Saturday, February 28, 2015


This is Kip. I don't really know him but we share a couple of urban sketching friends in common. Here's what I do know: He recently lost about 60 pounds, he lives in California and he is a landscape architect. Thus the portrait.
8x10 pencil, ink and watercolor. #165

Friday, February 27, 2015


This is Autumn. She was my first love in high school.
She lives deep in the heart of Texas. I remember our first kiss, seeing the movie premier of Neil Young's "Rust Never Sleeps", watching Shake Russell and Dana Cooper perform at Rockefeller's club in Houston, and a terrible, gut-wrenching breakup the summer before her family moved away.
8x10 pencil, ink and watercolor. #164

Thursday, February 26, 2015


This is Johanna. When I first met her, about 13 years ago, I was working for her ex-husband in his architectural practice and our sons were going to Montessori school together. My son was three and their son was five so they weren't in the same classes but it's a small school and all the children and parents all get to know each other.
A couple of years ago I learned that her son had cancer. One of the hardest things to go through in life is losing a loved one to a disease that slowly takes them away from you. I lost my mother to cancer 7 years ago - it is hard and it hurts. A lot.
In June last year, her son died. He was 18. I don't have words for this. It simply breaks your heart and you must move on. If you are strong and wise, you find gratitude for that life and that their life was and will always be a part of you.
That is what Johanna is doing and that is what this portrait is about.
18x15 watercolor, ink and pencil. #163

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


This is Darman. He is an urban sketching friend living in Surabaya, Indonesia. This is another "collaborative portrait" where the portrait is mine and the background is Darman's work. I like doing this because it gives me a chance to present his work also. Darman has a background in architecture and his sketches are dynamic with lots of color, looseness and energy.

16x10 pencil sketch over a photo of one of Darman's sketches. #162

Monday, February 23, 2015


This is Elizabeth. I worked with her and her husband to draw up plans for renovating their home about 8 years ago.. She is a cheerful and beautiful person, and she loves all things ocean and dogs.

8x10 pencil, ink and watercolor. #161

Saturday, February 21, 2015


This is Sarah. I met her in Chile on a rafting trip down the Futaleufu River. She's an Aussie, adventurer and a beautiful woman. This isn't the most flattering portrait but it does capture that beautiful part of her that has fun with life and doesn't take herself too seriously.

8x10 pencil and watercolor in my grand portrait sketchbook. #160

Friday, February 20, 2015


This is Mark. He doesn't look like it here but he's a builder. I first met him in the mid 90's when he was a project manager on a renovation my mother was undertaking. When I started my own architectural design practice in 2003 I would send clients his way and I still do to this day. He is a good listener and communicator, understands the complexities of construction and appreciates good design.

8x10.5 pencil, ink and watercolor. #159

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


This is Dad. It took me a few tries to get this one right. I started off with a portrait that ended up too formal - like something you would expect on the wall of an office or library but it didn't feel right or authentic to me. It was too stiff and said too little. 

This final portrait carries a lot about my dad - my relationship to him and and what he means to me. There is love, intensity, passion, vision, purpose, love, discipline, intelligence, thoughtfulness, caring and love. Did I say love? 

I could not have hoped for, dreamed up, or imagined a better father.

11x15 pencil and watercolor on Twinrocker paper. #158

Thursday, February 12, 2015


This is Fabiano. He is an Urban Sketching friend living in Brazil. I think he has cool sideburns, which, at least in my part of the world, went out of style when Elvis died. And it made me wonder why - sideburns are great for framing the face.

While I was writing this I got curious about sideburns and where that name came from. Turns out they were named after a Union army general in the civil war named Ambrose Burnside. His facial hair style had long bushy sideburns connected to a simple mustache and a perfectly clean shaven chin. He wasn't a great general but he later became a politician and along with his popularity he started a new facial hair trend.

Just a little factoid to go with Fabiano's portrait.

16x19 pencil and watercolor on Arches 300# paper. #157

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


This is Joan. She is the daughter of my grandmother's sister. She lives in Dallas. It has been a long time since I have seen her.
12x17 pencil and watercolor. #156

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


This is Tris. I met him about 10 years ago. He's the kind of guy you want to hang out and have a beer with. Funny, laid back, intelligent, attracts fun and interesting people. Good guy.

I've been really interested in painting in this oversize Moleskine I bought last year. I've been taking it to life drawing and doing portraits in it. I love it. It totally hates watercolor - resists it like crazy but I like the effect for some reason. It's a phase I'm in.

12x17 pencil and watercolor. #155

Monday, February 9, 2015


This is George. He's been a friend for several years. He's a real estate guy, a woodworker, a man about town, and is also quite a birder. Whenever I hear an interesting bird and want to know what it is I will pull out my phone, record the bird song, and then text it to George. I usually hear back from him within a few minutes with the name of the birds and a few interesting characteristics of the bird.

He has pictures of himself with birds on his head, arms - even on the rim of his glasses. They must like him too. I thought he needed a portrait with the state bird on his shoulder - the Chickadee.

16x16 acrylic on canvas. #154

Friday, February 6, 2015


This is Jon. We met about 10 years ago and usually see each other once a year at a party. He is a web guru and software developer.

This started as a watercolor sketch and then moved to my tablet and into my new Artrage for Android application that I have been itching to play with since I downloaded it a couple of days ago.  Jon develops apps so I thought he would like a taste of his own medicine.

8x10 watercolor, pencil and Artrage. #153

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


This is Jen. She's my rock star sister. No, really! She is a singer and songwriter and lives in Nashville when she's not living in LA. She has made several albums and written music that has appeared in films and television and has won all sorts of awards for her music. Check her stuff out on itunes or listen to her Pandora station. She's an amazing and gifted singer and songwriter.

I kept coming back to this one and adding layers of paint and pencil. It started off very pretty (and Jen is all of that) but the layers kept adding/revealing different aspects of Jen so I persisted. At times I was pleased with where it was going. At times disappointed. In the end it connected with me with feeling and a deep love, respect and gratitude for an amazing sister. You can't ask much more from a portrait.

12x16 mixed media. #152

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


This is Jorge. He is my sister-in-law's cousin, a drummer and he lives in Austin, TX.

12x24 watercolor and ink. #151

Monday, February 2, 2015


This is Brian. I trekked through Thailand with him a few years ago. He travels the world and gets involved in all kinds of community construction projects. This portrait was done from a photo taken of him in Ghana a couple of years ago. Oh, and he plays guitar and sings too. Great guy.

12x17 watercolor and pencil in my huge Moleskine sketchbook. #150