Monday, September 17, 2012

A Weekend of Sketching at Soulard and Rue Lafayette

Soulard Market

It has been a while since my last update. This weekend I was back to sketching at the Soulard Market in Saint Louis. One way to work for me regarding subject matter is  to find a spot to make a composition and wait for your subject to walk into view.  This works better than perpetually looking for subjects. They just stroll on by and see me sketching. I get lots of neat conversations and meet people that way. Everyone seems really excited about artists working.

Many of my sketches of the Soulard Market include the round-topped doorways that are on each of the four wings and on the front and back entry to the market.

The way I work is first to draw a series of live sketches. As I sketch, I take reference photographs. The photos aren't used while these preliminary sketches are made. The sketches only serve to solve compositional problems and keep the image active by drawing from life. The energy and concept of the thing to be drawn is what's important.

Later, I take the sketches home and use them to develop painted works. Sometimes I do like to do watercolor sketches on location, but usually I find black and white is most portable.

I struck up a conversation with a lady who walked into my composition with her many colorful bags and scarves. She seemed interested in seeing the final work. Painting and drawing outdoors like this is a great way to build contacts that are interested in your work. I am working to have a better digital portfolio to carry around as that is really helpful.

Joyce's Corner

Then, I turned 90 degrees and drew Joyce's Corner across from Frandeka's Meats. There is a constant stream of people passing changing the scene. People push strollers and shopping baskets on wheels. They pause at Joyce's for a hotdog, brat, or polish sausage and beer among other things.

The vendors saw me drawing them and wondered what I was up to. Later I showed of my sketches. Sometimes I am self-conscious about how my sketches focus on the motion and stances more than a finished illustration. It isn't what people are used to in sketches.

A trick I have been using lately is to carry a small cut mat with a wire across from corner to corner making an x in the center to frame up the subject. I hold it out in front of me to find the center with the x. For some reason I have been playing with aligning something with the visual center of the frame whether or not it is the actual focus of the composition or not. Something just snaps in place in my mind in the composition when this happens.

Rue Lafayette
Sunday Lisa and I went over to Rue Lafayette to watch the Miss Jubilee band play. Again, here the focus is on the energy and composition of the moving scene versus any exact edges. It reminds me of when the grade-school teacher said not to draw hairy lines. Are hatchy non-edges the same thing? I don't know really.

Miss Jubilee and her band are really really great! They all switch off on instruments and they really know how to make live music and to get the audience hopping. There were 4 different couples who got up and satisfied their urge to swing dance.
P.S. - I am looking for information about when the Monday Sketchers do their thing in Chicago. I would like to head up to Chicago sometime, and knowing when some Urban Sketchers up Chicago-way are going to be doing their thing would be cool!


  1. NICE, Brian, glad to see your new work! If you could, add your name and location to your next post so we can find you more easily--I've added it this time!

    1. Ah, yes... Thanks Kate. I knew there was something else, but seeing that it said "posted by", I thought that was the identifier. Next time I will add tags. Yay!


    2. Yep, when you click on the "posted by" it just goes to your blogger profile, now your posts. Thanks!

  2. I really like your signature ink markings. The musician sketches, especially the last with the ukele player is my favorite.

  3. Loooove your work! Come by with a group any time. Make yourselves at home!

    1. Araceli, How ever did you find your way over here? I am really so pleased you did! :-)


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