Sunday, March 29, 2009

bozeman main street #20

It's been snowing quite a lot the last few days in Bozeman, so I've had few opportunities to go back outside and sketch. I finished this spread yesterday, though it was still pretty chilly. Part of this was done standing, as there were no close benches and I forgot my camp chair.

Later, while I was sitting on a bench drawing the Masonic Temple portion, a lady sat next to me to smoke. That was strike one, but then she had to go out of her way to make sure I knew my drawing ability was a gift from God and that I should be grateful for being able to do what I do. Strikes two and three. I responded, politely, that I tell my students drawing is a skillset that can be acquired, like any other, through hours of practice. (Otherwise, why even teach?) I didn't bother going into Malcolm Gladwell or the 10,000 hour rule. Sufficed to say, she disagreed, and wanted me to know how blessed I was.

Oh yeah, it's snowing right now.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Post Bay Area Letdown and Pickup

Well, I've been back from Berkeley/Oakland/San Francisco over a week now, and it's been cold, snowy and cold in Bozeman.  As you might already have guessed, when I look out the window I no longer see the Golden Gate shrouded in fog or street cars gliding by filled with tourists eating chili out of sourdough bread bowls.  Granted, I didn't see those things when I was staying in Berkeley either, thought it might have been nice... 

In any event I've settled back into drawing around Bozeman.  I also tried out my new Cachet Earthbound sketchbooks. They are made with brown recycled paper, which makes for a great intermediate value that I can add both light and dark values to.  


orange julius

chris and brian at drew's defense

chair and bag

pencil sharpener and wastebasket

borders chairs

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Announcing the Bozeman Sketchcrawl

I'm organizing a Sketchcrawl event here in Bozeman, so, in addition to creating a thread in the forum over at, I've started a blog where participants can get together and share information:  The 22nd Worldwide SketchCrawl will be held Saturday, April 11th, and I plan to get a lot of folks in Bozeman to participate and help to put us on the map in the gobal sketchcrawl community.  Go check it out, and let me know if you plan to participate by emailing me at info[at]!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Berkeley and San Francisco trip

I just got back from the Bay Area, where I visited my friend Chris Turbuck and saw the sights (and drew them).  Chris is in the middle of an artist-in-residency program at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, CA so I thought I'd come out to see what he's been up to.  We went into San Fransisco, went to SFMOMA and saw a Bill Kentridge exhibit (and the man himself) and walked around.  We ate some great food, saw some cool stuff, walked through an empty mall, etc.  An all-around great time.  

Here are some sketches I did during (and in preparation) for my little road trip.

getting new tires, bozeman, mt
This is the waiting room where I sat while getting new tires for my truck. An MSU art history student recognized me here as "the guy who draws downtown Bozeman."

express lube, bozeman, mt
at the Express Lube in Bozeman for an oil change

orpheum theater, downtown twin falls, id
the Orpheum Theater in downtown Twin Falls, Idaho. I like their downtown, but their traffic is out of control.

motel 6
My room at the Motel 6 in Twin Falls.

near corner of california and davis

near corner of 3rd and market

on van ness ave, San Francisco, CA
some San Francisco street scenes

on the BART somewhere in the transbay tunnel
on the BART subway between Oakland and San Fran

at biryani house indian restaurant, berkeley, ca
A patron at the Biryani House, a Berkeley Indian restaurant. They forgot to place our order for almost an hour until I went up and said something. The food, though, was tasty.

hobart building at market and montgomery, BART payphones
a cool building on Market street and some BART payphones

corner of market and new montgomery looking SE
San Francisco street canyons

corner of hotaling place and washington street
This is just across the street from the Transamerica Pyramid, the tallest building in SF. Cool.

view of downtown from telegraph hill in pioneer park
I walked all around town for two days, and up many hills. This is a view from Telegraph Hill in Pioneer Park, at the base of Coit Tower.

city hall
City Hall might just be my favorite building in San Francisco.

view from washington square park
I drew this in Washington Square Park in the early morning, while there was still a layer of fog obscuring the tops of the taller buildings.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


There's been a lot of response to the Main Street Bozeman project this past week, following the disaster and tragedy downtown.  Local DJ Michelle Wolfe of KMMS 95.1-- otherwise known as the Moose (only the best radio station in Bozeman)-- mentioned the drawings and my website on the radio and on her Facebook page this week, and that has given some more visibility to the project.  I've gotten some nice feedback from the community, which feels very good, I must say.  Thanks Michelle, and everyone else who has had nice things to say about the work!

It's also been pretty cold the last few days, and there's been a ton of snow, so I haven't done a lot of drawing, but I expect to next week, because it's SPRIIING BREEAAAK!!!!! and I'm going to San Francisco (well, Berkeley actually) to visit my friend Chris.  I hope to draw up a storm, and of course the results will be all over the blog and my flickr page, and facebook, and stuff.  Until then, here's some recent moleskine scrawlin' and scratchin'.

Watching TV in the bed with Linda. Cable can interfere with drawing activity.

new shoes
Just got me some new Sketchers. It's the first pair of shoes I've had that aren't New Balance in, well, a very long time.

director candidate lecture
Our final candidate for director of the School of Art lectured the other night at MSU. Now we choose.

linda in the student union
I drew this before Linda and I went to see Milk at the Procrastinator Theater at MSU. Go see it. It's good.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


This morning I walked to school in the snow to teach my drawing class. When I got there a student told me that Boodles, a downtown restaurant, was on fire. As information trickled in via text messages and photos and the radio, we all learned that fully half a city block of downtown Bozeman had been obliterated by a natural gas explosion.
photo courtesy the Bozeman Daily Chronicle

It so happens that I had drawn the buildings in November. The spread I drew strangely depicts exactly the buildings destroyed: the Lily Lu building, the Montana Trails Gallery, Boodles and the Rockin' R Bar. (The American Legion building on the far right, while not destroyed in the initial blast, was later consumed in the ensuing fire from the gas leak.) I had also been drawing the south side of the street from directly in front of these buildings only a few weeks ago. As of this evening, one person remains missing. Considering the scale and power of the explosion in the heart of Bozeman on a weekday morning, I'm amazed there weren't more casualties. I have come to feel very close to these buildings over the past few months, so this is something of a shock. I'm not sure how I feel having documented the block just before its destruction. I expect it will take quite some time to clean up, and rebuild, if possible. Here's hoping they do.

Monday, March 2, 2009

cahier notebooks and buildings

imaginary city 01

I finally bought a couple Moleskine "cahier" gridded notebooks the other day. The paper is a bit thin, but the grids are fun for perspective drawing. These little 2-point perspective sketches are 3 1/2" x 5 1/2" inches long. They also reveal the limitations of my architectural creativity.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

10th Ave and College

10th ave and college, originally uploaded by paul is just dandy.

I'm fortunate enough to live about a minutes' walk from two coffee houses, a grocery store, a copy shop, a convenience store, a Mexican restaurant, and the best Chicago-style pizza place in Montana. Today Linda and I went to one of the coffee shops, International coffee Traders, and sat by the window in the sunlight. I sketched and she knitted. We just got a bunch of snow in Bozeman, so drawing it seemed the thing to do.