Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Pioneer Courthouse Square

There'd been a plan to shift into Pioneer Place if it was raining, but there was enough shelter around the square that everyone found dry spots and stuck around.  Some did the tree and others the courthouse, and some, like me, did the weather machine.

I'd been expecting to see the dragon because it was so wet, but the heron was up again.

I joined some of the others for lunch and came back afterwards, when the dragon had replaced the heron.

The Pioneer Pioneer Court House

We were lucky to find a dry place to sketch outside. It was cold. I did not want to pull out my water color set up, so I chose to mostly work in pencil and focus on proportions and value.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Sketching in Pioneer Courthouse Square

We had a nice turnout for our meetup this month. Cold and rainy but we found shelter and drew the square.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

January 2020 Sketchcrawl: First Presbyterian Church (indoors), Saturday, January 18

For our first sketchcrawl of 2020, we have a special opportunity to sketch inside First Presbyterian Church in downtown Portland! Just a few months ago we had an impromptu weekday sketchcrawl inside this space, and it was such a joy to sketch, we wanted to schedule a regular Saturday sketchcrawl as well, to enable more of us to attend.

The Church has also expressed interested in displaying our sketches in the Chapel Gallery during a concert on February 9, as part of their free concert series celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Jaeckel Pipe Organ. Please consider participating. Our contact at the church will talk with us further about this during the sketchcrawl.

Note: We'll be heading out from our gathering spot earlier than usual this time, to make sure we have time to gather and enter the church together. We will be inside the church from 10:30am onwards.  If you arrive late, please visit the church office at 610 SW 13th Avenue to be escorted inside.

Sketch by Linda D'Amario
Sketch by Ali Corbin

Schedule for Saturday, January 18:

9:50am: Meet at Case Study Coffee, 802 SW 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97205.
10:20: Start gathering outside First Presbyterian Church, 1200 SW Alder St, Portland, OR 97205. We will enter by 10:30.
12:15pm: Sketchbook throwdown on the main floor
12:30pm: Optional lunch at McMenamin's Ringler's Pub, 1332 SW Burnside St

Getting There: Easily accessible by public transportation.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Head and Neck Surgical Associates has a wonderful waiting room with a good view of the Fremont Bridge... I  did not mind waiting .....

Sunday, November 17, 2019

December 21st: Pioneer Courthouse Square

It's the holidays! Let's go to Pioneer Courthouse Square to sketch all the festivities. We will meet at the Starbucks and sketchers can stay in the square or look for Santa in Pioneer Place, especially if the weather doesn't cooperate.
Ali Corbin

10:00am- Meet at the Starbucks at Pioneer Courthouse Square  Portland OR 
10:30am - Sketch the Square and surrounding area
12:00 noon - Sketchbook throwndown TBD
LUNCH at Pioneer Place Food Court

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

  November 16th : Hawthorne Asylum Food Cart Pod Sketchcrawl


We will be traveling to the East-side to the very intriguing Hawthorne Asylum Food Cart Pod located at 1080 SE Madison St. Read the history at the link below. 

Street parking may be difficult.....Transit options are suggested (bus and streetcar).


Sketch by Janene Walkky


10:00am- Meet at Tiny's Coffee South East. 1412 SE 12th, Portland OR
10:30am - Travel to 1080 SE Madison St. Sketch in and around the food cart pod
12:00 noon - Sketchbook throwndown TBD

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Bridge Party

I got up early this morning to walk to Burnside, to join the people milling around waiting to parade up to the new bridge on the Wildwood Trail.  We were led by an honor guard of elders from a few nearby-ish tribes, followed by a marching band (who started with a song called, appropriately enough, 'Walking').

The parade ended with a party under the bridge, with pancakes and coffee.  And no actual access to the bridge itself.  The portions of the trail that used to come down to the roadway have been excised - blocked off, draped in burlap and covered with branches.  So I parked myself underneath the bridge and sketched it from below.

I'm not happy with the result.  But I'm not going to throw it away.  Cause I'll never get another chance sketching from the middle of Burnside.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Fall trees and the Broadway Bridge

Many thanks to the owners of the parking garage for allowing us to use their place for this month's sketchcrawl. And to Deb for arranging it! While some people stayed outside and painted in the sporadic rain, several of us went into the garage where we had views from the upper levels.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Broadway Bridge

Deb had wrangled permission to use the parking garage near the train station.  I found a spot partway up the stairway and did a sketch from there.

By the time I'd finished that, it was dry - sunny even - and I thought I'd chance another one from the pedestrian bridge on other side of the train station.  But, of course, it started raining by the time I got there.  I looked for shelter nearby, and ended up under the bridge, looking up at it.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Lower Macleay Park

Another good turnout for the September sketchcrawl, a little chilly but no rain. I brought a long piece of paper folded into an accordion, but not too long to make it unwieldy.

Monday, September 30, 2019


The endless sewer maintenance work seems to have moved into the Pearl.

Balch Creek Sketchcrawl

I walked a laborious two blocks to meet a bunch of other sketchers at the Macleay Park Trailhead.

I found a vantage point to do the underside of the bridge, with a simplification of the trusses that hold it up.

And then walked up the trail to do the waterfall, where I got some relief from the all-encompassing green around me.

I stood on the footbridge that spans the creek.  Which bounces when people are walking on it.  Good thing I didn't need to draw any straight lines.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

September Sketchcrawl: Lower Macleay Park

Saturday's rain held off and we had a beautiful day for sketching in Lower Macleay Park. 

Prior to sketching, we were asked what  personal sketching goal we had for the day. Several people had concerns about how to deal with all of the green. Looking at the results, it didn't appear to cause any undue problems. The sketches are wonderful! Sketching while sitting trailside, hearing the birds and the creek and the footsteps and voices of hikers, and breathing the fresh air all made this one of my favorite sketch crawls. Thanks everyone, for coming out and joining in!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

October 19th 2019 Sketchcrawl: Broadway Bridge

Continuing our bridge theme we will sketch the iconic Broadway Bridge which was built in 1913. The Broadway Bridge is a bascule bridge and was the longest span for this type of bridge at that time.

10am: Meet at Starbucks (see map below). 1102 NW Lovejoy
10:30: Walk to Broadway Bridge
12pm: Sketchbook throwdown TBD
12:30pm: Optional lunch at Laughing Planet and Hot Lips Pizza 
at the Ecotrust Building, 721 NW Broadway

Getting There: easily accessible by public transportation.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Climate Strike....downtown Portland 9/20/19

There was an awesomely large crowd that gathered downtown across from City Hall today.
I found a spot a little down from the park for the first couple of sketches and then moved up a little when the crowd started to travel down to the Hawthorne Bridge.

I used a larger format than my usual sketchpad and had pre-colored some pages. That way I could just use my pens and waterbrush with Lexington Grey on site. Later I added some additional color.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Saturday, August 24, 2019

First Presbyterian Church - the Pipe Organ

Last week on Friday, a group of Portland Urban Sketchers was allowed special access to First Presbyterian Church. They are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the installation of their pipe organ with a year of organ music through their Celebration Works program and were interested in seeing sketches of the organ.

Our sketch group has only had one sketchcrawl at this location before; it was a decade ago and we sketched only from the outside. This time we not only went inside, we got a demo of how the pipe organ works and some historical backdrop as well. What an honor!  We'll be returning to this beautiful building for a future Saturday sketchcrawl and are grateful to our contacts at the Church that made this possible. 

For a last minute sketchcrawl on a week day, I was impressed with our great turnout! Thanks to everyone that made time to visit, and to those sketchers that shared their sketches with FPC afterwards.

The inside of the Church is full of warm wood tones and graceful arches and curves.  However, it's also full of interesting shapes that we may not understand well yet, like the pipes on the pipe organ! I got fairly confused in my one big sketch and can't wait to try again now that I have some ideas about how to approach this subject.

Thanks again to the folks at First Presbyterian for taking the time to invite us in and let us sketch!

Friday, August 23, 2019


On Sunday I took a day trip to Maryhill - the state park, the old town, Stonehenge and the museum, to get some sketches in.

In the morning I started in the town, now little more than a ghost town with many of the buildings empty, and did the church and an old gas station, with a couple of windmills behind it.  And a glimpse of Stonehenge high up on the hill above me.

Then we gathered for lunch, and then caravanned up the hill to the museum.  And there we, as a group, looked at this year's plein air exhibit.  This display the paintings that a dozen or so artists did near Maryhill over four days around the beginning of August.  One of whom was Elo.  Someone had done the same gas station that I'd done this morning.  But most of the paintings were of Mt Hood, from various angles, or of water - the Columbia or waterfalls.  No one bothered with the host of windmills running down both sides of the gorge.

So, after I wandered through the rest of the museum, I bought an Italian soda at the cafe and then walked out onto the patio to do just hills and windmills.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Albina Sketchcrawl

I started out by wandering to the north from the meeting place, to get a good view of the tangle of on-ramps and off-ramps that connect I5 to the Fremont Bridge.

And then walked up the hill to Emmanuel Hospital, to the top of a parking garage there, where I found a view of the bridge itself, bracketed by a couple of evergreen trees.

First Presbyterian

Kalina arranged an outing to sketch at First Presbyterian. In return for sketches that the church could use in their newsletter.

I got there early,and started out with a pen drawing of the facade.

Then we were invited inside to sketch there. (And got an impromptu organ recital.) The church is filled with carved cherry wood, with a balcony that undulates around the sanctuary.

Facade of the Organ

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Albina Mississippi crawl

I haven't sketched in this area for years, but have always enjoyed its mix of urban decay, sweet little indie businesses, massive industrial buildings, and in the distance... downtown skyline to one side, Fremont Bridge to the other.

After the first two sketches I walked down towards Interstate to sketch the Fremont Bridge... but couldn't help it, I love those criss-crossing overpasses and had to keep going!

Albina/Mississippi from Dawn Patrol Coffee
Albina/Mississippi area
Albina/Mississippi area

September Sketchcrawl - Sept. 21: Thurman Bridge and Macleay Park

Our next regularly scheduled Saturday sketchcrawl will take in the historic Thurman Bridge, which was built in 1905 during the Lewis & Clark Exposition. This bridge also crosses the entrance to Macleay Park which we will have the option to explore. It's less than a mile's walk to reach some stone building ruins down a hiking trail. This should be a nice crawl to spend some end-of-summer weather in a beautiful lush environment!

Image is from

Schedule: (Find your own breakfast beverages/food prior to meeting. See Resources below.)
10am: Meet at Lower Macleay Park entrance (see map below). This is one block west from NW 29th & Upshur.
12pm: Sketchbook throwdown at same location
12:30pm: Optional lunch at Industrial Cafe at 2572 NW Vaughn.
(This is a ~7 block walk from the park.)


There is a restroom and some parking near the park entrance.
A nearby cafe for snacks/coffee is Clearing Cafe at 2772 NW Thurman, which is about 5 minutes' walk east from the park.

Getting There: The entrance to the park is a 7 minute walk from the NW Wardway & Montgomery Park Trimet stop, which is served by lines 15 and 77.  There is some parking in the neighborhood but we're uncertain how easy it will be to find a spot.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

N Interstate and Albina

It was cool and overcast today so we didn't have to find shady spots for drawing. Lots of people focused on the Fremont Bridge while others focused on the neighborhood. Fun day!