Monday, September 17, 2018

3rd Saturday Sketchcrawl - Oct. 20 - Swan Island

OCTOBER 20, 2018, Sketch Crawl - Swan Island

Photo Credit:
Here's a place I've never been and have been wondering about for ages.  Swan Island.  It is full of industrial buildings and it sits on the Willamette River.   There is McCarthy Park with a path you can walk along.  It looks like it has some interesting views.
  • 10:00am - Meet at Anna's Island Cafe  (4715 N Lagoon Ave, Portland, OR 97217) for introductions, coffee, and snacks.
  • 10:30am - Walk over to the McCarthy Park trail  at N. Channel Ave & N Anchor St.  (I will make sure this is feasible.)
  • 12:00noon - Optional lunch and sketchbook sharing back at Anna's. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Pottery in Montevilla

Most of us strung ourselves along Stark to draw the Academy Theater from different angles.  But I was struck by the figures posed in the window of a pottery shop and stopped to sketch them.

Montavilla and the Academy Theater

We had a good turnout, good weather, and good sketching yesterday. Here's a photo of the sketchers who were around for the throw-down and another of their sketches.

Some of the sketchers stayed for lunch at Flying Pie Pizza. It was also a chance to look at sketchbooks and iPad sketches up close.

Quite a few of us drew the Academy Theater and it was fun to see the various approaches. Here's mine.

Thanks everyone, for another fun day of sketching and chatting (and eating) together.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Sketchcrawl in Laurelhurst

It was a big group, with sketchers stretched for a block in either direction, on both sides of the street.  I'd gotten there late and found an unoccupied curb and sat down to do my own sketch.

And then, another sketcher just down the curb a bit.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Here's a photo of many, but not all of the sketchers who came out to sketch in Laurelhurst today. We had several new sketchers today, too. I hope everyone comes back again! Most of us sketched the church, but you'll have to wait for someone else to post a good photo of the resulting sketches.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Sketchcrawl in the neighborhood

Gregg was coming down from Seattle for the weekend, so Vicky organized a special sketchcrawl for him, in my neighborhood.

Most people headed towards Trinity Cathedral.  But I'd done the red doors (or at least one of them) recently and headed the other way, to William Temple House.  And, seeing how Oliver lived only next door, I stopped by to see if he was receiving visitors.  And he was.  In fact, he climbed up into my lap and took a nap.  And so, instead of sketching William Temple House, I sketched Oliver.

I got done with that before he showed any sign of getting up, so I picked the second most interesting thing I could see - the entrance to the apartment building across the street.

Halfway through that a black cat tried to sneak into Oliver's territory, and he had to get off my lap to evict him.  And then Kalina and John and John's dog, Trevor, showed up, looking for sketchers.  For Gregg in particular.  We chatted for a bit and I scratched the dog's ears, and then they went off towards Trinity.  And Oliver, who had been lurking nearby, came out and gave me a right what-for for having paid attention to a mere dog.  And climbed back up into my lap.

When I was done with the second sketch, and had shifted the cat, I wandered over to Trinity myself, and had time to do a quick sketch of the northeast corner of the cathedral.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

SEPTEMBER 15, 2018, Sketch Crawl - Montavilla & Academy Theater

SEPTEMBER 15, 2018, Sketch Crawl - Montavilla & Academy Theater

Photo Credit: 
Let's go to Montavilla and sketch the neighborhood center.  The Academy Theater is there and there are a bunch of interesting shops, including an antique shop.  Montavilla Park is not too far.  There is also the "Beets Auto Body" sign.

Did you know that Montavilla started out as "Mount Tabor Villa Addition?"  That's what we heard.
  • 10:00am - Meet at Bipartisan Cafe (7901 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97215) for introductions, coffee, and snacks.  They also have pie!
  • 10:30am - Sketch street scenes and/or the Academy Theater (7818 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97215).
  • 12:00noon - Optional lunch at Flying Pie Pizza, 7804 SE Stark - time for sharing sketchbooks.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Exciting announcements about the 10x10 Urban Sketching Workshops in Portland

Pete Scully's Masterful rendering of a complicated interior space 
We are at a midpoint with out 2018 edition of 10x10 Workshops–with 5 more workshops still happening through November. There are still a few spots open in each one. For more information and to register:

This coming Saturday, August 10th I am teaching “All the World's a Stage: Finding your Perfect Story” where I will be showing students how to draw human figure and how to approach a large public setting as a theatre stage where people act as if actors in a play, how to find those stories and convey them using drawings.

Then on September 8 Andrea Matthews takes sketchers to the popular PSU Farmer’s Market to explore how textures, lines and color could be used to approach such a vibrant setting full of colorful produce, flowers, foliage, and people busy shopping.

On September 29th I am back teaching “Humbled but not Overwhelmed: Keeping your Sketcher’s Cool in Large Complicated Spaces” which will give students the tools to break down and simplify large complicated spaces in order to capture soaring cathedrals, train stations, stately museums while visiting foreign lands or sketching in their home town.

On October 13th during the “Drama Queen or a Great Manipulator: Making Sketches that Intrigue and Grab Attention” I will reveal a number of magic techniques and sketching secrets that are sure to lead to sketches that turn heads and force second takes. This workshop will take place in the gorgeous Lan Su Chinese Garden.

Then, the drumbeat please…. because for the closing workshop of the season we are bringing the amazing Pete Scully to Portland to teach “All Together Now and with Perspective: Fitting all Bits and Pieces into a Grid” (November 10). If you are not familiar Pete is a highly revered urban sketcher, teacher and author who is a master at capturing complicated interiors with fantastic detail and precision. Pete Scully has authored several books on sketching and if you haven’t seen his work his blog is one place to start:

Happy Sketching!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Shadows and Mists

The corner of SW Park and Jefferson seems to be a hub of activity--from tour buses, people on rental scooters and bikes, and all kinds of eccentric characters passing by! In the midst of the hubbub, the shadows played peacefully on the doors of St James Lutheran Church.
When it's hot in Portland, often it is cool at the beach.  We spent some misty, even chilly, days there recently and loved every minute of it.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Rail Museum and Oaks Bottom

I grabbed an orange bike to get to the Tilikum Bridge, which meant I got there way early.  Early enough to start with a sketch of the streetcar bridge over the RR tracks.
Headed towards the rail museum, looking for another sketch.  But found that the other sketchers were already collecting.  So I chatted for a bit, and then, leaning against the fence (with the westbound MAXes passing a foot behind my head) I did a car and caboose parked in front of the museum.
By the time that was done the museum was open.  We went in and browsed a bit, then most of us got on the excursion train to Selwood, leaving only Deb to work her way through the old engines being refurbished in the museum.

We put-putted our way down along the Springwater Corridor getting  off at Oaks Bottom, and I found my way into the amusement park.  And was drawn to their new roller-coaster, the Adrenaline Peak.
It's a short ride, but an intense one, with the passengers being shot up and down and around and twisting about in a corkscrew.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Monster Drawing Rally IV

This is the yearly party at the art museum, where scores of artists sit down in the courtyard and create artworks that are sold to support the museum's youth programs.

I started out just sketching the crowd, which means doing whichever person happened to be in my line of sight.

I noticed that many of the women were wearing little black dresses.  In fact, at least three of them were wearing the exact same little black dress, with a halter top tied in the back and a flouncy skirt.

There was also a Darth Vader-ish person.

He was actually much more intricate than I was able to get down.  Cause he got up and left, going out into the crowd.

The first shift was ending just about then.  I walked past the tables of adult artists, and found, in the sculpture garden, a model posing for a bunch of kids.

Sketchcrawl in Ladd's Addition

Deb had organized an impromptu sketchcrawl for a visitor from Hamburg.  A few of us met in the coffee shop at the center of Ladd's Addition, and then scattered through the neighborhood.

I headed vaguely towards the south, where Deb had said there was an interesting church-like building with statues.  And found it.

I read the first part of the name as Greek characters.  But when I got home and asked google, it said that this was the "I AM" sanctuary.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

August 25, 2018 Sketch Crawl - Old Laurelhurst Church and Laurelhurst Park

AUGUST 25, 2018 Sketch Crawl - Old Laurelhurst Church & Laurelhurst Park

Let's go to Laurelhurst and sketch the Old Laurelhurst Church.  There are so many things to sketch
around here, including Laurelhurst Park.

Delaying this sketch crawl by a week to the 4th Saturday, because I most likely have a conflict.

  • 10:00am - Meet at Oblique Coffee Roasters (3039 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97214) for introductions, coffee, and snacks.
  • 10:30am - Walk over to Old Laurelhurst Church (3212 SE Ankeny St, Portland, OR 97214) and sketch around there.
  • 12:00noon - Optional lunch at Pied Cow (3244 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR 97214) - time for sharing sketchbooks.

Monday, June 25, 2018

SketchCrawl - Trains and Roller Coasters

Saturday, July 21
11:30 am
Oregon Rail Heritage Museum
 2730 NW 31st Avenue, Portland

Front of Oregon Rail Heritage Center with 4449 pulled out, Sep. 2012
This sketchcrawl takes in two destinations - the Oregon Rail Heritage Museum and Oaks Amusement Park! This includes an optional ($10 round trip) ride on the Oregon Pacific Railroad, from the Oregon Rail Heritage Museum near OMSI to Oaks Amusement Park. If you prefer not to ride the train, you can drive between the two locations or join us for just one segment of the sketchcrawl.

Both the rail museum and the amusement park have free entry. We can also take in Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge which is immediately adjacent to Oaks Amusement Park.

Since we'll be moving around a lot, this will be a great day to work small or loose or both!

 By Tedder - Own work, CC BY 3.0
 By Tedder - Own work, CC BY 3.0
Our starting location is near the OMSI MAX Station on the Orange line. Parking is available under the 99E viaduct, off SE Caruthers.

Since the rail museum doesn't open until noon and there aren't any cafes in the area for a leisurely meetup, we will be starting a little later than usual.

See the train schedule for alternate departure/arrival times if you'd like to customize your sketching day.

By Steve Morgan, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
By Steve Morgan, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
  • 11:30am: Meet in front of the Oregon Rail Heritage Museum, 2250 SE Water Avenue (see map below). We'll start by sketching this interesting area of crossing rail lines and freeways.  Since we aren't starting at a cafe, please take care of your urgent food, caffeine, and bathroom needs before we meet!
  • 12:00pm: The Oregon Rail Heritage Museum opens, at which point we can buy tickets for the 12:30 train
  • 12:30pm: Take the train to Oaks Amusement Park (~20 minutes)
  • 12:50pm: Sketching at Oaks Park
  • 1:50pm: Gather for the train
  • 2:00pm: Take the train back to the Oregon Rail Heritage Museum
We'll share sketchbooks along the way, perhaps on the return train.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Sketchcrawl on Interstate

I started out doing a large chunk of the firehouse from a bit of a distance behind it.
And then wandered around till I was near the front, and noticed one tiny plant clinging to a toehold on a window sill.

And finally, I tried a small chunk of the water tower behind the firehouse, blocking in the forms and shading.  But the sun kept wandering in and out of the clouds, and the shadows kept changing.

Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center

It was a fun day with the Portland Urban Sketchers - and a nice number of new people.  Welcome to you all! The weather cooperated with us.  I enjoyed seeing everybody spread out at the site.  See you next time.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

JUNE 16, 2018 Sketch Crawl - Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center

The area around the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center has several interesting things to sketch. There is the Firehouse itself, the water tower, and the MAX. There is also a little cob structure next door. 
  • 10:00am - Meet at Red E Cafe (1006 N Killingsworth St, Portland, OR 97217) for coffee, snacks, and socializing.
  • 10:30am - Walk over to the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center (5340 N Interstate Ave, Portland, OR 97217) and sketch around there.
  • 12:00noon - Optional lunch at Lucky Lab (1700 N Killingsworth St, Portland, OR 97217).

Friday, June 1, 2018

USk 10K+10K Matching Fund Campaign

Help us bring Urban Sketchers workshops to everyone, everywhere! The Urban Sketchers 10k+10K Matching Fund Campaign will bring urban sketching to schools, organizations and communities that have not had the opportunity to enjoy on-location drawing. With you help we hope to raise $20,000 by June 8th. For more information and to donate visit

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Sunny Daze.....

These sunny days have been a boon to get out and sketch the new spring colors.

Irving Park, loved this concrete structure....still trying to figure out how it is used??

Lauralhurst Park, large knobby tree trunks

Lauralhurst Park, Lager view of paths....with busy sketcher.

Lauralhurst Park sculpture

Mother's Day picnic

Chapman School park

And some street scenes from NE Alberta

Saturday, May 12, 2018

NEW!!! PDXUSK Business Time

I enjoy organizing for this group more when I do it with other people. So I wanted to invite y'all to my house once a month to join me in this.

For now it will be on the 2nd Sunday of the month, from 3-5pm. Our google calendar has the deets at:

This is time to gather and work on Portland Urban Sketchers business. Examples of things you may want to do during this time:

* Blogging of personal urban sketches
* Social media posting of personal urban sketches.
* Creating a post about that Portland Urban Sketchers event you've always dreamed of.
* Furthering a personal urban sketching goal - like teaching a class, getting an exhibit at a coffee shop, taking an art class.

Bring your laptop.

There will be snacks.

Hope to see you there! It's so much more fun to do this in the presence of other people. Your cheerful faces are energizing!

Relaxing Urban Sketching at Irving Park

As Kalina said, it was perfect sketching weather.  Just right temps and slight breeze.  And as always, wonderful company.

You all just looked so beautiful out there in the sun.

I love the trees in this park so I put a lot of attention in to one of them.  Plus I sat with my back against the one in this picture and enjoyed the tactile experience too.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Special Sunday Sketchcrawl - Pug Crawl!

Sunday, May 20
12:00 pm
Portland Brewing Company Taproom
2730 NW 31st Avenue, Portland

If you're willing and able to spend $10-30 on a benefit for the Oregon Humane Society and like the idea of sketching pugs in top hats, join me for a special Sunday sketchcrawl on May 20, 2018, for the 2018 Pug Crawl: "Blast to the Past"

Courtesy of

Entry is $10 if you purchase in advance or $15 at the door. Online ticket sales are open now. 

My intent is to take brush pens for quick, impressionistic sketches, and an Altoids-tin palette for light touches of color. Will you join me?

We'll meet outside the main entrance just before noon and go inside to sketch the pugs as they gather before the actual parade, which starts at 2pm.

This event is in NW Portland, reachable on Trimet with the 15 line. Portland Brewing has a parking lot and there should also be sufficient street parking in the area.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Saturday May 12 - Irving Park Sketch Crawl

Let's sketch Irving Park!  I can't make it on the 19th, so I'm moving this month's sketch crawl to the 2nd Saturday.  Don't forget there's also the Pug Crawl on Sunday, May 20th.

  • 10:00am: Meet at Whole Foods Market3535 NE 15th Ave, Portland, OR 97212for introductions / coffee / snacks.
  • 10:30am: Sketch around Irving Park, at NE Fremont and NE 9th Ave.
  • 12:00pm: Sketchbook Throwndown in the park, exact location tbd when we get there.
  • 12:15pm: Optional - Meet back at Whole Foods, for sketchbook passing /  lunch.
Hope to see you there!

Here is some information about the beautiful trees at Irving Park:

Woodlawn Sketch Crawl

It was another nice turnout and a beautiful day for a sketch crawl.

I sketched the swings, trees, and bridge at Woodlawn Park.  Thanks for coming, everyone!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Sketchcrawl in Woodlawn

I headed north from the meeting point, starting out by wandering through Woodlawn Park.  I sat down on the bridge and did a quick (of necessity) sketch of a mother and child on the slides.  They were gone before I'd finished, so half of the sketch was done from memory.

On to Woodlawn school, where I did a giant pottery urn, collecting rain-water for the adjoining gardens.

I'd been hearing trains to the north, so I headed to the edge of the school grounds to take a peek down the hill.  And saw looming over the industrial buildings on the flats, the OHS.  I hadn't realized that you could get to it from here.

Well, you can sort of get to it.  I headed down the hill and got across Lombard at a light.  But I'm way too old to try sprinting across Columbia.  So I leaned against a fence on the corner and sketched, first a massive old cherry tree on the grounds, and then the building itself.