Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bacchanal at the Art Museum (12-06-12)

As part of its Body Beautiful exhibit, the Portland Art Museum put up a show that was definitely very Portlandia-style: a vaguely Greek-evoking Bacchanal party featuring actors (?) in vaguely S & M leather outfits and poses, standing still like statues.

In other words, a fun opportunity to draw scantily dressed people!

The Bodies Beautiful

As with any party, there was music. But truly, this was a rather sluggish and tame party scene overall.

Just about empty dance floor

On the dance floor

Saturday, November 17, 2012

IPRC Event (11-17-12)

For a while now, I had been wanting to see the new space where Independent Publishers Resource Center (IPRC) had moved to and I took the opportunity of an event scheduled there last night to stop by and check the place out.

Local indie bookstore Reading Frenzy was promoting some recently published Portland zine writers and artists who read or presented some of their work (including that of a woman who related how she biked to the hospital to deliver her child while in labor!). One thing that caught my attention was the hand-drawn Collective Tarot Deck, intriguing in its sizable black package.

The event was well-attended, and the space was open and welcoming. I liked the charm of the old space they rented downtown, but later improvements to the building ruined it for me; charm is elusive and best not tampered with. Anyway, the new space in a warehouse is functional and optimal to house printing equipment.

About the pano sketch above: I really like the challenge of working in my 5" x7" sketchbooks in a way to make things match from page to page (in this pano, the junction between the two double-page spreads is somewhere in the middle; the fact that it is not really noticeable makes it a successful sketch as far as I am concerned).
I usually clean my double-spreads in Photoshop to get the distracting page folds out but in this case, I just moved the page middles a bit to hide the shadows and didn't bother with any other correction aside from joining the two spreads.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Open House at SE Antique Store (11-15-2012)

One of my favorite local antique stores is Bernadette Breu Experience.

It is one of those magical dreamy places where odd and delightful objects of every provenance are displayed in bohemian artistic displays. There is so much to discover that one must make the time to slow down, to look at every one of the many treasures inside.

So what a fun opportunity it was to be invited to do some sketches of the early Christmas event at the store! Many people were present visiting and talking at what seemed more like a social event than a sales event.
So many people!

By the snacks table
Faces in the crowd

I worked on some sketches of the crowd, but my attention was focused on a display of beautiful shoes covered in gorgeous fabrics and the fantastic west wall near the sales counter.

My unfinished watercolor
The model scene

I love it when a sketch works out!
The west wall

Saturday, November 10, 2012

cre8camp Creative Workshop (11-10-12)

I attended the cre8camp workshop, which was informative, despite laden with creative industry jargon ("...We must foster the idealism-based drive that our clients bring to the table, in a way that will compound the idea-to-solutiont-to-impact components we can add to the creative conversation..."). Gosh, there are days when I want to hit my head against a wall...

Anyway, it was informative, especially since the subject of "comping" artwork came up, and the concept of exploiting artists by holding a carrot in front of them, under the guise that they will have a portfolio piece, and never mind being paid for their work. Hmmm... We haven't experienced something like that with a large local arts organization that purports to support artists in the region, have we? (Someone's work was used in a publication, but not paid...).

Attendees at cre8camp

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Portland Pirates at Dr. Sketchy (10-28-12)

I met with some fellow local Urban Sketchers and British artist Pete Scully who was visiting from California at this month's Dr. Sketchy event at Crush. This is a wonderful opportunity to be around other artists and work on life drawings of people in various settings and/or costumes.

A fitting theme for this month centered around pirates; Portland pirates, that is...

Timed poses ranged from 5 to 20 minutes and were pretty challenging: elaborate scenes with several people, odd perspective due to proximity to the stage, colors...

I didn't feel confident enough to whip out my watercolors and start painting away, so I relied on soft oil pastels to add some color to my sketches. I also made the effort to use a brush pen; this was a big stretch for me, since I feel most comfortable with my trusted V-Ball Pilot pens...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Final Presidential Debate (10-22-12)

With the election a couple of weeks away, we're finally almost at the end of a long ordeal. And I can't even really complain: I don't watch television, so I missed all the ads. It's just been a long year, with constant reports about "the campaign this...the campaign that..."

So, while we were watching the last half hour of the last debate, I worked on a quick sketch of each candidate.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Alanna R. Wedding (10-06-12)

Alanna, a friend of mine and fellow local urban sketcher, got married at a Eagle Fern Camp, a lovely rural camp near Estacada.

 How wonderful to see that so many relatives and friends were present to offer their support on such a special day! Franky, I was stunned, since this is not anything I've experienced in my life in the United States, as people have been reluctant to even drive a mere 45 minutes out of their way for some of our important family events, so this was absolutely the best thing to see...

Alanna is great. She is the one who most often comes up with suggestions for places to meet and sketch, and the PDX Urban Sketchers group wouldn't be the same without her.

The dinner was fun, with guests treated to a delicious home-style meal, and I took the opportunity to draw faces in the crowd.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Anti-Walmart Protest (07-14-12)

Stunning news at a recent meeting of the Oak Grove Community Council: Walmart plans to open a grocery store in the vacant G.I Joe store on McLoughlin Blvd.

With A Fred Meyer, a Safeway, and a Grocery Outlet within less than a mile from the targeted location, a competing grocery store is the last thing Oak Grove needs (and why can't we have a specialty store like Trader Joe's instead? The nearest one is seven miles away).

So a protest was organized to give voice to the community's opposition to this project. It isn't that such action is going to suddenly make a company notorious for its rogue practices suddenly have a change of mind, but if we just let is pass without even doing anything, it's like they won already.

And why don't I shop at Walmart, you may ask? I hate it that the minute one walks in is that one feels as in a place full of desperation. i can't explain it; it's pervasive to the Walmart ambiance: cavernous interiors, cheap-looking merchandise, indifferent, tired-looking clerks, and the customers... Well, that may be the worst of it. I don't want to sound like I am being critical of people down on their luck, but really... Call me a snob, and I am sure it is a matter of taste, but it's a place for vulgar uneducated masses, as far as I am concerned.

Finally, I understand that Walmart is perceived by some as a more affordable place to shop, but so is Goodwill, and so is Dollar Tree. At least the latter stores offer a shopping environment on a more human scale, with consistent personnel.

So, there we were, signing pledges to not shop at the store when it opens, and waving our signs to passing cars.

Not in our community!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Meeting at RACC (07-12-12)

I attended a meeting at the Regional Arts and Culture Council today regarding the guidelines for project grants.

As I understand it, this type of grant seems best suited for established artists who already have contacts within the theater or gallery circuits. Let's say I want to propose a poetry reading; to be able to be considered for a RACC project grant, I must already have a venue booked up for this event.. This is also cool if I am, let's say, a painter, and a gallery is applying with the intent of booking me in the future... Otherwise, it doesn't look like there would be a way to make it work.
I may have misunderstood, and I will have to read all eleven pages of the grants guidelines paperwork, but the application process seems very complicated and restrictive...

Anyway, I gave myself the fun challenge of drawing people in the room...

Rapt audience listening to Helen Daltoso's presentation
And here are the panels in their original form, as drawn on four two-page spreads of my sketchbook, all connected later as the large panel above.

Don Colley at Muse Art (07-12-12)

Artists all have other artists they admire.

My unmitigated admiration goes to Don Colley, a master at using Pitt Brush Artist pens to create gorgeous color spreads in his sketchbooks.

So when I heard that he was coming to Muse Art in SE Portland, I made sure to attend his presentation.

Yet, even though I was fortunate to watch him work in person, I still can't figure it out how he does the shading, or the highlights...

Oh... the colors!

Skype Sketch (07-12-12)

Without going into any details, I did an interpretation project over Skype and had a couple of minutes to work on this quick sketch of two of the parties involved.
I tried to draw what I saw, but it was a challenge: very poor lighting and the computer screen image was blurred.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

New Sketchbook (07-08-12)

I started a new sketchbook, and decided to introduce some other colors than the usual black pen, and work on patterns for the signatures.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Tutankhamen Exhibit in Seattle (07-07-12)

At the end of our cruise to Alaska, Gary and I went to see the Tutankhamun exhibit at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle.

It was an amazing experience, to walk among precious Egyptian art treasures. I saw a sketch of a duck done in graphite, and admired its precise and smooth lines. Such beauty, so fragile, all that is left of someone who walked the earth many centuries ago.

I could have spent all afternoon lost among the haunting beauty of the dark exhibit hall, but was told that sketching was forbidden (!); so I only have this sketch of a small statue of Queen Hatshepsut.

A work in progress
  I find it difficult to explain the awe one feels, to be so close to artifacts tied to Tutankhamun one has heard about for years, to get a view of some of the contents of Tutankhamun's tomb... such as, -most worthy of mention-, gold sandals that were found on Tutankhamun's mummy, modeled on reed woven sandals with extravagant bows on top of the foot, so beautiful...
Gloriously beautiful sandals of a dead king

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Craigdarroch Castle and Blue Fox Cafe (07-05-12)

A splendid day in Victoria, British Columbia!

Gary and I walked from the cruise ship terminal into downtown Victoria, and from there on to Craigdarroch Castle, altogether about a 45 minute walk. Nice weather, many people. We took a self-guided tour of Craigdarrogh Castle, the most amazing and grandest house I have ever been in (Stained glass! Woodwork! Moldings! Marble!..). It put our local, usually impressive Pittock Mansion to shame.
A Victorian dream house, found at last!
Afterward, on our way back to the cruise ship, we stopped by a very cool restaurant called the Blue Fox Cafe. From the sidewalk, we could see that there were many people inside, none of them obvious tourists, so we took this as an indication that the locals liked the place. And we were right about that: the food was delicious. I can't remember what Gary had, but the Moroccan Chicken Benny I ordered was delicious! What a pleasant meal we had...
Blue Fox Cafe

Saturday, June 16, 2012

OSU Commencement (06-16-12)

What a long and exciting day!

Valérie just graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with options in Choral Music Education and Piano Performance. And so, she participated in that necessary rite of passage, the Commencement ceremony...along with 3,500 to 4,000 other graduates from Oregon State University

What made the day a unique and especially challenging one was that Michelle Obama gave a speech at Commencement. Consequently, in addition to long wait times, access to OSU's Reser Stadium was subject to all the expected extra security measures, such as airport metal detector gates, unsmiling people rummaging through bags and purses, even sharpshooters on the stadium roof! 

The speeches were good, the graduates were happy, and the 30,000-strong audience consisting proud parents, relatives and friends was supportive. All in all, it was a nice day.

We sat on a sunny side of the side of the stadium closest to the College of Liberal Arts (and could see Valérie from afar), but as the afternoon wore on, shade came on our side while the other side of the stadium was still sunny, and there was a nasty little breeze that made everyone wish they'd brought a warm jacket...

Watching the ceremony
 To distract myself from the chilly weather, I pulled out my color pencils and worked on painstakingly trying to match the colors I saw; but I didn't quite finish my drawing...

Monday, June 11, 2012

End of the School Year at Da Vinci (06-11-12)

I stopped by Da Vinci Arts Middle School to say hello to Connie C., and things looked pretty busy a couple of days before the end of the school year... So, I decided to draw office space around her ( it looked like a bazillion projects still need attention...)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A self-portrait (06-09-12)

What I like about self-portrait is that not one looks like the other! There are commonalities, of course, but the mood of the moment affects how we perceive ourselves, and this is reflected in the finished product.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Arts Festival in the Park (06-02-12)

Despite the bone-chilling morning weather, I managed to draw this portrait of a prospective parent getting information at the booth The International Leadership Academy, a small French school in Lake Oswego, was sponsoring at the Wilsonville Festival of Arts.

I also tried to draw the early crowd wandering about, despite the cold.

It's on days like this that I remember how much I absolutely hate feeling cold...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Viait to a mausoleum and portrait of Alanna R. (05-28-12)

Today, Wilhelm's Funeral Mausoleum in Sellwood was open to the public and I decided to join up with Alanna R and Kalina W. to maybe take advantage of this opportunity to work on some sketches.

Well, that didn't happen for me. I was too engrossed with the oddness of what can best be described as an underground city of the dead: several levels of long dimly lit labyrinthine corridors whose walls were lined with small doors and urns. Somber setting, yet oddly calm despite the crowds.

Afterward, we went to Staccato Gelato and I tried to draw Alanna with a brush marker, clearly not my medium of choice.
Alanna R.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

A piano (05-19-12)

We were visiting some friends, and I drew the fine piano in their living room...

This piano, all glossy black, was a beautiful instrument. I wanted to to feel how smooth and polished the wood would feel, and let my fingers run over the keys, and conjure melodies out of it as if by magic...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

ArtSpark and Brasserie Montmartre (05-17-12)

ArtSpark was hosted by Sweet Hereafter this month. The usual hipster crowds mixing with various subcategories of Portland coolness were treated to displays set by I [Heart] Art: Portland, PDX Pipeline, RACC, and other sponsors. I was too busy filling out entry forms for the drawings to take the time to sketch the goings-on. I was particularly interested in the Nomad Brush, a very cool brush to paint on the iPad... And best of all, I was thrilled to win it! (Bwahahah!)
I drew the faces on the iPad screen with
the kiddie version of the Nomad Brush.

Afterwards, I briefly stopped by Church to visit some lady friends who were working on various crafts projects.

And since the night was still young, I took the opportunity to stop by the Brasserie Montmartre where, for their first anniversary, there was 60s French music hosted by French DJ Cecilia Paris, and a nice ambiance. I took advantage of the free fries, free cheese and olives that were offered, and ordered my usual Coke with Grenadine. Comfortably set to observe the scene, my attention was caught by a Retro style couple sitting at the bar. The back of the guy's black T-shirt said "Teach Your Children to Worship Satan"; pretty outrageous... :)
I was perfectly placed to work on this study (while munching on french fries and sipping a delectable Coke with Grenadine), I could work over my sketch and give it a finish I rarely have or take the time to do. Nice results.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

artMOB Meeting in Milwaukie (05-16-12)

Curious about how ideas, plans and decisions are made that affect the local community, I decided to attend one of the meetings of the artMOB, the local organization that focuses on the arts and cultural events for the city of Milwaukie.

As an artist, my personal opinion is that organizations that focus on the arts and cultural events seem to engage in a lot of talk... And I can't say that my opinion was changed in this case. Lots of good intentions, and ideas for projects that denote sincere intentions and an attempt at innovation, but...

And I don't know why, I felt kinda like a fifth wheel at this (public) meeting...

The artMOB committee
Staff Liaison Beth R.