Monday, December 15, 2014


Seattle, WA, 05 December 2014 – Urban, a non-profit organization, is celebrating its fifth anniversary since incorporating on December 6, 2009. Its mission is to promote on-location sketching and to connect people around the world who enjoy urban sketching. Wildly successful, the international community of urban sketchers is estimated at 50,000+ and almost 14 million page views on the Urban Sketchers (USk) blog.

Seattle-based journalist and illustrator Gabriel Campanario launched the group in 2007 by creating an online community of urban sketches on Sketchers scan their drawings and share them on the group’s Flickr site, Facebook page or blog. The idea went viral. So far communities of sketchers have formed 60 regional chapters in 29 countries.

"Urban Sketchers is growing because sketchers are finding each other where they live and travel.” says Membership Director, Jessie Chapman. “Members are building relationships and communities with people who share the same interests, both online and at our events."  

USk raises the artistic, storytelling and educational value of location drawing with workshops and events held all around the world. USk has organized five international symposiums in Portland, USA; Lisbon, Portugal; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Barcelona, Spain and Paraty, Brazil.

The 2015 Symposium will be held in Singapore July 22-25. Organizers expect 250+ attendees from around the world.

“Artists of all ages and skill levels have stories to tell,” says founder Gabi Campanario. “Urban Sketchers is a free group that provides a platform for them to renew their love of drawing and to learn more about storytelling.”

To find out more about Urban Sketchers or to locate a regional chapter near you, visit

Thursday, December 4, 2014

"Ceta Canyon Road"

This is a little sketch I did recently in the panhandle of Texas near Tulia.  This is in an area that was originally part of the famed JA Ranch which was founded by Charles Goodnight and John Adair.  This area is part of Palo Duro Canyon, which incidentally, is a great area to sketch and paint!  Much of the canyon is now part of Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Looking back at summer in UK

Here is a sketch of London viewed from the cafe on the 6th floor of the Tate Modern during my visit in July. As we sat sketching the Tour de France was expected to pass along the other side of the Thames from us. Any minute...any minute. We had just about given up after many false sightings as cars with flashing blue lights rolled by but still no riders, finally a helicopter flew over signaling the riders. We could see a flickering through the crowds, it lasted 10 seconds and poof, it was over. At least we were waiting where it was dry and we had our sketchbooks while the spectators outside stood in the rain. Did I mention that the Tour started in England and then across to France.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Painting on location-Wayside Elevator-Wayside, Texas

Forgive me!  Not exactly "Urban"!

At the PowWow

I know my relatives always laugh their heads off when I talk about "cold" in Texas, but Saturday was overcast and gray and damp and cold. Four people showed up at Trader's Village outside Houston to sketch the pow wow and festivities. I had never attended a pow wow so this was all new to me.

I've been trying to do more gesture drawings and quick drawings of people without resorting to using  "icons" other words honing my skills at quick but accurate impressions. There were some colorful subjects to work with, but the dancing was so fast and furious that even Judith had a hard time getting things on paper. I settled for people on the sidelines watching or waiting to go on. The figure on the left had long beautiful wavy hair, but it wasn't until he turned around that I realized that it was a young guy. The center figure had real buffalo horns and fur on that hat. He was a fabulous dancer. The woman on the right had a burn-your-eyeballs-out colorful costume.

I got very cold quickly sitting in the bleachers so I caught up with Judith in the lunch area, grabbed some lunch and headed for someplace warm.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Down on the coast....

I spent a few days in Rockport, TX down on the gulf coast last weekend and was able to produce a couple of watercolors on fun!!!!

"Fulton Mansion"

"Miss Ashlynn"

Friday, November 7, 2014

USK Houston upcoming Nov. 15 sketch crawl

We will meet Sat. Nov. 15 at the Native American Pow Wow Championship at Traders Village in west Houston. The Pow Wow has colorful tribal dance contests, an arts & crafts show, tipis, honoring ceremonies, drum circles, singing and much more. Free event, parking $3. There are food vendors on site. Maps and info:
Meeting point: the Tipi Village at 10:30, if you arrive later we'll meet up again at 11:30 before the Grand Entry. Lunch break at 1:15. I am not sure where the Native Am food booth is but meet there at 1:15, it will be in the Pow Wow area. See the map, Traders Village covers a large area.  From the Eldridge Entrance go to the far side

to find the PowWow it will be at the outdoor arena.
Go to our Urban Sketchers Texas Facebook page and let us know if you will be joining us. 
More info:
All dance competitions will take place from 12:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.  Special morning entertainment, featuring Terry Tsotigh playing his flute and harmonica, will start at 11:30 a.m. each day with Grand Entry at 12:00 noon.

Artists, craftsmen and traders from all over the country will showcase their wares and talents at the arts & crafts show and sale under the giant Expo. The arts & crafts sale will be open from 10:00 a.m. to sundown each day.  

The Indian food booth will serve authentic Native American foods all weekend long. Everyone, spectators and competitors alike, can enjoy authentic Native American fry bread, Indian tacos and more. Visitors are invited to enjoy a true-to-life experience of days gone by as they wander through the tipi village which provides a close-up look at life with this age-old form of portable shelter.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Oct. 25 Houston USK at East End Street Festival

Urban Sketchers Houston,
This Saturday a sketch-worthy event - East End Street Festival. Marching band extravaganza, car show, live music and food.
11 a.m. meet under shade tree (see map) 1 p.m. meet at car show. Go to our Facebook page and let us know you are coming: Urban Sketchers Texas (Group)
Look for fellow sketchers throughout the event.  
See the event website for info.
A SketchCrawl isn’t a class, workshop or competition. It's an opportunity for creative people to meet each other, draw together, and share their sketches with each other and online. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon, make new friends and celebrate the city!
What are the rules?
1. There are no rules.
2. Anyone can participate, be it to draw for 20 minutes or the full scheduled time.
3. Any level of ability is welcome, from veteran artists to first time sketchers.
4. Bring your own sketching gear. A hat, water and sunscreen are a good idea.
5. Kids under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
Keep your eye on the weather reports; if thunderstorms threaten we’ll reschedule.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Sketching at Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale, Venice of America, where I currently live and work, is one of most popular city many tourists would visit. I started to organize a new sketching group within the firm with other sketching amateurs. Sunday morning, it’s a second meeting time and we decided to stay at a café on Las Olas, which is a commercial street full of restaurants and boutiques. Coincidently, the location we picked was the same perspective I did on one sketching when I came here for interview.  

Monday, September 29, 2014

Menil Museum with USk Tx Houston

A few sketchers met on the 20th of Sept. at the Menil Museum. Sitting in the shade on the wide porch the weather was pleasant and we had a nice visit as we sketched the area around the museum. As it warmed up we went inside ( free admission, yay) and sketched a while longer before it got to be time for a lunch break at Lowbrow around the corner. Loved the name of the restaurant. Good food too. Here are Laura and Ngbede sketching on the walkway around the Menil designed by Renzo Piano. Also a sketch from a mask inside the museum and of course inside Lowbrow where the last of us visited (obsessed) over our art supplies. I forgot to take a group photo.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A little time to sketch in San Diego...

My wife and I spent a few days in San Diego last week celebrating our 29th wedding anniversary!  I was able to squeeze in a little sketching!

The Pier Cafe is down on the waterfront near our hotel...didn't eat there...probably should have!  The view was great!

Spent one day over on Coronado Island.  This is the beach out side the famous Hotel del Coronado.

Seaport Village is a great little shopping area along the waterfront.
All sketches were done on location and watercolor added back in Texas.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

North Cascades (The Book)

cover art

Well, I managed to miss the international USk symposium in Brazil this year. And I've been a no-show at the DFW are sketch crawls too. But I certainly haven't been lounging about in my little hermitage of late.

location sketching began Day 1

This Monday (September 15) the Apple iBooks Store launched the pre-order of my latest enhanced (what Apple calls Multi-Touch) iBook entitled The North Cascades: A Tale of Two Seasons (Spring). The book is 155 pages long and (in addition to text) is chock-full of all sorts of visual goodies from my first stint as Artist-in-Residency with North Cascades National Park: 83 works on paper (including sketches, drawings, and hand-drawn maps), 23 plain air oils, 13 videos, 152 photos, scrolling text sidebars, and numerous journal entries.

If you have access to an iPad, iPod Touch, Mac, or MacBook Pro, I invite you to download the free sample excerpt and see what you think. (The free iBook app that powers all iBooks is currently available only on Apple devices. But I'm hoping that, like iTunes before it, we'll see the release of a Windows-compatable version soon.) Pre-order runs through Oct. 14 and the complete book can be downloaded beginning Oct. 15.

plein air sketching -- sometimes in graphite, sometimes pen & ink, sometimes oils

The North Cascades: A Tale of Two Seasons (Autumn), which documents my second residency at the national park, is already in the works.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

College Game Day in Fort Worth!

If you can't be in Paraty, the next best thing is to be in the crowd watching ESPN's live College Game Day broadcast on the opening day of the college football season from Sundance Square Plaza in Fort Worth, Texas.  The Plaza is one of my very favorite places to sketch, and it's a pretty wild party right now--football fans from all over the region, marching bands, cheerleaders and Chef Tim Love grilling wild game backstage...high energy!  If you are wearing team colors today, good luck to you!

Friday, July 25, 2014

New Workshop with Frank Ching and Gail Wong

Check out this upcoming workshop in Tacoma with Frank and Gail, two master teachers.  Follow the link below for more information:
Line to Color Workshop

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A trip to Oxford USK Workshop "Pushing Boundries"

Here are a few of my sketches after attending the USK workshop in Oxford UK. We had a group of 30 students and 3 workshop leaders, Isabel CarmonaMiguel Herranz and Victor Swasky. My London sketcher buddy, Isabelle L. was my tour guide for a couple of days in London before we headed out to Oxford (I met her at the Lisbon USK symposium 3 years ago). Highlights: Radcliffe Square, pubs, the Pitt River Museum, street vendor food, fellow sketchers, side trip to Blenheim Palace, public transportation and a looser style of putting down color. Yay.

Radcliffe Square

This is Roy, he works in the donut booth on Portobello Road, Nottinghill Market. He was thrilled to be in my sketch.

 A little rain sent us indoor to sketch until the sun came out.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sketching at the T&P Station in Fort Worth

Great turnout and high spirits for Fort Worth's gathering of Urban Sketchers Texas...thanks to Tim Young and Donna Nelson Young for hosting us at the T&P Lofts.  It was a perfect venue for the hot summer, with shade, a "Big Ass Fan," and cold libations from the station tavern at hand.  Thanks Patti Grogan Richards for the photos!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

June 28: Sketching in Fort Worth!

Veronica Lawlor's lively sketch of the interior of Grand Central in NYC illustrates the creative opportunities for sketching in these grand  old terminal buildings.

June sketching in Fort Worth: Saturday June 28, 2:30-5pm
T&P Lofts, 221 West Lancaster Street

This month brings us back to downtown Fort Worth, where we've chosen a venue with both outdoor and indoor (air-conditioned) options!  The Texas and Pacific Passenger Terminal Building—now the T & P Lofts—is a beautiful 1930 art deco/”zig-zag moderne” building that now houses lofts for urban living.  SketchCrawl regulars Tim and Donna Young live in the building, and will host us there.  Sketching opportunities include the magnificent facade of the T & P and the interiors of its Grand Ballroom, passenger waiting areas, the train platform and passenger trains, and unique architectural details galore.  The beautiful Greek Revival Main Post Office is immediately next door as well.  Meet in front of the main building entrance at 2:30PM.

Anyone who wishes to participate is welcome!  We will chat briefly, then disperse to sketch singly, in pairs or groups as you wish.  We’ll reconvene in The Tavern adjacent to the Grand Ballroom at 4:30pm to share sketchbooks and for a group photo, then adjourn for optional social time at The Tavern.  Downtown on-street parking is free on weekends. There’s a free TRE parking lot at the corner of Vickery @ S. Main on the south side of I-30 that has walkways under I-30 to the building.  Questions? Email

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Place-Based Journaling and Digital Books

Drawn to Adventure (Ireland), pg. 49

Well, I've been "off the grid" for the past two months working on my first 3 multi-media digital books; the first on nature journaling, the second on travel journaling, and the third focusing on the inspirational quotes (with pen & ink portraits) that have begun each of my new sketchbooks for the past three decades.

You can find more details in my article ( or check out the free samples at any of the 52 online Apple iBooks Stores worldwide. (The first title is currently available and the two remaining titles go live on June 15.)


Sunday, May 25, 2014


Houston is trying to improve the greenspace available and pull people back to downtown. The whole length of Buffalo Bayou has been turned into a park with paths for hiking and biking. This is a small slice of the park just below the Wortham Theater where the opera and ballet perform. Because you walk down a flight of stairs to an area far below street level, the park itself is very quiet and green and peaceful. A nice escape from the city.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Slice of Houston History

I'm always intrigued by the funky architecture on some of Houston's older churches. Today was a lovely cool and sunny day and I was out running errands and ran across this church. St. Nicholas Catholic Church is the oldest African American Catholic congregation in Houston. The congregation dates from the late 1800's, but this funny little pseudo-Mission style building was built in the 1920's.  It sits now on the east side of downtown, cut off from the Third Ward by the Gulf Freeway. For a long time this was a no-man's-land of decaying frame houses and old warehouse and industrial buildings. Slowly all the old houses have come down and the industrial buildings have been repurposed into lofts and that funny little corner of east downtown is coming back again.  I was charmed by this little red brick beauty.