Sunday, December 31, 2017

Riding the rails on New Year's Eve

I took advantage of the free rides on Trimet on New Year's Eve, and spent the evening riding around town.  Two streetcars and three MAX trains, from Good Sam to the South Waterfront, and from Beaverton to Gateway.

It was a mixed group.  Some were quiet, some were sleeping even.  Some were on their way to a party, while others were already on their way home.  And some were partying on board the train.  (There is such a thing as a coffin-shaped cellphone case.)

Portland Art Museum

Our assignment was to try to show motion on a motionless medium.

I started out in the Laika exhibit, which solved the similar problem - that of using motionless objects to produce motion.  There was an entire wall of characters' heads, each just slightly different from the on before.  When they want a character to speak, they snap a frame with his mouth closed, then swap out that head for one with his mouth just a tad open and snap another frame, then another with a slightly more open mouth, and so on and so on.  I very briefly considered drawing a long line of heads, each blending ever so slightly into the next, but that was too much for me.  So, instead, I did one of the feet of the monster skeleton, articulating its joints in a multi-exposure.

Then I went downstairs to take a look at the exhibit of animal prints.  In many cases, the animals portrayed were motionless.  But many were in motion, and the artists had to show that somehow.  With the horses, though, they could use bunched muscles and the flow of the mane and tail to show it.  And so I copied details of a couple of prints, mimicking what the artists had done.

Friday, December 29, 2017


Specifically, the annual holiday party at the NW hostel

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Pioneer Courthouse Square

While everyone else hung around the square, I  went off to look for a lion that I'd been lusting after.

I found it on Alder, on the Electric Building.  Two lions, actually, facing each other across the entrance.  I did a line sketch, then saved that much aside and continued, obliterating the lines with color.

Then I went back to Pioneer Courthouse Square, to hear a bunch of pirates singing sea shanteys and Christmas carols.  I did a sketch of one of the singers, but my tablet was balky and unresponsive.  And after I'd rebooted it, to fix that problem, I'd lost the sketch. 

Back up to the balcony, where most people seemed to be sketching the square, with the tree and the courthouse beyond it.  I sat down and sketched the sketchers.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Night sketches

Ended up at Pioneer Courthouse Square, for a holiday performance that didn't happen.  So I sat down and sketched the weather machine instead.

And then, on my way to my next stop, did one of the front doors of Trinity Cathedral.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Christmas Music

Festival Brass Band, in Pioneer Courthouse Square

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Staver Steam Up

Grown man (with the occasional woman) nursing their model steam locomotives.  With bunches of kids, and dogs, watching.

This year, they also had a couple of vintage cars.

And a karaoke machine.  Which turned out to be OK, once the guy who had brought it let the kids use it.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

1 tree, 2 leaves, 3 persimmons

Here it is again, looking not much different from the stick that I planted in April.  Except for those orange things.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Pill Hill - sketchcrawl

When I got to the top of the tram I hung out for a bit at the edge of the platform so I could enjoy the view.  But then, mindful of the antibiotics in my system, shifted to a bench out of the sun.  And did Hood, which I haven't seen in weeks, along with an unfamiliar man who appeared to be sketching.
But when he turned, I saw that he was just fiddling with his phone.  With a stylus.  Yes, he was sketching, on his phone.  His name is Chad, and he's a friend of Ellie's.

I was getting cold by then, so I went into the pavilion, and did a trio of sketchers who are hardier than I am.
And then headed towards the skybridge.  But never made it, stopping at a closed coffee shop with a stupendous view.

Thursday, November 16, 2017


Biketown member party.  With ping-pong.  And beer.  Way boring.  I took out my tablet and played with the sketching app, trying out some new brushes.  There's some instability there, as some of the brushes can stop working of a sudden.I tried some quick sketches of the ping pong players, settling on the face of a woman who was clearing enjoying herself.  Or maybe just liked her opponent a lot.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Storm recovery - persimmon

I gotta admit that I cheated.  I didn't do this one from life, but from a photo that I took on Sunday when the sun was out for five minutes.  (Which was lucky, as Monday's windstorm blew at least one of those leaves off the tree.)
This is obviously not the same variety as the big tree at 25th and Savier, but looks to be the same as the persimmon tree in the Chinese Garden.  Where the plaque says that it won't be ripe until December.  

And when I said that the storm recovery was finally complete?  Well, I lied.  One section of the new sidewalk isn't quite up to code and will have to be redone.  Sometime.  The company is lining up all of their ducks, with one eye on the weather forecast.  My hope is that it gets done before the anniversary of the storm.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Lan Su Garden

I showed up at 9:30, for a memorial service... for a tree.

Osmanthus Life Celebration
There were speeches about how everyone loved the tree - how the Buckman neighborhood donated it to the garden (and how they used heavy equipment to dig it out, transport it and plant it) and how it scented the whole neighborhood in the fall.  I myself had never noticed it before.  It's been suffering for years and is more than a bit scraggly now.

Then we all got cups of tea and drank the traditional Chinese toast for departed loved ones - to heaven, to the earth, and to the ... tree.  (Actually, you're supposed to pour the tea out on the ground, but we drank it, rather than wasting it.)

The tree will be removed tomorrow, with a replacement showing up on Monday morning.  A smaller tree, but it will still need a crane to get it in.

Then I stuck around for Kalina's sketchcrawl in the garden.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Urban Sketchers 10th Anniversary Global Sketchcrawl

About a dozen of us gathered at the art museum (as opposed to the hundreds lining up for Wordstock) and we passed out the hashtags to use and the schedule for the day.  And took a couple of group photos, and then dispersed.

I walked straight back into the museum, wading through the book lovers, and did another sketch of the giant skeleton in the Laika exhibit, from below this time.

I'd put on a nametag, as I was officially volunteering for the sketchcrawl.  Which meant that people passing thought that I was a volunteer for the museum, or for Wordstock, and kept asking me for directions.

Also, my preferred sketching apps seems to have upgraded itself since the last time I used it.  And has a different UI.  And more brushes.  And more colors.  So many that they've given up on naming them and just give them numbers.

After that I wandered towards the farmers market.  It was drizzling, but I was able to stand in the entrance to the library and see one of the booths (doing coffee) from the back.

Then down to the Urban Center, where I stood under the shelter of a MAX stop.

Then across the river on the Hawthorne Bridge, and down to the esplanade, where I stood under a tree to do downtown.

At this point a slow-moving freight train was blocking my path to the next stop, so I climbed back up on the Hawthorne Bridge to go over it to get to the New Deal Distillery.  Here a bunch of us gathered to draw their still.

Then we straggled over the few blocks to Cartopia, the food pod at one corner of Ladd's Addition.

Sunday, November 5, 2017


Renji isn't actually on the adoption page yet, as he's still too small.  I saw him go by on the foster email list, looking for someone to take him in and fatten him up till he gets to 2 pounds.

Songwriter workshop

Thursday, November 2, 2017


I was at the vets buying cat food, and leafed through one of the books in the waiting room, showing different breeds of dogs.   And thought that I should practice sketching dogs.  I could look up breeds in wikipedia and do one whenever I had time.  Or, better yet, look at the 'adopt me' page of the OHS and do one of them.  
So here is Albion.
(She's actually prettier than this in real life.)

I'm probably not going to do this every day.  But I'll post a sketch when I can find the time.  God knows there's a steady supply of animals showing up to be adopted.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


#inktober #31 - mask

A few months ago, I went to a performance of traditional Chinese opera and dance at our local Chinese garden.  One of the performances was of face changing, which I had never heard of.  The dancer had about a dozen fabric masks, probably tucked up in her headdress somehow.  She flicked from one to another, in plain sight, and I never saw the transition.  She even danced into the audience so we could watch up close.

This, thank god, is the last day of Inktober.  The woman who proposed this project to me originally set it as a 100-day challenge of daily sketches.  But she herself is exhausted, and going to quit after today, and hasn't come up with a list of prompts to continue it with.