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Taking Liberties with Urban Sketching

Sometimes it is tempting to take liberties with the look of a scene by sketching and then watercoloring it afterwardsafter, that is, departing the scene of the target image–thus, breaking a cardinal rule of the urban sketchers’  manifesto.  So, speaking of liberties, here is a sketch (also taking some liberties with respect to realism) of the back of the U.S. Supreme Court on a beautiful day in May in Washington, D.C.  True “urban sketching” follows guidelines that include sketching on the scene in real-life (“plein air,” so to speak) but, in the case below, having a photograph of the elements of the scene helped to fill in the image afterwards.  In any case, whether or not this qualifies as real “urban sketching,” it is clear that a walk in just about any city produces a great many surprises (the subject of this blog, after all); Washington, D.C., is no exception, particularly with respect to the astounding beauty of its many buildings, parks, statues, hidden alcoves, and often gorgeous landscaping.  (The sculptures of urns with the rams head handles have now popped up in a couple of places–another surprise!)

Illustration:  Watercolor and pen and ink by Black Elephant Blog author

Illustration: Watercolor and pen and ink by Black Elephant Blog author

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