Urban Sketching & Planning for Autumn

A reminder that Central Virginia Watercolor Guild is found online at www.CVWG.art.

Urban Sketching Program by John Hancock

Examples of John Hancock’s sketches.

We had 31 members and 4 visitors attend our most recent member meeting– a nice turnout for a summer month– on Monday, August 22. We featured a program by member-artist John Hancock on the discipline and art of Urban Sketching.

The painting featured at the top of this post is by member-artist Patricia Travers.

We received several comments from attending members.

Per John, Urban sketching is not like plein air, it’s where the people live and is closely aligned to journalism. John uses a variety of palettes in his sketching…a plein air palette and a much smaller palette which he uses for quick and spontaneous sketches. He’s NEVER without a pencil, pen or a small sketchbook.

Member Carolyn Ratcliffe
Member-Artist John Hancock Demonstrating his Portable Palette for Urban Sketching

And another:

John entertained us with lots of stories about his childhood. He loved cursive writing which he was taught in second grade. Maybe this led to sketching. He wanted to paint in oil like the Masters he was studying but in Art school moved on to watercolor and sketching which he loves.

John has been teaching art for years as a college professor and in his own studio.

He had many of his sketch books displayed for us to look at. He demonstrated many of his techniques and then gave us each two black pens and a bookmark which had a lIst of classes he taught at McGuffey and at the Crozet Art Center. Earlier in the week we were asked to bring some watercolor paints which we used with the black pens to do a painting. He walked around the room making suggestions and critiquing what we were doing. His style made us all feel comfortable, (lots of camaraderie.)

Member Patty Richmond

You can find John’s professional website and workshop offerings at johnahancock.com.

Our Next Meeting is September 26

A reminder that our next member meeting is Monday, September 26. We meet for a social time at 12:30 PM with the meeting starting by 1:00, our program by 1:30, and, usually, ending by 3:00 PM.


For our program this month, CVWG welcomes award-winning, Staunton artist Robert Stuart to provide a friendly, non-threatening critique of members’ artwork. Says Robert of his art:

In paintings I strive for “new beauty,” for opening pathways to emotional and intuitive responses. Three “encounters,” have been particularly inspiring to me as an abstract painter.

The first was walking unawares into an exhibit of eight sequential grid paintings by Agnes Martin and seeing that contemporary painting could be about the infinite.

Another was standing on brilliant crevices of light in the loft of our large, old barn as early morning sunlight filled the bay below transforming slits between the floorboards into lines of light. It
was what I wanted in painting.

And thirdly, directly after a trip to Japan which included a tour of Zen gardens, a vivid dream of a large red abstract painting with white lines that compelled me to start on this path.

Please bring up to two pieces of unframed personal art for Robert to provide unbiased praise and criticism. Robert Stuart’s professional webpage is robertstuart.net.

If you participated in last months meeting with John Hancock, please bring your ink/watercolor sketches to display on the sharing table throughout the meeting.


We continue with having our monthly Challenge! The theme for this month is “Our Pet Companions”. Please display your paintings on the sharing table.

You can find more detailed information for all our 2022 meetings on our Member Meetings & Programs page including a detailed map, program description, and our Challenge! topics:

Upcoming Activities

Here are some of the upcoming activities for your awareness:

  • Member Survey— Long time member and past Director Pam Roland is leading our efforts to solicit your opinions, thoughts, and interests. Look for more details in an email.
  • Volunteers Still Needed— Your Board of Directors continues seeking members to step forward and help lead this Guild into 2023. Please contact Donna Koutrakos if willing to help.
  • Meetings Through 2022— CVWG, in a typical year, holds our final member meeting in October, hosts a luncheon in November, and then goes on hiatus until January in the new year. Stay tuned to these posts and emails from our leadership for more information on these activities.

Member News

Our members have been unusually quiet these past few weeks. Hopefully, the old adage “No News is Good News” applies.

We’d Love to Hear From You!

Drop our CVWG Webmaster an email to let everyone know what you are doing and how your artistic journey is progressing.

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