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My Impressionistic Sketch at Marina del Rey.

November 24, 2013

I returned to Los Angeles from Toronto on the 28th August 2013 and 2 days later I became apprehensive about my return trip to Hong Kong booked for the 1st September. That would be a mere 2 days left to the end of my month-long vacation. I was itching to sketch one last memorable composition before I leave North America. And since I am quite familiar with Marina del Rey I figured I would find a scene there that I could spend the day ‘lost in translation’ sketching a complex view.

Google Maps

I found that view looking north from Marquesas Way towards Washington Boulevard. It was a beautiful morning, blue skies, quiet and peaceful, with not a soul around. I was determined to spend my day just sitting, sketching with no care in the world, just relaxing and passing the time away.


You may find the scene rather complex to sketch and wondered why don’t I just take a photo and forget about trying to draw the 3D details on to the 2D sketchbook page. It is this challenge that drove me on, and when you think of it visitors with a camera would never consider shooting this view.


I stopped occasionally to check my progress and to assess the accuracy of my interpretation of the view. Although I had my camera handy I avoid shooting the view to compare it with my sketch. I know that I ‘see’ more than the camera’s fixed lens, and I also know where errors are in my composition, but you would never be able to find them. That is the beauty of free hand sketching, versus computer rendering, where one has to know exact details before attempting to draw on a computer screen.


Shading enhances the ‘3D’ depth of the sketch, however I was cautious not to color render the images too heavily for fear that colors would detract from the composition. Further more the yachts are all white and that allowed other spot colors to act as highlights within the sketch.

Marquesas Way Santa Monica 2

My sketches are impressionistic views and must not be considered precise renderings. They are drawn to capture a ‘mood’ or ‘atmosphere’ of a scene and are not intended to be photographic images. The scale of the image, however, is related to the media on which the sketch is drawn, and this is also related to the ‘frame’ of my sketch. These parameters are established before I start to sketch.

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