Monday, December 15, 2014

The San Diego Urban Sketchers discover California history.

While in San Diego I arranged to meet up with the San Diego Urban Sketching group. Terry's mom was nice enough to lend me her car so I could drive up the California coast a bit to the Olivenhein Meeting Hall. When I arrived, many sketchers were already hard at work sketching the historic building. The colony of Olivenhein was settled by German immigrants who arrived from Denver in 1884. Each member was granted 5 acres and use of the community's horse teams and equipment. In 1895 the colonists erected this board and batten redwood Community Hall which featured a pot bellied stove, bar, and a stage. Dances, picnics and fourth of July celebrations were traditional meeting hall events. The meeting hall became a California point of historical interest in 1971 and was placed on the National Register of historic places in 1993.

I was fascinated with the light bark of the trees and the vibrant blue sky behind the dark sienna structure. I tried to squeeze in as many sketchers as I could, but some were behind me. When everyone was finished with their sketches, we gathered together and put all the sketchbooks on the ground to see the results.  Then we posed for a group shot while holding our sketchbooks. In all there were eight sketchers that day. Neither Terry or her mom had ever heard of the Olivenheim Meeting Hall, so the field trip had allowed me to sketch a rather hidden gem from California's past while getting to meet some talented 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


Juliana Aschwanden-Vila├ža said...

Hello Thomas, congratulations for the wonderful and colourful work! How do you manage to keep the colours so genuine like this? Always when I scan my sketches they loose their real colour and I need to work a lot in Photoshop to try to save it (and they don't look like the original watercolour). What would you suggest? Thank you very much and greetings from Switzerland :-) Juliana

Thomas Thorspecken said...

Hey Juliana,

I use a Brother MFC-6490CW scanner. After the scan, I do 2 things in Photoshop. I raise the levels to darken the image to my liking and then I lower the overall saturation s bit and raise the red saturation back up. I suspect your scanner is the issue since my scans are also never "spot on".