Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Thank Heavens for Mild Texas Winters!

WIP image from the first bonus video (Fort Worth Botanical Garden)

Last week my film crew and I began shooting a series of four online workshop lessons (to be followed by several "bonus" videos) for Strathmore Artist Papers.

Because of the tight schedule some of the lessons will, no doubt, have to be filmed indoors. But, thankfully, we have an abundance of mild (if not continuous) winter weather here in Texas. So, my crew and I will take advantage of every bit of sunshine, and every bit of warmth, to go out "on location." (And, so far, we're having a blast!)

The workshop will run from early March through the beginning of April and registration is free.

Monday, December 16, 2013


GENTLE REMINDER: THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTING EDUCATIONAL PROPOSALS FOR THE UPCOMING SYMPOSIUM ON PARATY, BRAZIL IS NEXT FRIDAY, DECEMBER 20TH, 2013!!!! Looking forward receiving your proposals for either a workshop, a lecture, a guided sketchcrawl, you name it!!!!. Be creative and submit any ideas that you think it will make USk Paraty 2014 an event impossible to forget!!!!  Follow the link below.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday Night + Texas = High School Football

My son is in the marching band at the local high school, so starting in August it seems like…all band…all the time. The highlight finally comes when football starts and it is time for HALFTIME performance. When halftime ends, it is time to visit and sketch from the stands. I confess not knowing the quarterback's name. Football season has finally come to an end, the band won a national competition so all in all, a good fall.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Boston Here We Come!

I'm headed to Boston, one of my absolute favorite cities early tomorrow to participate in the national conference of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) there.  Sketching fever has hit ASLA hard this year!  On Friday afternoon fellow landscape architect and urban sketcher Richard Alomar and I will lead 30 participants on a downtown sketchcrawl called Sketch Boston!; the participants' sketchbooks will be on display over the next few days at the Convention Center.  We'll be joined by artist/author/landscape architect Chip Sullivan and Bob Chipman (designer, digital sketching guru and contributor to my book).  Then Richard, Chipman and I will present a lecture and live digital sketching demonstration called Freehand Visions on Saturday, followed by a book signing in the convention Expo Hall.  Finally, I'm honored to be hosting a session on Sunday featuring three of the U.S.'s most prominent landscape architects--Laurie Olin, Warren Byrd and Michael Vergason--as they discuss the role of freehand sketching and drawing in their own creative processes.

The sketch above was done in Boston just a few days after the Barcelona USk Symposium, as Richard and I scouted locations for the sketchcrawl...wish us luck!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Old Natchitoches County Courthouse-Natchitoches, Louisiana

I recently had made a trip to Louisiana just to sketch and paint.  This sketch and partially painted scene was done on location and finished in the studio.

Renewing An Old Acquaintance (Sketching In Oils)

weighing in at just 2 lbs. full, my 6"x8" pochade is actually lighter than my "daily carry" 
bag(the tripod is another story, but only goes along when I want to work standing) 

Like many of us who have been swept up in the sketching renaissance, I've been joyfully preoccupied with pens, pens, watercolors, and sketchbooks of late -- in fact, for quite some time now. But there are other medium that can serve the on-site sketcher quite well. And, of late, I've been thinking of one of them: plein air oils.

the results are a refreshing, painterly alternative to the more linear work in my journals

So, with pochade box in hand (and sometimes in my lap, sometimes on a tripod) I've started venturing out to see what I can see. (For those who might be interested, there are more details, including a step-by-step demo, here.)


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sketching and Painting in Natchitoches, Louisiana...Basillica of the Immaculate Conception(1857)

I spent a few days last week in Natchitoches, LA with a group of twenty painters that I have come to know from around the state.  We had two fun days of sketching, painting, eating and fellowshipping!  A good time was had by all and the critique sessions were honest and very beneficial.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Sundance Square Plaza Opens in Downtown Fort Worth

I attended the long-awaited opening of Sundance Square Plaza in downtown Fort Worth this morning. Kudos to Fort Worth, the Sundance Square team, to Ed Bass, architect David Schwarz, and  to the plaza designer, landscape architect Michael Vergason.  It is a worthy and wonderful addition to the grand plazas of the world...a must see.  The photo of me sketching is by Fort Worth Star Telegram photographer Rodger Mallison.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Back to some location sketching......

I spent this past weekend at a retreat in the mountains of southeastern New Mexico.  I had a few minutes to sketch one of the cabins at Pine Springs Christian Camp near Sacramento, New Mexico...just up the road from Weed, New Mexico....Watercolor was applied by the pale glow of light through a window and moonlight....

Friday, October 25, 2013


I love a chance to get out of town and sketch some of the cool little towns all over Texas. When the chance came to spend some time in the hill country outside Austin I took it. Fredericksburg is a sketching goldmine, but it seemed that every time I was there in the past it was about 104 degrees and miserable for sitting. This week was lovely so I drew my favorite building-the former White Elephant Saloon. It now holds a very swanky home decor shop.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sketchcrawl Houston

I was a solo crawler today, so I worked my sketch into an errand at the farmer's market where I bought a couple of pumpkins for the front porch. A beautiful day in Houston.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Real Life Real Music Festival

Real Live Real Music at Bernhardt Winery
You might not guess it but there are wineries here in Texas. Just last weekend we went out to the Real Life, Real Music Festival at Bernhardt Winery. A great line up of live music with The Chubby Knuckle Choir, Soul Driven Train and Terry Hendricks & Lloyd Maines. My friends daughter is a teen songwriter and she also performed  in  a lineup of several aspiring teen musicians. A lovely afternoon with live music, wine, my sketchbook and my sweet hubby. We found out they have live music every Sunday at sunset. I think this might need to be a regular event for us.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Blue Trees

About six months ago an artist came to Houston and painted the large stand of crepe myrtle at Memorial and Waugh and electric shade of blue. Well "colored" as he puts it. You can read more
about the artist and the project here.

At any given time on a nice day you can now find groups of people hanging out under the crepe myrtle enjoying the view. I don't think I ever noticed anyone except city crews paying attention to them before.  Today was such a lovely fall day, I decided to go down and enjoy them myself.

Friday, October 4, 2013

People & Places BCN

I am way, way behind on posting about the Urban Sketchers Barcelona Symposium. In a nutshell: fun and energetic group of sketchers, food good, wine also good, sleep (not enough), a full spectrum of architectural styles, weather hot just like home.The cathedral and people shown here are drawn on location with photoshop'd color. The red and purple buildings were done in a workshop with Lynn Chapman. 
The sketch notes were taken during Fred Lynch's entertaining presentation on closing day. I'm not so sure it is a good likeness of him as I wasn't particularly close to where he was standing. But you can catch some of the flavor of his lively talk.
The last drawing I drew the day after the symposium ended. The colorful shop front caught my eye and it was on a quiet corner.  


The local AIGA chapter is hosting Design Week here in Houston. A different activity each day. Speakers and presentations etc. On Thursday I went to the Houston Museum of Fine Arts for the Design Week presentation by Jonathan Hoefler. He is a type designer, specializing in web fonts. Since I am a graphic designer mostly working with print media, web fonts are relatively new to me. Now I know - print fonts on the web are bad, don't do it.
At the end there was a Q&A segment. One of the Q-ers was pretty enthusiastic, her comment, "I'm not a designer, so I'm like WHOA…is this Sci-Fi?". She cracked me up. A theatre with a couple hundred people to hear this dude talk about pixels and letter spacing. Nerdville and I'm a resident.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The show must go on...

High school band is back in full swing, and has been since the first of Aug. At the end of summer just before school starts back up, they put on a little exhibition for the parents. Wouldn't you know it starts raining on the performance field just before the exhibition was due to start. All the instruments were wheeled back into the small gym. The band has 300 kids, so you can imagine how many parents and family members were on hand. Way more than fit comfortably in the gym. We ended up sitting on the floor around the edge of the basketball court. We had an up close and personal view of all the horn section. You could even say we had "smell-a-vision". August - Texas - afternoon practice. You get the picture. The first sketch is of the warm up that the kids do to loosen up. Then the drum line and all the kids listening to the band instructors. This was about as public as I have sketched in "real life" not a sketchcrawl or off to the side somewhere out of the way.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New Urban Sketchers Workshop in Italy!

Urban Sketchers Gerard Michel and Lapin will be conducting a new workshop on new ways to see and draw perspective in Italy!  For more details click on the link:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Sense of Place (The Exhibit)

a few of the journals and journal-related materials that will be on display

Beginning September 17th and running through October 31st the Fort Worth Central Library will be hosting an exhibition entitled A Sense of Place: Nature and Travel Journals by Earnest Ward. The library (in partnership with the FW Botanical Gardens and Log Cabin Village) will also be sponsoring four journaling workshops.

The exhibition, workshop participation, and required art materials are free to the public. (However, workshop enrollment is limited to 10 participants per workshop.) For additional information, or to register, phone 817.392.7323. (And, if interested, watch for a series of journaling-related posts over the next eight weeks at my blog. http://earnestward.blogspot.com/2013/09/a-sense-of-place-exhibit-part-1.html)


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Old Number 3

I'm always in favor of reusing Houston's old buildings rather than tearing them down. There have been some sad passings of great old buildings recently, but more and more people are repurposing. This was
once Houston Fire Department Station 3 in the Old First Ward neighborhood along Houston Avenue. You can imagine the old engines coming out of those two bays in the front. I love all the little concrete and plaster embellishments and the fine old brick. The remodeling left it very much intact. Not sure if it has become a business or residence, but I'm glad it was saved.

Monday, August 19, 2013

North America National Parks

Some of the sketches i did this summer trip to California,Utah and Arizona.

El Capitan.California

Red Rocks.Sedona.Arizona



Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Bold and the Beautiful

The buildings here are a sketch done in Barcelona at the USK 4th Symposium in a workshop with the effervescent Lynn Chapman. The workshop title Sketches that Sing, in my case shout. The Cinderella Shoes are from a store front in the Gothic Quarter. The shop was a hot pink and zebra print explosion. And the shoes! They were nothing a reasonable woman would dare to wear on an uneven stone street.  Very "Fredrick's of Hollywood". Just a few steps away were two older gentlemen sitting on either side of the open doorway leading into a dimly lit, but intriguing looking entry hall. I approached to take a peek inside, it might be sketch-worthy after all. The only word they spoke that sounded vaguely familiar was "prohibo" and a wave of the hand. I took it to mean, "Keep moving lady, nothing here for you to see."

Friday, August 9, 2013

The "New" Old Courthhouse

Yowza it's hot. I decided to find ways to entertain myself with air conditioning at someone else's dime. This is the inside of the rotunda and dome at the newly renovated Harris County courthouse in downtown Houston. It was built in 1910. Over the years, as the county became pressed for space, lots of dropped ceilings and ductwork and other improvements took away the beauty of the original building. The county has restored all the lovely marble, the plaster moldings and woodwork. The marble is gorgeous.  On the north side of the building  there is a restored courtroom that looks like something from an old movie set complete with a viewer's balcony.
The most lovely surprise is the restoration of the stained glass dome skylight. The color just glows and the plasterwork around the edges is a nice counterpoint to the very geometric design. They had a few clues to go by for the restoration- photos, scraps of surviving materials and copies of old plans. The design for the original stained glass, however, was lost. The restorers had to take color clues from the other materials and go with a period design.
The building was nice and cool and the drawing was quite a challenge.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Sketching San Francisco Area

Some sketches i did in my summer holidays, around the San Francisco/Monterey Area.


- Desde Mi iPad

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Chillin' at the D & T

My neighborhood is undergoing a few changes. Construction is everywhere and house prices are through the roof. Not a bad thing and not entirely a good thing. The D & T was a local dive...pretty scungy from all reports. It got bought up by someone who did a total remodel and began offering a pretty nice selection of craft beers. In my continuing effort to draw more people, I decide a visit was in order. All in the name of sketching, of course!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Back from Barcelona!

 We're thrilled with the turnout for the 40th Worldwide Sketchcrawl in Austin, and in other Texas venues.  Meanwhile, Texas Sketchers Judith Butler Dollar, Kay Zimmerman and Jim Richards joined the same event on the last day of the 4th International Urban Sketching Symposium in Barcelona.  About 200 registered attendees, faculty and volunteer staff were joined by 100 or so non-registered attendees, who came just to draw and celebrate their love of urban sketching.  It was a magnificent 3-day event!  I'll be posting more photos and sketches from Barcelona in the coming days.  Hopefully our Texas delegation for the annual Symposium will continue to grow!

Some of the 40th Worldwide SketchCrawl attendees on the last day of the Symposium in Barcelona

Jim Richards' sketch from the SketchCrawl gathering in Barcelona.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Last things first

 Goodbye Barcelona and fellow Urban Sketchers from 30 countries. A sketch from the departure gate in Barcelona after a week with the Uban Sketchers Symposium. 3 days of workshops and a few extra tacked on to soak up a little more Catalan goodness. Thanks to the teachers and especially the organizers of this years' symposium. Some highlights: tapas, vino tinto, Sagrada Familia and all things Gaudi, the Boqueria, everyone else's sketchbooks, late night dinners, friends from USK 2 & 3. And the sponsors and volunteers that made the whole thing work. More images as time permits.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

On a Rainy Afternoon in Houston

It's been rainy and cooler the last few days, so I decided it was time to go out and do some sketching. This is the old Oriental Textile Mill in the Houston Heights. It was opened in 1894 and is one of the oldest industrial buildings in Houston. It's on the National Registry. First it was a mattress factory, then they produced fabric from camel hair.  I know there is a small restaurant in the building now. What I find interesting is that the top third of the clock tower is much more ornate and faced in a nice limestone, while the rest of the tower and building are nondescript brick  painted  a neutral tan.  When the brick was its original dark red, the building would have been an interesting contrast in styles. The clock is a real gem. I got the sketch done just before the sky got really black.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Austin Urban Sketchers | World Wide SketchCrawl #40

Had a great time hosting the Austin Urban Sketchers participatation in the WWSketchCrawl #40!

This sketch was done while sitting @ Jo's coffee looking across S. Congress Ave to the ever popular Amy's ice cream.

From Jo's coffee we "crawled" to the Auditorium shores Gazebo @ Town/Ladybird Lake, and then on to a sketching happy hour at the Hyatt Regency overlooking the Congress Ave bridge.   It was a hot time in the Summer (sunny with temps in the 100's) as this group of diehard urban sketchers braved the elements and made this sketchcrawl one to remember!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lunch sketch

One of my favorite places to stop for lunch when I am in Houston is les Givrals for a Vietnamese sandwich (bahn).  There are always some interesting characters around slurping noodles and hanging out in this neighborhood restaurant.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Umlauf Scultpure Garden and Museum [w. Austin Urban Sketchers Meetup group]

Had a wonderful time this saturday sketching @ the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum in Austin, Tx, with a great crew of Austin Urban Sketchers!   The Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum is a natural oasis in South Austin dedicated to the work of 20th century American sculptor Charles Umlauf. Every season shows off the sculptures in a different way, and the garden path is lined with sculptures and places to sit and relax while you sketch art surrounded by nature!  If you're ever in Austin be sure to check out this urban gem, it's now one of my top 5 fave places to sketch in south Austin.

b. scott shaevel

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Botanizing in (Urban) Texas

Urban Sketchers don't usually post flora but, hey!, it's springtime, and it's Texas. So, this time of year -- if it's not covered with concrete, blacktop, or water -- it's probably covered with wildflowers.

OK, here in Texas we've been under the influence of a drought for the past three years. So, the more showy wildflowers have been a bit scarce this year. (I didn't see any Bluebonnets at all this year.) But I have noticed far more tiny, drought-resistant species than I ever would have noticed in a year when we have had bumper crops of Indian Paintbrushes, Winecups, and Mexican Hats.

I wonder if these annoying "little darlin's" were the inspiration for high-top boots?

So, on a technicality (I remember something in the USK guidelines about being able to place one's location on a map, and our bird sanctuary ponds are on Google's Fort Worth map.) I thought I'd share a few images drawn from my un-paved corner of "urban" Texas.

boiled down Yellow Woodsorrel produces a bright orange dye/ink (and raw, 
it's good on salads) while Field Madder will provide a rosy red artist's color

(Of course, if this post is a bit too far afield to truly meet USK criteria I won't be the least bit offended if someone feels the need to pull it.)

Happy trails everyone (one sketch at a time)! ;-)