Thursday, September 3, 2015

Urban Sketching in St. Louis -- West Port Plaza

I organized an urban sketching event in St. Louis for the St. Louis Drawing and Painting Meetup Group.  We met at West Port Plaza in the morning, then spread out to sketch in the many nooks and crannies of the plaza.  We had a great turnout, and the weather cooperated; while we could have usd a little more sun (to emphasize shadows), the temperatures stayed tolerable and it didn't rain.  Everyone had a great time and we ended with eager discussions about where and when to have the next event.  I hope that some of you outside the St. Louis area will be able to join us sometime; I plan to hold these roughly at the last weekend of each month.  I'll post on this blog with notifications.  Stay tuned!

More info about the sketches I did at

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Eldridge Hotel - Lawrence, Kansas

 I've been practicing a lot of architectural subjects in anticipation of an upcoming trip.  The new Lawrence-based sketch crawl group was a great opportunity!  I found a shady spot for my stool on the sidewalk in front of the hotel and the breeze kept me cool for a good hour and a half (I'm a notorious plein air wuss!).  At one point, a waiter from he hotel brought out a cup of water!  Love small town America!

3 Days Sketching at the Minnesota State Fair

Every year, the Twin Cities Urban Sketchers gather at the Minnesota State Fair for a sketch-out.  This year, I went to the State Fair on two additional days. I  like sketching people and there's no better place to sketch people doing lots of different stuff than the State Fair. I also like to sketch animals.

I wanted to work big and quickly, so I mostly used a series 400 11X14 inch Strathmore toned paper pad. I also did a few sketches in my smaller, toned paper journal. I use a Pigma Graphic 1 pen and color with mostly Prismacolor pencils.

Here's some of my sketches:

One of the entrances to the Fair.


I like sketching the Sham-Wow guys.

A military vehicle attracted lots of people.

A Woody Guthrie concert. I got autographs.

A cow.

More cows.

More Fairgoers.


The Jefferson Lines booth.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Abandoned Municipal Buildings...again...

We went fishing at Lawson Lake again last night...this was my final sketch of the evening, as it was getting on toward night and clouds were coming in from the west.  I only had time to keep it fairly the time I added the power lines it was almost too dark to see.

Thursday, August 20, 2015


This seems to be my summer for painting bridges...I love the arches and the reflections, as well as the history.  The one at top is just off 92 Highway in Tryst Falls Park--as you can tell from the name, it was a very popular meeting place in our area.

Because of the falls, there was a grist mill that utilized the power of water in the 1840s and 1850s...long since gone except for the lines carved into the limestone that show where it was.

The other three images are what's known in our town as Golf Hill Bridge, connecting our downtown valley where I live and the golf course and fine old neighborhood on the hill.  It's in Isley Park Woods, a Missouri Natural Area, and beside a street known as Lover's Lane...are we seeing a trend here?

Joseph has been warm-water fly fishing while I sketch and explore...a lovely summer!

NOTE:  I just got in touch with our Public Works department to find out more about the Golf Hill was built in 1914!  Amazing it has weathered so many floods...

St. Charles - Main & First Capitol

St. Charles - Main & First Capitol
(c)2015 Steve Penberthy
Watercolor on Strathmore Gemini 140-lb paper in handmade sketchbook, 
6.75" x 10.25" (17 x 26 cm)

I sketched this on location while sitting in direct sun on a hot, humid day.  I'm starting to realize how much Urban Sketching can be an endurance sport!  I liked the angle from which I sketched this scene, but next time I'll scope out a shadier spot...!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Civil War Weekend at Fort Snelling

It was a marvelous sketching opportunity this weekend at Fort Snelling in Minneapolis. It was two days of authentic costumes and activities, all at the fort where it really happened--- talk about "production value"! The end of the Civil War was 150 years ago, therefore the sesquicentennial. I worked in a hard-bound Kunst & Papier watercolor journal with my Preppy carbon ink pen, a watercolor pencil and my indispensable Whiskey Painters watercolor palette.
Part of the 1865 Fashion Show

From the 1865 Fashion Show

Private gets paid at end of his mustering-out

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