Thursday, May 30, 2013

Festival of Flowers. etc.

I walked through Pioneer Courthouse Square today and saw the display of flowers. I wasn't sure if it was finished, because I couldn't tell what the design was until I saw the sign, Tattoo Portland...

and then it became clearer...

There were tables and chairs set up in the design, so I sat and drew this sketch between rain showers.

Here are a couple of miscellaneous sketches from May.

(There seem to be quite a few blog appearances of the blue checked tablecloth this month.)

The strawberries are scrumptious this year and the lettuces are gigantic because of all the rain.

Noguchi and the Japanese Garden

Portland is lucky to have several Noguchi sculptures on loan at the  Portland Japanese Garden.  A few weeks ago, a sketching friend and I spent the morning sketching some of them. Portland's Japanese Garden doesn't allow any paints, so we just drew in pencil or pen and I added the color at home. As often happens when drawing, I gained an additional appreciation for Noguchi's shapes and textures while trying to capture the look on paper. It was such a temptation to touch them all--but I behaved.

Isamu Noguchi made sculptures of marble, paper, metal, stone and bronze, among other things.


Some of his sculptures were outside in the garden. Portland's Big Pink is in the background and had it been a clearer day, there would have been Mt. Hood, too.

We took a break for lunch and ate in the Garden Room at Elephant's. The hanging lanterns seemed to fit the theme of the day.

Back at the Japanese Garden, we sketched some more...

before visiting the gift shop. This peaceful little stone figure wanted to come home with me, as a souvenir of the day.

Before the visit, I had watched the movie, Leonie. It is the story of Isamu Noguchi's mother and shows some of how he got his artistic start in life. I highly recommend both the movie and the show of his sculptures and the Japanese Garden.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Inside and Outside

This month, the weather in Portland has ranged from sunny and hot to rainy and cold. Being a fair-weather sketcher, I try to get out when the sun is out and settle for still lifes and poses when it's not. Here are some sketches of both.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


I was given two big bouquets of tulips for Mother's Day and they are spectacular.

The parrot tulips are really exotic...

and the others are huge and dramatic, too.

Both of these bouquets came from the Portland Farmer's Market and what makes them even more special is they were grown by one of my favorite families.  I taught three of the children and it's always a pleasure to see them busily helping in the flower stall.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Train Day

Today, the Urban Sketchers gathered at Union Station to record the festivities of National Train Day.
I started with a quick sketch of a fellow sketcher.

Next, I tried to capture the crowd waiting in line for a close up look at an old steam engine. There were people of all ages, lots of little kids, train buffs, and several clowns.

watercolor and ink on toned paper

 After a while, I escaped the crowds and sketched in the garden outside the station.This napper had a dog that watched over her. There was really only the one dog, but I liked it in both positions. Later, another young woman switched places with this one and brought another dog! I felt like my sketch of two dogs made it happen:) I decided I'll draw a large pile of money to test this theory.

I went back for another quick sketch of this engine and added the gel pen and marker at home.

ink, marker, and gel pen on toned paper

As always, it was fun and inspiring to sketch with the Urban Sketchers of Portland.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Cinco de Mayo

I went to the Cinco de Mayo festival with another sketcher on Friday. We got there as it opened and families started wandering in. Everything looked organized and polished and ready to go. Some of the delicious smells of food cooking were already being carried in the breeze.

The ferris wheel towers over all the tents and other rides. I always like looking at the riders when I cross the Morrison Bridge.

I stole this composition idea from Deb. Her's is better

 We sketched the Artisan Village to the accompaniment of children playing their newly purchased bird whistles.

We were in the main tent for the Naturalization Ceremony where many new citizens were sworn in. Proud family members and friends snapped photos.

Later, we sketched Caesar, a musician who played several different flutes, pipes and rattles.

It was my first time going to the Cinco de Mayo festival, but I'll definitely return again. It was a lovely way to spend a gorgeous day.