Thursday, April 12, 2018

Face to Face! Urban Portraits That Tell Stories

I'm happy and excited to invite you to my workshop, which will focus on what I love the most - sketching people, and particularly - in portraits and how tell the story through a human face.

April 27, 2018
10:00 AM - 1:30 PM

Workshop location: 
Tel Aviv, Israel. (exact location TBA)

Space is limited: contact ultramarin71[at] to make a reservation and arrange payment.

Maximum number of participants: 15

Skill level: Suitable for all ability levels.

"Faces are the most interesting things we see; other people fascinate me, and the most interesting aspect of other people - the point where we go inside them - is in the face. It tells all." - David Hockney

For me there is no more interesting subject than sketching people, and of course the most fascinating part is - their faces. When I can't pull out my sketchbook, I catch myself sketching with my eyes - watching the celebration of the human faces that constant surrounds us - men and women, adults and children, faces in all shapes and colors - talking, laughing, crying, telling us about themselves in all sorts of ways.
In this workshop we'll practice drawing portraits, but not in a traditional academic approach.

By doing series of fun and freeing up exercises we will learn:

·         to overcome the fear of drawing faces
·         to free up from automatic approaches and selections
·         to discover what is the essence of "likeness" in portraiture - how to get the real, profound likeness, and not only the external one
·         not to mechanically copy  reality , but to observe the essentials from the artistic point of view, and to sacrifice the secondary
·         to adopt new approaches and understandings
·         to connect to the emotional side of drawing
·         to strengthen hand-eye coordination
·         to improve the ability of observation
·         to enjoy the process without thinking about the result
·         to see personality and story in each character
·         to tell the story with the portrait

Meet and greet - 15 minutes
Exercises, 3 sessions -  30 minutes - 1 hour duration each
Final conclusion - sharing our work and insights - 15 minutes

1. Warming-up  duels
Participants will divide into pairs and draw each other in three different exercises:
1.     Eye-hand connection
·         Blind contour - draw without looking at the paper.
·         From memory - draw without looking at the model
2.     Exaggeration (caricature)
·         Strengthen essentials and exaggerate
3.     Capture emotions
·         Simultaneous sketching - look at each other expressing certain emotions.
Finally, we will share the portraits and discuss what each exercise contributes.
 2. Going out!
After the warm-up, we will sketch fast portraits of people passing by on location.
We'll give a title to each portrait. The title can show what we think about the character or what she/he looks like.
We'll try to apply what we've learned in the previous exercises and pay attention to hand-eye coordination, capture the expressions of emotions and strengthen the essential and what is authentic in each character we sketch.
At the end of the section, participants will display as many portraits as they made in various approaches and will share their feelings during exercise.

 3. Telling a story
We'll tell visual stories based on a portrait of a stranger from observation.
The sketch can include the full figure drawing, but the focus should be on his/her face.
Besides creating an external likeness, we will try to transfer the character's personality and our relation to it. We'll build our subjective story.
At the end of the session participants will introduce their stories and share experiences.

Supply list:
·         A small sketchbook (~A5 size) from chip paper and pages you can tear out
·         A package of chip A5 or A4 sheets and a clipboard.
·         Tools you like for line drawing: pencil, pen, etc...
·         Tools you like for shape drawing: wide marker, paint brush, pastels, etc...
·         Bigger sketchbook of quality paper for the last exercise.
·         Your favorite tools for the last exercise.
·         Courage and good mood :)

Workshop cost
30,00€  (120 NIS)


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Gouache in Jaffa again

I'm in Jaffa again, having some sketching time with my friend Nathan. We're looking for the perfect spot, were we can combine drinking coffee and sketching. When we pass near Dr. Narghile shop, the decision comes to us simultaneously. We sat down in front of the shop on the heavy old chairs padded with red and black stripped cloth. I'm starting to sketch three men smoking narghile near me, but they're taking out their wallets and paying - what a pity! I need to wait for a new victim. It comes immediately - young bearded guy, looking for some calm moments and the last rays of the spring sun.
My second sketch - glance to the opposite side, to the busy junction with Jeffet street. There is so much going on all the time - tourists, locals, Arabs, Jews... looks like everybody have enough place and understand each other in different languages. 
I'm looking for the spot for the another sketch, decide to sketch the view just opposite me. It looks boring, big motorcycle is blocking my view, but I want to find a story in what I see. Suddenly interesting couple entering to my frame. Big blond woman wearing long black dress with a big split and red high heel shoes and red bag which complete the look. "Please, stay here for a while!" - I'm whispering. And what a gift - looks like the woman asking her man to take a photo of her, they are staying there for a few minuets, talking one to another and looking for a nice spot, finally leaving the place without taking a picture. But I got my few minuets to add them to my sketch and have the story I looked for!
I decide to do my last sketch inside my new sketchbook, which has horizontal panoramic format. Asian guy, obviously tourist, sitting down near us and ordering narghile. It turns out that the guy is from Hong Kong and he's narghile lover, have one at his home. Everything is global now ;)
Few hours passed like a one minute. Street is full of stories, all you need is to sit down in one place enough time, and all the stories will come to you :)

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Sun, coffee and gouache in Jaffa

Sunny spring afternoon, we're having coffee at one of the corners of Jaffa. I'm pulling out my gouache set and starting to arrange the colors on the palette. "And what about the paints?"- the waitress is asking me while she brings ours coffee. "What about them?" - I'm asking her. "They wouldn't dirt the table?" "No, please don't worry! They are water based!"
Recently I'm in love with gouache and acrylic. I want to back to painting, the real one, as I did in the art school, but I don't have proper time for it. So I'm trying to bring it to my Urban Sketching. It requires more arrangements than just watercolor and pencils. And my bag is getting heavy. But I don't give up, and it pays back - I enjoy it a lot.

In my first sketch I'm trying to capture the whole scene - the street, the coffee drinkers and especially the sun coming from theirs back and giving all the characters kind of  aureole.
The couple on the left were speaking Italian, on the right - Russian. I felt abroad.
The group that came after were German tourists.
This girl with high hairdo arrived suddenly, drunk her coffee along, and continued on her way. I barely had time to capture her.
 And at the end - how not? My friends Nathan and Shai, smoking and chatting.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Purim Sketchcrawl

Every year I want to set our monthly sketchcrawl at the Purim street party, and every year I afraid to make life of my fellow sketchers too tough :) This year I dared to do it. Now, when it's over, all I can say is - well done! we're amazing group! It was so fun!
We met one hour before the party started, stated by sketching security guys, busy by preparing to the event.
my friend Rachel is ready to the sketchcrawl :)

policemen and thieves

people are waiting to enter to the party

Finally, the party were officially opened and Rachel and me entered to the State Square together with hundred of people wearing colorful costumes. The amount of people were relatively not so big, we could even buy a beer without staying in the line and find plenty of place on the grass to sit down and relax. It was so fun to sit under the sprig sun, to absorb the atmosphere and to observe the public wearing costumes and moving around. At the beginning it was difficult to concentrate, but little by little the beer and the atmosphere were absorbed inside me and I started to sketch. Each time I "hunted" with my eyes interesting character or interaction I tried to put it on the paper.

The music and the amount of people increased together with my sketching pace. It was almost meditative - free and unconscious flow. At some point I woke up and felt overwhelmed. Just in time when Rachel reminded me that we need to return to the meeting point.
It was huge fun, fantastic experience for the people sketching lovers!
I'm already waiting for the next year :)

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Rally against the deportation

Maybe I'm naive, but being yesterday together with tens thousands of people protesting against the deportation of refugees in South Tel Aviv made feel hopeful. Hopeful that after all we're all human and that what will lead us at the final.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

What is hidden inside the garden

I knew that setting meeting point for our Sketchcrawl at Levinsky Garden will be challenging. Tel Aviv is a city of contrasts, even in the most touristic place you'll find contrasts between new and old, beautiful and ugly, rich and poor. Levinsky Garden and next to it Neve Shaanan neighborhood long time ago turned to be kind of a different country, populated by immigrants it has a life of its own and you can see straight away who's a citizen and who's a tourist. We felt a bit uncomfortable to come there with our fancy sketching tools to "hunt" our objects.
I decided to start from sketching the surrounding, despite that what interested me the most were, of course, the people. I wanted to give myself time to observe the place from distance, to absorb and to be absorbed. The garden was very nice, wide and blooming. The atmosphere there were very calm, everything were easygoing. People - black men mostly - passed slowly, stopped in groups for a few minutes of conversation and continued to pass. There were a few "constant" - the man with the orange shirt who was doing his morning washing near the garden tap. And the man in the white undershirt who was walking back and forth while turning his hands - performing strange gymnastic exercises. Nobody created eye contact and didn't approached. I felt detached and not belonging.

I moved to the edge of the garden and started to sketch people. Here as well nobody approached, just a few asked if we're drawing them. Most of them were busy talking one to another.

among black men only who occupied the benches around suddenly set down Asian woman, smoked her cigarette and moved on

I moved to the playground where I found Nitzan and her friends, and around them gathered a group of children. At the begging children were suspicious - why would group of adult people draw in the middle of their's playground? But very soon they all joined sketching. It was so gladdening scene, with a lot of great energies - the real spirit of urban sketching which creates interaction with the surrounding!
one of the mothers in the garden

children are sketching

I also did some sketches, but mostly were chatting with the children and taking pictures. Our sketchcrawl was coming to its end. We spread out our sketches on the ground, children looked at them together with us and asked when we'll come again. Some of them joined us to the final photo :)

Here are some sketches I did in the Eritrean restaurant, were we were eating with Nathan after the sketchecrawl.

beautiful couple in the restaurant

This watercolor sketch was done a few days earlier, when Nathan and me came to check the location. The pastoral garden with complicated stories inside it. We should come back!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Christmas in Vienna

Last weekend my sister and I spend a long weekend in Vienna - elegant, classical, and so artistic capital of Austria. So we tasted some Schiele, Klimt and Breigel. And some Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss. And apple-strudel for the dessert, of course! ;)
Here are some sketches I managed to "steal".
our first supper

beautiful concert in Mozart's house

having some drinks after the concert

my beautiful sister listening to the live singer in the bar

poor horses! I'm not sure they so happy to dance waltz...

I didn't dare to skate, but it was fun to watch!

charming small concert in our hotel, called "Beethoven" 

in the local jazz club "Porgy&Bess"

wonderful show by "Marina and the Kats" Marina and her band were just electrifying!
I wish I could sketch much much more! But still, it was so nice, and I have some taste for coming again!