Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wow, it finally worked.......
It was rainy and cold on sketching day so this is the view of the street from inside the Ace Hotel....dry and warm!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ace Hotel Lobby

Later, I sketched this woman who simply read her book.

Romancing the City

As my first post to Urban Sketchers Portland, I'd like to introduce myself.

The Cabin in HumboldtI come from a very rural area in Northern California where we lived "off the grid" in a tiny rickety cabin. I could throw open the front door and scream out to the stars and the forested hills; there were no neighbors to hear or worry.

Growing up in such a unique and isolated location, it was perhaps natural that I developed an intense appreciation for place. At 14 my obsession with Russia was perhaps my first major crush - I studied the language and knew I must get myself there, no matter what it took. At 20, I managed to visit both Britain and Russia on my own.

View from the Royal Mile, EdinburghFast forward another 7 years; I was finishing up four months of travel through Europe (mostly Britain). On the day before my flight back to the states, a Scottish man I'd been seeing escorted me to Edinburgh's bus depot. It was a foggy day, just starting to rain. I cried. He consoled me - "don't worry, we'll see each other again." I didn't have the heart to tell him he wasn't the cause of my tears; it was his cities, Edinburgh and Glasgow, which I left so unwillingly. It took years to get over that heartbreak, and 9 years later I still ache for that place.

In recent years, I've turned to sketching as a way to find connection with places. For me, urban sketching is about carrying on a relationship with the place I'm in, in the moment - getting to know it, bonding with it, making it part of me and feeling like I've somehow become part of it in return. I want to know my city intimately, and since I can't kiss it, I draw it.

Portland, Oregon - Bishop's House (NaNoDrawMo #15) SketchCrawl - Ace Hotel Portland Farmer's Market - Tomato Juice Portland, Oregon - Waterfront/Morrison Bridge (NaNoDrawMo #45)
I've been sketchcrawling for maybe 4 months, and will be posting here in the future. I write about my life, art supplies, and comics at my blog, www.geminica.com, and you can find my drawings and other images on flickr.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Portland Sketchcrawlers

I snapped this photo of the group from the balcony. Anne was showing the graphic novels she has contributed illustrations for.
the collection of sketchbooks at the end of the day.

Ace Hotel and view from Powell's

The Portland Sketchcrawl group (six of us!) met up at the Ace Hotel for some sketching fun.

I decided to try and use a wide variety of supplies....since I carried them with me, I might as well, right?

The guy with the curly hair was definitely my favorite person to draw today! What big hair he had!

i drew a lot in pencil which is not my usual tool to use on sketchcrawls.

but i think it's good for me to get out of my comfort zone...
and try a bit of everything...but for the last sketch of the day (view from Powell's cafe), I went back to my trusty Pitt brush pen...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The View from the Bluff

I walk along the bluff overlooking the Willamette River several times a week, and this is one of my favorite views. I particularly enjoy it in late afternoon when the sunlight skims over the top of the distant hills and lights up the promontory. Right now the new grass makes the hillside a glowing lime green. Across the river is an industrial area, and on this side ships dock on Swan Island, although it is not really an island. I stopped to do this sketch in my little 3" x 5" moleskine on one of my recent walks.

Japanese garden

Originally uploaded by Anne T1000
This sketch is from a sketchcrawl in September at the Japanese Gardens. The group also returned to the gardens in November on Veterans Day.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Urban Sketchers Symposium in Portland!

I'm excited! I've signed up, have you?
[March 22, 2010]

Urban Sketching Symposium promises to be a big draw

The city of Portland, Oregon, becomes the canvas for drawing enthusiasts from around the world this summer as Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) and Urban Sketchers (USK), a nonprofit dedicated to fostering the art of on-location drawing, host the 1st International Urban Sketching Symposium.

This unique Symposium will feature a blend of lectures, panels, exhibits and sketch outings led by a dozen of instructors, including, among others, renown author of architectural drawing books Frank Ching, Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington, Tia Boon Sim, an architect and design educator at Temasek Polytechnic in Singapore; Simonetta Capecchi, curator of “In Viaggio Col Taccuino” sketchbook exhibits in Naples; Gabriel Campanario, a staff artist at The Seattle Times and founder of Urban Sketchers; Veronica Lawlor, an illustrator and teacher at NYC’s Parsons School of Design, Pratt Institute and the Dalvero Academy; and Lapin, a French illustrator based in Barcelona.

Guided by the symposium's presenters and instructors, participants will take to the streets of pedestrian-friendly Portland to sharpen their drawing skills and get one-on-one feedback. “Drawing is often a solitary endeavour,” says Campanario, “but I find that the energy and inspiration you get from sketching with others goes a long way when you are trying to develop as an artist.” The three-day event (July 29-31) is perfect for illustrators, architects, designers and other professionals who use freehand drawing as a communication tool. Symposium participation is open to everyone with an interest in drawing the urban environment on location.

Sketching sites include Portland's renowned Chinese, Japanese and Rose Gardens, the scenic waterfront and bustling city center of downtown Portland, as well as the vibrant cultural district in Oldtown and the Pearl District, where PNCA is located. Field groups focus on specific techniques —pencil, ink, watercolor— and subject matter —sketching people in movement, architecture. Expect to draw the boating activity along the Willamette River with interesting drawbridges as a backdrop, eclectic downtown architecture, public gardens and fountains, theater performances and Portland's wonderful indoor and outdoor night-life scenes.

Lectures will cover all aspects of sketching. Instructors will share first hand advice about drawing in public, tools, materials, techniques and composition, as well as how to share artwork on the web or get it published. An exhibit of sketchbooks and other original work by presenters will be on display at PNCA during the Symposium.

Participants are encouraged to register early due to limited availability. To register, check PNCA’s website.


Gabriel Campanario
Urban Sketchers
Executive Director
gabicampanario at gmail dot com
or 425.686.2398

Patrick Forster
Pacific Northwest College of Art
Director of Continuing Education
pforster at pnca edu
or 503.821.7864

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Coffee Shops and Parks

Two things Portland has plenty of are parks and coffee shops.  These are recent sketches I've done in each category.  We had our last sketch crawl near Jamison Park, which is in the middle of a busy section of downtown and surrounded by tall buildings.  On nice days it is always filled with families and groups of friends enjoying the outdoors--children climb on a series of boulders, adults play bocci on an expanse of gravel, older folks watch all the activity on chairs that are provided for the public. It's a very user friendly, pleasant space.
I did this last sketch at the Concordia Coffee shop, which has a Dr. Who theme. The coffee shop was suitably funky and even had a Tardis (my husband, the erstwhile Dr Who aficionado, explained that it is a time machine disguised as a British police call box).  We had a nice relaxing time sketching and reading, and I was grateful that a student was engrossed enough in her studies to sit still while a sketched her.  I think she suspected that something fishy was going on though.

Portland Farmers Market-PSU

South Park blocks at Portland Sate University hosts the Farmers Market twice a week during the growing season - Saturdays till two and Wednesdays around the lunch hours.  I missed my fellow sketch mates (Alana and Kalina) but it was so crowded Saturday. The sun was so welcome, found a bench close to the little music stage and sketched along to acoustic tunes for an hour and a half.  Need to get there much earlier next time. Such a pleasant day in Portland, Oregon!


Today, I met up with fellow Portland Sketchcrawler, Kalina, and sketched at the PSU farmer's market. It was so crowded and hard to focus on drawing rather than just people watching. In February we met for a sketchcrawl at the Ecotrust building downtown. Here are a couple of sketches...

I am excited to be an official part of Urban Sketchers! The Portland Sketchcrawl group will be joining me on here. We tend to get together monthly, and of course, we often sketch on our own, too, so we should have lots to share!

Saturday, March 20, 2010


I'm delighted to announce this new blog of Urban Sketchers Portland. Local artist Alanna Randall will coordinate the effort of bringing Portland sketchers together under this roof.

Happy sketching Portland!

Gabriel Campanario'
Urban Sketchers