Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Capricious Spring

With our changeable spring weather, you have to be willing to sketch inside...

and to reschedule everything to be outside when the sun appears....

 The Portland Waterfront was lovely when the first cherry blossoms came out...

but when they were in their glory last weekend, all the crowds came out, too. That sent me to a quieter corner of the city....

I thought I could show those delicate white blossoms by leaving the paper white, but then I resorted to the old elementary school technique of using a piece of sponge (and gouache).

When I sketched the rock from our sister city in Suzhou, China, the blossoming trees were behind me, but the bamboo was a fresh spring green. The rare stone is said to 'call forth the spirit' and that seems like a good thing, too.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Illuminated Letters

Before our trip to northern Italy, I decided to do some sketchbook preparation. I've been testing which watercolors will match the Italian landscape, sky, and water. I've been taking an on-line lettering class and decided to make some illuminated letters for the names of some of the cities and towns we'll visit. I've tried to show some of the things we'll see in the cities like the prow of a gondola in Venice, striped cathedral pillars in Sienna, gardens in Verona and Vicenza, mosaics in Ravenna, Florentine patterns in Florence, a statue of the first woman university graduate in Padua.

I still need to know: what color is the blue of northern Italy skies?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Today was such a beautiful, springlike day, I just had to put some color on here.

Out with the Winter Browns

My Strathmore Toned Paper sketchbook has seemed perfect for some of the rainy days that we've had lately. It's almost filled and that seems right as it's time to switch over to something that shows off the colors of spring in Portland.  Here are most of the last of the browns and next it will be on to the greens and pinks!

If you stay for long enough when you're out on the street sketching, you're bound to see something unusual.
This time it was an eccentrically dressed man who stopped  his run to exercise vigorously in front of the elephants. He was either using a bluetooth or talking to the elephants.  He did this  routine twice while I was sketching but the park block regulars didn't seem to give him any notice.

This was the view out the Pearl Bakery Window. If you look closely, you can see a small white tree cutout
that is on the side of the building. I had never noticed it before.

The elephants appear again, but there was no running man on this weekend day. 
This sketch took me the least amount of time of the bunch and it is my favorite.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Recent Sketches and Drawings

These don't have much in common except for the fact that they were done in the last couple of weeks.

Details from Architectural Heritage Center with Urban Sketchers


New Coffee Shop

View from Laughing Planet SW

Winter Birch, Jamison Square

Hoffman Hall, Womens' Stage, PSU

Figure Drawing

Behind the Museum Cafe

Tulips (Winter Therapy)