Tuesday, October 5, 2010

SketchCrawl - Portland's Old Town with guest sketcher

On Saturday Alanna invited us out on an "extra" sketchcrawl in order to join Matthew Brehm, who was visiting Portland with students.  It was a fun sketchcrawl, made more fun by cafe chatting afterwards.  Thanks for joining us, Matthew!

While my drawings weren't unmitigated successes, I did learn from them and felt satisfied that my work was getting somewhere.  All of my drawings were very specific experiments.

In this sketch at the Saturday Market, I attempted to focus in one one small area (an area that's actually hard to notice over the hustle and bustle of the market) by leaving other areas vague and setting out the bounds of my drawing right at the beginning: tree, tent top, and lamp post framed the area I wanted to work on.


We moved down to the Waterfront, between the Steel and the Burnside bridges. I experimented further with framing, leaving areas outside my focus unfinished and thus calling attention to an area that might otherwise be lost in the shuffle: my beloved Eastbank Esplanade, which connects up to the bridge and then descends right to the water level so you can stroll along the river among the ducks and geese.

Finally, I experimented with using a gorgeous ink - J. Herbin's Ambre de Birmanie - loaded in a water brush as a base for a loose sketch of the Japanese Historical Plaza on the Waterfront. (Unfortunately the color has been altered by my scanner.  It's like a resplendent, orange-leaning yellow ochre that is not even slightly muddy - a lovely, glowing tone that was exactly what I hoped for. )

My intent was to use minimal watercolors in support of the ink, letting the entire drawing really pivot on the amber, but I ended up messing with it afterwards as the amber was a very strong tone and should probably be used in smaller quantities. I need to practice this technique a lot more but was very happy with the ink, and with the feel of the ink on the paper in conjunction with watercolors.



  1. Your framing technique is really working. The sketch of the bridge is outstanding. I used J. Herbin's ink (Lie de The) with a brush a few months ago in a sketch, and was impressed with the luminous quality it gave surfaces. http://edensketcher.blogspot.com/2010_05_01_archive.html

  2. Kalina, I love the way you seem to get so much information into your drawings....you tell a wonderful story with your drawings!