Saturday, May 23, 2015

Spiral Sketching

I've been taking a Sketchbook Skool (yes, it's spelled that way) class and last week's instructor was Urban Sketcher, Miguel Herranz. One of his suggestions was to start a drawing in the center and then spiral out from that instead of doing a layout first. One advantage to this kind of sketching is that you can stop at almost any time and you have a fairly complete looking sketch. Somehow, I haven't found it very easy to stop, though.

I started the Jamison Square sketch yesterday and went back to finish it today. I had drawn the birch trees with white gel pen and they looked like ghost trees. Today, Deb informed me that they are infected with Birch Boar and are indeed dying. That's too bad. I've been drawing these trees over several years and it will be sad to see them go.

This next sketch was drawn from inside at the always welcoming Ovation Coffee Shop, bordering the Fields. A few of us sketched inside, waiting for the drizzle to end. Again, Deb helped me out by giving me an Urban Sketcher sticker to cover up the partially drawn dog that I didn't have time to finish before it walked away.

The toned paper seemed appropriate for the cloudy days we had today and yesterday, but here's a bit of color from a sunnier day last weekend.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Voodoo Donuts and Bottling Factory

 These are my sketches from the April sketch crawl.  What a lovely spring day that was!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Around Portland

There's a relatively new food cart pod in SE Portland: Tidbit. Besides having good food and seating, there are some very charming carts, nice plants, and friendly vendors.

Here's a sketch of Dog Bone Coffee and John, the vendor. Unfortunately, the dog, Talon was out of my view.

Here's a corner of the eating area. (I can almost smell the scent of the waffles as I post this.)

This is a sketch from the park blocks in front of the Portland Art Museum and some quick sketches from Directors Square.  Lots of people were out enjoying the sunny day yesterday, but they never stayed for long on the benches I was drawing.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

May 30 - Sketch Crawl / Lunch Potluck / Sketch Materials Exchange

Saturday, May 30, please join us for a sketch crawl, lunch potluck, and sketch materials exchange. Bring your art materials that you don't like to use and get some different stuff.

High & Low Gallery
936 SE 34th Avenue
Portland, OR

This is in the Sunnyside neighborhood, between Belmont and Hawthorne.

10:00am: Introductions and snacking, drop off potluck food and sketch materials for the exchange. There will be coffee.
10:30am: Sketch crawl around Sunnyside neighborhood.
12:00noon: Sketch materials exchange - swap your languishing art materials for something new to you.
12:15pm: Sketchbook sharing and lunch potluck.

1. sketching materials that you want to get rid of - such as pens/pencils/sketch books/other art materials/pencil cases.
2. sketching books that you want to get rid of or loan out or show off.
3. desire to get some new materials to try.
4. food to share.

See you there!

Visit to Klickitat Country

This past weekend I (along with several other landscape designers) traveled east of the Cascades to a camp belonging to a fellow designer to camp overnight, hike and view the wildflowers.
This was not camping in a sense of being deprived in any way. I slept in a small trailer and the only nod to 'camping' was the outhouse.
Here are some of the sketches I did there.
More can be seen on my blog

Monday, May 4, 2015

Urban Sketchers Symposium: Singapore 2015

Registration is still open for the International Urban Sketchers Symposium in Singapore, July 22-25. 

Join the amazing faculty for top-notch programming open to sketchers of all levels, experience, and backgrounds!

Workshop passes and Sketching passes are still available – standard registration is open through May 31.

For more information about the Symposium including schedule and registration information, please visit

Thursday, April 30, 2015


We made the run up to Seattle for a quick over-nighter, to see the Pompeii Exhibit. Here is a little sketch, but much larger than real life, from the handle of a bronze jug. The tiny face is at the base of the handle, beautifully worked.

I haven't done much in just-pencil for a while. Should try it more.

I thought the items in the exhibit were wonderful -- I am especially taken with the household things. But, honestly, I didn't think too much of the presentation. Some items were labeled in puzzling ways, some items were displayed so that you could not see the details of the work, and some of the video screens weren't operating. It's unfortunate. Most folks will never have another look at these things.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Voodoo 2 and that impossible pink

The Sketching group gathered at Voodoo 2 last Saturday to explore sketching in the LoBu area (lower Burnside). My time was short and so I stayed at Voodoo 2 and did these three sketches. Other sketchers took the opportunity to go inside the Bottling Company which I hope they will post.
In each sketch it was challenging to get that bubble gum pink so typical at Voodoo Donuts!

Watercolor and non waterproof ink

Watercolor and non waterproof ink

I continue to try out my new Kahdi paper sketchbooks. This time with the larger sketchbook I tackled the Voodoo 2 building. It didn't work out so well. The paper seemed to have too much sizing on it so that the watercolor just sat on top and didn't flow. It was the first page of this book so the other sheets may be better but it made the sketch a struggle compared to the one I posted before.

Watercolor and non waterproof ink on Kahdi paper (8"x8" approx)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Visit to Muse and sketches

A notice from Muse Art and Design that my long awaited Kadhi sketchbooks had arrived was the impetus to get to SE Hawthorne. I had been interested in this sketchbook and interesting paper after seeing Kalina's sketches from Brazil.
The paper is handmade in south India (from recycled cotton rag) and comes in two sketchbook sizes 6"x6" and 8"x8" approx.
I got one of each to try out.
The day started out great with sun then progressing to cloud over and it was a questionable day by the time I got to SE Hawthorne. Vicky and Kalina were optimistic enough to join me for a little sketching so we ventured a little west of Muse to a likely spot.

This first sketch is on the Kahdi 6"x6". I used my usual technique of non waterproof ink and watercolor but was a little tentative in my execution. This paper took it pretty well and I am anxious to try with a bit more aggression next time to see where I can go with it.

Non waterproof ink and watercolor

This second sketch is a look a bit further down the street and in my Fabriano sketchbook. It started out as an ink sketch that I added watercolor. In some parts it got a little wet and so I lost some detail.

Non waterproof ink and watercolor

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sketching Outside

Deb and Kalina and I had an impromptu sketch outing on Hawthorne today. Both of them have some lovely sketches and I hope they'll post them. My results weren't so good,  so I'm going to post some other urban sketches I've don't lately that are somewhat better than today's results.  Maybe they'll inspire you to visit one of these places to sketch.

Sitting at a picnic table in the sunshine, I sketched this view of the Pittock mansion.
When I turned around the other way, I could see all of these folks enjoying the view of the mountain and downtown.

I sketched this view from the Fields, just as some of the trees were beginning to get their new leaves. This time, I noticed a little weather data collection device (center). 

I hope you all find some time to sketch outside on our wonderful spring days. Please post them, too!