Thursday, July 30, 2015

Sketches from a Hot City

I wish I had a sketch of the brave Greenpeace protesters who are dangling from the St. Johns Bridge today, blocking the Shell Oil icebreaker, Fennica, from returning to drill in the Arctic. 
This sketch was made at the same site, but during the last sketchcrawl, as the Cathedral Jazz Festival was beginning.

 A couple of Saturdays ago, I drew a corner of the Simon Benson House. I had a blank page facing it and decided it needed the Benson Bubbler next to it. I returned the next day to add to the sketch and I experienced just a little bit of magic: one crow fed the other one water from the fountain!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

3rd Saturday Sketch Crawl - MOUNT TABOR - Aug 15, 2015

It will probably be a beautiful sunny day, so let's sketch at Mt. Tabor Park!  Sketching choices abound:  trees, reservoirs, people, city views.

  • 10:00am: Meet at TaborSpace (5441 SE Belmont) for introductions / coffee / snacks.
  • 10:30am: Sketch around Mt. Tabor Park
  • 12:30pm: Optional - Meet at the thing that looks like a castle (see map and photo below) for sketchbook sharing / and byo lunch. Located up the stairs from the intersection of SE 60TH and SE Hawthorne.
Hope to see you there!

Googlemaps walking directions between TaborSpace and lunch meeting place:

Lunchtime meeting place MAP:

Lunch time meeting place PHOTO:

Saturday, July 25, 2015

48th WorldWide SketchCrawl at PSU Market

I sat and sketched in the cool weather of PSU shady trees today.
It was not crowded -- which was nice!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sketching St John's area in Portland

On our latest sketchcrawl to the St John's area and Cathedral Park I opted to stay up in the town and forgo sketching the beautiful St John's Bridge.
In the past I had taken on the challenge of the bridge and so had skipped over the street scene of the St John's area.
It was a vibrant scene on this day.....a farmer's market and a good crowd of people enjoying the day. A little way down Lombard St was this interesting building with a fantastic neon sign. Not really sure what a palm tree has to do with a wishing well though I enjoyed sketching it.

The Wishing Well restaurant and bar- watercolor and ink

a street scene- watercolor and ink
I was trying something a little different than my usual technique here using a waterproof ink in my Hero M86 pen to which I then added watercolor.

Later after our sketch sharing at Cathedral Park I joined Vicky and Donna to sketch the Jazz Festival going on there under the bridge.

Jazz Festival at Cathedral Park- watercolor and ink

Monday, July 20, 2015

St Johns Sketchcrawl

Last Saturday about fifteen Urban Sketchers met at Proper Eats Market and Cafe on Lombard in the St John's neighborhood of Portland.  St Johns is one of my favorite places to sketch because of its quaint, small town feel plus the main street is only a couple blocks from the lovely St Johns Bridge and Cathedral Park, which spreads out beneath the bridge.  After coffee and a good chat by the shaded tables outside Proper Eats, the group spread out to sketch--some headed over to the park, some down the main street of St Johns, and some remained in the comfort of the shade at the cafe, with generous coffee refills forthcoming!  Afterwards we met at Cathedral Park to share our sketches and chat some more.
PDX Urban Sketchers enjoying each others sketches.

Sketchers chatting at the park.
My sketch done from a comfy seat in the shade of a tree outside the cafe. I added a little of the shading later.
John said I could share his sketch from the same vantage point.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

St.John's Bridge

Wow,that was a challenge! I'd like to go back and try it again....on a cooler day!
The structure underneath was overwhelming. I think I will try another view next time.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Schoolhouse Electric and Pyramid Juices

Schoolhouse Electric is on Nicolai St.
It’s been revitalized with a barista
and a great home furnishing and lighting store.

It was a hot day to sketch.

Pyramid Juices was once made in
Ashland Oregon before it was bought out —
now it is down the road from our studio.
The brewery next door, Pacifica (candles),
and the roasting company down the street
make the NW smell good, of food and fruit
and roasting coffee on any given day!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Riverswest Family Boat build sketches

On Sunday I parked myself to take in some of the scenes around the Family Boat Build hosted at the Willamette Sailing Club.

watercolor and non waterproof ink

watercolor and non waterproof ink
As you can see in these sketches I was avoiding people...but that clutter was so intriguing!
My other sketches (including people) are on my blog.

Our NW Industrial Neighborhood

I haven’t sketched outdoors much lately.  I wondered what I might make of our buildings.
Our studio is in an industrial area in NW Portland.
This is the approach from the freeway.
We share space in the building with Portland Opera’s stage crew and Action Video.
Our studio spaces are along the western side of the building.
That’s my finish room waaaaaaay down there on the top floor.

Across the street is Rejuvenation.  I’d love to own that beautiful Building!

We overlook Grimm’s studio and Calbag, a dirty metal recycling center that drops heavy metals all over.  I cringe whenever I see someone picking berries from their property — Have a little metal dust with those berries?  We watch Grimm’s carny come and go when they are on location.  A caravan of long trailers leave up 26th Ave early in the morning;
I am often in the studio by 5am. We don’t see them coming back unless we are at the studio very late.  I stood in front of their studio entrance to draw this view,
looking back at our upholstery studio.  Our studio is on the upper right of the building;
Mitchell and my computers sit and we can look out toward the Willamette River. 

Grimm’s studio entrance is unimpressive.
Only the guard shack betrays something that needs guarding!

Drawn in an Strathmore Mixed Media journal.

Friday, July 10, 2015

4th of July @ PSU Farmer's Market

We went to the PSU Farmer's Market on the 4th of July, arriving when it opened as we wanted to avoid heat and crowds. It was lovely, cool under the canopy of trees and on the cool lawn.

We bought our fill of peaches, berries, squash and lettuce, and Lavender Chipotle Raspberry jam that we used on a pork roast that very night with garlic salt, black pepper and fresh raspberries placed on the pork as it was being taken out of the oven.  Heavenly.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

On the Waterfront

A view from the South Waterfront

The new Tilikum Crossing from the Eastside Esplanade

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A sketching opportunity for this weekend (7/11 & 7/12)

My sketch at Riverswest Boat Build (2012)

The annual Woodenboat Show and Family Boat Build is July11&12. All are welcome and it is free! There will be food available for purchase!
Located at Willamette Sailing Club on Macadam Ave. Go to Riverswest for more details (click on Family Boat Build).

This is a great opportunity to see young families working together to build and launch a 12ft boat in 2 days. They are presented with a new set of oars and oarlocks for the launch. It is priceless to see their proud faces!
A large collection of boats built by members to be shown as well!
I will be there around 9:30-10:00 on Sunday July 12th to sketch. Come and join me. A fine opportunity to sketch people and boats!

3rd Saturday Sketch Crawl - JULY 18, 2015 - Cathedral Park


Saturday, July 18, let's go back to Cathedral Park in St. John's. It's another opportunity to sketch the beautiful St. John's Bridge, plus the Columbia River.  Lovely lovely lovely. The Jazz Fest is also going on that day so we may have the choice of staying and listening to some good music. And it's free!

10:00am: Meet at Proper Eats for introductions / coffee / snacks.
10:30am: Sketch around Cathedral Park
12:00noon: Meet at the circle shown in this photo at the bottom of the stairs for sketchbook sharing / (byo) lunch.  if Jazz Fest is starting by then, there are usually food vendors around.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Invitation to sketch Aurora Colony Days, August 8

Saturday, August 8 -- Aurora sketch outing 

Susan Black from Aurora, Oregon (just south of Wilsonville, about 20 miles from Portland) invites us to leave the city and spend all or part of the day sketching and enjoying a bucolic small-town celebration, Aurora Colony Days.  

Aurora, a National Historic District, is a 950-person town that was settled in the mid-19th century as a sort of utopian colony .  Though that specific community no longer exists, Aurora continues as a creative, vibrant place esp. known for its many antique and vintage shops, its 35 original colony buildings, its historic museum and its natural beauty.  Sketchable people-watching events in the Colony Days celebration include a footrace, a parade, a pancake breakfast, antiques, food and other street vendors to augment the brick-and-mortar merchants, a community art show, a beer garden and a concert -- most outdoors and all in walking distance and set among vintage buildings and lush greenery.  Events begin at 7:30 (the footrace) and continue all day into the evening (the concert).  

Susan is the organizer of the community art show and has also invited a group of watercolorists to work in Aurora on August 8.  A reception and show/sale specifically for the day's work will take place in mid-afternoon.

Susan invites us to gather at her home (21424 Liberty Street NE, Aurora), which is handy to all the Colony Days venues, anytime from 7 AM on.  Please contact her directly at or 415-533-5431(cell). 

For research: -- -- "images of Aurora Oregon" in your search engine.

Please email if you are interested in carpooling, or post on the Google group.