Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Thurman Street Bridge

This is my second sketch of this bridge. I like looking at it. It's a good spot to sketch. Macleay Park in NW. Come springtime, might be a good spot for an outdoor meet up. Just sayin'...
Hey, does that tree with no leaves in the background count towards the scavenger hunt tree with no leaves? 
Thurman Street Bridge

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas to all!

This time of year, my sketches are less urban....but they are drawn on location and definitely capture what is going in many urban households in the U.S...My husband reads the newspaper while I sketch the Christmas tree.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Taking Time to Sketch

The cookies are baked, the gifts are nearly ready, the tree is decorated and we're playing carols, so there's finally time to sit down and sketch a bit! Not only does it feel good to play around with ink and paint, but I think I really need to do this...maybe especially when things are hectic or I need to find that little bit of serenity and absorption in the moment. 
I know it's the same for some of you, so my wish for you all, my sketching friends, is hope, love, a bit of joy now and then, and many opportunities to do what brings you happiness and contentment.

I look forward to sketching with you (and practicing Spanish with you)  in the new year. Cheers!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Scavenger Hunt: Tree with no Leaves

I was waiting for a friend out in front of the Oregon Zoo, sketching the landscape to pass the time. I later realized that this would totally count for the "tree without leaves" item in the scavenger hunt! Also on this page is a sleeping fruit bat from the zoo. Love those bats. * Estaba esperando un amigo en frente del Oregon Zoo, y pintaba el paisaje como un pasatiempo. Luego me dí cuenta que tenemos "árbol sin hojas" en la lista para la nueva búsqueda de tesoro! También dibujé un murciélago frugívero en la página--me encantan estos murciélagos, aún cuando estan durmiendo.

Watercolor and ballpoint pen. Wish I'd brought a black pen instead of a blue one. * Acuarela y bolígrafo. La próxima vez, debo agarrar un bolígrafo con tinta negra en vez de azul.

Today I was impressed by the spectacle of my neighbor's persimmon tree. No leaves, but plenty of bright orange fruits hanging like some kind of holiday decoration. The neighborhood crows were very excited to get their share of the deliciousness. * Hoy descubrí la belleza de un árbol de Caqui que esta en mi vecindario--sin hojas, pero lleno de fruitas colorosas. ¡Los cuervos estan seguros que las fruitas son regalitos de navidad!
Watercolor and black ink. * Acuarela y tinta negra.
It may be cold and grey and wet, but I'm always impressed by how much beauty there still is this time of year. Happy holidays, everyone. * Es cierto que el frío, la lluvia, y el cielo gris es un gran parte del verano aquí en Portland. Pero hay tanta belleza, también. Feliz año nuevo a todos.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Chilly SE Foster Sketchcrawl

Scavenger Hunt: Bakery!

Great team of sketchers came out this weekend, despite the very cold and rainy weather. An Xuyen bakery was full of deliciousness, and the sesame puffs were perhaps the prettiest of them all. * Nuestro equipo de artistas venció la lluvia y el tiempo frío esta fin de semana. La pasteleria An Xuyen olía a azucar y crema a un nivel intoxicante. Estos dulces de ajonjolí eran tan bonitos que tuve que pintarlas.

Scavenger Hunt: Neighborhood Theater
From the porch of the bakery, the Day Theater was resplendent in purple and gold, which harmonized nicely with the car repair place's sign. Notice how the raindrops added interesting texture to the paint. * El teatro Day lucía con una mezcla de purpúrea y oro, y me gustó la armonía con el letrero para la tienda de reparación de autos. Varias gotas de lluvia añadían texturas interestantes a la aquarela.

Scavenger Hunt: Someone drinking coffee.
We finally hid from the cold inside Foster Burger. Alanna warmed herself up with a cup of coffee. She looks so serious here because she was focused on drawing, too--don't worry, we were totally having fun. * Finalmente nos escondimos del frío dentro de Foster Burger. Alanna se calentó con una tasa de cafe. Ella tiene la cara un poco seria aquí porque está enfocada en dibujar--no te preocupes, nos divertimos mucho.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Trees and More Trees

For being an urban environment Portland has a crap ton of trees. I spent an afternoon recently parked in a friend's car chatting and painting a tree line up at Mt. Tabor. On another excursion with my wife, we jetted along I-5 and as we zipped down the highway I tried to sketch as many types of trees as I could on our short journey. It was a fun little exercise. I hope everyone is having a terrific holiday season, and aren't getting too bogged down with the craziness of the season. See you all soon.

Mount Tabor - Watercolor and Ink

Trees of I-5 - Ink

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Scavenger Hunt!- Updated

Get out and sketch as many things on the Scavenger Hunt List below (one item per sketch, please) and then post them to the blog. The person with the most scavenger hunt items posted on the blog by 11:59 pm on February 1, 2013 will get a prize. This challenge is currently open to all contributors to this blog. Contact Alanna Beckwith or Katura Reynolds if you want to contribute to the blog: or

Winter Scavenger Hunt (December 1, 2012-February 1, 2013)
A taco stand
A bakery
Someone drinking coffee
Blind Contour of Portlandia (the statue)
a drawing on non-white paper
Powell's Books
a donut
A Brewery
A drawing done with makeup (or some other unusual material)
something after dark
One of your your winter time traditions
a drawing with your gloves on
something through a window
a tree with no leaves
a neighborhood theater

Please note, the scavenger hunt has been extended to give people more time after the busy holiday season to get out and sketch!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Saturday Dec 15: Sketch-Crawl on SE Foster!

Explore the Foster/Powell neighborhood with your sketchbook this Saturday! Meet at 10 am at the An Xuyen Bakery, on SE Foster at 54th. (Moon cakes and guava cookies and more...oh my.) 

We'll explore this interesting neighborhood from there. The Foster-Powell neighborhood association
has a nice into to the history of the area at their website, including some cool historic photos
to get you in the mood.

Let's regroup at 12:00 at Foster Burger, at 5339 SE Foster Road, to share what we've drawn so far 
and grab lunch if folks are inclined. Those who want to keep sketching can stay on into the afternoon,
 as their hearts desire--or anyone who is running late could join in at 12 and start sketching from there, too.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Body Beautiful, by blacklight

It was a treat meeting up with the Urban Sketchers to draw at the Bacchanal Ballroom event at the Portland Art Museum. It's a real challenge drawing by black-light, with lasers and smoke machines and strobe lights! I tried to capture the strange light effects in my sketch of the DJ. You have to imagine that his toga was glowing in a slightly spooky way here. * Que divertido fue, asistir al evento de "Bacchanal Ballroom" en el museo de arte de Portland con los Urban Sketchers. Es bien difícil dibujar en un cuarto con luz negra, láseres, efectos estroboscópicos, y una máquina de humo. El dibujo del DJ captura un poco de estos efectos, pero tienes que imaginar que su toga esta brillando con una luz casi supernatural.

Watercolor painting by blacklight is strange. I ended up leaning heavily on a few colors that I could most easily identify in the dark--blue, brown, red--and figured that I'd just see how it turned out by the light of day. * Bajo la luz negra, pintar con acuarela es un reto interesante. Pude identificar algunos colores (cafe, rojo, azul) y utilizé estos tanto como posible. Es divertido ver el resultado en la luz natural.
The models changed positions quite frequently. Sometimes I'd follow them around, trying to add a few more details from whatever their new pose was. Other times, I would draw other artists in the crowd, since they kept a lot more still than the models did! * Los modelos cambiaron la posición con alta frequencia. A veces yo les seguí, tratando de añadir detalles desde el nuevo ángulo.  Pero otras veces, decidí dibujar otras artistas en la audiencia, ¡porque se mantenieron más inmoviles que los modelos!
The artist with the excellent mohawk is named Grace, and we had a nice time chatting with her. She moved to Portland pretty recently, and is excited to start coming to Urban Sketchers events! She had cool face paint on as well as fantastic hair. Hope to see her at the next sketchcrawl! * La artista con el pelo parado como un peinacho se llama Grace, y es muy amable. Se mudó a Portland hace un año, ¡y tiene interés en juntarse con los Urban Sketchers! Grace se había pintado la cara para el evento, muy divertida. Bienvenida, Grace.

I had been looking at the faces and hair all this time, thinking about how odd it was to have faux-hawks and false eyelashes combined with the ancient Greek motifs. Wasn't until the last sketch that I started studying the abdominal muscles of one of the models. And then it clicked--despite the silly costumes, the idealized shapes of strong, muscular bodies really do resonate between ancient sculpture and modern-day athletes. * Había sido distraída por el cabello y el maquillaje en las caras, y casí no presté attención a los musculos del cuerpo hasta mi último dibujo. Y de repente, ví la conneción--disfraces chistosos no obstante, el forma de un cuerpo fuerte y muscular de hoy en día tiene mucho en común con las esculturas antiguas.

We had to play in the photobooth, of course. A well-armed warrior in tennis shoes is no match for 5 sketchers with sharpened pencils!  I got in a little stabbing practice as well to finish off the evening. * No podiamos resistir la oportunidad de jugar en la cabina de fotos. ¡Un guerrero anciano no puede resistir las lápices agudos de 5 artistas!  Y yo practiqué mi tecnica de apuñalar para terminar la noche.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Bacchanal Ballroom at PDX Art Museum

This was a repeat of an event held at an earlier date (Kalina posted her drawings from that previous night) and not as well attended but still fun (and challenging) for sketchers.
This first drawing is the 'quiet time' before the models came on and we had some time to adjust to the scene.
The challenge came on later when the dancers struck poses on top of pedestals...their poses were great and there were several models to choose from which was part of my dilemma. My eye was moving all around the room and sometimes I merely had time to put down a line or two before the model changed pose. Later on in the evening the poses got really complicated and acrobatic with multiple people. Wow!

the same model moving through various poses

I think we all had a great time and I hope that the other sketchers post their drawings too to see how we all approached this demanding (but fun!) session.
I'll close with something I did before I met up with everyone else at the Bacchanal Ballroom.

They at least stayed still!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Vetrans Day sketch

Just thought I'd catch up with posting sketches from our Nov 12th sketch day. A pretty cool and damp day but a good gathering of sketchers.

Belmont Firehouse and Avalon theater
 I was trying out some old fountain pens (the kind with a lever at the side to fill the ink reservoir) that a friend gave me recently.
Old Esterbrook Fountain Pen filled with Noodler's Kiowa brown ink
I liked the wider line in this pen but it may take some adjustment to get used to the flow.

Friday, November 30, 2012


I was inspired by Andrea's beautiful line drawings to use mostly line when I sketched at the art museum today. I bypassed the Body Beautiful exhibit and sketched in the Native American wing, where it was pretty peaceful and quiet, even with the Friday field trips. The sketches are of clay sculptures by Glenn La'Fontaine.  I added the color at home.

The next sketches are leftovers from our sketchcrawl at Stumptown Annex. The first I drew from the window, looking out at Jane, who was more adventurous than I was on that rainy day. 

And the last was done at Sunnyside Piazza, in one of the happiest neighborhoods in Portland.
 I painted on site, but went over the pencil lines and colors at home, in the comfort of my dry house.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Am I too early for the scavenger hunt?

Yay!  Okay, the scavenger hunt involves things I usually sketch anyway so that works pretty well for me :)  This is good motivation to keep it up and to start posting on here.

I just got laid off/put on furlough again :( so I'm devoting some free time to doing a sketch a day.

Maybe that one could count as someone drinking coffee - but you can't tell that's what they're doing.

This is Powell's bookstore, in the coffee shop.

This is Oaks Park roller skating rink.  I went roller skating, then sketched, then skated again. 

Here's a view from a window.  Blue Moon Mcmenamin's on NW 21st.  Also, trees with no leaves.

Another view through a window:  Goldrush Coffee Shop on NE MLK.

Coco's Donut Shop across from the Jeld Wen Field Max stop.  Note, donuts.

Courier Coffee Shop near Powell's City of Books.  Another view through a window.

Thanks for the motivation to post.  I will do more and join the official scavenger hunt at the appropriate time.  So excited!


Friday, November 23, 2012

"Portland Caffeinated"

Here is an image from my new calendar that should have been attached to the invite!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Veterans Day Sketches

I joined the sketch crawlers at the Stumptown Annex on Veterans Day and did this sketch from the front of the shop looking across the street.

At lunch in a nearby cafe I sketched a few patrons. It's tricky sketching people without them noticing that you are staring at them. And then, of course, they change their position or get up and leave!

Earlier this month I visited the Art Museum to do some sketching of the Body Beautiful exhibit.

Sometimes at night my feet like to be sketched so I do them.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Holiday Open Studio

Portland Urban Sketchers

You are invited to a Holiday Open Studio

Sunday, Dec.2, 1-5 PM

1830 NE 11th Ave. #1 (@Hancock)

Featuring "Portland Caffeinated 2013 Calendar"

Refreshments! Fun! Please come!

Monday, November 19, 2012


We had enough rain this weekend to ensure excellent mud at the cyclocross bicyle race at the Portland International Raceway. Luckily, there was only occasional light drizzle during the race itself, which make it possible to do some fun sketching.

 At first, I tried using a brown colored pencil on the sketches to emphasize how mud was building up on legs and gumming up the brakes of the bikes...
 But then I started just doing gesture sketches of the cyclists, since there were such great poses going on during (and around the edges of) the race.

 It took a lot of effort to push the bikes up the steep stretches of hill that were nothing but deep, slick mud!

 As you can imagine, there was a really long line to use the hoses to wash the bikes off, post-racing, throughout the day.
 Of course, the impatient folks could always wade into one of the larger puddles and wash the bikes off that way.
 The giant puddles worked for personal grooming, too!
When I finally make it out to see "The Body Beautiful" exhibit at the art museum, I am pretty sure I'm going to imagine all the fancy marble statues of athletes covered in mud...