Monday, March 29, 2010

Romancing the City

As my first post to Urban Sketchers Portland, I'd like to introduce myself.

The Cabin in HumboldtI come from a very rural area in Northern California where we lived "off the grid" in a tiny rickety cabin. I could throw open the front door and scream out to the stars and the forested hills; there were no neighbors to hear or worry.

Growing up in such a unique and isolated location, it was perhaps natural that I developed an intense appreciation for place. At 14 my obsession with Russia was perhaps my first major crush - I studied the language and knew I must get myself there, no matter what it took. At 20, I managed to visit both Britain and Russia on my own.

View from the Royal Mile, EdinburghFast forward another 7 years; I was finishing up four months of travel through Europe (mostly Britain). On the day before my flight back to the states, a Scottish man I'd been seeing escorted me to Edinburgh's bus depot. It was a foggy day, just starting to rain. I cried. He consoled me - "don't worry, we'll see each other again." I didn't have the heart to tell him he wasn't the cause of my tears; it was his cities, Edinburgh and Glasgow, which I left so unwillingly. It took years to get over that heartbreak, and 9 years later I still ache for that place.

In recent years, I've turned to sketching as a way to find connection with places. For me, urban sketching is about carrying on a relationship with the place I'm in, in the moment - getting to know it, bonding with it, making it part of me and feeling like I've somehow become part of it in return. I want to know my city intimately, and since I can't kiss it, I draw it.

Portland, Oregon - Bishop's House (NaNoDrawMo #15) SketchCrawl - Ace Hotel Portland Farmer's Market - Tomato Juice Portland, Oregon - Waterfront/Morrison Bridge (NaNoDrawMo #45)
I've been sketchcrawling for maybe 4 months, and will be posting here in the future. I write about my life, art supplies, and comics at my blog,, and you can find my drawings and other images on flickr.

1 comment:

  1. Gee,
    I didn't know you were a lover of Glasgow and Edinburgh! So am I! I was there ten years ago and have such fond memories of my visit.My eldest son,Andrew,was doing a semester at the Univ.of Glasgow as a junior from Lewis&Clark.
    Have we talked about this before???