My new places

My family and I have recently moved from Puerto Rico to Wilmington, Delaware.  We’re looking for better alternatives of treatment and rehabilitation for our son.  A change was probably very needed in so many ways though.

This means I have not only one, but two cities to sketch!  If everything goes well, I’m about to start working in Center Philadelphia next week, and Philly has so many interesting things to sketch.  Besides, in the first few days I met Joshua, a local caricaturist with whom I expect to practice the craft a lot.  I’m attending with my wife a figure drawing class on Wednesdays at DCAD, getting dirty with charcoal… And of course, also I’m still participating on the weekly caricature challenge on Facebook, Caricatura Puertorriquena en FB.

I haven’t sketched that much outside, as it’s been raining most of the days, but here are some of my latest:





“Stick” figures

Today I sketched with sticks… I had a bamboo pen, kabob skewers and a sharpened chopstick, dipping into Noodler’s Bulletproof Black ink. I really like the primitive feeling of sketching with sticks, will need to use china ink; the Noodler’s won’t dry unless it has contact with paper, so it kind of messed up a bit while watercoloring.

By the way, this was in a very nice beachside eatery, El Salpicón in Barceloneta. So, beside enjoying the sketching, I spent a nice afternoon with my family.


Doodling with Coffee, Wine and Watercolors at La Campechada

We spent this past weekend participating in the event called “La Campechada”, a multi-disciplinary union of artists, musicians, performers, urban artists and actors remembering José Campeche y Jordán, considered one of Americas most important artists of the 18th century. It was celebrated in Old San Juan, where Campeche spent his life. It was a very well planned event, so kudos to the creators from the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico.

Our sketching group “” spent two wonderful days doodling, painting, sketching and enjoying the company of lots of artists. Although most artists were very friendly, I kind of got the feeling that we were looked down upon, probably mainly because our small format. Almost everyone else had several large format pieces for display or sale and most had even several easels. It is also strange that I didn’t see any other artists using watercolors. Our setup was also very low key, as we sketched sitting on the curb instead of standing up. My wife designed and fabricated some fabulous portable sketching tables I’ll show in a future post.

I did several watercolors, but I really enjoyed sketching with coffee and wine. It was my second time using coffee, but I was just trying out doing some wine washes. I liked the effect, so I will be exploring it furthermore.

I hope the event becomes a yearly celebration, as we had a lot of fun and even sold a few of our doodles. We made some friends and several were interested in joining our group. Although those were two very long days, it was worth it… It was a wonderful experience that we’ll remember for a very long time.

Here are some of my sketches for the weekend:

Cavinela, (9″x 6″). Pencil, coffee and wine.
Fish eye view of San Sebastián Street, Caferela (9"x 6"). Pencil and Coffee.
Caferela en la Campechada, (9"x6"), Pencil and Coffee.
San Sebastián Street ATC (3.5"x 2.5"). Pencil and watercolors.

Garabateando@la Plaza Colón

Last Saturday we met at la Plaza Colón in Old San Juan.  I also sketched the Casino de Puerto Rico which is in front and also moved to the Castillo San Cristóbal nearby.  Here are some of my sketches:

Plaza Colón
Casino de PR
Castillo San Cristóbal

Garabateando@La Catedral de San Juan

Yesterday we met at the Cathedral in Old San Juan.  Sketchcrawl 33 was also held yesterday, so we participated in it as well.  We also sketched some of the neighboring buildings.

I was using a few new tube watercolors I had filled half pans with and put in my travel tin.  I am looking to make brighter and more colorful sketches, so I changed my palette a bit.  Let’s see how it goes.

Here are some of my sketches:

Catedral de San Juan
Catedral de San Juan- Interior
Hotel El Convento

Garabateando @Celestino Art Gallery

Yesterday our sketching group,, met at Galería Paseos, a shopping center in San Juan.  We had been invited by the owner of Celestino Art Gallery, Junior Ortiz, to meet them while some of the exposing artists had a painting session right there in the mall.  Junior is also known in the local air waves as Junior Celestino, a radio show host I have been listening for years.  What I didn’t know is that he was an artist as well as an entrepreneur.  His gallery and works are very nice, so I’ll be visiting often.

I had gone there probably a dozen times before and yesterday I saw things I never had noticed, so that says so much about our stress and fast pace.  My dear friend from college Karen and her daughter happened to be shopping and stopped by.  She went to the store to get some paint supplies for her 4-year old to do some sketching.  We also welcome our newest sketcher Carol and a by-passer who stopped and sat with us to sketch (I didn’t catch his name, my bad).

Here are my sketches for the day:


Today we went sketching to the Ashford Avenue in Condado, a couple blocks from where I sketched yesterday.  I did a few sketches, but probably the one I loved the most is the one I gave as a gift.  We met a family, friends of ours from school, and one of the daughters was celebrating her 4th birthday today.  She had just received a dog balloon animal, and she asked me to sketch it for her; I gladly did.  I liked it a lot, but not more than her, who asked me to sign it for her… so cute!!  Of course I did, she thanked me and went home with a huge smile, proudly carrying her balloon pet and its portrait.  At least I’m sure someone appreciated what I sketched today.

Here are some of the other, more mundane sketches without a tender story I did today:

Garabateando@Park(ing) Day 2011, Condado, PR

Today I went to Condado for Park(ing) Day, a worldwide event in which citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary parks for the public good.  The Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico Graduate School of Landscape Architecture students, through their ALAS organization, started promoting this event locally two years ago, but this year, the participation of students from every design school in the country was a premonition that it could be something special.  The other schools were: New School of Architecture at PUPR, the School of Architecture of the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras, the School of Architecture of the PUCPR in Ponce, the International School of Design at Universidad del Turabo and the Escuela de Artes Plásticas de Puerto Rico; students from Ponce held the event there, but all the other schools went to Condado.

It was a vibrant day, full of surprises for the public, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to try to do a sketch of every park.  I didn’t make it, but I had a fun spending time with friends, colleagues, students and family.  Here are my sketches for the day:

Garabateando@Old San Juan

We had planned to go sketch at the historic Cemetery of San Juan, but it happens that it is closed on Saturdays at noon.  We tried to sketch it from the nearby hills, after all it is a wonderful view of the Atlantic Ocean, the San Felipe del Morro fort and part of the cemetery viewed from above.  I hadn’t finished my first sketch when it started to rain really  intense.  We took shelter at the nearby Cuartel de Ballajá, and did a few sketches there.  Today I went again to Old San Juan and managed to do a sketch of the Capilla del Cristo before returning home.