Friday, October 8, 2021

October SketchCrawl - Irving Park, Saturday 10/16

Sketch by Andrea Matthews
Sketch by Andrea Matthews
Just in time for Autumn, let's sketch this public park full of maples. Irving Park also encompasses broad rolling lawns, some shelters in case of rain, a playground, and a public toilet. There is a cafe (no indoor seating) just a few blocks away for your coffee, pastry, and sandwich needs.

It would be a good idea to bring a fold-up stool if you have one. 

For pre-meeting coffee and treats, the nearest cafe is Cafe Destino at NE Fremont & 14th.

Saturday, 10/16

9:30-10am: Meet at park entrance across from Door of Hope Northeast, 831 NE Fremont Street

12pm: We'll reconvene within sight of this same entrance for the sketchbook throwdown.

NOTE: If the forecast is for rain that morning, we will likely meet up on the south side of the park under a shelter just east of the tennis courts.

Trimet line 8 passes nearby on NE 15th. There is some street parking available.

Here's some information on the trees of Irving Park.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

How to stop the "first page jitters"...

 I have more sketchbooks than a reasonable person should own. Most of which are still blank. I've suffered for years with the affliction of "first page jitters". I now move past my debilitating sickness by making the first page of my sketchbook an ode to one of the loves of my life...Coffee. 

Here is my new sketchbook with a drawing of my morning coffee:

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Hammi - not a sketchcrawl

As it turns out, the weather was absolutely miserable this morning.  And I have to admit that I was relieved that I wouldn't be out tramping around in a park somewhere.

But, hearkening back to our virtual sketchcrawls, I did do a bit of sketching today.

This is Hammi, whom I'm fostering.  She has a prospective furever mom lined up.  We just have to get them together to see if they click.  And then Pippin will have her house to herself again.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Some September sketches

More sketches around this town of Bristol, RI. The humidity is finally calming down so outdoor sketching is more fun. I went out sketching with a new sketcher here and she was asking about some of the ins and outs of urban first advice was weather related; find a shady spot where the view appeals to you and then; safety; and access to a WC (water closet)among other advice.
Sorry that Pdx sketchers are not meeting in September but hope to see some sketchers efforts on this blog, at the email site or on Facebook!

Monday, September 6, 2021

No September Sketchcrawl

As we were expecting might be the case, Oregon's COVID cases are spiking right now and hospitals are full, so we're doing our part to keep our community safe and will not be scheduling a September sketchcrawl.  It pains us to skip it when we were all so excited to be gathering in person after the long hiatus, but we have every hope and expectation of sketching together again in October. We'll be announcing that sketchcrawl soon!

We welcome you to sketch on your own and post your drawings to share -- on the blog, in the email list, or in the Facebook group.  You are also completely welcome to use our group to arrange meetups with other sketchers to whatever degree you feel comfortable with, or share any resources or ideas you find inspiring!

See you in October!

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Reduction Sauce

 I like going out in boats a lot. And I like sketching a lot. Therefore I like going sketching in boats a lot.

Drawing from a boat presents multiple interesting challenges. For starters, you are always moving even when your sails are down and your oars are stowed. Your subjects are often in motion too.

Second, your eye picks up so much that is hard to translate to a pad of paper quickly, if at all. Observing details from far away while bobbing up and down is hard, but fun to do.

So earlier this summer when I went on a cruise from Olympia to Port Townsend, I decided not to use my paints and tried to capture the essence of each scene in pen and ink alone. Sort of like cooking, I created a reduction sauce on paper.

And for the record, no clams were harmed in the production of these sketches! ;)

Sunday, August 1, 2021

August Sketchcrawl - Cornell Farm Nursery

Let's try something further afield this month - Cornell Farm Nursery, at 8212 SW Barnes Rd.

Saturday, August 21, 10am to noon-ish
We'll meet at 10am in front of the cafe (the big yellow house) and then again at noon, somewhere, for a throwdown. Here's a map of the nursery.

Sketch by Amy Stewart

For people driving, it looks like they have on-site parking.  For people busing, the 20 has a stop nearby, at Barnes and Leahy.  The nursery is on the south side of Barnes, a bit west of the intersection.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

July sketches

I wasn't able to join in virtually for the 13th Street sketchcrawl on the 18th but I did want to do something to post. These are 2 more sketches of Bristol; A local Seafood store that takes in catches from local fisherman (our neighbor in the apartment above goes out to rake in Quahogs and clams, which according to many is a hard and messy job, he then delivers his catch to this shop). In the other sketch I am still working on finding a good blue for shadows.....try, try again!

Saturday, July 10, 2021

July Sketchcrawl - Pearl District / NW 13th

Let's sketch on NW 13th Ave this month.  The city has closed off a number of blocks to car traffic, to allow restaurants to serve people outside.  So there should be plenty of people to sketch, along with the interesting architecture of the industrial Pearl.

Sketch by Gregg 1991
Saturday, July 17, 10am to noon

Meet outside Barista Coffee (539 NW 13th Ave).

There are restrooms (I think) in the  lobby of Barista's building, and at Starbucks, at 1039 NW Couch St.

We can meet again at noon, somewhere in there, for a throw-down.

And maybe even lunch? Outside, probably, if people are ready for it.

Sketch by Gregg 2008

Monday, July 5, 2021

Bristol RI- 4th of July Parade...on the 5th!

This parade is known as the longest running 4th of July parade in the nation. It has been running since 1785 and well attended by the neighboring towns and beyond. Because the 4th was on a Sunday it was held today on the 5th. I sat around the yard in various places and on a balcony to try to get a view. Of course, it was not possible to get it all, people and vehicles moved, bands marched and pipers played too. There were minute-men and Fife and Drum units, everything patriotic....very colorful and exciting. The spectators were apporpriately garbed in red, white, and blue as well. Here are some vignette sketches of the offerings....sadly I am way out of practice on sketching people (I desperately need a refresher course from Rita Stabler!) but I did my best. Here are a couple of warm-up sketches
Then some attempts to get the flavor of the day.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

June Sketchcrawl at Portland's International Rose Test Garden

We had a great turnout - everyone seemed very ready to be out among people and the weather was perfect.  

I focused on roses for most of the allotted time. Briefly I tried to capture some of the crowd but everyone besides the sketchers was moving fairly quickly. We sketchers did a good job of it, though; people need to remember to stop and smell the roses, even at the rose garden, and we sketchers set a good example.

Shoutout to everyone that joined us for their first time this month. A couple people mentioned having gotten interested in sketching during the pandemic year and waiting for the chance to get out and do it in a social context. Several sketchers had favorite artists that I had never heard of, and there was enthusiasm about new supplies that hadn't been tested yet.  I'm looking forward to getting to know more of these new Urban Sketchers over the coming months!

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Get-together in the Rose Garden

Only our second in-person sketchcrawl since last February, and a bunch of people showed up.  Except for the mass vaccination site at the convention center, more people than I've seen in one place in over a year.  A lot of old friends, but a lot of new faces too.  Some were long-time artists, out to be sociable after a year of isolation, while other were newbies, who'd taken up sketching as a covid project.

June 2021sketchcrawl- my remote sketch and others of my temporary new home.

Bristol is a pretty typical small New England town. Here I am at the weekly farmers market held year round at Mount Hope Farm.
Since Curtis has joined me here we have been living in an apartment on tiny Cottage St. These are some sketches of the local color.
This town is known for its Fourth of July celebration and a matter of fact it claims to be the longest running 4th of July parade in the US. And the residents take this seriously by putting out flags and bunting on almost every house and town building. This last sketch is a view out of our kitchen window showing some of the many Victorian homes here. The architecture is mostly 19th C. with a couple of 18th C. homes still in existence. The town of Bristol was incorporated in in 1681. Of course the area was well inhabited by the native tribes; Narragansett on the west shore and Wampanoag on the east shore.

Monday, May 17, 2021

June Sketchcrawl - International Rose Test Garden - Saturday, June 19

It was great to see everyone in person again at our May sketchcrawl. We're looking forward to doing it again in June-- this time at the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park!

Saturday, June 19 (Juneteenth!)
Meet at rose garden gift shop/restrooms (see map below)
12:15pm: Gather at garden entrance to find an open spot for sharing sketchbooks

If I'm not mistaken, the last time we sketched there as a group was July 2010, a couple weeks before Portland hosted the first ever Urban Sketchers Symposium.

PANDEMIC PROVISO: At this stage in the pandemic, we recommend joining the group only if you have been fully vaccinated. Masks are required on shuttles and buses, and we'll be wearing them outside at our own discretion when we can't maintain comfortable social distance. 

NOTE ABOUT START TIME: I'm starting this crawl 15 minutes later than usual due to limited public transit options in the area; see transit/parking options, below.

Nearest MAX stop would be King's Hill, not the Zoo; from King's Hill it's a ~14 minute walk uphill to the park entrance at SW Park Place; from there continue another 10 minutes uphill or wait for the free shuttle which runs every 15-30 minutes starting at 9:30.

Parking is in demand in Washington Park; there may or may not be spaces available near the Rose Garden.

The Rose Garden is NOT near the zoo, for walking or shuttle ride purposes. I say that for people like myself who tend to underestimated the size of Washington Park!

Unfortunately Trimet Line 63 doesn't start up until 10:25 but you might choose to utilize it on your return trip.

Transit/Planning resources:
Washington Park Map
Free Shuttle
TriMet Line 63

Saturday, May 15, 2021

City, river, t-rex

For my first sketch outing in over a year, I knew I needed to use a bold brush to force my drawing hand into decisive action.  I started with small cityscapes, went on to the willow tree with basalt... then wound up outside OMSI with a lovely t-rex.

It was a gorgeous day to get out there and be part of the world again.

Non-virtual Sketchcrawl!

At long long last, the Portland urban sketchers met in person, there being enough of us fully vaccinated (mostly the old farts, but the youngsters are hot on our heels) to feel safe out in the world.

We met on the esplanade, and, seeing that the Hawthorne Bridge was closed to auto traffic, I took the opportunity of planting my butt on the sidewalk and dangling my feet on the road bed and did a one-point perspective of the bridge, taking care not to drop a pen or pencil through the mesh and into the drink.

And then switched to my tablet and did a study of the trunk of a gnarly old willow by the fire station.

May 15th- my Virtual Sketchcrawl

Here in Bristol RI the weather has cooperated for their scheduled Street Fair. Current state guidelines are on par with the latest specifications from the CDC. So here we are. Personally I am double masked and keeping distant while sketching. I reside in a home of a compromised individual (my brother) so am doing the best I can to keep us all safe.
I have used pens with watersoluble ink; black, Apache Sunset, and Kiowa Pecan. The last two are Noodlers inks. Also Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils in both sketches.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

May 2021 SketchCrawl - Eastside Esplanade, Saturday, May 15, 2021

Ready to return to on-site sketching?  We're planning our first non-virtual sketchcrawl since February 2020!

We recommend join this sketchcrawl only if you will be fully vaccinated and don't consider yourself high risk. Please wear a mask and be prepared to keep up social distance.

If you need to stay vigilant at home -- you are welcome to continue to participate virtually! 

Sketchcrawl/Pedalpalooza - Portland from Eastside Esplanade
Saturday, May 15
10am-12pm (No group lunch this time)
Vera Katz Eastside Esplanade

Meet in the open area just south of the bronze Vera Katz statue.  We will gather again at noon, and try to do a sketchbook throwdown in an orderly and distanced manner. If we get rain, there is shelter under the bridge and overpasses with good views still available.

SketchCrawl - Eastside Esplanade

Parking is available right next to our location on SE Main ($3 an hour or $9 for the day) or a couple blocks south at OMSI ($5, pay inside based on parking space number). Bus lines 2, 6, and 14 stop at Hawthorne Bridge and it's a ~7 minute walk.

If needed, bathrooms are available inside OMSI; as you approach the ticket desk, they are down the corridor to the left/east.  Be prepared - OMSI can be a bit crowded both outside and inside so it will be difficult to maintain social distance.

Looking forward to seeing everyone's faces again -- at least the upper half!

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Virtual Sketchcrawl- Just Three

Seems that I may have a tendancy to choose limited materials anyway having found a least these two examples.
In the top image I am using a pen with black ink, a waterbrush with Noodlers Lexington Grey ink (watered down a bit), and another water brush with Noodlers Apache Sunset ink. This is a view of the neighboring house through the broad crotch of the Catalpa tree. In the other (same view, but of the whole scene) I used the pen with black ink, waterbrush with Noodlers Lexington Grey ink (as in the other sketch), and a pen with Noodlers Kiowa Pecan ink.

Just Three

It's spring and I thought that those endearing and pesky robins who wake me up at dawn would be the perfect thing to sketch with just three colors. Black for their wings and outline, a dash of orange, and green as the background for the lawns where they hunt worms.

But when my sketchbook came out, they suddenly became elusive, or were at the top of the trees. It wasn't fun to sketch a speck. Next, I moved on to my neighbor's house, but their Victorian just looked flat with three colors.

While sitting in a local park, I noticed a sunbather on a hillside of grass blocking out a confusing background. I made a quick sketch and splashed on some green watercolor. Messy it is, but I think it captures the moment of inspiration.


Sunday, April 4, 2021

Easter Morning

My next-door neighbor used to have a camellia tree at the corner of her house, that towered over her roof line, splendid with red blossoms.

When the oak tree fell it smashed most of the plant.  It survived, but in a truncated (sorry) state, ending up as a sturdy shrub.

This spring, after a year of rest, it put out a single bud, a single blossom.  I'm taking that as a portent of hope and rebirth.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Virtual Sketchcrawwl #15- Sketching with only three things

Virtual Sketchcrawl #15 Please join us for our fifteenth virtual sketchcrawl on Saturday, April 17th
This sketchcrawl was first brought to my attention through a January 17th fb post by Pat Southern- Pearce. It had been a uskTalks challenge. This second season of uskTalks is well worth looking into if you haven't tuned in yet. I have been viewing them on YouTube as I am not always available when they are live.

In Vicky Porter's sketch above, she has used black ink, a grey was and white gel pen. The paper whether toned or white is a given. In my sketch, in the header, I used black ink, grey wash and a watersoluble sepia ink.

Other options are open; perhaps choosing three colors, or combining marker with pencil and a color wash.

Please post on the morning of April 17th, by:

(1) posting to this blog

(2) emailing to our mailing list, or

(3) posting in our Facebook group

As always, this challenge is optional, and you can be as strict to the subject or as loose as you like. Your participation is welcome whether you choose this challenge or not-- just make sure to work from life and to include contextual information, so it stays in the realm of urban sketching!

And Peggy has again graciously offered to host a zoom meetup that afternoon. (Login details will follow on the mailing list, closer to the date.)

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Virtual Sketchcrawl #14 - Reflections

Please join us for our fourteenth virtual sketchcrawl on Saturday, March 20th.

Let's sketch sometime that shows a reflection.  Any media, ahead of time or on the morning of the 20th.

Sketch by Peggy Smith

Please post on the morning of March 20th, by:

(1) posting to this blog

(2) emailing to our mailing list, or

(3) posting in our Facebook group

As always, this challenge is optional, and you can be as strict to the subject or as loose as you like. Your participation is welcome whether you choose this challenge or not-- just make sure to work from life and to include contextual information, so it stays in the realm of urban sketching!

And Peggy has again graciously offered to host a zoom meetup that afternoon.  (Login details will follow on the mailing list, closer to the date.)

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Virtual Sketchcrawl #13 - Light

Done during the Portland Winter Light [non]Festival (on its first weekend, the one before the snow and ice).  This is Twinkle Trees, on Northrup.  Which was the installation closest to me.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Virtual Sketchcrawl #13 - Light

Please join us for our thirteenth virtual sketchcrawl on Saturday, February 20th.

The Portland Winter Light Festival ( is going to happen again this year, distributed across the city and on two separate weekends in February, to make keeping apart easier.  Because we all need a ray of light in the depth of winter.

So, let's sketch 'Light', whatever that means to you.  Any media, day or night, ahead of time on on the morning of the 20th.

Cherry Trees on the Waterfront
by Kay French

Please post on the morning of Feb 20th, by:

(1) posting to this blog

(2) emailing to our mailing list, or

(3) posting in our Facebook group

As always, this challenge is optional, and you can be as strict to the subject or as loose as you like. Your participation is welcome whether you choose this challenge or not-- just make sure to work from life and to include contextual information, so it stays in the realm of urban sketching!

And Peggy has again graciously offered to host a zoom meetup that afternoon.  (Login details will follow on the mailing list, closer to the date.)