On Friday, I did my first half-day Sketch Crawl with friend, Shirley, here in Monterey. The idea for the sketch crawl comes from SketchCrawl.com. What we did was walk around Monterey with our watercolors and paper sketching for 5 hours. We took turns picking the sketch stops and deciding on the time limit for each drawing.
We each did a warm-up sketch and three designated sketches along our route.
The day started at my vihara (dwelling place). I gathered my watercolor set and picnic items while Shirley picked her banjo. Then I read a poem from a little book of Ming Dynasty era poems (Pilgrim of the Clouds: Poems and Essays from Ming China by Yuan Hung-tao, translated by Jonathan Chaves). We packed only the necessities for our day: chocolate chip cookies, crackers, carrots, hummus, hats, gloves, scarves, jackets, and a pad to sit on. We were out the door at 1pm.
Our first stop was on Alvarado Street across from The Golden State Theatre with its ornate golden yellow façade. That was my pick. We sat on the edges of large terra cotta flower pots and set up our stuff. Our time limit was 20 minutes for this first sketch. As timekeeper, I called out the time every so often. At 19 minutes, I suggested a new rule: we could petition for more time if we needed it. Fortunately, the timekeeper agreed. So, we got two and a half more minutes.
Shirley picked our next stop, the stairs of the Osio Theatre looking down and across to Alvarado Street. This stop was partly chosen for the wide strips of sunlight that we could sit in. When we finished our sketch, we unwrapped our picnic right there on the steps in the warm sunshine.
Stop #3 was going to be at the cactus gardens behind Portola Plaza, but there wasn't enough sun to sit in, so we sat along the white benched wall looking onto the plaza and the fountain. By this time, we allowed a few minutes to set up our sketch tools instead of including it within the time-limit. We finished with a little Ming Dynasty era poem. Much in need of a hot drink and a restroom, we headed off to Morgan's for tea and coffee. Seated by the fire, we put some final touches on our sketch crawl sketches before calling it a day. We walked back up the hill to my place as the yellow moon was rising through the pines and oak trees.
Here are my sketch crawl sketches and a couple of photos of Shirley.