Wednesday, August 8, 2012


The closing ceremony for the Santo Domingo Urban Sketching Symposium was held at the Museo de las Casas Reales. As we walked inside, a regal peacock strutted through the lobby. Long tables were set up with all the artist's sketchbooks on display. There was also a silent auction set up with some of the instructors work up for grabs. Everyone was crowded around the tables flipping through sketchbooks. Some people moved clockwise and others counter clockwise. I lost patience since I couldn't see all the sketchbooks fast enough, so I wandered off to get a coke. There were also finger foods available so I ate dinner. I had a quick chat with Gabi Campinario. He seems to be moving away from sketching across double page spreads. The last few months, I have been doing the same, choosing instead to sketch in larger spiral bound sketchbooks.

Frank Ching from Seattle was doing a sketch of the spacious courtyard. Since I was still intent on seeing the rest of the sketchbooks, I decided this wasn't an event I would be sketching. All of the Urban Sketchers were asked to stand in the courtyard where they were each called up and issued a certificate. It was just like a graduation. Since all the sketchbooks were now being ignored, I decided to sneak away to flip through the remaining sketchbooks. When my name was called, I trotted out like a triumphant Olympian, picked up my certificate and jogged right back to the sketchbooks.

When we left the closing Ceremony, we discovered that a Fiesta was being staged at Plaza de Espana. Historic fortifications were illuminated a rich orange behind the makeshift stage. Dancers were changing costumes in the lot next to the Museo. On stage a singer and keyboard player were performing Meringue. An official sat beside the stage while hundreds of locals sat in folding chairs set up in the Plaza. Unfortunately, this was the last act and as technicians broke down the stage, I rushed to throw down color washes. The Urban Sketchers had gathered at a bar across the plaza, so when I was done, I walked over for one last drink with this incredibly talented international group of artists.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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