Tuesday, April 22, 2014

City Sketching

Portland view looking toward Congress from Commercial Street
Click on image to enlarge.

I was recently sketching city "environments" in Portland. Drawing architecture is fairly new for me. I understand the theories, but have been timid to try them. The "Portland Show 2014" at Greenhut Gallery  (Click HERE) has some brilliant cityscapes, especially "Portland from Munjoy Hill" by a former teacher, David Campbell. Such mastery of perspective & color, such provoking points of view, such focus he has as he works from observation over the course of several years on one large canvas!!  
My original sketch, with Uniball pen & Prismacolor pencils. Click on image to enlarge. 
Scribbly & rough, but, I'm motivated, because I love observing these scenes. I like that I'm more willing to make mistakes than I used to be.
This book fell into my sphere recently, at just the right moment! I'd seen it in a bookstore in Cambridge. Sketching taught by an architect!! Paul Laseau says we are like detectives as we explore scenes that attract us, scanning, continually seeing more. Our drawing process affects what & how we see.

Laseau says we must keep practicing to keep skills honed: eye-hand coordination, perception, concentration, relaxed awareness...And keep exploring the visual work of others, especially masters. It is what David Campbell has been doing, perhaps, throughout his life.


  1. wow! that is really beautiful! truly!

  2. So many comments...first, I like the warm brick color and the sky which looks just like ours today. Your Portland looks so different than mine! Also I liked your comment about willingness to make mistakes. It's a very liberating feeling, and really opens up a lot of opportunity for growth. Glad you've found this new book as inspiration!

  3. I would not shy away from architecture if i was you!

    So are they 2 different takes?
    The second..from a photo and looking at yourfirst?
    I so want to do paintings like this:)
    At first I thought you might have come home and finished the sketch/watercolor at home..but they are different..and I love both:) BTW.

    1. Yes, exactly. The first was the one where I really got to oberve & perceive... The 2nd was done looking at the first (not tracing though) with a photo up for reference. You so CAN do paintings like this, M.!

  4. Well missy, not seeing any flaws in these!! Love them. Go for it! A new adventure into architecture. Yippee!

  5. Love your new adventurous style on architecture. Hope we get to see more soon.
    It seems like we are all trying new things, stepping out of our comfort zone.
    During my stay in hospital I had fun doodling, I'll be daring and show some later in the week.

  6. Moi j'ai du mal à dessiner un trait droit !! :o)
    I love architecture, one of the things I really like to observe when I visit cities (even mine !)
    It must be so pleasant to be able to draw it, looking at every detail .
    Like always, I just like your work and can't see any mistake! :o)

    PS: j'ai reçu ta lettre hier , je suis super contente !!! :o)
    Je te réponds bientôt!

  7. Great job, Rita! I like your style very much - loose lines and only the most important details! That's what I is what I truly aspire. So far I put too many details in my sketches... I'm reading right now "Urban Watercolor Sketching" by Felix Scheinberger, great book too! Cheers!

  8. So pretty! I love your style. Looks like you're well on your way to mastering drawing architecture.

  9. I want to learn from you and this book.

  10. Tres jolie -- as usual, I love this . . . and am intrigued by the book and by your new explorations . . . Thanks also for passing on the notes, such as the need to keep practicing and honing skills. Makes perfect sense.

  11. Like a detective as Paul Laseau says. I have always espoused to my children to live like a detective -- observe, observe, observe. Like your architectural sketches. When I was in graduate school in historic preservation classes our prof said to always take our field photos from the corner of a room or on the exterior from the corner of the structure -- we all found that we learned more about what was before us when we used his technique. Good post -- FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK

  12. Hope you'll find this :
    une "tête à chapeau" is someone who can wear hats easily, who is handsome with a hat on his/her head. Some people can't wear hats because it does not suit to them.
    The picture was taken in the oldest part of my city, called "Le vieux-Nice" .

  13. I know this scene well. Some of my favorite eating spots are found on this stretch.


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