Sunday, December 22, 2013

Big Snow

Snow Covered Roof
Snow Covered Car

Winter has been beastly cold here in Iowa. Last night we had our first big snow. This is what I awoke to this morning, as seen from my upstairs window,  using water soluble graphite applied with a water brush.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Snow Fall

I spent the day manning the desk at the White River Gallery in Montague, Michigan. It wasn't busy so I sat near the front window and did this sketch looking out and down the street. It was quite beautiful with all the snow...the first time in years we've had this much on the ground this early. So, snow fall...a Christmas portrait. Happy holidays to all.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Workshop Proposals Deadline for Urban Sketchers Symposium is December 20!

Hi Everyone!!!!

I am forwarding you the following message, posted originally by Eduardo B. in the Paraty 2014 Facebook Page.

If you could please forward it to your local group and help us encourage them to send proposals, I would really appreciate it. If there are people in your group you already know are excellent educators give them a few world of encouragement on our behalf to submit a proposal :-) 

The more the merrier! DEADLINE IS NEXT FRIDAY, DEC 20TH. 2013. Thanks!!!!!

Here is the text:


Dear sketchers!
Are you planning to apply a proposal to teach in the next symposium in Paraty, Brazil?
Take a closer look at the "Call for Submissions".

Bear in mind that there are different levels of teaching this time:

Sketching Workshops, as previous years:
3,5 hours workshops (half an hour more): wonderful opportunity to teach the best you have - I taught two different times (Santo Domingo and Barcelona), and can't express how great those experiences were to me. I learned a lot from that! 

Lead a Sketchcrawl ("Follow Me"):
This is the best way for you to earn teaching experience and share your thoughts with others. This is the highlight of the new programming, in my opinion. 
Imagine: you got selected, people will get to know what your ideas are, and then you are going to lead them across the beautiful streets of Paraty, suggesting different techniques, approaches and subjects. One turn, great experience.

Lectures, Demonstrations: 
Another good way to share what you do, the way you do, to inspire other sketchers! It can be anything interesting, so don't be shy! 

You can even come up with something new!

That is what we are trying to create in the next symposium: a vibrant and stimulating sketching environment!

USk Paraty 2014!

The deadline is December, 20.
Take a look at the form attached in the post. If you have doubts let us know.

Orling Dominguez
USk Workshop Committee
USk Symposium Committee

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Luncheon, St.Louis

Since I was alone I could hear almost every word of a nearby conversation between two business men during lunch last week. The discussion was typical; sports, something about an upcoming board of directors meeting and favorite travel destinations. While I tried not to eavesdrop I did notice a subtle back lighting effect created by the bright sunlight reflecting off the stone buildings across the street. I sketched the scene as discreetly as possible; it reminded me of an Edward Hopper painting.
The Luncheon, November 23, 2013; Michael Anderson, Brushes 3 for iPhone, Sensu Brush.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Call for Symposium Submissions

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Nov. 23, 2013

Call for Submissions for Symposium Programming

We have a city: Paraty, Brazil. We have dates: August 27-30, 2014. Now it’s time to create programming for the 5th International Urban Sketching Symposium! To do that we need YOU, urban sketchers of the world, to submit proposals for workshops and extra activities before December 20, 2013.

Teach a Sketching Workshop
These are the workshops that have been a mainstay of past Symposiums. You can see some samples here.

In previous years we offered 3-hour workshops in the morning and the afternoon. This year we are tentatively planning for 3.5-hour workshops during the morning only, with other programming in the afternoons.

Selected proposals will be announced in January.

Compensation: If your proposal is selected, the Symposium organization pays for airfare and five nights of accommodation. Local instructors who will not need to travel will receive an honorarium.

In addition to the workshops, we are planning to offer a diversity of other programming in Paraty. What could you propose? Here are some ideas:

Lead a Sketchcrawl
Organize a "follow me" sketchcrawl in Paraty. People will draw where you lead them and rely on you for tips to become better urban sketchers. This is your opportunity to earn some cred and promote your work! We are looking for sketchers with previous experience organizing sketchcrawls.

Give a Lecture
Enlighten participants with a sketching-related talk. Whether it is about your own sketching, or the findings of your research on 19th century artists reporters, we want to learn from you!

Do a Demonstration
Show us how you do your magic! What can you show other sketchers that will inspire us while promoting your work?

Surprise Us With Something We Haven’t Thought Of!
Do you have another activity idea that can take place over a few afternoon hours? Yoga for sketchers? How to find the best fire hydrants for sketching? Tell us how you can catch the sketchers’ attention and passion with something different from a workshop.

Compensation: If you are selected for an extra activity as mentioned above, you will receive free registration for the Symposium.

Some details to keep in mind while designing your proposal:
  • We recommend you to get to know Paraty’s possible workshop locations before you create your proposal, in order to match your workshop theme with the city’s environment. Click here to view photos of the locations posted in our Facebook page.
  • You can propose a workshop for a general location or for a specific spot.
  • You should keep in mind that workshop locations are subject to change and the Workshop committee reserves the right to make the best arrangements / combinations of workshops and locations.
  • Keep in mind the weather: "Dry season (May through September) - The average temperature in Paraty during these months ranges between 17 and 25 °C (62.6-77 °F). We recommend bringing a light sweater for the evenings and chilly nights, as well as sunglasses, a cap or hat, and shorts for the hot days."


All proposals must be emailed to
If you are proposing a workshop, you must use this form and include sample sketches..


All proposals are due by Friday, December 20, 2013 (11:59 p.m. EST)


NOTE: Are you planning to attend the Symposium as a participant? Subscribe to our USk Paraty mailing list to be notified before registration opens. We are looking forward to seeing you in Brazil!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Midwest Sketcher in South Beach

Recently work took me to South Beach Miami where I had a few evenings free to wander and sketch. These are two of my favorites. I hope you enjoy them.  Watercolor, brush pen with warm grey ink, and a Noodlers Ahab flex fountain pen

with Polar Black. Both drawn and colored in relative dark so the colors are always a bit of a surprise!

These last two are iPad sketches using Procreate.

James Nutt

Sunday, November 3, 2013


My wife and I are just back from a 3 week trip that took us to the Annapolis in-water sail show in Maryland, a visit to friends and relatives in Georgia, a visit with my cousin in Florida, a look at our new boat on the line as it was being built and a fun weekend at Disney World. We were extending summer a bit...some more sun before ski season starts.

While in Savannah, Ga I had the good fortune to spend an afternoon sketching this beautiful old townhouse. It's located across from a park and it fronts to a tree lined street of Live Oaks that are draped with Spanish Moss. Quite a setting and an enjoyable afternoon in a city that offers beauty around every corner.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Greenwood Cemetery

It was a blustery late afternoon at Greenwood Cemetery. Unusual for Halloween, the leaves, still in their peek autumn color, have barely begun to fall. Today, I was prompted by Urban Sketchers weekly theme: cemeteries. Not unusual is that this and the other times I've drawn there, I've never seen another human.

But there are always crows:
Greenwood Cemetery Crows

Greenwood Cemetery view And from the cemetery bluff, looking across the Cedar River and its watershed to the vast distance of farmland, is one of the best views in town.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Road Trip - Monticello (Home of Thomas Jefferson)

I recently returned from a trip to Virginia.  The weather was wonderful and the trees were just beginning to turn.  One of our first stops was Charlottesville where we had the opportunity to visit Monticello.  It is an absolutely wonderful place and you can really see the brilliance of Thomas Jefferson come to life.  The flip side is that you also see what it took in slave labor to keep such a plantation operating.  Definitely eye opening for sure.

It is an incredible place and it is maintained in spectacular fashion.  To see the rooms where TJ lived, worked and literally died is a great experience.  A gem of American History.

More from the trip will hopefully follow in the coming days . . . Don.

Monday, October 28, 2013


Ghosts in the Windows

The people who recently moved in across the street have seized the Halloween potential of this very old, very decrepit, charming house.
pocket-Moleskine sketch for Ghosts in the Windows

This is not the first October I've painted this house.

Gingerbread Roof and Silver Maples

Gingerbread Rooftop & Maples                         Happy Halloween everyone!!
pocket-Moleskine sketch for 
Gingerbread Roof and Silver Maples               

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Apple Picking

Me drawing in the orchard
            Apple Picking   
                                                                                                      A family outing on the East Coast

Monday, October 7, 2013

Dowling Street

This past Friday I was working at the White River gallery in Montague, Michigan, where I am a member. The gallery is a stone's throw from where we keep our boat in the summer.

Since it's past the peak of tourist season I wasn't busy. So in the afternoon I sat down on a bench, in front of the gallery, and did this sketch of the building across from the way on Dowling Street. It was a fun way to spend time and enjoy the waning warm days of the fall season.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Saturday at Ted Drewes

We narrowly missed the rain this afternoon. Only a few sprinkles here and there threatened us. We ended up with a good turnout of sketchers and captured some great scenes.
Drawn by Brian Anderson
Chris sitting in the foreground sketching
The minimalist lines of Bruce Wulff
Chris and Bruce
Deb and Vihar
Lisa gets some frozen custard from Ted Drewes
Side View by Bruce Wulff

Architectural Salvage, KCMO

I hadn't taken my journal into the huge Architectural Salvage building, so just sketched bits and bobs in my little folding purse journal--I ALWAYS have it with me!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Still Standing

This old maple stands in the corner of an area where our condo association doesn't mow. I noticed the tree this morning when I was dropping off yard clippings at the association's brush pile. The tree has a lot of character and is obviously old. It's top was broken off long ago but the tree still soldiers on and today it carried accents of fall colors.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Drawing Around Saint Louis

Folks, it has been some time, but I thought I would give an update and start posting some more. This last week a group of us settled down at the Coffee Cartel in the Saint Louis Central West-End. We are working on a project in which the theme is things related to Saint Louis.

I recently wrote on Facebook about how in the past I had written cards to people in which I wrote all the memories that I had about a person. In this case however, I asked people to think about all the things that they fondly remembered about Saint Louis in the same way. Some of the responses that I got are below. I hope nobody minds me reproducing them here:

Memories of Saint Louis

1.) "Watching my son's bicycle races in Tilles Park, walking the paths in Jefferson Barracks park and eating at the concession stand at lunch hour in the summer, Standing in line at Ted Drew's on South Grand, Listening to Mary Daly sing at Wendy G's or Faloni's."
 -Don Neccesary

2.)  "This is from Kirkwood. Late Friday night, full blanket of snow on the ground and more falling. Meramec College campus blemishless - no footprints (save my own), car tracks. Silence! No cars, airplanes, birds, dogs, nothing. Air just right - still, moist and cold, but not biting. I am alone and 15 and illegally out of the house and struck dumb - my heart too big to draw breath! - by how beautiful the world is."
-Kate Boyd

3.) "The Botanical Garden on a chilly March day with the first forsythia and dogwood blossoms. Under the industrial steel structures near the river. On top of the football stadium while it was under construction, and the only access was by ladder. Walking on the cobblestone streets at the Landing at the edge of the Mississippi flood water. Seeing the tip of the Arch from 55/70 in Illinois after a long drive home. The Eads Bridge. The rocky bluffs along 270 and 44, made when the highways were built"
-Elaine Goble Swanger

Coffee Cartel Doorway
by Brian Anderson
4.) "Carondelet park, Delmar Loop, Hanging out in Washington University Library reading books, Powder Valley Nature Center in the Fall, The Muny, Learning that my Great Great Grandfather worked for Henry Shaw, Playing the slots at the casino, the Soapbox Blues Festival (before 2005 - no longer exists), spending the afternoon at Saint Louis Bread Co. sipping coffee and feeding the chickadees breadcrumbs, brown color of Saint Louis sidewalk cement, paddling on boathouse lake, taking the Metro train to work and talking to friends.... The Big Muddy Blues Festival back when they had 4 stages, CWE on a rainy day... Coffee Cartel, Kaldi's,Hanging out with artists including Chris Manzo at Meshugah Cafe, The hippo on the roof of City Museum. Rue Lafayette"
-Brian Anderson 

Some of these ideas and memories we all have within us can fuel some sketching excursions in the near future and give us drawing ideas. This next weekend (10/5/2013) we will be getting together and drawing at Ted Drewe's. Anybody who wants to and is close enough can gladly participate - (event link here).

Bicycle Delivery guys
drawn by Bud Pondrum
Here are just some of the pictures and drawings that some of us worked on in the CWE.

I did a little sketch of the doorway using my iPad. I am getting a little bit better at using it after about six months and am playing with different apps like Brushes 3, Procreate, Adobe Ideas and Autodesk's Sketchbook. Mostly, I have played with Brushes and Procreate.

Of course we have many artists who work in a variety of media and it is great to see the different subjects they choose to draw as well as their individual styles. Bud Pondrun sketched a couple of guys who kindly sat down for us. Lisa Wilson who was more courageous than myself went and asked some of the passers by if they would pose for us.

More can be seen on our event posting on Meetup and on our Facebook Group page.

Drawing from Euclid & Maryland
by Donnovan Knight

Monday, September 30, 2013

The 2014 Urban Sketchers Symposium...

...will be in Paraty, Brazil!  Our workshop/symposium committee worked long and hard on proposals and the voting process, and this should be a good one!  (Well, of course they ALL are...)

Paraty sent in a terrific proposal, well thought out, complete, with wonderful venues for sketchers. Congratulations and thank you to Eduardo Bajzek and Fernanda Vaz de Campos for their impressive proposal!

Paraty also meets an important criteria for us, not repeating a symposium on the same continent 2 years in a row.  Check it out here, and put it on your calendar!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fall's Creeping Round the Corner

I was out early this morning with the local plein air group at Townsend Park near Rockford. The park is about 12 miles from my house. Kind of chilly but about 10 people showed up for the session on pastels or just to work. This is my take, today, on the fall color that is working it's way down from northern Michigan and into the local area.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Junked Truck, Still There

Junked Truck and Goldenrod

Diagonally across the street from my house is a vacant lot where junked or little used vehicles are stored by the owner of the lot. Theoretically, not allowed by city ordinance in residential neighborhoods, this truck has been there for several years. The seasons change around it. Today, I stood on the edge of the lot to paint this.

Here, in winter, I drew looking down on the lot from my second floor bedroom window. Then the truck was joined by a school bus.

School Bus in Vacant Lot
School Bus in Vacant Lot

Thursday, September 19, 2013

What Happened to Summer?

I was doing some computer file maintenance and discovered some sketches from a spring vacation to California. What happened to summer? I don't even know what happened to spring! The first sketch looks like fall at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. It was actually done in April but that's how the colors looked to me. The second was done later in the week in San Francisco. Vermeer is one of my all time favorites and I was thrilled to catch this exhibit!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Free concert in Forest Park, St. Louis

Hundreds attended the St. Louis Symphony's free concert in Forest Park on Tuesday evening as it kicked off its 135th season with a bang, literally. The setting was on Art Hill, a natural amphiteater that over looks the Grand Basin. The program was a mix of a few familiar classical pieces, a selection of movie themes and a John Phillips Sousa march played as the concert finale followed by a spectacular fireworks display. I made this sketch on an iPad under an umbrella to block the glare from distracting the people around me.

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra Outdoor Concert, 9/17/2013, Michael Anderson, Brushes 3 for iPad, Sensu brush

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Urban Foraging's Bounty

On walks in our Cedar Falls, Iowa neighborhood, my husband I inevitably find things of interest to bring home. This late summer and fall there has been a bounty of fruit--peaches, apples, and pears, growing on public boulevards or in parks. It's free for the taking! (That's the way the squirrels relate to it to, too.) If we see a tree in someone's yard with its fruit dropping to the ground, we ask the property's occupant if we can pick. More often than not, they say yes. (They don't know what they're missing.) We might come back with a bucket, although we have come home with our pockets bulging. There's nothing better than locally grown fruit. 

Above, from the front going counter clockwise: a platter of peaches, a bowl of Macintosh apples, a casserole dish of pears, and a single green apple--all picked in the past week and collected on our dining room table.  
Peaches and Pits     

To the right, a crop of peaches harvested from a tree on my block and drawn in  mid- August.


Not related to urban foraging or fruit, but to the room--our dining room, here's a another view of it in winter. And like the one above, part of my Inside/Outside series.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Running for Home

This was done when we were in Boyne City, Michigan with our boat in July. Boyne City is located at the south end of Lake Charlevoix. The lake is 13 miles long, beautiful, and is accessed from Lake Michigan via a channel in Charlevoix, Michigan on the lake's north end.

I was sitting on a picnic table in the park, next to the marina where the boat was docked, watching this storm come in. The storm was quite beautiful to watch as it formed. The clouds got darker and began to boil over the hill tops across the bay from where I sat. The storm was proceeded by rolls of thunder and lightning. I started this quick sketch and as I worked I could see power boats running down the lake heading for shelter...they were running for home.

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