Monday, September 21, 2020

sketching in a grid

 Wasn't able to sketch in the allotted time on Saturday so I did my sketching in a small block of time on Sunday.

  The caption says it all....I used my standard pack of sketching materials and tried various combinations. As you can see I started small (about life size) and then tried to zoom in a little to get into some of the intricacies of this very broken specimen. 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Grid crawl

 I haven't sketched in dogs' years but I tried the grid sketchcrawl in my house.  You can tell the order of the sketches by how impatient they look 😂 

-- Kalina

Virtual Sketchcrawl - sketching in a grid.


Back in the spring, I sketched the view out my bedroom window, newly replanted after the oak disaster this winter.  I salvaged some chunks of the pine trunks to set up a seating area, thinking it would a good place to sit and have tea on summer afternoons.

But it turned out to be Aramis' most favorite spot in the yard, and he demand to go out to visit it several times each day.  I'd sit and read, while he lounged, basking his old bones in the the sun.  I transplanted one of his catmint plants there to make it smell good for him, and planted some oat grass to give him something to nibble on.

Sadly, I lost him in August, and buried him under his catmint.  He'd lived with me for over 21 years and was an extraordinary cat, so I've got no complaints.  But I do miss him.


 Good morning everyone. Since I am unable to sketch with you this morning, did so last night.  I sketched on old waterproof ink jet labels.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Virtual Sketchcrawl #8


Virtual Sketchcrawl #8- Sketching in a Grid

For the time being we are back to our regular sketchcrawls of once a month.

Please join us for our eighth virtual sketchcrawl on Saturday, September 19th

 For this sketchcrawl we suggest you use the device of a grid on your page.

Your grid can be regular or irregular, whichever you prefer. The subject is open as well. You might try; selecting objects within a room (as Vicky Porter did in the illustration); select objects that have some connection to each other; or how about use the grid as frames like in a comic book and tell a story?

Other grid ideas from Barbara Weeks post on the Urbansketchers Chicago blog 

In this sketch page, Vicky Porter first taped off and painted in the grid spaces, then drew objects in a room.

As always, this challenge is optional, and you can be as strict to the subject or as loose as you like. Your participation is welcome whether you choose this challenge or not-- just make sure to work from life and to include contextual information, so it stays in the realm of urban sketching!

We will start at 10am.  At noon, which is when we would normally be meeting up for lunch to share sketchbooks, we'd love to see your sketches online in whichever forum feels comfortable for you:

(1) posting to this blog
(2) emailing to our mailing list
(3) posting in our Facebook group

See you there!

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Postcards from the Industrial Refuge

I managed to find my old sketching kit yesterday, and measured off some 4x6 rectangles in the sketchbook (last used in 2014).  Then I wandered off into the Industrial Refuge this morning.  There's hardly anyone there on a Saturday morning, just a few runners and bikers, and people camping in their vehicles.  It wasn't too awfully hot yet, but hot enough that I only sketched from spots in the shade.

First off, I did a water tower on top of a building near Montgomery Park.  I've gazed at in for years while waiting for a bus, but never had time to sketch it.  Because, well, buses.

Then I walked down to the ESCO office building and did a bit of 'art' in their parking lot.  It could pretend to be sculpture, but I suspect what it really is is an old rusted drill bit.

And then, just a bit further to capture the last remaining bit of ESCO's old No. 1 foundry.

Postcard sketching

 I got to Wallace Park in NW a little early to try to beat the crowd and heat. There were still loads of people there at 9:15  but the park is large enough to handle us all. 

Here are my postcard sketches all done in or around Wallace Park (in front of the Chapman School) at NW 25th and NW Raleigh.

I used my usual watersoluble inks and Lexington Grey ink in a waterbrush....added some white Gouache too!

Postcard Sized Sketching


Monday, August 3, 2020

Virtual Sketchcrawl #7- August 15th

Virtual Sketchcrawl #7- Sketching a Postcard

For the time being we are back to our regular sketchcrawls of once a month.

Please join us for our seventh virtual sketchcrawl on Saturday, August 15th!

This time we suggest sketching a postcard.
Postcards are approximately 4"x6".....some I've measured at 4 1/4" x 6" and some older postcards are
3 1/2" x 5 1/2".
I suggest that you pick a size and then mark out that size on your sketchbook page. You might have room for two or even three on a page.
If you want to make your own to send out to a friend or fellow sketcher use cardstock or you can purchase watercolor postcards at your favorite art supply place.

  • Sending a postcard is an extremely affordable way to communicate when you’re using the U.S Postal Service—regular postcards cost only $0.35 to mail! To qualify for postcard pricing, your mailer must be at least 3 ½” high, 5” long and 0.007” thick (approximately the thickness of an index card), but no more than 4 ¼” high, 6” long.
Because of this smaller size format it might be an opportunity to change up something else in your art will be working smaller so why not make it a quick sketch, say 10-15 minutes instead of your usual? And with several postcards to do you can work on a variety of subjects too!

Andrea Matthews organized a postcard activity at the Manchester usk symposium in 2016. This is a postcard that she did in Paris.

As always, this challenge is optional, and you can be as strict to the subject or as loose as you like. Your participation is welcome whether you choose this challenge or not-- just make sure to work from life and to include contextual information, so it stays in the realm of urban sketching!

We will start at 10am.  At noon, which is when we would normally be meeting up for lunch to share sketchbooks, we'd love to see your sketches online in whichever forum feels comfortable for you:

(1) posting to this blog
(2) emailing to our mailing list
(3) posting in our Facebook group

See you there!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Virtual Sketch Crawl #6 - Favorite Green Space

It's hard to pick a favorite because it's easy to love a lot of Portland's green spaces.  It's also easy for me to walk to this tree, lie down underneath it, and be transported by the pleasure of the warm sun on my skin and the complex pattern of leaves and light.  I call this tree the Symphony Director - it reminds me of Mickey Mouse as the wizard in Fantasia.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Virtual Sketch Craw #6 Green space.

I enjoyed spending time by my friend's grave, Rose City Cemetery. It was a beautiful day, perfect weather and shade under a gnarly cherry tree.  I brought a variety of tools, but used pen and ink...Oops, i got my dates mixed up.... I really sketched this today 7/18, not 7/17.

Virtual sketcrawl #6 - your favorite green space.

At first, I'd read this as 'your favorite park'.  And I spent some time in trying to figure out which park was my favorite.  Well, no, there's no debate at all, it's Forest Park.  But I'm not heading up the narrow trails anymore, and don't feel safe lingering in one spot, even on Leif Erickson.  Then I re-read the post, and realized that it said 'your favorite green space'.  And my favorite is, hands down, my own yard, where I often hang out with a cat or a dog.  And lately, my favorite activity has been the daily berry hunt. 

So I sat down in my backyard and sketched some of my cane raspberries (almost done), strawberries (only the ever-bearing ones are left, coming ripe in ones and twos) and blueberries (about a week into the season)

There are others that I didn't get to.  Thimbleberries are tiny and hardly worth picking, but they're pretty.  My creeping raspberries were planted as a ground cover.  But I found that I liked the fruit.  My huckleberries are likewise small and hardly worth picking.  Moreover, I don't think they're ready yet.  The salal is full of seeds and not very sweet, so I usually leave it for the birds.  And, finally, my oregon grape got wiped out by the oak tree.  It's coming back up from the roots though, so I'll have it again.  I found one stalk that somehow survived the desolation, and produced a half a dozen berries.

Challenge #6- your favorite park or green space

Couch Park is near my apartment.  It is a park that I have walked by and through while doing errands etc. (more so in pre Covid times)

I like the new play area just recently completed and the rolling grassy hills with many big trees. People hang out there...resting, watching their kids, picnicking and walking or playing with their dogs.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Virtual Sketchcrawl #6- July 18, 2020

Virtual Sketchcrawl #6- Sketching in your favorite green space - Saturday, July 18, 2020

For the time being we are back to our regular sketchcrawls of once a month.

Please join us for our sixth virtual sketchcrawl on Saturday,July 18th!

Since we are still limited to sketching in safe places and with the weather being more conducive to outdoor sketching, why not do some sketching in your favorite green space. It could be a park, or parking strip, or your own yard. You choose whatever space feels comfortable to you.

This could work nicely with Rita's 10x10 workshop on July 11th- drawing trees. Details at

this is a sketch I did at Laurelhurst Park, but since it is not in my neighborhood, I will probably choose someplace closer to home for sketching this time- deb

As always, this challenge is optional, and you can be as strict to the subject or as loose as you like. Your participation is welcome whether you choose this challenge or not-- just make sure to work from life and to include contextual information (You could even say a bit about why you like this green space on your sketch), so it stays in the realm of "urban sketching"!

We will start at 10am.  At noon, which is when we would normally be meeting up for lunch to share sketchbooks, we'd love to see your sketches online in whichever forum feels comfortable for you:

(1) posting to this blog
(2) emailing to our mailing list
(3) posting in our Facebook group

See you there!

Monday, June 15, 2020

Virtual sketchcrawl #5- Change your process

I haven't really done work on toned paper since charcoal drawing in art school but I have admired the work of some of our Portland sketchers who have used it in their drawings.
For this challenge I painted a couple of pages in watercolor sketchbooks with a medium gray that I mixed up in Gouache.
Each of these sketches has used various mediums foe mark making and I have identified them in the captions below each.
It was fun to experiment and I found a couple of tools that I will be using again!

Various graphite, General's Carbon Sketch595, and Stablio Aquarelle white
Various graphite, General's Carbon Sketch 595, and Stablio Aquarelle White

Various graphite, General's Carbon Sketch 595, Multi colored pencil, and Stablio Aquarelle White

Various graphite, General's Carbon Sketch 595, Stablio Aquarelle White, and Multi colored pencil

Pentel Pocket Brush, Uni-POSCA White marker, and General's Carbon Sketch 595

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Virtual sketchcrawl #5- Change your process

I used my 2018  Hobonichi Techo Calendar book. It was full of my illegible dates, notes and times of when I took medicines. The paper is thin but there was no bleed through.  I drew with a pen in each hand, one water-soluble ink, one waterproof.  I added a bit of watercolor and a few swipes with a water brush. They are many more pages to experiment with.

Virtual sketchcrawl - change up your process

I decided to do random color, with marker pen and airbrush. 
And it came out virtually unrecognizable.  That's my TV, surrounded by piles of books and DVDs that are waiting to go back to the library, streaming a virtual version of this year's Bach Festival in Leipzig.  

Some performances are still happening in Leipzig, while the groups that intended to come taped performances and sent them in to be broadcast.

The different groups used different ways to record their pieces.  Some did solo works.  Some had all the musicians record themselves at home, and stitched the parts together.  One used a church, with the string section on one side, all wearing masks, and the soprano way over across on the other side.  In Germany, things seemed to be the loosest, with an actual live audience (albeit 2 meters apart and masked).  The musicians were unmasked, and keeping a 2 meter separation.  Even the singers.  Which was a bit unnerving.  (At Trinity Cathedral, singers must keep a 15' separation.)

And this is my (gray) cat, who came to sit on my lap.

Challenge #5: Changing my process

I usually always start with white paper. The idea of starting with a strong color has always intimidated me so that meant I had to at least give it a try. I actually prepared six boxes of color, yellow, orange, red, violet, blue, and green. Only got to the first two. I used FW Acrylic inks and sometimes had pens and brushes in both hands. I got lost. It kind of looks like night and day but it was just a cloudy morning with occasional sprinkles.

Virtual Sketchcrawl

Today, I decided to sketch on a a grid of colored backgrounds. (I was inspired by Virginia Hein's sketches this week.) I thought I'd do thumbnails, but that's not quite what happened. Lately, I've been sketching a lot of botanicals, but today I stayed in the same room and tried to draw different things that I saw from that contained space. I listened to 'Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me' to try to fill in for some of the social aspect that I miss with our virtual sketch crawls. It's not the same, but there were a few laughs. Thanks for another fun challenge.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Virtual Sketchcrawl Challenge #5 Change your process Saturday June 13

Join us for our Fifth Virtual Sketch crawl on
Saturday June 13

Habits are a blessing and a curse. It keeps good routines going but can also put you into a bit of a rut. There is wisdom in the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” On the other had, as Chris Bianco, a brilliant pizza maker and fine baker, said “I can tell you, you learn things when you burn things.”

So let’s throw caution to the winds and try our best to work outside our comfort zone by changing up our process.

If you normally work very slowing and detailed, try working very fast. loose and more abstractly with big shapes.

Same with the reverse, if you start with a quick gesture  and build up a loose drawing from there, then go immediately to great detail drawn slowly and then spiral the drawing out from where you started.

If you normally work on white paper then start with a colored ground, and instead of the usual grey or black, try a bright bold color as the base of your drawing. Monochrome or loads of color?  Do the opposite.

Work small? Try big. Right handed? Use your left, left handed use your right. Use both. You get the idea.

We invite you to experiment some more in and around your homes during our stay safe isolation.

As always, this challenge is optional and you can be a strict or as loose as you like, including ignoring us completely. Just make sure to work from life and include your surroundings to give your focus context.

We will start at 10:00am. At noon, which is when we normally meet up to share our drawings, please post your sketches so we can all see them on whatever platform you are comfortable with:

Posting to this blog
Emailing to our mailing list
Posting on our Facebook page

Looking forward to seeing what you all do with this one! We want to see both brilliant successes and total train wrecks!!!

Monday, June 1, 2020

Embody the Art You Love - Art Nouveau

Inspired by Art Nouveau, Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh: Queen of Spades. This may not quite be considered Urban Sketching. It is my mom's face from a zoom call, and roses sketched on location. Acrylic paint. Next I want to get some sparkly metallic gold and silver paint.
Spending a lot of time on zoom calls, I see my own face and I judge it harshly. I realize I am comparing myself to older female relatives. I want to give love to them and to myself. It's sad not to see the beauty in my older relatives and it's sad not to see my own beauty. We are all beautiful. I accept and love all of you - you all look gorgeous to me. This is my beautiful mom, the queen of spades, doing her best, creating a sustainable home, garden, business, life, and legacy.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Visiting with Vincent in my backyard

Just grabbed some ink and pens and tried my best to channel Vincent. 

Ralph Steadman?

I love Ralph Steadman's work. I find his work funny, playful, serious, and skilled. I like platters and ink blotches and admire good draftsmanship.  I can do splatters and blotches and am working on draftsmanship. 
I have been taking Shari Blaukopf's Light, Shadow, and Color class.  There are lessons with bins and cars.

We have a portapotty out front for a few weeks while our house is being painted.  

I did two sketches. One inspired by Steadman. 
 The other  direct watercolor, no pencil/pen.

Virtual sketchcrawl - Embody the art you love

Today's challenge was to be inspired by and emulate some piece of artwork that you love.  I'd picked Hokusai's Great Wave.  

I used a limited palette and no blending to try to emulate a woodblock print, portraying a few leaves of the shrub beside my front porch.

51st and Sandy Blvd

The past week I have been working on a twelve panel Concertina (Accordian) sketchbook. Each panel is about 7.5" x 10", so the entire book is 7.5" x90".
 I made  the sketchbook and prepared the pages in this book in my studio, then took it out to the construction site down the street in the evenings.  It was quiet.  The workers gone home and very few people saw me juggle this concertina and supplies. I am experimenting with various new materials, new approaches and various ways to document this. Affinity Photo ( a photoshop alternative) has a panorama creating feature. My scanning bed is 11X17 ,so I scanned and patched!   
I am greatly inspired by two Karen Stamper's online Concertina workshops: How Wild is your Garden and Creative Concertina Sketchbooks 1 Buildings/Streets/

We are not happy about a six story, eighty-five unit, twenty parking space building goin up a block away, BUT it is quite the sketching opportunity!

Friday, May 29, 2020


I thought that I should document all the construction that going on within sight of my house.  Cause someday, God willing, it'll all be done and quiet on the street again.

The green dumpster is for my next door neighbor.  The structural work is all done now, and the electrical system and plumbing have been repaired.  They still have to re-assemble her kitchen, and repair the plaster and repaint in of the rest of the house.

The brown dumpster is for the triplex across the street, which has been vacant for years.  The original plan was to turn it into a five-story building containing three luxury condominiums.  That, thankfully, was scrapped.  It's either going to come back to life as a modest triplex, or have the apartments merged to become a single-family house.

And behind that, where the alternator rebuild shop used to be, a new condo building is going up. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Sketching with alternative materials

Hi all,
I'm late to adding my virtual sketch crawl doodle but here it is. I painted my coffee cup with coffee. It was a little weird, and the coffee didn't stain as darkly as I wanted, but it was fun. (only down side is that the coffee bled through to the other side of both pages...bummer).

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Virtual Sketchcrawl #4, Saturday, May 30 - Embody the art you love

For our next virtual sketchcrawl, we'd like to lean on our fellow artists (current and past) for inspiration. As always we welcome your participation whether you choose to engage in the challenge or not, but if you would like to try it...

1. Choose a piece of artwork that inspires you or that you find beautiful
2. Identify some aspect of it to try to emulate: colors? rhythm? strong contrasts? delicate lines?
3. Set it up in front of you as you work, and try to capture something about that art that you love as you sketch your home or the view from your window.

Here are a couple examples of what a sketcher might try...

For this Van Gogh painting, you could use Neocolor II crayons or oil pastels in short rhythmic lines to get strong color and rhythm in your sketch, even while your sketch is of a houseplant, a cat, and a bookshelf.

If you are inspired by this painting from Charles Renee Mackintosh, you might choose a limited palette of muted analogous colors and compose your sketch to contrast strong blocky/straight shapes with curvy, natural shapes... perhaps your neighbor's house seen straight on with big curvy tree shapes around it.

We'll start sketching around 10am. After noon, or when you're ready, please post your sketches to this blog, to our email list, or in our Facebook group.

See you (virtually) then!

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Pen to Color Pencils

I am usually a pencil, pen, and watercolor guy. In that order. I'm always too scared to just start drawing with a permanent item. Enter color pencils. They're softer, more forgiving, and quick, but for some reason I rarely use them. In a lifetime I don't think I'll ever master blending them like I can with watercolors.

I found myself downtown today and I had to sketch fast. There were a lot of people passing by who kept me on edge. Looking back, now I see one facade of the building is slightly out of the right plane!

Change it up!

I tried some of my water color pencils, then went back over a little with my watercolor brush.  I like the combination of effects that comes from that.

I got impatient with my attempt to draw on my phone.  That can wait for another time when I find an Android app that can save to somewhere expected.  Or figure out how to capture my screen.  I know I can figure it out but it probably took me less time to just draw this second sketch.

Different Materials

I don't have much left of the materials I don't usually use. I've gotten rid of most of them in the effort to gain space. I use ink all the time but I always use the same tools. So this time I used a feather that has been hanging around my studio, a stick from the apple tree and a copper wire I found outside. I shaped the feather and stick and when at it. The wire delivered the boldest lines and quantities of ink.

Virtual Sketchcrawl #3- New materials

Looking around my studio, I discovered many items I have not tried. Many I inherited from my friend Joan. I intended to use her Progresso woodless colored pencils and water color crayons, but at the last minute I ending up using a small set of Holbein watercolors.    I thought I would do a light wash then add pencil. Two hours went by with only a few  Progresso strokes...Oh well....The colors were not my normal colors.  I have not used watercolor in a long time....

 I have been busy with all sorts of other new materials in my Wild Garden Books: Charcoal, Artgraf water soluble graphite, kneaded and powdered graphite, Woodies, Leaves as stamps, collage, etc. I have been posting some of it on instagram.

Virtual Sketchcrawl #3- different medium

I may have complicated my journey here by choosing too many new materials.....I have used; Powdered Graphite, a Caran D'Arche felt tip waterbrush and a Faber Castell 'Noblot Ink Pencil'(that comes out blue when water is applied)

This was challenging because it was so different have what I have been doing with my sketching currently.

With Faber Castell Noblot Ink Pencil and Powdered Graphite with The Caran D'Arche felt tip waterbrush

Powdered Graphite with brush