Urban Sketching Symposium Paraty

imageA view of Capela de N. Sra. das Dores in Paraty, Brazil, during the 2014 Urban Sketching Symposium. This will be one of the many sketches that will be sold tomorrow evening in a silent auction to benefit the Urban Aketchers organization. I’ve completed two workshops and have a third scheduled tomorrow morning. Great participants, enthusiastic and appreciative in a beautiful colonial village on the Bay of Paraty.

World Trade Center

I flew to NYC for a presentation Monday evening by Ian Shapiro, co-author of Green Building Illustrated, which was recently published by Wiley. Sponsored by the Urban Green Council, the New York chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, the author talk was held in the beautiful Trespa Design Centre in SOHO.


Driving across the Manhattan Bridge from JFK with Ian that Monday morning, I confronted this distant view of the new WTC. Fortunately, I had some time to go back and capture that urban scene at the corner of Bowery and Canal Street.


After meetings at Wiley the following day, I had some free time to walk around the WTC site, where I found this view of the WTC from the grounds of St. Paul’s Chapel.

St. Augustine


Here are two sketches done during our recent trip south to St. Augustine, Florida. The first is of Flagler College, formerly the Hotel Ponce de Leon, which was designed by John Carrere and Thomas Hastings and built by Henry Flagler in the late 1880s. The original hotel was the first in Florida to be supplied with electricity and contains beautiful Tiffany windows. The view was drawn from the front arcaded walkway that helps define the entrance courtyard.


This is the Plaza de Constitucion in St. Augustine, Florida, which was established by Spanish Royal Ordinances in 1573. After I began with the contours of the tree in the foreground, the drawing seemed to take on a life of its own, moving left toward the gazebo, and then to the right and ending with the 18th-century Cathedral Basilica in the background. It ended up as a two-dimensional graphic that relies more on overlap than linear perspective for depth.

Dungeness Ruins

After the workshops at the Savannah College of Art and Design, we drove south to Cumberland Island, Georgia’s largest barrier island, accessible only by ferry and now a designated National Seashore overseen by the National Park Service. At the southern tip of the island are the Dungeness Ruins, the remains of a mansion built by Thomas Carnegie, brother of Andrew Carnegie, and his wife Lucy in the 1880s as a winter retreat. This panoramic view of the site shows the open grounds, which looks southward over a vast saltwater marsh.


While waiting for the ferry that would take us back to the mainland, I popped into the Ice House Museum and was excited to see a photograph of the mansion as it was before it burned in 1959. I quickly drew this view to show a little of its character in its heyday.


5th Urban Sketching Symposium


I am happy to announce that I have been selected to be among those who will be teaching workshops at the 5th International Urban Sketching Symposium to be held August 27–30, 2014 in Paraty, a historic Portuguese colonial town situated on the lush coastline between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. To be able to meet and draw with urban sketchers from all over the world in such a beautiful setting is a rare privilege.

For more information and to keep up with the latest news, see <http://paraty2014.urbansketchers.org>.

Back Home in Seattle, Remembering Rome

It’s really cold here in Seattle and until it warms up enough to go out and draw, I will continue to post a few images from Rome. Although It feels good to be home, my mind still wanders occasionally back to Rome.


Just off of Via del Pelligrino as it leads away from the Campo dei Fiori is a dark archway, the Arco degli Acetari, which opens onto this quiet courtyard. It is perhaps one of the more photographed places in Rome; you see it on postcards as well as on numerous Flickr sites. I’ve passed by it many times and decided one morning to stop and try to capture the medieval quality of the space. This line drawing cannot do justice to the picturesque, colorful courtyard with its greenery, stairs leading off in different directions, shuttered windows, and tiled roofscapes.

Ciao Roma

I leave Rome tomorrow for Seattle. While it has truly been a privilege and a pleasure to have once again taught in the Eternal City, I’m looking forward to returning home. Before departing, I want to share just a few more drawings.


If I absolutely had to pick a favorite building in Rome, it would have to be the Pantheon, which is ideal in its conception and outlook but also attractive in the way it has aged and adapted over the centuries. I’ve drawn the Pantheon many times before but this time I decided to capture an aspect of the structure that rarely gets noticed.

PantheonInt00 PantheonInt13

These are two interior views of the Pantheon. The first was done quickly in 2000, while the second took about an hour to do on a recent cold and rainy day, when the idea of sitting inside and drawing felt strangely welcoming. It’s always difficult to convey the way the spatial volume envelops you but the challenge was worthwhile and rewarding.

Two Baroque Masterpieces


Designed by Francesco Borromin, San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane is an iconic masterpiece of Baroque architecture, built in the 17th century as part of a complex of monastic buildings on the Quirinal Hill, at the southwest corner of the intersection of of Via XX Septembre and Via delle Quattro Fontane. Four fountains (Quattro Fontane) mark the corners of the now narrow and busy intersection. It’s difficult to capture the complex nature of the undulating facade as it weaves its way across the two-story, three-bay structure, with smaller columns framing niches, windows, and sculptures.


These are a few quick sketch studies of the interior. While initially appearing to be complex, the spatial geometry can be understood with just a little bit of analysis.


Just down the street from San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane is Sant’Andrea al Quirinale, another important work of Baroque architecture, designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and the third Jesuit church built in Rome, after the Church of the Gesú and Sant’Ignazio. The reason for the grayed out area is that I had decided to draw this view over two pages already filled with notes I had taken of student design projects.

Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri

In 1563, Michelangelo used a section of what remained of the Baths of Diocletian to house Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri. What I like about the vaulted transept space shown here is that, while standing in it, one can feel the grandeur and immense scale of the spaces within the Roman baths.


Noted on the drawing is the meridian solar line, which was commissioned by Pope Clement XI in the 18th century to verify the accuracy of the Gregorian calendar. Astronomer and mathematician Francesco Bianchini installed the brass line across the floor of the church at longitude 12°30’E. At noon each day, the sun, if it is out, shines through a small hole in the south wall to cast its light on the line, marking the progress of the sun through the year.

Santa Barbara dei Librai


Tucked away at the end of Largo dei Librari just off of Via Giubbonari is this tiny church, hemmed in by taller buildings on both sides. Like much of the area, it’s foundations were constructed over the ruins of the Theatre of Pompey sometime in the 11th century. This church was rebuilt in the Baroque style in 1680, and restored in 1858.