Saturday, April 4, 2020

SAHJ: Thinking about Food

I realized that I've been thinking a lot about how little I used to think about food. Now I search for Pasta like I'm Indiana Jones. So today I drew a clementine to really look at something I've always taken for granted.

Friday, April 3, 2020

More carpenters

Half the city is shut down, but workers are still coming round to work on my neighbor's house.  For which she's extremely grateful, hoping to be able to get back into it soon.

New Stuck at Home Journal Entries:

Well, wrapping up my my second week stuck at home and here are some of my observations. Hope everyone else is doing well.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Change is the Only Constant

I've been looking through old sketch books and asked myself, how has my drawing style changed over time?

Below you'll find three pages, each spaced about four years apart.

Although I'd been drawing for years, during a 2012 family trip to New York, I started sketching in earnest. And I sketched everything; at times to the chagrin of my family. What we ate, what we saw, who we met all got captured in pencil by day and with color come evening. In those days I was using the sketchbook as a journal as well.

My wife says this is her favorite of all my sketchbooks. She loves reading, so maybe that tells you something.

By 2016 I found myself saying less, trying to tell the story with drawings, but when I used words, I used bigger text. Back then, motion and feeling seemed more important to me than detail.

In late 2019, I took a sabbatical, traveling alone by boat in British Columbia. Since I didn't talk to anyone most of the time, I drew like a madman. Looking back through that sketchbook, there was a combination of bold pages, then pages with small drawings and text, much like 2012. I realize now that I was trying to capture and understand what I saw, all by myself.

I was frequently overwhelmed by the scale of the landscape and drew several pages similar to the one below. I see now that these big spreads were raw emotion.

A colleague at work only sees my books a few times a year. She says I'm getting "better."

I agree my sketching has changed and if it is for the better, it's because I'm learning to show how I see and that makes me happy.

How has your sketching changed over time?


Sunday, March 29, 2020

The Stuck at Home Sketch Journal: Making the most of a rough situation

During my stuck at home times, I decided to start a sketch journal of Indoor sketches. I'm really hoping this will keep up my creativity. Hope everyone is staying safe and creative.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Cherry Blossoms in the Time of Corona

All - I miss you.  I am glad you are my friends.  Painting this cherry tree in my neighborhood lifted my spirits.

During this tough time, I get to learn new skills.  On Saturday night I connected with family over Zoom.  It was the first time we had ever done that.  It felt great to hear and see each other laugh.  It was also fun to see where people chose to sit and to notice the different time zones through the lighting.  I got to see the hotel room where my sister is staying during her deployment in Georgia.  I got to see my mom's new baby chicks.

I hope you all find things to lift your spirits.  I have to believe it will be over before we know it.  There are lovely things about it.

Friday, March 20, 2020

The other camellia

A few buds and flowers from the second of my new camellias.
I went outside for this one, and sat in the sun on the wall between my yard and my neighbor's.

Monday, March 16, 2020

New plantings

I'd planned the locations of the new plants specifically so that I'd be able to see them from my bedroom windows.  Which worked out nicely when I now want to be able to sketch something from my window.

This is the part of the yard where most of the oak tree landed.  So between that, and the chimney fall and the equipment used to get the oak tree out, there wasn't much of my old landscaping left.

That's a camellia on the left, and a dogwood on the right, and random rounds of pine tree trunk set up in between, as a sitting area.

Sunday, March 15, 2020


Workers showed up this morning to do some demolition on my next-door neighbor's house!  Spanish-speaking guys, on a Sunday?  Has mass been canceled?  No, but the bishop has offered a dispensation, to those who aren't feeling well, or are at risk, are even the least bit uneasy about going to church.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Our March sketchcrawl is cancelled

Dear Sketchers,

What a whirlwind this week has been! After much deliberation we have decided to cancel March's meetup and join the international Urban Sketchers around the world and sketch the world outside your window at home. This was out my window this morning so there is always something.

The cherry blossoms should be blooming this week so you could also venture forth and head to the waterfront to sketch those.

So lets join all the sketchers around the world. Keep sketching and show our solidarity by posting our drawings with the hashtag #uskathome and we will all look forward to when we can sketch together again!

Take care, be well and stay safe,
Portland Urban Sketchers

Tuesday, March 10, 2020


Bit by bit, the house is getting put back together.

Monday, March 9, 2020

A Tale of Two Chimneys

Here's what my next-door neighbor's chimney used to look like.  And behind her house, you can see the giant two-century old Oregon white oak that used to dominate her back yard.

And here's what it looks like today.  After the oak came down and smashed its top off.  And the masons scavenged enough of the fallen bricks to rebuild its stubby top.

And  here's what my more humble chimney used to look like, peeking out from behind one of my pine trees.

And what it looks like now, even more humble than before.

The pine trees are gone as well.  They gave their little lives, fending the worst of the damage off of my house.  And will soon be replaced with little slips of trees - a magnolia and a dogwood.  (These were supposed to have been planted on Friday.  But my neighbor's masons needed to plant their scaffolding in my yard, so it's been delayed until this week.)

And my masons are showing up tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Why I Draw

I draw to remember. To capture a feeling. To have a reason to linger.

I draw to get off the couch. To smell the fresh air. To change my perspective.

I draw when I want to take the time. To escape from computers. To make something tangible.

I draw what I see. To be present. To enjoy the little things.

What about you? Why do you draw?


Friday, February 21, 2020

MARCH 21 2020- Sketchcrawl Kennedy School

For our March sketchcrawl we will return to one of our favorite sketching locations on the east side. 
  • 10:00am - Meet at the Courtyard Restaurant, Kennedy School, 5736 NE 33rd, Portland OR 97211
  • 10:30am - Sketch in and around the Kennedy School. If the weather is nice there are some good views outside in the courtyard or around the building.
  • 12:00- Meet in the Boiler Room for a sketchbook throw down. 
  • 12:30 - Optional lunch at the Courtyard Restaurant
Sketch by Ellie Segal

Monday, February 17, 2020

Ice Skaters

A sketchcrawl in the Lloyd Center, where it was nice and dry.

After we met and introduced ourselves we wandered up to the skating rink.  I headed up to the 3rd floor to look down on the kids.

At the south end of the rink was a beginners class.  Little kids, some wearing bike helmets, desperately trying to stay upright. Their lessons were mainly how to move forward, and how to stop.

A slightly older tyke.  Her class was starting to work on  twirling.

And a more advanced class, for young adults.  The instructor wanted a circle for them to skate around, so she leaned forward and skated backward, drawing a perfect circle on the ice with a marker.  Something I can't do even when I can see what I'm doing.

Lloyd Center Skaters

Another great turnout for our February meetup. We knew it would be challenging. While some sketchers managed to take in both the rink and the skaters, I could only muster small tries at the individuals. According to strict Urban Sketching rules I should have included some context, but hey, sometimes a dispensation is required.

The classes changed every half hour to give us a new group of skaters. I loved the little kids the best!!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

First Presbyterian Church

I think it was a record turnout for our January meetup at the First Presbyterian Church. The space was incredibly beautiful and overwhelming. This is as far as I got. Though I had good intentions of nudging it further along after I got back home, it looks unlikely that that will happen.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Sketchcrawl: Lloyd Center Ice Skaters, February 15

Join us at Lloyd Center on Saturday, February 15, to sketch the morning ice skating lessons. It will be challenging but hopefully have enough repetitive movement to make it possible. If constant movement is not your thing there is always the food court and other sketchers and shoppers who may stay motionless for longer periods of time.

Saturday, February 15

10:00 Meet at Starbucks Coffee, 925 Lloyd Center #C114Inside Lloyd Center near the skating rink) Portland OR

10:30  Begin Drawing
12:00 Throwdown TBD
12:30  Optional Lunch and sketchbook sharing in the Lloyd Center Foodcourt.
How to get there: Lloyd Center is easily accessible by bus and MAX.  There is also free parking at Lloyd Center.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Sea and Shore

One of the things I liked best about sketching by boat was the chance to draw things on land or in the water. There was so much life out there that I didn't have to look far for things to capture.

Here I sat in a little cove watching dolphins pick off schools of fish while lion's mane jellies (Cynea capillata) pulsed gently below. They were about a nine inches in diameter and maybe two feet long.

Other days I got off the boat and wandered through forests and streams sketching huge trees or the intricate patterns of mushrooms.

My favorite living subjects were the invertebrates. The more I stared at the lacy tentacles of a sea cucumber or the tiny suction cups on a sea star, the more amazed I became.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Sketching the Inside Passage

I was lucky enough to have a three month sabbatical from work August through October. I took my little sail and oar boat to British Columbia where I quietly rowed, sailed, and sketched my way from the north end of Vancouver Island south to the Seattle area.

I kept a journal/sketchbook. Here's what a raw page looks like.

I wrote every day. I sketched most days, sometimes multiple pages. Some days I was so overwhelmed with the vastness of the scenery or the awesomeness of nature, that I didn't draw it all. I just soaked it in.