Saturday, July 28, 2012

Musée du Château Ramezay

Just off of Place Jacques Cartier - where I was night sketching the other day  - is the Musée du Château Ramezay. The historic house features costumed docents giving tours and serving lunch wearing 19th century clothing.

I've never actually been inside myself - I'm sure it's full of interesting draw-worthy artifacts. Perhaps that's best saved for a bad weather trip?

Just the other day we discovered, quite by accident, that in behind is a tiny walled garden.

It's really quite amazing - on one side of a wall is a huge public square packed with tourists, shops, vendors' stalls,  horse and carriage touts, and on the other is a traditional french kitchen-garden. Beans, squash, cabbage, peas, growing in formally arranged herb-edged plots reminiscent of Versailles.

Everything as it might have actually been in the 1890's. We took full advantage of the peace and quiet to  sketch the back of the Chateau. One day I'll have lunch on the patio there and do the reverse view, looking down at the garden itself.

Art-wise, what I like about this sketch is the gradation of detail on that row of brick houses across the street. I quite like the way the roof line turned out.

Scavenger Hunt: Elk Statue

I really enjoy passing by the elk statue when I go downtown. I finally found time to flop on the grass in the park and spend some time drawing this week. There's a real dignity and elegance to this animal. (Although the strange little water-squirting heads around the base —are they mountain lions, or bears, or something else entirely? —are quite silly by comparison.)

Gozo de admirar la estatua del ciervo canadiense cada vez que entro al centro de la ciudad. Esta semana, yo finalmente encontré el tiempo de relajarme en el parque y pasar un poco de tiempo dibujándolo. Hay un sentido verdadero de gracia y dignidad en este animal. (Aunque los estraños cabecitas que echan agua en el base del fuente—¿son osos, o leones de montaña, o otra cosa? —son muy chistosos comparado con el wapití.)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Night Sketching in Old Montreal.

I haven't gone night sketching in quite a while - but I'm using every moment of good weather before my sketching trip to Portland next week. (The workshop, by the way, has maybe one or two spaces left. [info here])

This is our city hall, Hôtel de ville de Montréal as seen from The Place Jacques Cartier. The square is a bustling tourist destination in the summer. Packed with artists sketching your portrait for a few dollars, kids getting neon light sabers from the vendors, rocker dudes with mini amps playing for change - all that family oriented activity.

But the real attraction is the city itself. The buildings are all dramatically lit making a romantic backdrop for strolling along the river. Even with the crowds of visitors, a summer night on the quay can seem like a holiday in Paris.

This sketch was about a half hour or so, done by faint streetlight. It's a challenge, not being able to see your colors.  You never know what you have until you get home. Have to go by memory of what's on the palette and trust your washes will be fine. As long as you get value right, color doesn't matter that much in this kind of scene.

For all that though, the night lighting is a great pleasure. Everything is dramatically lit. Shapes are reduced to the strongest forms, detail is erased. You find yourself making powerful drawings!

Bikes, revisited

OK, I know that I already crossed of the "bike" from my scavenger hunt list; but I can't resist sharing this doodle of an amazing bike that was parked outside of the museum this week.

Keeping Portland Weird with every pedal-stroke!

Tacoma: City of Destiny

Four of us Portland sketchers took the train north to Tacoma, Washington last weekend to meet up with sketchers from all over Washtington state. It was a blast.

I used my water-soluble felt-tip brush pen to whip out a few fast postcards on the train ride north:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Train to Tacoma

    We met with about thirty other sketchers in Tacoma around the Museum of Glass this past weekend. The site was awash with architectural gems to draw....heaven!   

small color sketch of Tacoma skyline

 I found myself a nice open plaza with a great view of all of these interesting architectural shapes. The contrast of modern bold shapes with reflective surfaces and old bold shapes with arches and architectural details and patinated surfaces was a visual delight.


a panorama of the architectural structures around the Museum of Glass in Tacoma
There was so much that was visually stimulating that this panorama just moved from one great shape to the next.
A view of Chihuly Bridge of Glass

After a full day out sketching in Tacoma there was only a little bit of energy to do some sketching on the train.

Tacoma Sketchcrawl

Four of us rode up to Tacoma on the train to join other NW Urban Sketchers in Tacoma. It was a fun trip: hearing about the symposium, sketching, talking with other sketchers and perusing the sketchbooks. I'm definitely a little fish in a big pond (or in this case, a big bay), but it was inspirational seeing the works of so many terrific sketchers, including our own! Here are my attempts, but be sure to check out the other Portland sketchers' works as well as posts on the Seattle blog.

Sitting on a bench in the shade of the glass bridge, I sketched the Museum of Glass. After seeing the dramatic contrasts others had, I tried to darken my darks at home, although I'm not sure it made much of an improvement.

These giant glass sculptures, near the entrance to the glass bridge, were really beautiful in the light. If I were to try these again, I'd place them in their setting.

My attention span for drawing buildings is about three windows, and that held for this sketch.

The light on the Museum of Glass was gorgeous at the end of the day, so I decided to just focus on that.

It was a very enjoyable day and I got a lot ideas to try to work on, but mostly it was just a pleasure to sketch and visit with our friendly sketchers to the north. I'm looking forward to when we host them next in Portland. In the meantime, I'll keep working on some of the things I'm learning from others. Thanks, everyone!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Tram & William Temple House

Unfortunately I couldn't make it to Tacoma Saturday, but I do have a couple of scavenger hunt sketches. Here's a distant view of the OHSU tram from a walk through the south waterfront neighborhood.
And here's my sketch of the William Temple House from our recent group trip there.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Northwest Regional Sketchcrawl: Tacoma!

 This Saturday, 7/21, we've been invited to join in on a Pacific Northwest Regional Sketchcrawl in the Museum District of Tacoma, Washington. Six major museums! Nifty historic architecture! Meet fellow sketchers from Portland to Vancouver, BC and east to the Tri Cities! What fun.

The official meeting time for the whole sketching team will be at 11:30 am at the big brick archway at the main entrance of the Washington State History Museum: 1911 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, WA. The whole group will then reconvene at 1:00 at the amphitheater by the Washington State Historical Museum for lunch and to share sketches, then launch into an afternoon sketching session.

How to get there? A team of us will be taking the Amtrak train up so we can sketch in comfort and luxury on the commute. You're welcome to drive up in a car, of course, if the train doesn't work for your schedule. (See more travel details on our calendar.)
If you're thinking of going on this sketching adventure (by train or by car), do drop a note so we'll know to look for you!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Bastille Day and striped shirt

 Bastille Day was a great day to be out and about seeing and drawing people...and umbrellas! This one is my contribution to the striped shirt on the scavenger hunt list. There were many striped shirts in evidence on this day. Most with a decidedly French Flair...including our own Linda D's outfit. Tres Bon Linda!

 I did these thumbnails with the idea of trying to capture the site with all of it's busyness, people and umbrellas.
And again another attempt with some color.....

Scavenger Hunt: Pigs in NW Portland

Here is my version of the pigs (#24) in front of Nobby's. I felt especially lucky to get the plum parking spot, directly in front of the restaurant. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Item 24: Pigs!

I have been slowly developing a theory that sketching metal sculptures (and we do have a handful of those on the scavenger hunt list!) might be easier to do with white pencils on black paper. Busted out my black-paper sketchbook this weekend to try this theory out on the pigs sculptures in NW Portland.

I hadn't ever seen these sculptures before, and it was really fun getting to know their crazy rough-hewn angles and pitted, raspy textures by drawing them. It was also fascinating to watch the pedestrians interact with the pigs--they're a very popular climbing-spot for children, and few adults can pass without making a comment, taking a picture, or patting them on the ears or snouts. Hooray for public art that people really respond to and interact with.

Beaucoup de Bastille Day Sketches

The Bastille Day sketching expedition was a lot of fun. I started off with watercolors, tackling the musicians and one of the ladies listening to the music.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

WW Sketchcrawl: Bastille Day

We want to let our Urban Sketcher friends in Santo Domingo know that we were thinking of you as we sketched today. We met some potential future Urban Sketcher members and also several of the people who modeled for us (whether or not they knew it at the time).

Here's today's group, ... are some of our sketches...

and here are some of the racing waiters, who were too quick for most of us (although not for Katura).

We'll post our sketches later. In the meantime, happy sketching from us to you!

Friday, July 13, 2012

This and That

I thought I'd better post some of these before we load up a bunch of Bastille Day sketches tomorrow.
This is my William Temple House from a couple of weeks ago.

Here are a few more scavenger hunt items:

The Farmer's Market at PSU, last weekend...

  a foodcart (not nearly as lovely as Linda's in our banner)...

another sketcher, in stripes...

and if you look very closely, you'll see a couple of little brown birds on the sunflower leaves, sketched at Edgefield last week....

That is that, for now.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Small boats and William Temple House again

 This past weekend Riverswest (a group dedicated to small boat building and of which Curtis is a member) in conjunction with the Portland Wooden Boat Festival put on their annual Family Boat Build. Twelve families participated and all successfully launched their new craft on Sunday afternoon. I was there Sunday morning to sketch the boats in their final stages of construction under a big tent at Willamette Park.

 Today I returned to the William Temple House to complete the drawing that I had started on June 30th. And while I was there I couldn't resist doing another of the incredible architecture...roofs at extreme angles (a view that is exaggerated since I was looking up) and impossible junctures. The possibilities are endless...what fun!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Room 4 -2 in NW and Portlandia

I had a bloody mary inside the Nobby while sketching this. There was room in my sketch book for two of them - couldn't see the third from the window.  Also used the little houses up the street on Johnson for my background.

This is from a couple Saturdays ago when everyone was at Keller fountain and then headed up to Portland Farmers Market.  I went up the escalator but the guard saw me.  She was very nice and I left in short order.  added color later.

Muse Art & Design - sketch demo Wed 7/11

Friday, July 6, 2012

Worldwide Sketchcrawl: Bastille Festival!

The next Worldwide Sketchcrawl Day, on Saturday July 14, happens to fall on Bastille Day! Join us to sketch the Portland Bastille Festival celebration in Director Square.

We'll meet at 12 noon at Director Park, located between SW Yamhill and SW Taylor, and SW Park and SW 9th. (Read more about Director Park.)

If you're new to the group, just look for the folks carrying sketchbooks and introduce yourself!
A highlight of the day will be the waiter's race at 2:00, for those who are quick on the draw. 

Did you know that Portland's Bastille Day celebration is the largest on the west coast? Read more about the Bastille Festival here.

And yes, here's a sample of the waiters' races...

Tres bon!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A bridge and a boat

These were sketched one fine morning at Riverplace Esplanade.
I watercolored them at home using a camera's image to help my memory for colors.

Old Montreal - Le 375 C

Hey everyone! I just got the list for my workshops in Santo Domingo - many familiar names from sketchblogs everywhere.  I see people from Brazil, France, Germany, Portugal, and Venezuela. Though mostly from Canada and the US. Makes sense I guess, as the DR is easier for us

Our Portland workshop is filling up fast as well. I'm getting nervous like always - speaking about painting is harder than just doing it! :) So, we figured we should get out for some more practice!  No better place for sketching than Old Montreal.

Shari took on the foreboding Silo No. 5 while I exercised the better part of valor, drawing a nice classical building across the street.

We were sitting on this abandoned rail bridge leading into the Silo so we could both see our subjects but still be drawing side by side. In the last few minutes of the painting a security guy drives up and tells us that’s not an abandoned rail bridge at all, and we should move our gear or get ready to join the Darwin Awards. Fortunately I only needed to re-enforce a the darks in the hedges and pop in the statue out front.

I’d like to have sketched it back in the day. Check out this archive photo! (Before restoration after a fire in 1860).

We did a second sketch after lunch, which I’ll post that in the next few days -  I’m putting together a small ‘making of’ at the moment. I was trying to do these two in a strict, by-the-book manner while taking notes for my workshop session. This year I’d like to have a little more structure to my presentation. More on that soon!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Bridge sketching & William Temple House

Fremont Bridge from NW 12th and Overton

A beginning panoramic be completed on another day
Last Wednesday I set out to do some sketches of bridges. I had some idea of doing the 405 overpass but that didn't pan out....there just didn't seem to be the right view that I was looking for. Another day perhaps? I ended up doing several views of the Fremont Bridge and this one was the best of the bunch.
I really liked the area around NW 15th and under the overpass so I started this panoramic drawing that I intend to continue on another day. Next week is looking pretty good....maybe?

With the rest of the group that gathered on Saturday I got this view of the William Temple house. It really is a very complex structure with lots of texture and detail. Another view from across NW Hoyt was started but had to be aborted because of the rain....I would like to return sometime to finish it though.