Monday, February 18, 2019

Vista Bridge sketchcrawl

I wasn't very hopeful of actually sketching outside at this past Saturday sketchcrawl....but it didn't turn out to be as bad as I expected. Finding a stretch of sidewalk under some dense foliage gave me enough of a dry spot to attempt the Vista Bridge view.

A few dots and blotches of rain water but the city view under the bridge was framed nicely by the arching supports of the bridge.


After the first sketch I tried to get a more realistic view of the traffic using this busy road from downtown to Route 26.

Scavenger hunt #7 & #8

I have been trying to use my Pentel pocket brush more. It is a challenge to reduce the line work to more simple strokes. But I think it works for the scavenger hunt sketches. Who knows, I may continue the effort for the duration of the hunt!

#7 Conversation

#8 meal...or remains

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Scavenger Hunt - Items #8 and #10

Item #8: a meal or snack (or the remains of one) 
This was at the Coffee & Sketch meetup at St. Honore bakery on SE Division.  I had to buy three pastries so I could eat one and still leave two to sketch. 






Item #10: an ink drawing, done without a pencil underlay

Also from St. Honore. Worked with an old Reform fountain pen and a touch of watercolor for contrast colors.


MARCH 16 - Cherry Blossoms Steel Bridge / Burnside Bridge

MARCH 16 - Cherry Blossoms Steel Bridge / Burnside Bridge


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.  And of course the Steel and Burnside Bridges!!!
  • 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. Sketch trees, bridges, people.
  • 12:00noon - Sketchbook throwdown, location tbd.
  • 12:15pm - 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. 
APRIL 20 - Hawthorne / Belmont Bridges, from OMSI

Details TBD

February Sketchcrawl

We met at the Fehrenbacher Hoff  for coffee and were supposed to head out to sketch the Vista Bridge. I stayed inside to draw the tree outside the window. I drew it the last time we met here two years ago. That time everyone stayed inside because it was cold, snowy and icy. I had none of those excuses.  It was only chilly and threatening to rain. I just wanted to stay cozy.


Scavenger Hunt - 2 people having a conversation / Fehrenbacher Hof

Item #3 - 2 people having a conversation

These 2 guys were sitting right behind a few of us Urban Sketchers who chose to stay inside the Hof. They were having a talk about hard things. I was impressed how open they were with each other.

I sketched them right when one of them arrived and took off his coat. That was before I was sitting right next to them and could overhear every word.


Saturday, February 16, 2019

Vista Bridge

I met up with a bunch of sketchers, after getting a late start, and joined one of the groups huddled under overhangs to do the Vista Bridge.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Scavenger Hunt: coffee, snacks and dogs

I went back to TaborSpace confident I would get some coffee drinkers into a sketch. I sat between a group of people who meet weekly to practice their Spanish and tables of singles focused on their computers. Success!


I changed tables so I could get a different view of the ever expanding Spanish speakers. After I settled I saw that I had, as usual, neglected my coffee and cookie. I always get my coffee or tea in a to go cup because I generally don't get around to drinking it until after I leave. Instead of more people I decided to focus on my cookie and knock another item off my list. I still had most of the coffee and cookie for the walk home.


The next day my neighbor and I took 2 dogs, RaeAnn and Rocky, to our local dog park in Mt Tabor Park. The off leash area is a muddy hill slope on the southern side of the park. Forget about drawing the space! Roving, running, playing dogs that only stopped for seconds took all my concentration.




Wednesday, February 13, 2019

PDXUSK - Scavenger Hunt: Benson Bubbler

My office is in downtown Portland, overlooking the corner next to Pioneer Square. I happen to have a straight shot view of a Benson Bubbler outside my window (of course 10 stories up so not up close). I did this quick lunch time sketch for the hunt (I exaggerated the bubbler for this purpose).

Enjoy, and happy sketching:

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Scavenger hunt - someone drinking coffee

Sketch #2

This person has coffee... I may do another where I catch someone in the act of drinking it. This coffee shop, Stacks, is full of books and book loving people. I have also witnessed a book loving child or two in here.


Saturday, February 9, 2019

Scavenger hunt: two people in conversation


Went to the Oregon Historical society to see the Chinese New Year performance today. Saw a guy with really fun get up. He actually also had a giant old-school camera with a flash as big as his face. I really would have drawn that too but it would have taken too long. 

Friday, February 8, 2019

Winter Light Festival

I ran down to this year's light festival last night.  It was cold out, but not raining.  And not, heaven forfend, snowing.

I took the streetcar to PSU and wandered about, then walked to the World Trade Center to see what was happening there.  And then walked across the Hawthorne Bridge to see the installations around OMSI.  And then, thoroughly chilled, caught a couple of streetcars home.







This is actually a kid, asleep in her stroller.  She only looks like an adult cause I screwed up the proportions.

Portland Art Museum

With these cold days my sketching has turned to some nice, inviting, and warm indoor spaces....one of my favorite is the art museum.
These sketches were done on several of those visits.

Native American Art - the work of Lillian Pitt, room 301

Top sketch-sculpture in the Northwest Art, room 303. Bottom sketch-view to outside courtyard from the museum cafe.

Calder mobile and unidentified sculpture in the Modern Building- viewed from a gallery above.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

More Scavenger Hunt

Today I went to TaborSpace, my favorite people drawing coffee shop. I think one of these could count as two people in conversation and the other as an ink drawing without a pencil underlay. The people I drew were drinking tea or water. I am not sure what the babies were drinking but I am pretty sure it wasn't coffee. Their mothers were but I didn't draw them just their cups. So I still have the elusive coffee drinker to sketch!


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Scavenger hunt sketches #1 and #6

Our local library literally just says "Library" above the front door.

Also, it's pretty hard to find someone who would let me draw from below, so applaud the subject. :D


Scavenger Hunt Post - ink drawing with no pencil underlay

I almost always draw with ink and no pencil underlay.  So I feel like I'm cheating.  But here we go...  I sketched this interesting person on the bus last night.

Item 1: an ink drawing, done without a pencil underlay


Sunday, February 3, 2019

Scavenger Hunt Drawings

Kalina and I met at Common Grounds to do our first sketch for the scavenger hunt. Although I had glanced at the list, it didn't register that we were to sketch people drinking coffee. There is someone making coffee behind the espresso maker but not drinking it so this one might not count. The line drawing was done there but the color and tone were added at home. We had to get on to heritage trees and the Belmont Library.






January bridge sketch

       My January bridge sketch subject was found  in a small park in my neighborhood.

Scavenger Hunt - first few finds!

Today I met up with fellow sketcher and nearby neighbor Kay at Common Grounds coffeehouse, where I grabbed my first scavenger hunt items:

Item 1: someone drinking coffee

Portland - Common Grounds Coffeehouse


Item 2: a heritage tree

We then walked around the corner and located Heritage Tree #193 -- a European Beech. As we talked about how to capture it, a neighbor came out with his elderly corgi and let us know that the tree covers four different yards. He was very aware of having a "Heritage Tree" there and seemed very fond of it. "It's like six different trees in that one tree."

Portland - Heritage Tree

Item 3: your neighborhood library

Next we wandered over to our neighborhood library, which is Belmont Library. There were many people wandering in for a few cozy moments among the books or newspapers, and parents bringing in their children to return their books.

Portland - Belmond Library

Friday, February 1, 2019

Scavenger Hunt Blog Challenge


We haven't done a scavenger hunt for years, so we're going to try one again.

Here are the rules:
Get out and sketch as many things on the Scavenger Hunt List below (one item per sketch, please) and then post to the blog. The person with the most scavenger hunt items posted on the blog by the end of the day on April 30, 2019 will get a prize.

If you can't currently post to the blog and you want to, email me (ali.corbin@gmail.com) or one of the other admins.


  • your neighborhood library (interior or exterior)
  • dogs in a dog park
  • spring blossoms
  • a MAX, streetcar or bus (interior or exterior)
  • a heritage tree (map)
  • a face from above or below
  • two people in conversation
  • a meal or snack (or the remains of one)
  • a Benson bubbler
  • an ink drawing, done without a pencil underlay
  • light media on a dark background
  • something under construction
  • someone drinking coffee
  • an artwork at a MAX stop
  • something left over from the Louis & Clark Exposition 
    • full map 
    • much shorter list:
      • The NCR building, which is now:
        • McMenamins St Johns Theater & Pub
        • 8203 N Ivanhoe St
      • The American Inn, the dining hall of which is now the
        • American Inn Condos
        • 2129 NW Northrup
      • Coming of the White Man, now in Washington Park
      • Sacajawea and Jean-Baptiste, now in Washington Park
      • The Masonic Building, which is now a residence at
        • 1209 NW 26TH AVE
      • The Fairmount Hotel, which is now the
        • Historic Fairmount Apartments
        • NW 26th between Upshur and Vaughn