So no post for quite a while, I have been on the road in Barcelona, Paris and, most recently, Portland Oregon for the first annual Urban Sketchers Symposium!

Now that I’ve unpacked my bags and am getting (finally) over a cold I brought home with me from the West coast, I have a lot of drawings to post. It’s been a wonderful July and I enjoyed every minute of it!

So I think I’ll work backwards, and start with some drawings I made at the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Portland. (The drawing above is of the Steel Bridge in Portland.) What a great time and great event! Artists from all over the world – USA, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa – came together for three days to draw and learn from each other. I was lucky to be asked to be one of the presenters, along with Tia Boon Sim, Lapin, Isabel Fiadeiro, Simonetta Capecchi, Matthew Brehm, Kurt Hollomon, Jason Das, and of course, Frank Ching and Gabi Campanario. MANY thanks to Gabi for having the vision and drive to pull this off so smoothly!

I had two mornings with no sessions to teach scheduled, so I had the opportunity to tag along with Lapin’s ‘urban line’ group on Friday and Tia’s ‘urban color’ group on Saturday. Lapin took the group to the Steel Bridge, wow, what a beautiful piece of industrial design that is! It’s a drawbridge and I think the oldest one in the city. Lapin was leading us all to the waterfront and under highways and over railroad tracks to get the right view – yeah, man, it was a great one! It was fun to follow his infamous ‘hat’ not knowing where he would bring us. Once we got there I took the opportunity to play around and do some thumbnails, such as the one above. Then the TRAIN CAME OVER THE BRIDGE (all caps to emphasize my excitement!) and I made the quick drawing below:

Wow, a Pacific Railroad train!!! I couldn’t help thinking of the California school and a little bit of the Abstract Expressionists as it went by. The colors of the west coast plus the beauty of the industry were almost too much to deal with…here is one more thumbnail from the day:

Lovely – thanks Lapin! The last day that I spent in Portland after the symposium I went back to that bridge and spent some blissful hours drawing it more. Wish I could pack that one in my suitcase!

Saturday morning I tagged along with Tia’s group – ‘urban color.’ She led us on the streetcar to the Portland Farmer’s Market. It was kind of a grey morning and I love what Tia said to the group: “maybe there’s not a lot of color this morning, so you should just make it up!!” (She’s the best! I did an interview with her for the Symposium blog, you can read it HERE if you’d like.)

So anyway actually there were plenty of flowers loaded with color there so I had a ball. Here is a thumbnail of a woman and her baby picking up some flowers:

I noticed a lot of children in Portland, many babies, and I can imagine why. What a beautiful city and great place to raise kids! There are many fountains in the city and the children are allowed to jump in and play around in the water. I took one of my ‘urban people’ groups to a fountain like that on Thursday afternoon and it was a gorgeous day, many families hanging out and enjoying the sunshine. Someone told me that there are a lot of ex-New Yorkers in Portland and I can understand why. It feels like you took the older section of the West Village in NYC, the one with many trees and brick buildings, and spread it out, western style. Add a bunch of parks and fountains and a free streetcar service and you have Portland. Lovely. Plus the blocks are somewhat smaller than the ones in NY so you can walk greater distances in less time…or so it seems…

My last drawing that I want to post from Portland is of a little boy I saw helping his mother sell cherries:

How sweet! – no pun intended. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the symposium. All of the presenters were very talented and it was wonderful to see their different approaches to drawing on location and learn about their different reasons for doing it. The participants were all ENTHUSIASTIC beyond belief and I enjoyed meeting them and working with the people I had the opportunity to work with. I only wish I could have seen all the presentations and met everyone, but I guess that’s what next year’s symposium is about ; )

Thanks again Gabi, the Urban Sketchers Symposium was truly special.

Comments (11)

  1. Don McNulty

    A pleasure meeting you Veronica, and a pleasure reading this and seeing your wonderful drawings. Cheers, Don

  2. Jo

    Living in Portland I had become a bit jaded and haven’t really looked at the Bridges of a long time but your post convinces me to revisit my town and look at it with newcomers’ eyes. Thanks for showing me how beautiful my Portland really is.

  3. Evan

    Beautiful stuff (as usual)! Man, a month of drawing… I’m jealous!

  4. Frank Bettendorf

    Wonderful images of Portland! It was great meeting you, having you as an instructor, and I especially enjoyed the conversations. Thanks for being so generous with your time. I hope we’ll meet again.

  5. alanna

    Veronica, it was so lovely to meet you and get a chance to sketch with you and learn from you. Your lecture and sketches from 9/11 really moved me. Thank you for sharing that.
    I look forward to seeing you at the next symposium(god willing that I get to go!)

  6. Donna McMenamin

    Wow Ronnie, absolutely beautiful drawings. I especially the last one and the Steel Bridge/train. It was great seeing you again and having you remind about thumbnails, which is hard for me, but I am working on it! Thanks for being there.

  7. Veronica Lawlor

    Thank you, Don and Frank. It was my pleasure to meet you both.

  8. jeckenzibbel

    I wish I’d made it. I hope there is another symposium in the future. I would have enjoyed meeting you, Veronica, and Gabi, and Don (fellow Vancouverite!). And I love Portland, I have friends there.

    Instead, we were backpacking the 4-day Juan de Fuca trail on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. It was a long-planned dream and it was beautiful. I brought the sketchbook and did a couple of drawings.

    Beautiful drawings here of Portland, I really enjoy the mix of media you are using too, but they’re so successful because of the composition and what you choose to include.


  9. admin

    Oops- a bunch of comments were held up somewhere…

    Thanks Donna – keep up those thumbnails!

    Jo – you are lucky to have those bridges!!

    Evan – yes, a month of drawing was fantastic! And thanks for the compliment on my work. Take a month off and do it, you’ll be so happy you did. : )

    Alanna, yes, looking forward to seeing you again at the next symposium – Lisbon maybe? Perhaps Jeckenzibbel (is that your real name?!) you will meet us both there as well.

  10. Isabel

    Hi Veronica great post on the Symposium enjoying reading it and looking at all the sketches. Hope to see you again in Lisbon

  11. admin

    Hi Isabel! Hope to see you again in Lisbon as well. xo Ronnie

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