San Andrés


Before returning to Seattle from Medellin, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to spend a couple of days on San Andrés, an island in the Caribbean Sea with an English past but tied politically to Colombia. Situated 470 miles north of Colombia but only 140 miles east of Nicaragua, it is, along with Providencia and Santa Catalina, part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. I was able to spend a day drawing some of the historic structures on the island with a small group of staff and students from the Jardin Botanico de San Andrés.

Medellin Workshop


As part of the conference this week at the Medellin campus of the National University of Colombia, I was able to offer a couple of workshops for the students, something I always enjoy doing. Last Wednesday morning, we met at Botero Square in downtown Medellin, a hub of activity and urban life named after Fernando Botero, whose large, voluminous works are scattered throughout the park.

Here are examples of the sketches that I use to demonstrate capturing the essential structure of a scene.

Portland Line-to-Color Workshop

I spent an enjoyable weekend in Portland co-teaching a Line-to-Color workshop with Gail Wong. We had the benefit of pleasant weather, Portland offers great sketching sites, and we had the opportunity to work with an ardent group of sketchers. As in any workshop, there is little time to sketch on one’s own but I managed to do one before the group met on Sunday morning and a couple more later on in the afternoon when members of the Portland Urban Sketchers joined our group at the Portland Saturday Market site on the riverfront.

KSU Campus II

Here are a few more sketches from my recent visit to Manhattan, Kansas. The second is of the International Student Center, which I studied because of its unusual inward orientation to a courtyard, unlike most of the other structures on the KSU campus.

I did this very quick sketch during a walk through the 8000-acre Konza Prarie, a former cattle ranch and now a tallgrass prarie preserve in the Flint Hills of northeastern Kansas, jointly owned by the Nature Conservancy and Kansas State University, which conducts ecological research and manages conservation in the preserve. I drew only the path ahead of me and a treeline in an arroyo between two ridges. All of that white space you see are prarie grasses, a mix of big bluestem, little bluestem, Indiangrass, and switchgrass.

The Varied Faces of Singapore

One final post on Singapore. Walking around the city during the Urban Sketching Symposium, I drew a few scenes that illustrate diverse aspects of this metropolis, with evidence of its Colonial past, ethnic neighborhoods, and modern skyscrapers co-existing in a modern Asian city-state. In the last sketch, the circle with SG above the number 50 refers to this year being the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s separation from Malaysia and formation as an independent republic on August 9, 1965.

Two Chinese Temples

The day before the Urban Sketching Symposium started in Singapore, I wandered along Waterloo Street, the site of my workshop. I came upon this Chinese temple, seemingly grafted onto a three-story office building.

In contrast to the Waterloo Street temple is the Thian Hock Keng Temple in the Chinatown district, which is one of the oldest Hokkien temples in Singapore. The more traditional layout was completed in 1842 to accommodate Chinese immigrants giving thanks for a safe voyage. Because of the heavy street traffic, I decided to focus on the composition of tiled roofs and animated ridge and hip lines, leaving the rest to the imagination.

Raffles Hotel Singapore


The Raffles Hotel is an icon in Singapore, having been established in 1887 by two Armenian brothers. Named after Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore, it was designed by the architect Regent Alfred John Bidwell of Swan and Maclaren.

This view, looking down Seah Street from North Bridge Road, is one of the many drawings done during the 6th International Urban Sketchers Symposium in Singapore that wIll be auctioned off to benefit the urban Sketchers organization.

Workshop Offerings


A month after attending the 6th International Urban Sketchers Symposium in Singapore (See, I will be joining Norberto Dorantes, Simone Ridyard, and Climaco Cardenas in conducting a series of workshops, offering demonstrations, and leading sketch crawls in Amsterdam and Liverpool over two long weekends, August 13–23. For more information about the schedule of events and registration, please visit

And finally, to cap off the summer, Gail Wong and I will be teaching another Line to Color workshop in Portland, Oregon, September 25–27. To find out more about this event, you can email Gail at

Line-to-Color Workshop in Orange County


We spent two wonderful and gratifying days in Orange County last weekend, drawing at the Mission San Juan Capistrano, along the Laguna Beach promenade, and in the confines of the Lumberyard courtyard. Thanks to all of the workshop participants for their enthusiasm, hard work, and high spirits.

Despite the numerous books, and now videos, on sketching and drawing that are available, they cannot match the immediacy of hands-on teaching and learning. It is difficult to replicate the experience of standing or sitting side-by-side, looking out at the same scene, and discussing and demonstrating the ways of seeing that are crucial to on-location drawing.