Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Change is the Only Constant

I've been looking through old sketch books and asked myself, how has my drawing style changed over time?

Below you'll find three pages, each spaced about four years apart.

Although I'd been drawing for years, during a 2012 family trip to New York, I started sketching in earnest. And I sketched everything; at times to the chagrin of my family. What we ate, what we saw, who we met all got captured in pencil by day and with color come evening. In those days I was using the sketchbook as a journal as well.

My wife says this is her favorite of all my sketchbooks. She loves reading, so maybe that tells you something.

By 2016 I found myself saying less, trying to tell the story with drawings, but when I used words, I used bigger text. Back then, motion and feeling seemed more important to me than detail.

In late 2019, I took a sabbatical, traveling alone by boat in British Columbia. Since I didn't talk to anyone most of the time, I drew like a madman. Looking back through that sketchbook, there was a combination of bold pages, then pages with small drawings and text, much like 2012. I realize now that I was trying to capture and understand what I saw, all by myself.

I was frequently overwhelmed by the scale of the landscape and drew several pages similar to the one below. I see now that these big spreads were raw emotion.

A colleague at work only sees my books a few times a year. She says I'm getting "better."

I agree my sketching has changed and if it is for the better, it's because I'm learning to show how I see and that makes me happy.

How has your sketching changed over time?


Sunday, March 29, 2020

The Stuck at Home Sketch Journal: Making the most of a rough situation

During my stuck at home times, I decided to start a sketch journal of Indoor sketches. I'm really hoping this will keep up my creativity. Hope everyone is staying safe and creative.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Cherry Blossoms in the Time of Corona

All - I miss you.  I am glad you are my friends.  Painting this cherry tree in my neighborhood lifted my spirits.

During this tough time, I get to learn new skills.  On Saturday night I connected with family over Zoom.  It was the first time we had ever done that.  It felt great to hear and see each other laugh.  It was also fun to see where people chose to sit and to notice the different time zones through the lighting.  I got to see the hotel room where my sister is staying during her deployment in Georgia.  I got to see my mom's new baby chicks.

I hope you all find things to lift your spirits.  I have to believe it will be over before we know it.  There are lovely things about it.

Friday, March 20, 2020

The other camellia

A few buds and flowers from the second of my new camellias.
I went outside for this one, and sat in the sun on the wall between my yard and my neighbor's.

Monday, March 16, 2020

New plantings

I'd planned the locations of the new plants specifically so that I'd be able to see them from my bedroom windows.  Which worked out nicely when I now want to be able to sketch something from my window.

This is the part of the yard where most of the oak tree landed.  So between that, and the chimney fall and the equipment used to get the oak tree out, there wasn't much of my old landscaping left.

That's a camellia on the left, and a dogwood on the right, and random rounds of pine tree trunk set up in between, as a sitting area.

Sunday, March 15, 2020


Workers showed up this morning to do some demolition on my next-door neighbor's house!  Spanish-speaking guys, on a Sunday?  Has mass been canceled?  No, but the bishop has offered a dispensation, to those who aren't feeling well, or are at risk, are even the least bit uneasy about going to church.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Our March sketchcrawl is cancelled

Dear Sketchers,

What a whirlwind this week has been! After much deliberation we have decided to cancel March's meetup and join the international Urban Sketchers around the world and sketch the world outside your window at home. This was out my window this morning so there is always something.

The cherry blossoms should be blooming this week so you could also venture forth and head to the waterfront to sketch those.

So lets join all the sketchers around the world. Keep sketching and show our solidarity by posting our drawings with the hashtag #uskathome and we will all look forward to when we can sketch together again!

Take care, be well and stay safe,
Portland Urban Sketchers

Tuesday, March 10, 2020


Bit by bit, the house is getting put back together.

Monday, March 9, 2020

A Tale of Two Chimneys

Here's what my next-door neighbor's chimney used to look like.  And behind her house, you can see the giant two-century old Oregon white oak that used to dominate her back yard.

And here's what it looks like today.  After the oak came down and smashed its top off.  And the masons scavenged enough of the fallen bricks to rebuild its stubby top.

And  here's what my more humble chimney used to look like, peeking out from behind one of my pine trees.

And what it looks like now, even more humble than before.

The pine trees are gone as well.  They gave their little lives, fending the worst of the damage off of my house.  And will soon be replaced with little slips of trees - a magnolia and a dogwood.  (These were supposed to have been planted on Friday.  But my neighbor's masons needed to plant their scaffolding in my yard, so it's been delayed until this week.)

And my masons are showing up tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Why I Draw

I draw to remember. To capture a feeling. To have a reason to linger.

I draw to get off the couch. To smell the fresh air. To change my perspective.

I draw when I want to take the time. To escape from computers. To make something tangible.

I draw what I see. To be present. To enjoy the little things.

What about you? Why do you draw?