Thursday, April 25, 2013

St James Catherdral - Seattle

10" x 8" sketchbook spread. 
Watercolor and white Pitt Pen on 
Simons Green Twinrocker paper in a hand sown sketchbook.

I took the day off and drove to Seattle Wed to see the Nicholai Fechin exhibit at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle. While I waited for my daughter to join me, I sketched the towers of the St James Cathedral, which I could see from the museum.

It was a gorgeous day and a fantastic exhibit.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

sketching at University of Portland

I got this 'from above' view of the Port of Portland from the bluffs at the university. It was quite challenging and after I'd started it I thought maybe I should have done a warm-up sketch or two. There is much that is not included in the was so busy with buildings, ships, cranes and whatnot's that I became lost a couple of times. Besides ships that moved!
But I have to keep remembering that it is the essence that I am after not an exact representation.

View of Port of Portland from University of Portland bluffs on the Willamette- watercolor, ink, Pitt pens
Afterward I cooled my brain and did this more tranquil subject.

Sculpture at University of Portland- ink

 After lunch in the Commons we passed around our sketches and then Kalina gave her 'Pens 101' to an enraptured (and grateful) audience.........a good day!

Bird Song and Bricks

The sketchcrawl at the University of Portland today was just lovely. Nice weather, good group (at least a dozen folks if not more?), and such a tranquil setting to wander and draw.

My friend Clare came along for her first Urban Sketching adventure. She was busy disassembling a bike wheel at the start of the meetup, and it was fun to try to capture the crazy angles of all the spokes.

We moved from the posh interior of the dining commons to the bluff overlooking the docks. I was intimidated by the profusion of cranes and other industrial equipment, but the color scheme of the Overseas Martinez did remind me that I had a brick-colored pencil in my kit...

Which came in very handy when I shifted my attention to bell towers and madrone bark.

By this point I was getting rather distracted by the profusion of bird songs, wanting to identify the second species of hummingbird that I had spotted among the madrone flowers, and wondering if I could fit into the hollow space in this maple tree's trunk. (I totally did go stand inside it, and it was so great.) So the composition here is a little scatterbrained, but only because I was enjoying the day so much!

Had to leave a little early but was really thrilled to see how absorbed folks were in the fountain pen discussions. Hope we keep that momentum on discussing materials and techniques going in future events.

Portland Streetcorner

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Portland Streetcorner

Yesterday, it was chilly and rainy so I was sketching from inside the Starbucks across from Powell's.

Powell's from the corner of NW 11th and NW Couch

When a car pulled away, a much more human story was revealed...

Homeless Man and Dog under Plastic, Streetroots Seller

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sketchcrawl this Saturday: University of Portland

Hello, bell tower!
Join us on Saturday, April 20th for a sketch-crawl at the University of Portland! Located near the Saint Johns neighborhood in the north side of the city, right along the banks of the Willamette River, UP has a lovely green campus landscape with a mix of old and new buildings. If the weather's nice, it will be a great chance to sketch students playing frizbee!

Meet at 10 am at the Bauccio Commons, a cafe & hangout space with a lovely big fireplace and picture windows that look out towards the campus chapel. Coffee and snacks are easily available. At 10:30 we'll scatter to sketch, then regroup at the Commons at 12:30 to share what we've drawn.  (And, there's the option to grab lunch at the Commons as well if folks are hungry.)

* Update! We're going to do a techniques-sharing session after lunch, around 1:00 in the Commons. "Fountain Pens 101" - Please bring any fountain pens you'd like to talk about, and we'll do some demos and discuss issues & maintenance. Kalina will facilitate, but we're hoping everyone chips in with insights, techniques, suggestions and questions.  

The Commons--big picture windows and a nice fireplace inside.

A few tips for getting there...

Printable campus map available here.

Google Map of area here.

By car:
  • All of the "general" parking areas are fair game on the weekends, you don't need a permit. Street parking is fine too. Campus security is keen on making sure folks park facing the correct direction, so do pay heed to signs along those lines. 
By bus:
  • There are a number of bus routes that will get you to the University of Portland campus. (Route 35 has it's final stop right on campus, and Route 44 and  Route 75 will get you darned close too.)
  • is a great place to plan your transit! Enter your start point and type "University of Portland" as the end point, and it will give you a list of options.
By bike:
  • North Willamette Blvd has nice bike lanes and lovely views out over the bluff towards the river. As you'd expect, the campus has plenty of bike racks scattered around.
Click to enlare--notes on where to meet, bus stops, etc.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Voodoo Donuts- eastside

Voodoo Donuts eastside held up to the reputation of the original last Saturday. I got there a little earlier than the 9:30 meet up just behind Katura and Chris. Within a very short time the line was out the door and starting to wrap around the building!
Inside the line is starting to build for those tasty donuts.
After an initial warmup sketch above I moved outside to get a view of the building. The temperature was cold that day but if the sun kept out it was OK...and it seemed to want to do that for at least some of the time. Eventually though it got too cold so Vicky, Mike and I moved onto another inside and warmer location.
Didn't arm myself with the proper bright pink color so had to improvise...but you all know what it is supposed to be!
Mike searched his smart phone and found a place just a little bit down on Sandy. That is how we discovered this wonderful coffee (with food and pastries) and motorcycle shop! Very interesting stuff on the walls ( like a whole wall of motorcycle helmets) and of course motorcycles to draw. What fun!
A very cool bike....someone came by later and took it out for a ride.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Voodoo and Beyond

I don't have any terrific sketches today, but in the spirit of sharing, here they are.
This first one was done at Voodoo Doughnuts Too, looking past the sketchers to the parking lot beyond. (My apologies for the poor likenesses.)

It was chilly today (mid 40's) and I didn't finish my sketches from the parking lot before we decided to head to a nearby coffee and motorcycle shop ( see Katura's links) for warmth. What a great place this was!  Thanks to Mike for finding this spot. Besides the hot mugs, good coffee, and delicious pastry, there were motorcycles, helmets, good views and available tables.

Not having been on a motorcycle since my 20's,  I had no idea what I was drawing and it's likely that someone who knows motorcycles would be appalled at what I left out or distorted. This last one, I drew from looking at a reflection in the shop window. Then I turned around and drew the rest of the scene.

We didn't have a big group, but it was a very congenial one and I had a good time sketching with everyone and perusing the sketchbooks. 

After warming up at home, I went back to the doughnut shop to finish my sketches. The lines were three people thick this time and it started raining, so I drove a few blocks away and drew a firehouse from the warmth of my car. The Voodoo Doughnut shop sketches will have to wait for another, warmer day.

Northeast Sandy Sketchcrawl

We started off today's sketchcrawl at Voodoo Doughnut Too, where the screeching punk music was a perfect fit for a doughnut whose eye had been poked out by a pretzel.

The on-and-off sunlight lured us outside, where I caught some of the iconic building signs in the neighborhood.

Many of the sketchers ended up taking shelter from the cold in a delightful motorcycle coffee bar, which was remarkably cozy, comfortable, and welcoming (especially in comparison with Voodoo!) I was too chicken to draw any of the historic motorcycles, but I did try to tackle the Sandy Plaza building across the street.

Lunch at Pho Gia was super tasty, I'd happily go back there. And even more delicious was the passing around of everyone's sketchbooks, super-inspiring stuff. Thanks, sketchers, for a great morning!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

My Own Little Sketch Crawl

As I so often have work on the days everyone is off having fun, sketching up the town, I have to make up my own little sketchy days. This past Monday was one such day. Just a couple of landscape sketches from the day and one little sketch I did today while I was waiting for the oil to be changed in my car. Hope to see you all soon!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Worldwide Sketchcrawl this Saturday, April 13

Join us this Saturday, April 13 for a Worldwide Sketchcrawl--with a twist of doughnuts! 

9:30 am:  Meet up and socialize at Voodoo Donuts Too, at 1501 NE Davis, just off of Sandy. (Please note that Voodoo can get pretty busy, so if you really do need a coffee and/or frosting fix before you dive into the day, it might not hurt to factor in a little extra time to stand in line.)

10 am: Let's explore the area and sketch! There are some charming kitchy landmarks along this stretch, including the Sandy Hut Restaurant, the big 7-Up sign on top of the Portland Bottling Company building, and (a short stroll up 12th) the giant spinning bag of white bread on top of the Franz bread factory. Of course, there's also the option to sketch donuts, too--and they do have such personality!

12:00 noon:  Meet to share sketches at Pho Gia, at 1944 NE Sandy (near 19th.) 

12:30 pm: Stay for lunch if you wish!

We have two official sketchcrawls this month--in addition to the Worldwide Sketchcrawl on April 13th, our standard 3rd Saturday Sketching will be happening at the University of Portland on April 20th. Stay tuned for more details on that event, coming soon! 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Cherry blossom time

I joined Vicky and Angelika (and the rest of Portland) to enjoy the beautiful Cherry blossoms at the Japanese Memorial Park this past Saturday.

In addition to these two sketches I was able to complete a sketch started last Fall. You can view that on my blog at
A very satisfying day to be out sketching!