Portland Urban Sketchers Workshop

Just got home after a great visit to Portland, where I led a day-long workshop for the Urban Sketchers group there. It was a fantastic bunch of folks, 38 of us in all! I started with a 2-hour talk that mixed techniques on observation, composition, perspective, and media with short sketching exercises. After a lunch break, we met again in Pioneer Courthouse Square for three hours of location drawing. As we were wrapping up the morning session, the sun was breaking through and it looked to be a promising afternoon - there was a 70% chance of rain in the forecast. Unfortunately, just as we were getting started with the afternoon session, the rain came down. I was very impressed with everyone's willingness to fight through it and do some sketching. Thankfully there were some breaks in the rain, and we ended up at the Multnomah County Library (beautiful building!) for some indoor sketching and a look at each other's sketchbooks. I really enjoy doing workshops like this - getting around to everyone and sharing tips and techniques ... it's such a rewarding experience as a teacher. The only problem is that I don't get to sketch a whole lot! I always try to blast out at least one drawing to use as an example, and that's what I've posted here. Thanks to People's Food Co-Op for the use of their Community Room, and huge thanks to Alanna Randall for working so hard on organizing the event!


Montreal with Marc Holmes!

I was in Montreal over the weekend for a conference, and managed to spend a great day sketching with fellow urban sketcher Marc Taro Holmes. The weather was really awful ... rain on top of snow, just about as nasty as it can get ... but that didn't stop us from visiting several spots around the city. We went first to the Canadian Center for Architecture, to see a small exhibit of drawings by Andrea Palladio. We arrived a little before they opened, and so did a quick sketch of what was across the street from the entrance.

Next up was the Cathedrale Marie Reine du Monde ... which is a scaled-down version of St. Peter's in Rome. I guessed that it was about 1/3 scale, and apparently I guessed correctly (according to this site, anyway). It was nice to get out of the rain for a little while, and a little disorienting to be in such a familiar, albeit smaller, space. After this sketch we took a lunch break and ate giant, awesome smoked meat sandwiches at Reuben's Deli.

After a cab ride out of the city center, we arrived at the Jardin Botanique, and then the Biodome, which contains plants and animals from several different climate zones. It was a dramatic change to step into a tropical climate after being out in the rain and slush ... but lots of fun to sketch the lush vegetation with squawking birds and monkeys (and children) all around.

We found our way back to the Jardin Botanique, and each did a quick sketch of the bonsai in one of the greenhouses. Later, back in the city center, we added some watercolor and had dinner at a little pub. It was a fun day, despite the ugly weather, with lots of entertaining conversation. Big thanks to Marc for showing me around a fantastic city!
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