite sketches ever.

These are from Pisa.

These are from our anniversary dinner. It was quite a magical evening in the Tuscan countryside, with a little chill in the air and delicious food.

And of course I made lists of just some of the things that we experienced. Like I said, it was all so new to us. I did a terrible job packing - way too many clothes that were too heavy for the warm weather. I remember being so nervous for weeks beforehand, all while working on a huge project at work, installing artwork at the brand new FedEx Forum. I had hired the now world-famous Virginia Overton to help install the work, and I must have talked her ear off about the trip. But I just didn't understand how it works, going to and being in another country. I have to see things to understand them. But now I get it!

(click on images to see more detail)

(These sketches were all made between October 1 and October 13, 2004. I added the pictures to the book later.)

October 08, 2014

Inside My Vacation Head #3 - GPS Voice

(click on it to read it better)

October 05, 2014

Sketching Workshop in Savannah, and a Late Supply Sunday

This past weekend I made a quick trip to Savannah, GA, to attend an Urban Sketchers workshop that I helped organize with Kip Bradley at the Telfair Museum. It was great! I got to visit with old friends and met so many sketchers from all over the southeast.

Jim Richards led us around two of Savannah's beautiful downtown squares and we sketched and sketched and sketched.

Canson generously sponsored the Urban Sketchers workshop and sketch walk. I love Canson! They gave each of us a sketchbook, as they have for many Urban Sketchers Symposiums over the years. One of the books that they gave us in particular was one of my favorite sketchbooks - I brought it with me to show during the Telfair Museum's family day, which Jim Richards and I took part in on Saturday by sharing our sketches with visitors.

We also sort of accidentally made sketches for over 50 people. I'm not sure how it happened, but it was fun! Here are a few of my favorites.

Then blam! Back home on Sunday.

(click images for more detail)

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Please visit Sketchwork at  elizabethalley.com/sketchwork . After 12 years with Blogger, I am incorporating my blog into my website becaus...