Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sharing and learning starts with Paul Heaston's sketches of Portland

Let's get this blog started, shall we? We don't want to wait until we meet in Portland to start sharing and learning together. As the rest of presenters and I begin posting on this blog, we encourage Symposium participants and people considering to attend to join the conversation. This is your blog! We want to make it as useful as possible and get to know everyone a little bit before the Symposium starts in July.

Like other presenters, I'll be sharing some of my work and highlights about my sessions here in the following weeks, but today I want to do my first post about an artist I am a big fan of. I'm talking about Paul Heaston, an incredibly gifted painter and drawer who contributes to the Urban Sketchers blog from San Antonio, and previously from Bozeman. I'm always captivated by his masterful crosshatching technique and solid compositions, and also by the fact that he doesn't even need to add color to achieve great richness in contrast and depth.

I first became familiar with his detailed and energetic linework when I discovered his sketches of Main Street Bozeman and interviewed him for the Urban Sketchers blog. His flickr nickname is not "paul is just dandy" anymore — I loved that nickname by the way, but his sketches continue to be dandy, each of them a lesson worth studying line by line.

Since Paul has sketched in Portland and knows the area, I asked him what it was like to sketch there. I leave you with his impressions, in pictures and words (thanks for sharing Paul!)

portland skyline

along the williamette river esplanade
Sketching from E. Side Esplanade

3rd and yamhill
3rd and Yamhill

hawthorne and 37th
Hawthorne and SE 37th Ave.

hawthorne and 14th
Hawthorne and 14th Ave.

pioneer square
Pioneer Square

"Last year I visited Portland for a few days and had the opportunity to sketch while I was there. Portland has a wonderful funky urban vibe and density, and each neighborhood is unique and full of character. I was surprised by how compact and easy-to-get-around Portland is. A lot of folks just ride their bicycles or walk. There are some amazing public spaces as well — practically every street or landscape provides you with an opportunity to sketch, to the point where it became difficult to choose. Along the Willamette River there are beautiful bridges, park spaces and promenades. Downtown has a fantastic mix of prewar and contemporary architecture, and the Pearl District is a great reclaimed industrial area that's now full of shops and galleries. In the few days I was there, I filled half my sketchbook."

You can see a slideshow of Paul's complete Portland sketchbook here. And more of his work on his blog three letter word for art, flickr and website.


  1. Fantasic journal you have there .... could stare at these beautiful sketches all day ... more please Sir.

  2. great way to start the blog what amazing sketches.

  3. These are so well done, great to look at. Looks like the originals are relatively small size with so much detail.

  4. Wow. Thanks for posting Paul's work. I remember seeing some of the USK blog. Amazing.

  5. Nice range of drawings - thanks for posting these. I look forward to visiting Portland for the Symposium!

  6. I have been reading about Portland and it sounds like an ideal place for the symposium, really looking forward to seeing Portland and meeting all these talented people.

  7. Thanks for featuring the sketches Gabi! And thanks y'all for the nice comments!

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