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@PR Coffee Expo 2011

Today we sketched at the Puerto Rico Coffee Expo, an event that is commemorating the 275th anniversary of the coffee industry in Puerto Rico.  It is being held at the PR Convention Center.  Tomorrow the organizers will be breaking the Guinness World Record for the biggest cup of coffee, which they were already brewing on several makers.  They will be serving 50 thousand cups of coffee!  It is a humongous cup, see the link.

A friend of mine is one of the organizers, so he welcomed us to attend.  I decided to give it a try to sketch with coffee, which I felt mandatory for the occasion.  Until late last night I hadn’t ever tried to do it, but hey, it’s all about enjoying the moment and having fun, so I did.

I knew I was going to get plenty of coffee there, but I wasn’t going to get an over-done, ink-like one, so I prepared one at home. I put it in the microwave to evaporate some of the water so it would yield me the darker tones. There at the expo I used some of my drinking coffee for the medium tones and clear water (with whatever coffee was still on the brush) for the lighter tones and let the paper do the highlights.  So I had at least 4 gradations which was good enough.

I sketched on Canson 140-lb watercolor paper, some at a 5″x7″ size and some at the Artist Trading Cards size, 2.5″x 3.5″.  I had never tried that size before, so it was all about experimentation today.  I did enjoy a lot the process, so I will be exploring the possibilities of the “medium”.  Watching people freak out when I licked the brush was priceless.  I did use a new brush, so no watercolor residues were ingested…

Here are some of my sketches today:

Batucada@PR Coffee Expo, 5"x7", Coffee on 140lb watercolor paper.
PR Coffee Expo, 3.5"x2.5", Coffee on watercolor paper
PR Coffee Expo, 3.5" x 2.5", Coffee on watercolor paper