Stay tuned for out next Sketchcrawl! Check our DC forum & FB Group for Updates!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Mount Vernon Square in Baltimore
Mount Vernon Square in Baltimore
I enjoyed a mini-vacation in Baltimore during the holiday break. $8 ticket on the MARC train brought me from Union Station into Camden Yards station. I enjoyed walking downtown and sketching in Mount Vernon Square. Enjoyed "Outside Mullingar" at Everyman Theatre and the Baltimore Museum of Art. + folks in Baltimore are friendly and relaxed.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Witches of Warrenton

Hello to all.  I was invited to join the blog today, so I thought I would post my latest sketch as an introductory offering.  Nothing very "urban" about it.  I sat out in front of a friends home and sketched that friend and another, dressed in witches costumes, and handing out "treats" on Halloween evening.  After the time for ghouls and goblins passed, we all treated ourselves to some great wine and much more adult type snacks.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Taft Bridge

The Taft Bridge carries Connecticut Avenue over Rock Creek Park, just below the National Zoo.  I didn't realize this until sketching it, but apparently it is one of the largest unreinforced concrete structures in the world.

Monday, August 17, 2015


The Dupont Underground is a former trolley station under the Dupont Circle in Washington DC that operated post World War II era from 1949 until 1962. In the 1970's during the cold war era part of the tunnels became a fallout shelter as well as storing supplies for rations, water, and equipment. In the mid 1990's it became a food court however the plan failed catastrophically for multiple types of problems. Currently the Dupont Underground is experiencing a renaissance of ideas and renovations for multiple artistic ideals as well as activities. Thanks to the innovative vision of the architect Julian Hunt that for more than 10 years he had been working very hard in order to convert the Dupont Underground into a world class city cultural center in which will transform Washington D.C. into a cultural capital. This is a fantastic place for sketching because it has great light and shadows effects as well as exquisite architectural details. The place was cooler compared to the hot scorching humid summer temperatures above ground. It took me 3 hrs, done in white paper with black ink.

Sunday, August 9, 2015


I just returned from the 6th Urban Sketchers Symposium in Singapore.  Hundreds of sketchers from around the world converged in Singapore for four days of workshops, activities, demos, food, and sketchcrawls.  Singapore has a lot of interesting modern architecture, as well as a lot of tasty food and a diverse population, so there was a lot to sketch. One thing I found particularly interesting was the many religions represented: one street had a church, a mosque, a Hindu temple, a Buddhist temple, and a synagogue - all on the same street.

I got a lot of energy from spending the week with so many other sketchers, and I feel like I learned a lot from them.  Getting feedback and ideas from the instructors and the other sketchers can be valuable for improving your work.  The time between the organized sketching activities is a big part of the fun as well - I spent a good part of the week hanging out with a group of Australians who "adopted" me, and of course we continued the Symposium tradition of drawing each other over dinner.  I filled several sketchbooks there - too many to post here, but you can see the rest on my flickr album for the trip.
If you ever get a chance to go to one of the Symposiums, I highly recommend it - it is worth the jet lag.  Next year the Symposium will be in Manchester, U.K., and I hope to be able to go.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Rolling Thunder

Every year on Memorial Day weekend, Washington D.C. becomes host to Rolling Thunder, a large motorcycle rally originally started by a group of Vietnam veterans. Thousands of veterans from around the country ride in on motorcycles to honor those who served, and remember those who were left behind. They don't come on small, quiet bikes either - they ride the loudest Harley-Davidsons they can find, to make Rolling Thunder live up to its name. You can see all sorts of motorcycles on the road all weekend, and the various riding groups all have unique logos and patches.

Many of the riders proceed to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall to pay their respects. The Wall, designed by Maya Lin and embedded in the ground, bears the names of the 58,000 American service members who gave their lives in the war. One end of the Wall points to the Washington Monument, while the other points towards the Lincoln Memorial.

Many of the activities take place near the Lincoln Memorial, which has a lot of visitors at any time of year, but is particularly crowded on Memorial Day weekend.

On Sunday, the riders will gather in the Pentagon parking lot and ride slowly over the Memorial Bridge towards the Lincoln Memorial and the Wall. Previous events have had as many as 900,000 participants. The sound is not something you will forget.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Southeaster Tidal Basin at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial

This is a view from the southeastern part of the Tidal Basin at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial towards the White house. It was a very cold spring cloudy day with a storm coming by, however there were many happy tourist from around the world that came to visit this monument. Many friendly tourist from China as well as India wanted to buy my sketch and for sure they took so many pictures of myself sketching. I remember hearing from them "very good!, very good!, can I please buy it?, can I please take a picture?" all the international attention made me feel very happy wink emoticonDuring this sketch I even got the attention of Tony Ashwin Kanal the bassist for the American rock band No Doubt that came with his family to visit the memorial. I must say it was a very surprising amazing day when a simple humble sketcher like myself gets more attention in a national memorial than an internationally famous rock band star, the power of sketching wink emoticon It took me 3.5 Hrs and I used Black Ink on White Paper

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Nationals Park

From the upper deck at Nationals Park you can see the Capitol (currently covered in scaffolding), as well as the Old Post Office, the Cathedral, and many other D.C. landmarks. But last night we also saw the Nationals fall to the Marlins, 2-1, which is definitely not what we came there to see. But at least they still have 'W'-shaped pretzels.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Grand Central Terminal

After spending the day learning from sketches/ideas from Maestro German Samper Gnecco, FAIA I was very inspire to go and sketch the world I see. Just before I got to the hotel on a very cold rainy spring night I went to the Grand Central Terminal and I began to record the place. It was late however there were few people coming in out of the terminal talking about their travels. The architecture in this place is very ornamented with very exquisite details. It feels like a gigantic Cathedral that celebrates traveling. Took 2 Hrs (taking breaks here and there) Black Ink on White Paper

Sketch Virginia

I just returned from a weekend of sketching in Richmond, Virginia. We had perfect sketching weather - the temperature was pleasant, the sun was shining, and the dogwoods were blooming. Sketchers came from around the state, and a few far-off places as well.

Marc Holmes led a two-day workshop on sketching techniques - we focused on building up a sketch from pencil, to ink, to watercolor, working from big, light shapes to small, dark marks as the sketch progresses. I had fun sketching the gargoyles adorning the entryway to the Branch House. Towards the end, we also explored dispensing with the scaffolding, and moving straight to watercolor. I had taken some of Marc's workshops before in Portland and in Barcelona, but he always has something new to offer, and I'm glad he was able to come down to offer this.

After the workshop, we had an open sketchcrawl down Monument Avenue, to which we invited the community. A couple dozen sketchers showed up from Richmond, Charlottesville, and the surrounding area. There are a lot of lovely houses along Monument that were fun to sketch.

At the end we met at a local bar where Marc challenged people to "sketch duels": we'd face off one-on-one, pull our pens and brushes out of our holsters, and sketch each other for just a few minutes, face to face. This was a lot of fun. My duel with Marc is below (check out his sketch of me in the green hat).

At the Virginia Center for Architecture, at the Branch House on Monument Avenue, Jessie Chapman has curated an Urban Sketching exhibit, with sketches from Don Gore, Rich Johnson, and some local Virginia sketchers. It is worth checking out - it was really neat to see their sketchbooks in person.

It was a fun weekend, and it was great to meet so many other Virginia sketchers.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Cherry Blossoms

The cherry blossoms in D.C. have now reached peak bloom, and I returned to the same spot I sketched from in February. No ice this time - but plenty of tourists with selfie sticks.

I also sketched the Japanese Lantern and the Pagoda, which sit among the cherry trees by the water. The Lantern was a gift from the city of Tokyo in 1954, and the Pagoda was a gift from the mayor of Yokohama in 1957. And the cherry trees themselves, of course, were also a gift from the people of Japan. It is now one of the most popular attractions in D.C., especially in the Spring, as well as a symbol of the friendship between our countries.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Marine Corps Memorial

The Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, sculpted by Felix de Weldon, was based on the famous photo by Joe Rosenthal, taken 70 years ago today of Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima.  The memorial is not just about World War II, though, but commemorates all Marines who gave their lives in defense of the nation since its founding.

The base of the memorial was covered with snow yesterday, though it had mostly melted off of the sculpture itself.  There were several snowmen in attendance, and I saw sled tracks alarmingly close to the GW Parkway (which would not be a good place to end up on a sled).

Thursday, February 12, 2015


"You are really honoring the Gods by simply giving the living time of sketching them compare to those that just come here to take pictures or just paying little attention as they were objects" - Brahmin at the Sri Siva Vishnu Temple, Lanham MD, January 2015. This is a very beautiful Hindu Temple once visited by Mr. President Obama which is located in the Metro area of Washington DC. The temple has multiple shrines with a lot of exquisite ornamental details. It feels as a galaxy of multiple Gods with their own distinctive function. The shrine that I sketched is Hanuman "The monkey commander of the monkey army" which is very popular with Indian wrestlers. This was another spiritual sketching in which I was recording what I was seeing and feeling at the same time enjoying the beautiful Vedic chanting of the Brahmins. It took 3hrs, Black Ink on White Paper.‪#‎washingtondc‬ ‪#‎usa‬ ‪#‎hindu‬ ‪#‎srisivavishnutemple‬

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Jefferson Memorial

This weekend I paid a visit to the Jefferson Memorial and the Tidal Basin.  A black and white image seemed appropriate for the grey day, so went with the dry twig and Chinese ink technique I learned about from Kiah Kiean.

The Memorial itself is modeled after the Pantheon, a building Jefferson himself admired (and imitated in his design for the Rotunda at the University of Virginia).  The inside has inscriptions from his writings, including the Declaration of Independence.

The Tidal basin was still frozen over from colder weather earlier in the week, but it was actually relatively comfortable outside today.  This has long been a favorite place of mine to walk around - and it's much less crowded in February than it is in April when the cherry trees are in bloom.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Union Station

My very detail memory is a very good friend of mine which brings fabulous visions of nostalgia from time to time.  The first time I came to Washington DC was by train coming from Michigan.  This was my first time traveling by train and I remembered thinking "wow just like the movies or like historical personas like Abraham Lincoln (Lol)".  I was following one of my dreams of architecture which totally changed my life in a very positive way.  The first thing I remembered before I entered the city back in the summer of 2011 was these majestic doors by one of the main gates at the Union Station.  This place is full of fantastic ornamented Greco-Roman style architectural details.  I did this sketch during a very cold sunny winter afternoon few days before Christmas 2014.  The place was full of very diverse travelers and it was a little chaotic from time to time.  2.5 hrs, Black Ink, White Paper. 

#UnionStation  #WashingtonDC  #UnionStationWashingtonDC  #Trains  #PublicTransportation  #GrecoRomanArchitecture  #USA  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

SketchCrawl @ Franciscan Monastery on 11.8.14

Here's a sketch of one of the recreated grottos at the Franciscan Monastery near the campus of the Catholic University of America.

and a visit to the U.S. Botanic Garden 

SketchCrawl @ SAAM / NPG on 1.4.14

I joined up with a dozen or so local sketchers for a SketchCrawl at my favorite museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery. We met up in the beautiful Kogod Courtyard and began sketching there. SAAMcourtyard
We visited the contemporary art galleries, I had fun working with scale - framing the sketchers and art with other art. SAAMcontGALLERY2 SAAMcontGALLERY

Monday, January 19, 2015

6 Year Old Children's Chapel Washington National Cathedral

This altar is located in the 6 Year Old Children's Chapel at the Washington National Cathedral which is a very spiritual as well as historical place here in Washington DC. The scale of this chapel is very friendly and designed for children of that age as well as full of Gothic architectural/sculptural details. This is the most peaceful and ornamented small chapel I had ever visited. In the altar we can find very ornamented bible story telling sculptures from angels, saints, Virgin Mary to Jesus. I must say during that day the quire was singing very angelical melodies that for a moment music, architecture, spirituality and sketching were all in harmony. 2.5 hrs Black Ink on White Paper.
#washingtonnationalcathedral  #childrenschapel  #washingtondc  #usk  #usa

Monday, January 12, 2015

Eastern Market Washington DC

During the 45th World Wide SketchCrawl we visited the Eastern Market in Washington DC which is located east of Capitol Hill in the historic neighborhood with the same name. This is a beautiful public market in operation since 1873 and is a place for food products commerce as well as art. This 19th century brick building is full of wonderful details and is one of the few landmarks in the city in which the main entrance has the name of the architect that designed this magnificent place- Adolf Cluss. It was a very warm fall sunny day and there were so many great aromas of fresh food as well as colorful beautiful works of art. It took me 2.5 hrs and I used black ink on white paper. #Easternmarketwashingtondc #EasternMarket #washingtondc #usa