Throwback to Santa Barbara

A very short trip to Santa Barbara, but I couldn’t leave without sketching the Santa Ynez mountains. We took the afternoon drive up into the mountains. The Santa Yenez start off as volcanic hills that then transition into well defined ridges. On a bright sunny afternoon they brighten up the landscape and from the top looking down they are quite dramatic. Even in the distance you could smell the sage scrub and see the patches of green break up the rolling yellows and oranges of the mountains. The early inhabitants here were the Chumash people. There are many examples of rock art, we only got to see the Painted Cave. Didnt get to sketch these as we were short on time. But a great excuse to return!

Here then are the sketches of Santa Yenez .

Santa Barbara

With the Santa Ynez Mountains as a dramatic backdrop on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other Santa Barbara is a sketchers paradise. Everywhere you look there’s a sketching opportunity.

Even on a short short trip I got a lot of sketch time in. As always I’ll start with the views from my window. A few cloudscapes to start with.


And I simply love the perspective of mountainscapes from 35,000ft. It’s totally mesmerizing. I see fractals everywhere!

I’ll follow up with more sketches of the Santa Ynez Mountains, sunset on the beach and downtown Santa Barbara in a later post.

Circus Tent – Red,White and #YInMnBlue !

Day4/31 – #WorldWstercolorMonth

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and the theme is Circus Arts. The Festival brings the rich history, mystique and diversity of American circus arts to life on the National Mall. There were circus performances, behind the scenes, emerging artists and contemporary visionaries, and coaches, costume designers, makeup artists, musicians, prop and tent designers, riggers, poster artists, wagon builders, and many others whose collective creative work brings the circus to life. 

While the crowds lined up all the way around the tent I sat outside the big tent and sketched the Red, White and Blue under a somewhat ominous sky! They were calling for thunderstorms tonight. 

Happy 4th!

US Capitol – Ready for the 4th!

Day3/31- #WorldWatercolorMonth – today’s post is a really quick sketch of the US Capitol Building from the distance.  

From my sketchbook

A short trip to LA in October gave me the chance to visit Long Beach and the Los Angels County Museum of Art. The visit to LACMA was too short and I have to go back again, bit I did manage to do some sketches both outdoors and in. My favorite by far of the outdoor sculptures was Chris Burden’s Urban Light comprising 220 vintage lampposts. I managed a quick pen and ink sketch while I waited for the museum to open.


Indoors, the highlight for me was the Lazarof collection of Piccaso, Degas, Pissarro, Kandinsky, and a whole room filled with sculptures by Alberto Giacometti. Here’s a quick sketch of Giacometti’s Monumental Head.

Venice- View from the Gondolas!

Day 28/31: #WorldWatercolorMonth


A quick sketch in my moleskin while trying to stay in sync with the group whilst traveling.

Solar Glow at Griffith Observatory

Day 27/31: #WorldWatercolorMonth

A really quick sketch done at the Griffith Observatory as the sun was setting while waiting in line for the Zeiss Telescope and the Solar Telescope!


Romancing the Taj!

Day 22/31: ‪#‎WorldWatercolorMonth‬. Also, the second day of Jean Haines Retreat in Winchfield, England.

A highly energized full day of painting with Jean! She is amazing – to watch her paint, to learn from and just plain be with! Learnt a lot, lots to learn, but had enormous fun, and met some incredible people!



All in White – Cosmos

Day 21/31 ‪#‎WorldWatercolorMonth‬

First day of Jean Haines Watercolours Workshop In Winchfield, England.


Skyview Sketch – Lisbon

Day 21/31 ‪#‎WorldWatercolorMonth‬

Airline magazine photo rendered in my Moleskine at 39,000 ft. (Photo credit: Pedro Guimaraes).

Trying to keep it going even as I’m traveling. This was the closest thing at hand so I gave it a go.