Adventure Food

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My grandaughter and I like to go on adventures together.  Adventures require lots of energy, so we usually stop by Welcome Chicken snd Donuts for sone adventure food first.  She always picks the pink one.  This sketch is going into a sketchbook of all our adventures together this year that I will give her for Christmas. 

Little Hippie Boy

Yesterday I sat next to a big bear of a man, appropriately named Bear. He was working intently on a Sudoko puzzle so I started sketching. There was no doubt about the moment he realized I was sketching him; he loudly said "Wow!! That's me!"   

It turns out he's an artist too. He makes beaded jewelry.   When he was a young man he was homeless. So he started making and selling jewelry to support himself. One day a rich woman bought one of his necklaces. She walked back to her friends and he could hear her say, "That little hippie boy is homeless and needs money. Go buy one of his necklaces."  And they all did. 

He retired in January and spends his days making jewelry. His kids just set him up a Facebook store called Little Hippie Boy, where you can buy his necklaces today. Here's a link to his store--go buy one. 

https://m.facebook.com/littlehippieboy/ 

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Airports

My dad worked for Frontier Airlines for 21-years so I spent a lot of time growing up in airports.  So they have a special place in my heart. Now they are one of my favorite hunting grounds for people to sketch. It's one of the few places where people sit still for a long period if time.  

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I just sketched this woman a few minutes ago on a trip to Dallas. If you look hard you can see her in the background.  

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This was a quick sketch on a 3x5 card during a very bumpy flight  

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A flight to Denver on Moleskin paper, which does not accept watercolor very well.  

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This was a sketch of my sister and niece on a flight from Routan to Utila Hunduras in a small Cessna.  

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Quick sketch of people waiting to check in  

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This lady asked me to sketch her duck in The Houston airport

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kids waiting for their brother to get off the plane.  

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A line drawing of a Southwest Airlines cabin. 

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She was kind of crabby to the stewardess, so I tried to capture that. Think I did. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to board my plane! 

Restaurant People

Yesterday, my sister took me to Babes Chicken in Roanoke Texas. Only two things on the menu--fried chicken and chicken fried steak--delicious! 

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I sketched the floor manager Grant.  

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I love food. So I spend a lot of time in restaurants, sketching the people that work there.  

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This is Amanda from a few days ago at Cornish Pasty.    

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A prep cook from a few weeks back.  

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I've sketched so many people at this place that when I sit at the bar, the bartender brings me bear beer and a glass of water for my paints.  

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Keith who served us great wine in Bisbee.  

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She runs a fantastic place in Tucson and kept coming over to see the sketch of her patrons.  

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I think one of the reasons I love sketching restaurant workers is because they love the sketches so much. Many of the restaurants around where I live proudly display my sketches on their walls. One caught fire awhile back. When it reopened, there was my sketch, saved, cleaned up and back on the wall.  

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I think it's because they spend their days serving other people, making our food delicious, our drinks beautiful and our experiences delightful. But often they are invisible to the very people they serve. 

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So when an artist comes along and sketches them, they know they've been seen and valued. 

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And somebody is giving back to them, the same way they give so much to us.  

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The chef was busy so they wanted the sketch. 

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Mike the Chef--one of my favorites--taught me how to use browned butter while I sketched him. Changed my life! 

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I end with this guy. He's been selling Nogales dogs in the same parking lot on Indian School and 21st Street for years. Met a chef from NY on a plane once who asked if I knew the place. I said of course and asked if he'd been there. He said, "no but all the chefs talk about him."  I did this sketch of his food and he was so proud of it--because he's so proud of his food and what he does. I did the sketch a few years ago, but my son a few weeks ago sent me a picture of the guy's facebook page and my sketch is still his profile picture. and that's why I love giving sketches to these amazing people. 

Marco's trip to Dallas

It's almost a cliche that urban sketchers have to sketch every plane they are on. I've  certainly sketched my fair share. Yesterday I flew to Dallas to see the Depeche Mode concert with my sister. This young man was sitting across the aisle from me. Even though I was behind him, he caught me sketching him pretty early on so I showed him and his mom the sketch as it progressed. When it was done he said "I think this is the best painting anyone has ever done of me."  About the highest praise I've ever received. 

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My Happy Russian Barber

Quick sketch of my Russian Barber while waiting for my haircut--just a few minutes to get a few pencil lines on the paper before my turn in the chair and I did the watercolor from memory with hair falling into my pallete.  

I've sketched him a few times. He immigrated to the US during the Reagan Administration. So everything is decorated cowboy--Russian Cowboy. 

When I gave it to him, he said "this is not me. This is my brother. This man is not smiling--I am happy, I smile all the time. Not my brother, he is moody. He never smiles. Not his wife or his kids. They never smile. They are moody."

He showed me a picture of his brother, his wife, and his kids. It is true, none of them were smiling. 

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Sketching While Getting Tear Gassed

A few weeks ago I spent the day sketching the crowds when President Trump came to Phoenix. I was inspired by urban sketchchers in Hong Kong that sketched the protests there a few years ago. Their sketches helped me connect in an emotional way to what otherwise would have just been a news story I'd probably skip reading. And after Charlottesville, I thought it was important to record what was happening. 

I started the afternoon sketching Trump supporters and then the protestors. My sketches include a guy selling Pro-Trump t-shirts and a biker for Trump, a protestor raising his fist in defiance, right-wing militia carrying guns to intimidate and left-wing militia with guns to counteract, a man getting screamed at by a white supremist and the pained face of a black policeman protecting a Nazi yelling at him to go back to Africa. 

Finally as the night wore on the police fired tear gas into the crowd. I sketched the police in their riot gear as my eyes watered and the crowd and police stood off against each other. In the picture, the green cloud in the back is tear gas. 

It was probably my most intense sketching experience, and maybe my most intense experiences as an American.  I'm 50 now and I've never seen anything like what is going on in our country.. The division is so stark and the sides so filled with derision for each other.  Sometimes I feel like I don't recognize my country anymore. I hope that our future returns us to a level of civility we seem to have lost for the moment.

 

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Harlow

Little Harlow was eating her breakfast with her mom and her uncle at the Phoenix Public Market.  Babies are a challenge to sketch because they move around so much!  If you want to do a really good sketch, find some guy sitting in a bar with a fresh pint and a game on the TV--that guy isn't moving for hours!  Harlow, well, she was a very active baby, as all little babies should be. l only had a few minutes to sketch before her mom got up to leave so the sketch was very much a work in progress.  

I like to think that this sketch will end up on the fridge next to little Harlow's first paintings.  Who knows, maybe she'll be a great artist some day!

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Making A Connection

One of the things I love about urban sketching is it's social. When I paint in my studio, it's a solitary experience. But sketching in public invites people to ask what you're doing and watch and make friends. 

On my recent trip to Seattle I sketched people celebrating a birthday by dressing up and playing Clue on the train.  

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Met a group of amazing people from Wisconsin attending a convention for teachers of kids with special needs 

 

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And met a fellow sketcher for coffee every morning and doodled, told stories and exchanged drawings.  

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My trip was so much richer because of the people I got to meet through urban sketching. Visiting a place is a 2-dimensional experience unless you include the people that live there. I love that urban sketching makes that so easy.