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.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

First Hill in Seattle

I was up for a concert on Thursday, and stuck around for a sketchcrawl on Friday morning.  It was raining lightly for most of the morning, so I wandered around looking for places that were out of the rain and had a view of something interesting.  I circled the area for a bit until I ended up at the top of First Hill, tucked into the entrance of the Polyclinic, and sketching First Baptist (where the concert had been).  It's actually even more baroque than this.  I left out about half of the twiddly bits.

Then I headed back down to Pike and found a spot where I could see the dome of First Covenant (the body was hidden behind a building with a parking lot on its roof) with the buildings of downtown rising behind it.

By this time the rain had finally stopped, so I walked down to do the Plymouth Columns, which were still dark with the morning's rain.  The trees in the park have grown significantly since I left town.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Update on 10x10 Urban Sketching Workshops

We are off to great start with this year's 10x10 Workshops. The first three is the series are now completely sold out. There are still a few spaces left in some workshops starting with June 2nd's It’s All a Matter of Perspective: Step by Step Guide to Drawing Believable Cities. Don't miss you chance to be part of this exciting educational opportunity. For more information and to register...

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Save the Date: Sunday, May 20 - Oregon Humane Society's Annual Pug Crawl

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

Entry is $10 if you purchase in advance or $15 at the door. I'll announce again closer to the event when ticket sales are open. 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 and there should also be sufficient street parking in the area.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

March for our Lives- Portland OR

It was not the most inviting day to be out marching through the streets of Portland but that did not seem to deter the crowd of passionate students and supporters.

Parking myself at a good spot (about 9:30 am ) across from the gathering place in North Park Blocks to do some warm up sketches. It was exciting to see the crowd grow ever larger there.

I then moved to SW Broadway to get a view of the beginning of the march up SW Broadway to Pioneer Courthouse Square. I was a little sheltered when the light rain started so it worked out to be a good vantage point.....however eventually I had to give it up and move on. My feet and fingers where just too cold to continue standing there. Walking seemed to help a bit and the route to Pioneer Courthouse Square warmed me up.  However when I got there it was so crowded (a pretty good thing, I think) so that I couldn't get any view nor really hear any of the speeches.

Tried a few spots but nothing seemed to work so I headed for some warmth and relief.

I was struck throughout the march by some of the signs and chants. This one sign, carried by a young woman student, though was so poignant...... I had to record it.

Recording these passionate people, and especially the young students marching was an inspiration.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Cherry trees in two cities

On Saturday, I went down to the waterfront to sketch the cherry trees with the Portland Urban Sketchers.  Unfortunately, they weren't out yet.  Not really.  There was a promise of pink, but the reality was of green and gray.   But the Steel Bridge was floating prettily above the trees.  So I did that scene, sneaking in the blossoms that I knew would soon show up.

Then I turned my attention to the people...

That afternoon, I took a train up to Seattle for a concert.  And the next morning, while walking through the UW campus to take light-rail back to the train station, I decided to detour through the quad, just in case those trees had popped.

And had they ever.  And just about everyone in the city had come by to take them in.  I sketched a small part of the scene (while overhearing a photographer complaining about how to deal with the crowds of people in his way).

Sunday, March 18, 2018

April 21, 2018 Sketch Crawl - Woodlawn / Dekum Triangle

Janene's sketch from 2016
APRIL 21 - Woodlawn / Dekum Triangle

Let's sketch the Woodlawn neighborhood.  There are a couple of nice indoor locations for us in case it rains.  Outdoors we have the Firehouse Restaurant and Woodlawn City Park for fun sketching subjects.
  • 10:00am - Meet at Woodlawn Coffee & Pastry () for coffee, snacks, and socializing.
  • 10:30am - Spread out and sketch the Woodlawn neighborhood from 10-noon. 
  • 12:00noon - Optional lunch at Breakside Brewery ().

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Today's Sketch Crawl

Another nice turnout today.  It was wonderful to make new friends and connect with old friends.

A couple of people sketches at Floyd's:

Then I found a seat at the bus stop on the Burnside Bridge for a street scene.  I will have to go back for the cherry trees.

And for the final throwdown - wonderful renditions!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Urban Sketching 10x10 Workshops of 2018 are almost here

Our first Urban Sketching 10x10 workshop of 2018 "The Cave You Fear to Enter Holds the Treasure You Seek: Overcoming Obstacles and Becoming a Sketching Superstar" is only 10 days away. It is now full! Thank you for everyone who registered and all of those who helped to spread the word, including Kay French, Andrea Matthews, Jason Roberts, and many others. I can't wait to embark on this adventure together. If you would like to check out other workshops this year follow this link:

Sunday, February 25, 2018

March 17 Sketch crawl - Cherry Blossoms on the Waterfront

Deb's Sketch from 2016
MARCH 17 - Cherry Blossoms

It's Cherry Blossom time again at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. The weather has been strange so it's hard to know for sure if the cherry blossoms will be ready.  Blooms or no, we still have Ankeny Fountain, Saturday Market, and Old Town/Chinatown nearby.
  • 10:00am - Meet at Floyd's Coffee (118 NW Couch St.) for coffee, snacks, and socializing.
  • 10:30am - Sketch along the waterfront around the Japanese American Historical Plaza (near the intersection of Couch and Naito) from 10-noon. 
  • 12:00noon - Optional lunch at Old Town Pizza (226 NW Davis St.) Or, if it's warm and dry enough we can grab food from the Saturday Market, and meet/eat outside by the Japanese American Historical Plaza. 

 MARCH 18 - 10x10 Sketch Education

The first Portland Urban Sketching 10x10 class of the year is happening on March 18, 10:30 am to 1:00 pm, at the Kennedy School.

If you ever wanted to learn how to draw quickly on location, capturing a variety of exciting city scenes and colorful subjects using your direct observation skills now is your chance. Together with the International Urban Sketchers organization we are organizing a series of on-location workshops aimed at honing your sketching skills and covering such topics as portable watercolor sketching, perspective, drawing people on the move, sketching city panoramas, and many more. Workshops take places in fun locations around Portland starting in March and continuing through early November. We are offering scholarships to students to make sketching even more accessible.

Register here:

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Staying Inside at Andrea's

Some intrepid souls ventured forth into the damp and windy February morning but we had a lovely time indoors drawing each other and rearranging all the excess art supplies on the tables. The waffles were fantastic!

February's Outing

Thanks to Andrea for hosting our monthly gathering in Portland's Boise neighborhood. Waffles, art supply exchange and a warm place to gather and share. What else could you ask for?
I wandered over to North Mississippi Ave. and found a place out of the wind and rain to do a litle outdoor sketching.  Thanks to Paul and Ali for joining me and to help keep me motivated.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Sketchcrawl and Materials Exchange

A bunch of people showed up at Andrea's and piled their no-longer-wanted art supplies on a table in the hall, and then chatted over coffee and waffles.  About half of us stayed there, settling down in the warm to sketch each other and Andrea's house plants, while the rest of us ranged up and down Mississippi.

I walked out with Paul, a tall young man who had just started sketching, and we soon found Glenn, who had found a spot sheltered from the wind and rain.  So we all sketched the nursery across the street.

Then back to Andrea's house for sharing our sketchbooks and selecting from the art supplies that Andrea had organized in our absence.  I didn't really need anything (one of the advantages of switching to digital sketching) but, after everyone else had picked through the piles, I found a couple of mechanical pencils and some lead that should combine well with my mismatched pencil and lead at home.  And a few pouches, that should work to organize something.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Chinese New Year

I went to Lan Su Garden for their New Year's Day.  For the Year of the Dog.

Both the paper bush and daphnes were blooming, so the air was fragrant. I sat down to sketch one of the giant fabric lotus flowers that had been installed in the pond.

Then I circled back to the entrance courtyard, to check out the replacement osmanthus, with a clump of oranges huddled at its feet.  It looks like it's thriving.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Feb. 17 - Sketch Materials Exchange / Waffle Brunch / Sketch Crawl

Sunlan Lighting store, just down the street on Mississippi. 
Image Credit:

Saturday, Feb. 17, please join us for a sketch materials exchange, waffle brunch, and sketch crawl. Bring your art materials that you don't like to use and get some different stuff.

Andrea's House
4057 N. Borthwick Ave

This is in the Boise neighborhood, near Mississippi Ave.

10:00am: Andrea's House - Introductions and Waffle Brunch - also drop off sketch materials for the exchange. There will be coffee.
10:30am: Sketch crawl around Boise neighborhood - Mississippi Ave has lots of cute shops and a food cart pod too.
12:00noon: Andrea's House - Sketch materials exchange - swap your languishing art materials for something new to you.
12:15pm: Sketchbook sharing.

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. OPTIONAL: waffle topping

See you there!

The image is of the Sunlan Lighting store, just down the street on Mississippi.
Image Credit:

Sunday, February 11, 2018

January sketches

A couple of sketches including our January sketchcrawl at McMenamin's Kennedy School in NE Portland.

A day last week was good enough to do a bit of outside sketching at PSU. The Beech tree was so spectacular in its winter structure and a great contrast to the PSU Library structure. I wound up doing two sketches from different angles.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Portland Winter Light Festival

The festival had expanded quite a bit since the last time I visited it, with four hubs now.  The first one that I visited was in the courtyard of the World Trade Center.

 This was a centipede, mounted on top of a half dozen bikes that were hitched together.  This was as far as I got in the sketching before a half a dozen people mounted the bikes and rode it away.

This was a huge dodecahedron containing thousands of LEDs, cycling through endless pretty patterns.  Prettier than I was able to replicate, actually.

Then I walked down to the waterfront and headed down towards the Tillikum Bridge, stopping to sketch OMSI from across the river.

There was another hub at OMSI, with sculptures both along the esplanade and in an empty lot behind the museum.  I remembered some of the works from the last time I came to the festival, but there were many more, including a row of mushrooms, each surrounded by a ring of kids who coaxed music out of it, and this - a steampunk flamethrowing chandelier.

I left that pod and headed north along the esplanade, stopping to sketch the made in Oregon sign.

The third pod was at the North Park Blocks, but I didn't find any sculptures out of doors, only something going on in the PNCA auditorium.  And the fourth was at Cathedral Park, which I wasn't going to walk to.

Monday, January 29, 2018


It was a chilly and rainy afternoon, but this morning, the skies were relatively clear and some plum blossoms were blooming in NW Portland. I love these fleeting signs that spring will return.

Monday, January 22, 2018

10x10 Urban Sketching Workshops

We are happy to bring back a popular series of on-location sketching workshops to Portland starting March, 2018. We are working together with the international Urban Sketchers organization and many local chapters around the world with the goal of establishing a year long educational program for current and aspiring urban sketchers in the area using Portland’s sites and culture as our main subject and inspiration.

Each workshop will be 2 hours and 30 minutes long and will take place either in the morning or afternoon on Saturday or Sunday. Check the schedule for exact times and days. All workshops are suitable for any level of sketcher and the full series will cover such subjects as color, line, texture, composition, perspective, human proportion, sketching crowds, story telling, picture planes, panoramas, complicated interior angles, scale, as well as overcoming common issues and obstacles when it comes to sketching on location. To find out more ... 

Kennedy School

We met in the Courtyard Restaurant.  I did one quick sketch on my phone while waiting for my order,

and then wandered about the wings of the old school, looking for things to sketch.  A movie theater (in the former auditorium?), meeting rooms and hotel suites (in former classrooms), bars, an espresso stand, a gift shop, an outdoor heated pool.  There was a courtyard, but you had to go back through the restaurant to get to it.  And, for all the windows, the halls were remarkably dark.  I finally settled on a view across the courtyard to the windows of the restaurant (in the old cafeteria, maybe).

For the throw-down, we met in one of the bars.  Which hadn't opened until noon, which was good, as I could have spent hours sketching the ironwork in it.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Kennedy School Sketchcrawl

I was having so much fun eating and socializing that I only got one sketch done. Thanks Evelyn for being a great model. 😀