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Saturday, December 15, 2018

Buen Dia Cafe

This painting is from a reference photo of a lovely restaurant in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. We stopped in to have a coffee and watch people walk by. While we were enjoying our coffee we were serenaded by two young musicians playing a violin and an accordion. SMA is always full of wonderful surprises.

"Buen Dia Cafe"
13 1/2" x 10 1/2" water colour 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Sketch book travels, SMA #7

I joined the San Miguel de Allende Urban Sketchers on their weekly sketching outing. We went to the beautiful gardens of the Hotel Posada de la Aldea. I was intrigued with the bell tower and so made that my focus.

There were 11 sketchers spread over the beautiful gardens and you can tell by their sketch books that they were inspired by a real variety of personal interests. I started a 2nd sketch in ink and went back after a group coffee invite to finish it. If you are in SMA and would like to join these lovely artists, look up their Facebook page and ask for the info on the next meeting (Tuesdays at noon). I had a wonderful time.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Sketch book travels, SMA #6

We went on a Sunday hike, first meeting the group at a local gas station, breaking into groups for the different hikes and car pooling. This time and last time we were lucky enough to get a ride from Tizianna. It was so beautiful, I took so many photos of the "Canada de la Virgen" hike that I could do a whole series of paintings. This is a sketch of the red ant hills that were piled high with the same sized rocks that the ants had broken down and pushed out the hole to make quite a pile, I was wowed by the feat! There were also some flowers blooming all around to create quite a contrast.

This sketch is an urban sketch (done on location). We usually have a happy hour game of crib and from my vantage point I get to see beautiful sunset colours in the sky out of our rental front room window. After crib I sketched this then used water colour and ink. This is not done in my sketch book but on water colour paper that fits in my book. I can't blend colours in my sketch book and wanted to get the beautiful orange to blue sky.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Sketch book travels, SMA #5

These sketches are photo based of our travels around town (San Miguel de Allende, Mexico). As we are walking around town I am always on the look out for things that interest me or will  be a great reminder of our time here. The first sketch is a view of people walking and looking at their phone, oblivious to their beautiful surroundings.
 My husband Gord has been taken twice weekly Spanish classes from Javier at the Don Luis restaurant. As am not at that level I have been quietly sitting and listening in and drawing. This is a sketch of the table. Usually I also try and sketch patrons in another sketch book that I am drawing live subjects.

This sketch is of an elderly lady in the Dia de Revolution parade that went for miles. This group of seniors swished their dresses and danced the whole parade (miles!), I was so impressed!

Sometimes you come across something so simple it makes an impact and had me writing stories in my head long after viewing it.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Sketch book travels, SMA 4

Colleen drove Gord and I to the monolith Bernal and we hiked as far as we were allowed to go after an wonderful and tasty coffee and breakfast. After the hike we celebrated at a roof top patio enjoying XX Ambar cervesas with tasty salsa and chips. By the time we got home it was dark and we were tired and happy.
This sketch in my book is of a local lady selling hand made dolls. She had a basket of small ones neatly lined up as well as larger ones peeking out of her full bag on her back. The colour of the walls are painted the old colonial colours as it is a heritage sight in the old part of town. Very colourful and busy with vendors, locals and tourists from Mexico and abroad.  My sketch book does not have water colour paper so blending is a real challenge. I love the warmth and memories this provides.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Sketch book travels, SMA #3

 We joined a hiking group that goes out every Sunday to a different location. We had to meet at a gas station in SMA at 7:45 a.m. and everyone car pooled maximizing the amount of people in each car. 50 pesos/person helped pay for the gas. Gord and I happily joined the group on a hike we had done on a previous trip. I took as much information in about the cactus and flowers and drew and painted them as soon as I came home. Loved the variety and getting out of the city. The hikers were friendly and enjoyed themselves as much as we did.
This plant was growing along the electrical cords on the balcony above us. I loved how the single blossom was so beautiful considering what it was using to attach itself to. Tiny tendrils hooked themselves to the concrete and the shadows danced in the slight breeze.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Sketch book travels SMA #2

 This is a watercolour/pen sketch of the Parroquia in the town centre of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. We walked around on our first night here and of course the square is where you want to walk to, the sights are amazing.

The second sketch book entry below is of the house right next door and the view from the upstairs balcony (no one was renting it).

The third entry below using both pages is a view of the town square from the upstairs flat balcony. I stood with my sketch book on the edge of the balcony and happily sketched the views before me. I may use water colour to colour it in from a photo. This is a great example of urban sketching.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Donna Dickson painting workshop - Day 2 and 3

After a lunch out together, the afternoon was challenging. We had a much more difficult San Miguel de Allende street scene to draw out and then work on painting the dark sky, mottled plaster building, perspective and people. This was completely out of my comfort zone but I was here to learn so I took a big breath and began. Once again, we all painted from the same photo reference Donna provided.  I used one of  Donna's palettes and enjoyed the large mixing areas as well as her paints. Both these were done on 14" x 11"  Arches water colour paper.

This SMA street scene below was more challenging than it looks. Having to get perspective right, plaster buildings that make sense, crooked light posts, multiple sized flags and shadows were really challenging! Donna's demo's, instruction and encouragement made this class a really enjoyable learning experience. I would really recommend taking her class regardless of what your level of painting is, so much to learn and do. I really loved the local scenes and references. Donna also supplied a piece of local Mexican water colour paper which was different to paint on.

Paintings done by the class. You can see the variety of colours, sizes and centre of interest everyone chose. Amazing how different each painting is.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Donna Dickson water colour workshop - Day 1 and 2

Our kids gave me a coupon for a one day painting class in San Miguel de Allende for my birthday. That class was cancelled but I came upon a 3 day workshop by Donna Dickson that was starting a couple days after our arrival...perfect. What really intrigued me is that she was going to use a local scene or two in San Miguel de Allende (SMA) and Puerto Vallarta Mexico. I was in the class with 5 other artists and really enjoyed my time with them and under Donna's friendly and encouraging style of teaching. Donna did demo's as we gathered around her watching her mix and apply the water colours. Her encouragement in asking questions and explanations was helpful to all the different learning levels.

This was the first painting we did to put down a wash. Donna also teaches in Puerto Vallarta and all the references were hers. I had to borrow a palette and paints from Donna and brought a couple of brushes with me. The flat brush was actually an acrylic brush so the top colour did not blend as I was trying to start with the sky blending the colours down.

This is the second painting, but we did the sky first and let it completely dry. We painted a wide variety of strokes and mixed colours. I found it a bit challenging using a palette where I was unsure of what the colours were and it made for a lot of surprise mixing.

This was the third painting we did, again using local photos Donna took. I loved painting the mottled background. The photos below are the artists learning paintings.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Sketch book travels SMA 1

Gord and I traveled to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico for our 4th visit. As usual I passed the time on the plane doodling in my sketchbook and gluing in things that spoke to me. There are always magazines, advertising and brochures in the airports that I peruse as well when waiting. Sketching on the little airplane tray, especially when I add watercolour becomes very tight and usually creates a little interest from the people that are in view of me. I figure it helps them pass the time as well.