Urban Wilderness: How to do a quick capture

Have you always wanted to draw the way you did when you were growing up but don’t have time now? Let’s learn to dissect a scene and put down the most useful shapes and leave out the useless. That way, sketching can fit into the time you have. See how 1-2 colors are enough to capture essence of a scene. By the end of the workshop, you will get a taste of drawing directly with a brush – a very efficient tool – which will further add speed to urban sketching in an urban lifestyle.


First announced dates are full. Scroll down for the second date.

2 day workshop
Split into 1.5hr each day.


Sunnyvale Baylands Park, 999 E. Caribbean Dr, Sunnyvale, CA 94089


First workshop (FULL)
Thursday and Friday: May 11 and 12, 2017
12:00pm – 1:30pm

Second workshop – just announced dates.

May 13, 2017
10:00am – 1:00pm

For whom

Beginner and Intermediate level

At the end of the workshop, you-
  1. Will have gotten out and painted plein-air as first step.
  2. Will know that 2-3 pigments are enough to capture the essence of a place.
  3. Will be able to triage a scene so that important compositional elements stay intact and useless ones are left out.
  4. Will have met other cool yet sometimes hidden valley artists/techies.
How much?

There are 9 other workshops happening around the bay area on different dates and in different locations through Urban Sketchers in San Francisco. I urge you to check them out here – there is a great selection of styles and themes of them! You can read more about these instructors here too.

How to enroll?

Email- suhita@gmail.com and let her know you’d like to take the ‘Urban Wilderness-How to do a quick capture’ workshop.

Materials to bring to my workshop-
  1. Sketchbook that can take watercolor (I use Canson books)
  2. Pencils 2B
  3. Brush pens (optional), e.g., Pentel brush pen
    – OR –
    3 watercolor pigments: one warm, one cool, one neutral, e.g., cerulean blue, yellow ochre, Payne’s grey
    If you cannot make up your mind, bring your box of colors, we can talk about which ones to use at the workshop.
    If you are bringing watercolors, bring a round brush, any size between #6 to #8 should work and one smaller, #3 to #1. Bring a container for water and for taking back colored water.
  4. Brown bag lunch on day 2 so that we can sit down and see each other’s work at end of the workshop!
Material provided at the workshop-


About the instructor-

I am a plein-air painter and have shown my work in juried international exhibition, solo shows and contributed to books. I am also a regular watercolor demonstrator in local art societies and lead weekend paint outs for the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society. As a Silicon Valley engineer and chip designer with two young kids, I understand the value of time and practice, even if for a few minutes each day. I would love to share my vision of painting/sketching and can show you how to reduce a scene to a sketch that speaks to you. My website www.umakelkar.com is a good way to follow my work if social media is not your cup of tea. Otherwise, Facebook and Instagram have me too.

Area of speciality:
Speed in ink/watercolor/charcoal, confident lines and ability to reduce scene clutter to attractive shapes.

Why teach a workshop?

I work as an engineer during the day in the Valley. There are lot of latent artists around me who are afraid to try ‘art’ on a whim. I’d like to show that engineers can rock sketches. I come to sketching with strong skills in classical watercolor painting. I believe larger brushes allow for efficient sketching – especially for time strapped techies. I would like to share the joy of creating even in a short time and within the cycle of commute, work, family of the Bay Area by imparting the power of a brush as a drawing tool.

Why Sunnyvale Baylands Park(SBP)?

This public park is right in the center of Silicon Valley with office of multinational companies e.g. Google, Apple, LinkedIn, umpteen startups, Facebook within 5 miles of it, whose staff – engineers/managers/technicians would be keen to have an open air class in the scenic and logistically manageable location of SBP. Unlike other local parks, the interior of the SBP faces the bay, so there is a sense of get-a-way from the urban buildings. The flora and fauna of SBP is California native – so the colors move according to season. I’d be happy to host the workshop once in spring, once in summer and once in fall to capture same scenes but with a different palette for example. I am hoping to draw out (pun intended) new urban sketchers for whom landscapes may seem more enjoyable than cityscapes do.