French Cottage

Art, Pencil, Watercolor

French Cottage, 14×11, graphite and watercolor

I walk by this house frequently as it is one of the first houses on the street leading into the fancy neighborhood. The roof is aluminum and the shutters and windows are blue. It stands out on a street of extravagant craftsmans and tudors.


Art, Pencil


You know what takes longer than a half dozen detailed graphite leaves? Hundreds of roof tiles. Maybe by next Friday I’ll have this completed.

This is a house in the Eastmoreland neighborhood of Portland. Eastmoreland is fancy and close by so I often walk my dog around it. Something about this particular house always grabs my attention. It’s a different style than most in the neighborhood and the blue shutters and red door always stand out against the white stucco and silver roof, even on the grayest days. I initially planned to color just the shutters, but I’m leaning towards coloring just the front door now.

I love the look of graphite, but you can’t erase your guidelines when your final lines are also in pencil. I’m learning this is problematic for geometric/architectural subjects as opposed to organic subjects which can be believably drawn inaccurately. I’m not yet convinced that this is a good medium for buildings, but I think it’ll look killer… if I don’t totally wreck it.

February Sketchcrawl

Art, Ink & Watercolor, Urban Sketches


On Saturday morning, I loaded up my bike basket with art supplies and rode over the Tilikum Crossing down to the South Waterfront. There, I met the Portland Urban Sketchers for this month’s sketchcrawl. The intention was to draw everyone’s favorite new bridge, the shiny white Tilikum, but a very short ride from our meeting place was a sunny viewpoint showing the full expanse of the Ross Island Bridge- Portland’s most underrated of bridges. From the top, the RIB is not very fancy. Pedestrian traffic is not allowed or is at least dangerous and, while car passengers can enjoy striking views of the city, drivers best keep their eyes on the road to avoid head-on collisions or a lengthy drop down to the Willamette. Below the road, though, the bridge is as pretty as any of the other bridges in town. The steel supports are going to be repainted this year. In real life, the bridge is a much lighter faded color, but this here is me urging the city to go for a nice bright green.

As I finished up the ink of this painting, the sun shone and the air got warm enough for me to take off my coat. A sailboat floated by with 4 pirates on deck singing, “What will we do with a drunken sailor? What will we do with a drunken sailor? What will we do with a drunken sailor, early in the morning?” It was a bit late to be considered early in the morning, but by the sounds of it they had the drunken sailor part just right.


This Week’s Focus

Advice Requested, Art, Pen & Ink, Today's Focus


This Week’s Focus:

Continue updating Etsy listings and complete commission illustration.


  1. Finish commission watercolor and digital file
  2. Add images of art in frames to current Etsy listings
  3. Edit Etsy listing descriptions
  4. Fix all Etsy tags
  5. Take photo of product packaging for Etsy listings
  6. Make new stickers for orders
  7. Add links between Etsy listings
  8. Take and add photos to the Etsy About page
  9. Add a photo to my website About page
  10. Start new ink drawing
  11. Write three blog posts
  12. Upload at least 4 new images to Instagram and Facebook

I’ve been reading the Etsy Seller’s Handbook articles and I’ve realized that the tags for almost all my listings are completely wrong. That anyone has ever found a single one of my items is a sheer miracle. I suppose it helps that I have a few items that are obscure enough that no one else has one. So, when someone searched for “Cholula,” for example, mine is the only one that came up. But I need to fix the rest of them STAT.

There is a lot to do this week. And the kids are both sick, so there’s a reasonable chance I’ll be sick any minute. I’m not counting on this week being very productive. On the other hand, there is a lot more TV watching when these boys are too sick to play.


+Please feel free, feel requested, to use the comments section below if you have any advice or suggestions. Any advice is accepted. All suggestions will be considered.+

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Sketchbook Skool #6

Urban Sketches, Watercolor

I don’t want to play favorites, or anything, but it can’t be helped. Architectural drawings and block lettering hold a special place in my heart. The final class in Sketchbook Skool was taught by Liz Steel. Her lesson had me so jazzed about drawing, it had me laying awake in bed thinking about driving to a place that would a) have interesting buildings to sketch and b) be far enough away that both my kids would fall asleep on the way. It was the weekend, so naturally, I ditched the family and sketched in nearby Martinez.Image (74)

In addition to drawing buildings, Liz loves to sketch her teacups. Her blog has a hundred beautiful examples. I searched high and low for a teacup to test out her technique, even seriously considered spending $30 in an antique store for a suitable example (which I would probably then never use for tea). Finally, I went to my mom’s, thinking, surely she’ll have one or two. In fact, she had about 15 perfect drawing subjects, which I will now periodically ‘check out’ of the tea cup library that is her hutch. Here is the first:Image (72)


It’s beauts! :)

Pencil, Sketches, Urban Sketches

I decided to pick up Randy from work last Friday in San Francisco so that we could all enjoy a lovely afternoon in the City together. Then I realized as I crossed the beautiful brand new Bay Bridge that it is Friday and we will have to leave in 30 minutes if we want to avoid the hellscape that is Friday afternoon traffic heading out of San Francisco.

So, we hung out at Chrissy Field for five minutes then loaded everybody back into the van to at least cross the Golden Gate before it got real bad. We got out again at Fort Baker and delighted at the views of the bridge, the bay and the city. I drew this picture of what you see if you turn your back on all those iconic subjects and face North. Then a pack of some 20 something girls parked their car in front of me and, while commenting how “beauts” the day/scenery was, went for a nice walk down by the marina. “Whatevs,” I said. “I was almost done anyway.”

Image (13)

Watercolor on Yupo

Pen & Ink, Sketches, Watercolor

I got a pad of translucent Yupo a while back and gave it try again today. Yupo is a smooth polypropylene “paper” made for watercolor. It looks like vellum, but at 140lb, it’s thicker than the vellum I’ve used before. It accepts paint completely different than any paper I’ve tried because there is no absorption. I’ve noticed that you have to be even more mindful of the order in which you apply paint than normal because additional layers of paint sort of push previous layers out of the way. Like a dry erase marker.

Watercolor on Yupo.

I practiced with India Ink on Yupo as well.

India Ink on Yupo


Tilden Carousel with the Urban Sketchers

Pen & Ink, Urban Sketches, Watercolor

Last night I met up with the Urban Sketchers of the Bay Area for the first time. We met at the Tilden Park Carousel Christmas Extravaganza. After a very dark and spooky drive through the woods I came up to the old carousel building decked out with thousands of lights, Christmas village decorations and nice little hut where the kids can talk with Santa and the Elves.

We were there for just 2 hours and I didn’t get a whole lot done. I sat outside and sketched one of the 6-foot tall nutcrackers. The fella working there was kind enough to leave it out for me to finish even though it was closing time.

I also sketched a view of the carousel from a picnic table just outside. It’s tough sketching things that come in and out of view at such speed!