Sunday, January 28, 2018

The last page.

I went to the Portland Art Museum this morning. I drew a bronze Japanese hawk sculpture from the 1800's. Because of the restrictions in the museum I could only do the pen and ink there. I added the watercolor after I got home.

This is the last page in my journal so it's time to begin a new one.  I bought two - one is smaller, another is larger than this one.  Smaller because my sketches aren't intended to be permanent works of art so smaller/quicker is better.  Larger because some of these have actually turned out to where they should be matted and framed so I should give myself the opportunity to develop the images more.  
I'm split on which to use.  Regardless I have the hardest time cutting bound journals apart so what's the point really.  Obviously I have unresolved issues.  Fortunately my unresolved issues aren't anything critical in the big picture.  I'll eventually figure it out.  Until then I'll enjoy the journey, whichever way it takes me.  

Friday, January 26, 2018

St Helens Fire Department

Typical winter in Oregon is wet and cold so I have been looking for indoor venues for my plein air/sketching group.  The St Helens Fire Department let us sketch their equipment in the bay.  Watercolor in my sketchbook.  

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Caples House

This one has a complicated history. It started out as a gouache piece in my sketch book. I had never worked with gouache except as a highlight to another medium. I seriously did NOT like the painting from that day. I let it sit for months before deciding to test the water solubility of gouache and rinsed off as much paint as I could. Just like with watercolor, apparently gouache has staining qualities in some colors. I let it sit a couple more months. Not all of the pigment from the gouache came off so it wasn't a blank slate to go back to. I decided since this page is a giant experiment, why not go back to it in watercolor.

Caples House, Columbia City, OR
Watercolor in my sketchbook

Sunday, January 21, 2018


While I love working in colored pencil, it is a slow medium.  We can't really get around the fact that collectors don't understand how much time it takes to complete pieces in colored pencil and they rarely command a price reflecting the time in them.  It is most definitely a passion.  Everyone I know looks for ways to speed up their process.  A couple years ago I began using watercolor as a foundation.  The methodology is almost opposite to everything else I know about painting.  I had to learn how it worked to use it.  In the process I began to enjoy watercolor.  I am now pushing beyond the expectation that it only be a foundation and am challenging myself to finish the pieces as watercolor pieces. It's an interesting journey to be sure.  

Another whirly.

This time of year it's rare to find whirly's in any kind of shape to paint unless you had the where-with-all to bring one in and let it dry off in a corner somewhere. And then find it later by accident. Magic.

Watercolor in my journal. If you've been following my story about the first page in my journals, this is now the first page in my old journal - the one I left blank in order to begin that journal.

Watercolor in my journal.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Urban sketching on the news!

Take a peek:  

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Union Station - Los Angeles

My nemesis when I start a new journal is the first page. What is it about a book of blank pages that is so intimidating? I don't know. My work around on the last journal was to skip the first page and begin working on the second. It worked and now that I am approaching the end of the available pages in that journal, the first page is still blank. It's silly, I know. I bought this smaller 4" x 4" journal to be more portable while travelling. I bit the bullet and here's the first page so the journal is properly initiated. It's a watercolor of some of the metal work I saw in the old part of Union Station in Los Angeles. They fashioned these intriguing metal gates to protect things like electrical panels that needed to be accessible but they wanted to obscure. They are like utilitarian works of art. 

Monday, January 8, 2018


I don't believe I've ever seen so many Tesla's in one place. Out in the middle of pucker brush in southern California was a charging station in the back of the Anderson Split Pea Soup parking lot. (Gustine, CA) The signs state 30 minute general parking for Tesla's. Watercolor in my sketchbook.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Bob's Red Mill

Bob's Red Mill in Milwaukie, OR. I worked while I ate lunch. My personal rule is when where I am sketching gets busy - leave. I don't want to be taking up space that makes them money. I wasn't able to finish the rows but you get the idea. Their food is great by the way. Watercolor in my sketchbook.