Monday, December 21, 2015


This is Norberto. He's an urban sketching friend living in Buenos Aires, Argentina.This is another one of my "collaborative" portraits where the portrait is my sketch and the background is Norberto's work. I love his work. Loose but powerful linework and strong perspective combined with inks and watercolor washes that move your eyes to just the right places.

8x10.5 pencil and watercolor in my grand portrait sketchbook. #244

Friday, December 11, 2015

Ríona and Ciara

This is Ríona and her sister, Ciara. I met them the first night of a tour I took in India this past May. The whole group went out to dinner to get know one another and I sat across from Ríona and Ciara and their friend Aoife. They were all from Ireland. Ríona and Aoife had been travelling together for several months and Ciara joined them for the tour of India. Somewhere along the way the two sisters asked me to sketch their portrait. It took a few months, but here it is...

11x16 Pencil and watercolor in my large Moleskine sketchbook. #242 and 243.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


This is Jigmet. This past May I went to India for a few weeks. The last 2 weeks I was on a photography tour with Nathan Horton and a small group of photographers. Jigmet was our knowledgeable, kind and patient guide to monasteries and over high mountain passes. I sketched this during a chai break at Thikse Monastery outside of Leh.

8x10.5 pencil and watercolor. #241

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

India 2015 Sketchbook - Jaipur

This was a quick 5 minute sketch from my seat on the bus on the way to Jaipur. The driver stopped to pay a road tax and I simply sketched the view out my window. He actually pulled over, got out of the bus and crossed about 6 lanes of high speed traffic, paid the tax, then ran back to the bus. By doing it this way he saved us an hour or so of waiting in much longer lanes of traffic. — in India.

This was a roadside stop we made on the way to Jaipur to have some Chai tea.
 — in India.

This was a nightime sketch of the rooftop where we had dinner our first night in Jaipur. I opted to sketch for desert. A couple of young boys sat with me and I showed them my sketching kit and brushes and let them paint with me.
 — in Jaipur, India.

India 2015 Sketchbook - Maine to Delhi

The sketch on the left page was done on the Cape Air flight from Rockland to Boston. The sketch on the right was done the next morning at JFK Airport. That's the plane I flew on to London where I then connected on to Delhi.

The sketch on the left page is Oscar Hernandez, an urban sketching friend whose portrait I painted (from a photo) the first evening I arrived in Delhi as part of The Portrait Project. The sketch on the right is a the largest Hanuman statue in the world. It is 108 feet tall. Here's a video taken from near where I was sitting: - this is the sound of Delhi. It never stops.

The first morning in Delhi I had breakfast in the hotel restaurant and sat alone at a table near the window and sketched the view and the busy street outside. The window was actually two thick sheets of plate glass separated by about 3/4" and filled with bits of broken glass up to about 40" off the floor. That's what I was trying to indicate at the bottom of the sketch.

After breakfast on the first day I wanted to explore the area around my hotel. I walked a couple of miles from my hotel and found this Sikh temple and a semi-shady place to sit and sketch. I worked on this for a couple of hours until the sun became too unbearable. Several people came up to me as I sketched and either watched, chatted with me for awhile, or took their photo with me. That's how it was sketching in public in India.

Inside the temple I met this man who showed me the proper way to wash my feet and hands and what to wear on my head. I sat for awhile in the cool interior and then took some photos and walked back to my hotel where I met the group I was going to be travelling with over the next 2 weeks. — at Gurudwara Nanaksar Sahib.

Day 1 we toured Delhi. We traveled in tuk tuks, explored spice markets in Old Delhi, visited the Jama Masjid Mosque (the largest and best-known mosque in India) and found a Starbucks in Connaught Place to cool off in. Not much time to sketch but I took lots of photographs — at Jama Masjid, Delhi.

Friday, November 6, 2015


This is Valerie. She's my wife. I met her about 15 years ago when she was the administrative assistant at the Montessori school my son attended. At the time, we were both married to other people but life takes interesting twists and turns. Seven years later I was divorced and Valerie had lost her husband to cancer and we bumped into each other at our favorite breakfast restaurant and got reacquainted. I asked her out to dinner and the rest is history.

This portrait was a little ambitious seeing that I just started painting it last night and it's 22"x30". I do things like that with these portraits but there was a space that I wanted to put her and it needed to be a big painting. Of course I didn't finish and it's still a little wet and I just photographed it and the opening is in 2 hours.

Valerie is the last of the 250 names I initially put into the "friend jar". Turns out there were a few businesses, friends with more than 1 account, and a couple of others that preferred to keep their faces off the internet. This project has been an amazing experience for me. It provided the structure I needed to improve my skills. I am especially thankful to all my friends. I feel like I've gotten to know you all in a deeper way through doing your portraits and I really do appreciate the kind comments, suggestions, and support you've given me. I plan on continuing to paint my friends and post them - just not at the same pace. See you at the opening!

22x30 watercolor. #240

Thursday, November 5, 2015


This is Lynne. She is an urban sketching friend living in Sheffield, England. I met her in Santo Domingo at a conference. My son and I attended a class she was teaching. She is an enthusiastic and passionate sketcher. She also illustrates children's books.

15x22 acrylic, watercolor and ink. #239


This is Chloe. She's my stepdaughter. She lives in Boston and is in the middle of a PhD program in psychology. She just got married to a great guy a few weeks ago and they have a Goldendoodle named Moose.

Chloe's name came out of the "friend jar" months ago. I put her off until the very end because I wanted to be at the top of my portrait skills, which, like it or not, I guess I am.

She will be at the opening tomorrow night at Carver Hill Gallery in Rockland from 5-8 so come and meet her. I can't wait.

15x22 watercolor. #238

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


This is Sue. Before I lived in Maine, I lived in Austin, Texas. Sue was one of my good friends there. She worked with the City of Austin developing green building practices and has gone on to help other cities and countries establish green building programs. She's intelligent, funny, and she walks the talk.

11x15 watercolor and pencil in my huge Moleskine sketchbook. #237

Monday, November 2, 2015


This is Cate. She's an accountant. We both like to do life drawing so that's usually where I see her. The other day I saw her at Carver Hill, where I'll be having my show that opens November 6 from 5-8pm. Cate didn't think I was going to do her portrait because I "friended" her after I started the project. Boy, is she going to be surprised.

11x15 watercolor, marker, and pencil in my huge Moleskine sketchbook. #236


This is Shannon. I met her several years ago when I was doing the Trek Across Maine - a 150 mile bicycle ride across our lovely state that benefits the American Lung Association. She's an Ironman triathlete and big supporter of the Dempsey Challenge - another bike ride that raises money for Cancer research, education and support. She is also one of the funniest people I know on Facebook. I love her take on life.

A couple of years ago she got my attention when she posted that every day for the month of December she was going to embark on a different adventure. Here was her criteria - "an adventure is anything that 1) takes me out of my comfort zone; 2) I'm not 100% sure I can do; 3) I've never done; 4) I wouldn't normally do in December; 5) is ridiculously fun; or 6) is something I'm so glad I'm doing that I don't have to actually enjoy doing it." And then she wrote about it in the funny and keenly observant way that Shannon does.

She asked her friends make some suggestions on how to fill out her month of adventures, so.... I suggested she pose nude for our life drawing class (I know, I'm a genius). And you know what? She did it!! And I have to say, she was a great model - interesting and expressive poses, and she held them for up to 20 minutes. It's not easy work! You can read what she wrote about that adventure in this blog post.

11x15 pencil and watercolor. #235

Sunday, November 1, 2015


This is Meg. I've gotten to know Meg, like we get to know most people, in "layers". The onion metaphor works pretty well here. The outer layer I first came to know is the "architect layer". A few years later I got to know the "community service layer". She served on a couple of town committees and boards of environmental organizations. When it came time for her to give up her seat on a town committee she called me and asked me if I would serve on that committee. I did. Then, I learned about the "cancer layer". I wasn't close enough to Meg to go through it with her like I did with my mom. I watched her husband go through it with her. It was scary and hard and the community sent her lots of love and healing energy. She survived. The next layer I saw was the "dance layer", which was evidently there the whole time, but shone brighter as she healed and saw the importance of sharing dance with others as a mode of healing. And lastly, I've gotten to know the "photography layer", which seems to have emerged from a place of wanting to find beauty in the ordinary. About one of her recent photos she said it was " just another treasure hidden in plain sight". Her photographs are extraordinary, beautifully observed, and constantly remind me that beauty is everywhere if I will just look.

I love this portrait of her. It may just be my favorite portrait in the project. It goes a few layers deep.

22x14 watercolor. #234

Saturday, October 31, 2015


This is Noah (and Chloe). He just got married to my stepdaughter, Chloe. Just this one little fact will speak volumes about him - he had nineteen Groomsmen at their wedding. They live down in Boston and he has one of the coolest jobs working with Downeast Cider - Handcrafted cider - "The way cider should be".

When asked to tell his story in three sentences on the Downeast Cider website, here's what Noah wrote: "Born and raised in Maine, for some reason could not get enough of the bitter cold/black flies and went to college there as well. After bumbling around the Tech space with my head in the “cloud” I decided to try my hand in cider. It seems fitting as my middle name is Harvest and I grew up in Appleton."

This was one of the more challenging portraits I've done. Lighting, paper, subjects, and even photographing it. I fought it the whole way through. I think the original looks better. But you'll have to come to the Portrait Project show  to see for yourself. The show opens November 6th from 5-8pm. You can even meet Noah and Chloe in person. If your lucky, he may even bring a few cans of cider for you to try.

24x12 watercolor and pencil. #233

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


This is Alex. He's my son. 

As a father, I'm enormously proud of him. He's becoming a young man and this portrait, to me, captures him in the transition. I look at it one moment and I see the child I raised. I look at it again, and I see the man he will become. He's intelligent, talented, philosophical, and he's developing his own ideas about the person he wants to be.

I struggled with this one. It didn't go according to plan - the best ones never do - but, in the end, I got it "right". This is Alex. He is my son.

10x10 Acrylic and oil on plywood. #232


This is Anita. She's a dancer, an artist, an environmentalist, a wife and mother, and so much more than the labels I can come up with to describe her. She's very committed to making this world a better place and doesn't just do it through talking about it. She's a real grassroots activist. She's involved in politics at the town level through her work with the select board and various committees. You know that quote by Ghandi, "Be the change that you want to see in the world."? Anita lives that mantra.

22x15 pencil, ink and watercolor. #231

Monday, October 26, 2015


This is Theresa. We went to architecture school and had a great group of friends that all hung out together. After we graduated, it seemed everyone sort of scattered all over the country and I lost touch with her. She moved  to a small town in Wisconsin to work with the city restoring their main street. A few years ago we reconnected again through the magic of Facebook. She's an intelligent, beautiful and funny woman and from what I can see on Facebook, she's also an amazing mother.

22x15 watercolor and pencil. #230


This is Kate. She's a painter and an artist friend living in Camden. We both go to life drawing though it's rare when we are there at the same time. The stars have to be lined up just right it seems.

I remember back in April of 2014 when I was considering this whole Portrait Project silliness. I told her what I was thinking about doing, you know, with the 250 portraits in one year, and asked her what she thought. She's such a nice person and I think she said something like, "wow, yeah, that's ambitious. You should do it." But really I could tell she thought I was effing crazy. Well, look Kate (one year and six months later), I'm almost there! You were right.

15x22 pencil and watercolor. #229

Sunday, October 25, 2015


This is Keryn. She was a teacher at the Montessori school my son attended when he was a young child. When I first started this project she commented, "What a beautiful idea, Ken. I love the thought of you setting aside time in your week to focus on people that you care about, and who care about you. The entire process sounds like a gift." It was a comment that made me look at this project in a different way. It's near the end and it has felt that way all along the way. Spending the time doing these portraits has felt like I was hanging out with you, reflecting on our friendship and the memories of our times together. It's been a gift for me to get to know all of you in a new way through doing your portraits.

15x22 watercolor and pencil. #228

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


This is Chuck. To be honest, I didn't know much about Chuck when I started thinking about how to portray him. I went on to his profile and looked through some of  his photos. Happy guy. Lots of big smiles. Beautiful family. But as I dug a little deeper I learned that he has worked with the Maine State Prison developing and facilitating a program that utilizes Yoga, Tai Chi, and Zen mindfulness to help rehabilitate prisoners. These days he works within the school system as a counseler and works with special education teachers on how to best support students with emotional and mental disabilities. He also does a presentation for school assemblies around the state called "The Power of Water". His powerful style of presentation incorporates martial arts and storytelling with the goal of teaching kids how to overcome obstacles and bullying by utilizing the metaphor of water. Cool guy.

22x15 ink and watercolor. #227


This is Rie. When I was in the 6th grade I started riding motocross with her younger brother, Vincent. I would go over to their house after school and we would ride and then hang out. Unfortunately, I've lost contact with Vincent over the years but seeing Rie's Facebook feed come across my timeline every now and then connects me to a time of great memories.

15x15 watercolor and pencil with Artrage to clean it up a little. #226

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


This is John. He's an architect. Now, I could tell you about all the impressive architectural work he's done - and there's plenty of that around here. Or I could talk about how he has given back to the community through his participation on boards and planning committees. But really, all that would take too much space and his head would get even bigger than it already is.

What you need to know about John is this - he always has a story to tell. And he likes to take the time to tell his stories with lots of details. There have been times he started a story that I thought for sure would be over in 5 minutes. Twenty minutes later he's still somewhere in the middle. I have been late to appointments because of his stories. But, the more stories he has told me, and the closer I listened,  the more I realized that his stories were like gifts. So thanks John, for all the stories. I have learned a lot from you.

18x24 oil on canvas. #225. 

Monday, October 19, 2015


This is Jennifer. She's an urban sketching friend that I met in Santo Domingo but she lives right down the road from me in Portland, Maine. She has a wonderful, loose, splashy style of painting. She did The Color Run a couple of years ago and, not surprisingly, she ended up looking like one of her paintings. I had fun with this one.

11x16 watercolor and pencil in my huge Moleskine sketchbook. #224

Friday, October 16, 2015


This is Ken. He's an architect friend and a really nice guy. We worked together in the same office for a couple of years back in 2000 and 2001. He was born in Canada, went to University of Colorado in Boulder, then moved out to Seattle where he finished up Architecture school and worked with the famous glass artist Dale Chihuly. He introduced me to some really interesting modern architects working in the Northwest.

11x15 cretacolor pencil and watercolor on hot press paper. #223

Thursday, October 15, 2015


This is Tomás. He's an urban sketching friend living in Madrid. He's also a serious runner. Cheers Tomás!

18x24 oil on canvas. #222

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


This is Steven. He's from LA and developed a pretty impressive resumé in the finance and entertainment industries while he was there. He retired to Maine about 10 years ago and that's about the time we met. I was one of several architects and designers he interviewed for a home renovation project. I didn't get the job but I got a friend. 

Life has been interesting for Steven since he "retired". In 2009 he went back to work at the State Department in Washington DC and created and managed the Global Entrepreneurship Program under Seretary of State Hillary Clinton. That gig is up but he continues to travel the world and is doing great work spreading the gospel of entrepreneurship as a way to create new jobs and grow economies in order to create greater political stability. I haven't seen him in years.

I started this portrait a few months ago but stopped work on it because I had to move to a new studio. I pulled it from a pile the other day and dusted it off and finished the face. I love his face. So interesting.

15x22 watercolor and pencil. #221

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


This is Marcel.What can I say? Isn't he cool?

22x15 watercolor, ink and colored pencil. #221

Monday, October 12, 2015


This is Helen.We went to high school together. This portrait nearly drove me crazy and I'm not sure how I feel about it. They don't always turn out like I want. I'm going to title this one "Helen had a crush on me and I was a chicken". It's literal and allegorical. And nonsensical.

10x15 Pencil and gouache. #220


This is Kris. She is an artist friend living in Rockland. She lived and painted in Provence for many years.

11x17 Gouache on Cardboard. #219

Sunday, October 11, 2015


This is Susan. I met her about 25 years ago on one of my first trips to Maine to visit my mom. She was a macrobiotic cooking teacher and held cooking classes out of her home. I somehow convinced my mother (who was an excellent southern Paula Dean style cook) to join me. I remember driving out to Union to a beautiful compound of three or four stone and wood homes and gardens set thoughtfully into a natural landscape at the edge of some woods. We chopped vegetables from her garden, and cooked and laughed and made new friends and enjoyed an amazing dinner.

15x22 watercolor and pencil. #218

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Nancy Kate

This is Nancy Kate. She's my Aunt from Texas- my mother's sister. It was her birthday yesterday - she's 80. For her birthday, her daughter asked the family to come up with 5 reasons we love her and then she's going to make a list of 80 reasons we love her. One for each year. So this morning I was writing them down (because it was my last chance) and I had the idea to do them within a portrait. Nancy Kate is not a Facebook friend because she could care less about Facebook or email or computers. She is definitely old school. But I decided that she should be a part of the Portrait Project - so here she is. And Happy Birthday!

11x15 pencil, ink and watercolor on Strathmore Illustration Board with a little Artrage to add Corinthians 13. #217

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


This is Rob. About seven years ago I re-dedicated myself to sketching and, when I did, I found inspiration in a number of blogs on the web where sketchers from all over the world would post their drawings and sketches. Tommy Kane, Danny Gregory, Gabi Campanario, Emmanuel Prost, and Rob, this school teacher living in Germany, were all at the top of the list of blogs I would check daily hoping for new sketches I could study and learn from. Rob works mostly with pen, ink and watercolor and beautifully mixes astute observation with humor and imagination.

This is another "collaborative portrait", where the portrait is my work and the images around him are samples of Rob's work that I copied from his blog and added to my portrait digitally.

11.5x16 pencil and watercolor in my huge Moleskine sketchbook. #216

Monday, October 5, 2015


This is Wayne.I met him when I was a young child. My parents were friends with Wayne and his wife, Ida. He looks pretty serious here but he's a kind, gentle and funny man. I have always deeply admired this man.

9x12 acrylic on canvas. #215

Saturday, October 3, 2015


This is Malcolm. I first met him about 14 years ago when I took my son, who was 3 at the time, to him for violin lessons. My wife had made all the arrangements with Malcolm and I thought I was just dropping Alex off and then I was going to go grab a coffee and read the paper for an hour. Malcolm invited us in, we sat on the floor and I  learned that he taught the Suzuki Method of violin training. I knew nothing of the Suzuki method. I thought Suzuki was a type of motorcycle. Malcolm informed me that the Suzuki method requires the parents to learn to play the instrument also. "Oh shit", I remember thinking. And then I said something like, "OK, sounds good. Let's get started!"

8x10 pencil and watercolor in my Grand Portrait Sketchbook. #214

Friday, October 2, 2015


This is Patty. I met her in Montezuma, Costa Rica. I was at a Organico sketching a band that was playing there and she seemed to think my drawing was pretty interesting so we started chatting. I told her I lived in Maine and it turned out she and her husband were from Massachusetts and they were building a house down in Costa Rica. A week or so after we met I got a friend request on FB and here we are. That's really about all I know about Patty.

8x10 in my Grand Portrait Sketchbook digitally combined in Artrage with a sketch I did on the beach near Montezuma. #213

Thursday, October 1, 2015


This is Debbie. She's an interior designer and she has a pig named Snuffles.

10x13 watercolor and gouache on Twinrocker watercolor paper. #212

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


This is Santi. He's an urban sketching friend living in Barcelona, Spain.

This is another "collaborative portrait" where I drew Santi's portrait and then digitally mashed it up with one of Santi's sketches.

12x18 mixed media and epoxy with Artrage. #211

Opening Reception for The Portrait Project

OK friends, it's time to hang your portraits and have a party!

Opening Reception for The Portrait Project at Carver Hill Art Gallery in Rockland, Maine. Friday November 6 from 5-8pm. All 250 portraits will be on display. Come say hello, bring a friend, enjoy food and drink, and see yourself on the walls. You can even buy your portrait if you want ($150). Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


This is Jane. She was Alex's teacher when he was 4 years old. My son had, what Jane termed as, "separation anxiety". I would take Alex to school in the morning and walk him in to her classroom and then spend the next 5 minutes trying to shake him off my leg. She worked with both of us, patiently trying out different strategies to make his transition to school smoother. She makes learning fun.

12x12 watercolor and ink. #210

Monday, September 28, 2015


This is Terri. She's an appraiser, which is how I first met her.Then I came to learn that she's also a writer and a watercolor painter. For a couple of months one summer we played lawn croquet with a big group of friends. She's intelligent and she speaks her mind. It's great when those two qualities go together. I love hearing what she has to say.

The more I do the portraits, the better I am getting with getting the likeness of the subject. I think I missed the mark on this one but I got the attitude and feeling I was after.

15x22 watercolor and pencil. #209

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


This is Gretchen. She is a self described "Bleeding heart liberal enviro-geek sailor girl". She can also sing really well. I met her through working with her husband, a carpenter and builder that I have worked with on a few renovation projects.

This portrait was originally done in my 8x10 Grand Portrait Sketchbook in an airplane traveling from Texas to Maine. Once I photographed it and had a digital image, I overlaid it onto the original handwritten sheet music of "Heroic Polonaise" in A-flat major, Op. 53 – by Chopin.

15x10 pencil and watercolor with Artrage. #208

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


This is Doug. We went out to breakfast a few days before he moved to Hawaii and afterwards we were goofing around outside the restaurant taking pictures. I told him all of his facebook pictures were too damn happy so he gave me the Doug stink eye and I knew I had my portrait.

I'm kind of sad he moved away but he's promised me I have a place to stay whenever I come to Hawaii so that makes me happy. See you in February, Doug! :)

15x22 pencil and watercolor on tinted Bockingford watercolor paper. #206

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


This is Sully. He and my son are good friends. They've known each other since they were like 4 or 5 I think. He is, hands down, one of the nicest kids I have ever met.

11x15 graphite and watercolor with a little Artrage. #205

Monday, September 14, 2015


This is Liz. She's an urban sketching friend living in Sydney, Australia. I met her at an Urban sketching conference in Santo Domingo a few years ago.

12x16 pencil and watercolor. #204