Stephanie Bower

Stephanie Bower | Architectural Illustration: | Sketching Workshops: | Sketches: | Urban Sketchers Blog Correspondent | Signature member of the Northwest Watercolor Society

Sunday, October 23, 2016

More Civita Workshop...back to June!

Next installment in the Civita workshop...

Sketching in an ancient Etruscan/Roman cave...

Learning watercolor inside La Sala Grande.

Moving Outdoors to learn watercolor in the daylight!  Check out the view behind us!
Sketching wide-angle views in the Piazza San Donato, the ancient forum and still a gathering place today!

Some of the sketches from the piazza...

More in the piazza...wide angle views!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Scenes from DRAW CIVITA 2016

Yep, while I wait for Craftsy to fix all the bugs in their new website, and my new class, I'm going back to the summer to continue posting my 6 weeks of sketches in Italy, Spain, Holland, and England...starting with the workshop in Civita!!

For four years now, I've had the great good fortune to offer a 6-day perspective and watercolor workshop in the amazing, pre-Etruscan speck of a town, Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy.  This year, we had a group of nine -- a great, hard-working group of sketchers from the US (Seattle, California, Texas, Virginia, Kentucky), Norway, and the UK.

The first morning, we walked across the steep pedestrian bridge into Bagnoregio to buy groceries (Civita is so small, there is no grocery store!) We stopped for caffe lattes at Massimo's bar, but we found him behind the bar gardening in his family's amazing orto.  He kindly sent us home with bags of delicious plums from his trees!

In the afternoon, we jumped into perspective basics, and the next day, we jumped right into watercolor. Here are some of their great sketches! 

(Thanks, Patty Leighton, for some of these photos!) Thanks so much to the Civita Institute/NIAUSI, for the support and opportunity to teach in this incredible, unique place!!

So much of the fun of this workshop is the FOOD! Here we are in the shade across from Massimo's Bar enjoying
caffe lattes and cornetti con panna (Italian croissants with fresh cream...mmmmm)

We see you hiding, Paul!! That is Massimo in the white t-shirt and hat,
he makes the tastiest latte in Italy.
Demo in the tiny main street of Civita, working a watercolor sketch in stages.
Some of the sketches of the Civita main street, the first attempts at watercolor look great!

Arches can be tricky to draw, as they are not shaped like horseshoes! Here are some of the sketches
from sitting in Tony's garden and painting the arches in perspective.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

WOO HOO, Discount Code!!!

Thanks to all for your patience as Craftsy has launched it's new website!  While they are still working out technical issues, they have provided us with a special 50% discount code!!

To register for "The Essentials of Sketching Architecture", 

1) Click here to get to the class home page:

        Instructor Link for "The Essentials of Sketching Architecture"

(Thanks for using this link, it is much better for instructors instead of going directly to the Craftsy website!!)

2)  Add the class to your cart.

3)  When you check out, use this code: 5c05ebb6-75f7-48a2-a384-b 
to get a 50% discount, reducing the cost to $19.99USD. It's a great deal!

This is a one-time coupon, limit one per person. 

Thank you so much for hanging in there with my unlucky timing...I hope this will work, and that you will enjoy the class!  Let me know when you are able to register, and let me know what you think of the class.  It's over 2 hours of lessons, packed with useful sketching information!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

"We are experiencing technical difficulties..."

Unlucky timing, I this past Friday, Craftsy launched a brand new total redesign of their website. And of course as these things go, my new class launched only a few days before and is now suffering a bit from that timing.

SO, the link I sent everyone now no longer works!!!  :( 

I beg you to please hold tight and wait a bit, hopefully I can send out a working discount link early this coming week.  

Those of you who bought the class before Friday night should be OK...if you are having problems viewing the class, contact Craftsy directly.  And no, my new class doesn't teach you how to make chocolates!!

"The Essentials of Sketching Architecture" is still a great class, really really packed with information...I hope you will like it!  And thank you again for your interest, and especially for your patience right about now.  

Stay tuned...

Monday, September 26, 2016

"The Essentials of Sketching Architecture" is LIVE!

Quick late-night post to get this link out, but it's here!  Clear explanations for basic perspective, columns, arches (yes!), sloped surfaces like roofs and stairs, and MUCH MORE! 

Please use this instructor's 50% discount link:
(Using this link instead of the Craftsy website really helps my numbers, so thank you, all!!)

Thursday, September 8, 2016


Yes, I've been "Doodlewashed"! Who knew there was such a thing?

Prolific blogger Charlie O'Shields writes about his own sketches on his blog "Doodlewash", and he also posts about many Guest Artists...

To learn a bit about how I got started and more, especially after a 25 year break from sketching, I invite you to his blog by clicking on the link below... thank you!!

Doodlewash, Guest Artist: Stephanie Bower, Urban Sketcher

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

An Extraordinary Gift

About two weeks ago, a box arrived on my porch from Florida. At first, I thought it was something I ordered from Amazon :), but it turned out to be something much, much better: an amazing gift.

Accompanying this beautiful, framed etching of Civita, was a lovely letter from a couple who happened to take my workshop at the Manchester Urban Sketchers Symposium.  It turns out that they, too, have been to Civita and were also inspired by that extraordinary place, and they thought I might like this etching...I don't like it, I LOVE IT! 

And I love it not only for the beautiful art that it is, but I am so deeply appreciative of this kind and thoughtful gift--my thanks to you both, Charlie Williams and Barbara Beynon. It will proudly hang in my office where I will see it every day.

Yesterday was my birthday, and this extraordinarily generous gift reminds of the many wonderful gifts in my life, particularly in the past few years. I am indeed living a dream of doing interesting work, amazing travel and sketching opportunities, and often sharing these adventures with amazing friends and artists I admire so much. As others my age are winding down, I am winding UP... I appreciate these gifts to my very core, as I am fully aware of how extraordinary all this is, and I am so grateful.  

So on in honor of my birthday and this beautiful gift from Charlie and Barbara, I send my gratitude and very best wishes to any and all who happen upon this post. I hope that your life is filled with wonderful adventures and amazing gifts. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Up the Bridge to Civita di Bagnoregio

Finally made it to Rome (oh, it is soooo hard to stay awake that first day!), then it was off  to Civita di Bagnoregio, a tiny speck of a town to the north, surrounded by a deep ravine on all sides.

I know this town well, having lived here for two months in 2014 with the Civita Institute's Astra Zarina fellowship. My project was to create an architectural walking guide to the town, so with lots of research and lots of drawing, I got to know every stone...

Upon arrival in the mid-day heat, hauling my suitcase up the crazy steep pedestrian-only bridge, I arrived through the front arch and emerged into the piazza where I discovered a few faces I knew. As I made my way to my apartment, I came across even more people I knew, all so welcoming in that oh-so-warm Italian way.  It was actually surprisingly emotional for me, it felt in many respects like I was arriving home to see family.

I didn't have too much time to get ready before the DRAW CIVITA 2016 workshop participants arrived, so I didn't get to do too much sketching. Instead, I was making sure everything worked --trying to fix the internet, buying and assembling a fan, getting groceries.  This was to be my fourth annual workshop here!

There is something really special about this place...I don't know what it is, but it is extraordinary. I think a lot of people feel it when they walk through that main gate...maybe it's that there are no cars, so you are plunged back into Etruscan streets, Medieval and Renaissance buildings...and things stop right about there...this place is timeless.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Travels Begin...

We are now back in mid-June, I am just back from Texas (wonderful to meet and sketch with the Texas Urban Sketchers in Fort Worth), my older son has just graduated from the University of Washington (yay!), my Urban Sketching Handbook: Understanding Perspective has just come out...and my carry-on suitcase, backpack and I are stuck in the Chicago airport.

For the third year in a row, the flight that takes me to the symposium has been cancelled by American Airlines (yes, it happened on the way to Paraty, Brazil, and also last year to Singapore). I'm indeed starting to get a complex due to this hat trick, starting to think I need to travel to the symposium maybe two months in advance! Luckily, I had upgraded to business class and was able to wait comfortably in the Admiral's Lounge for about 6 hours until they found another plane. Better safe than sorry, to be sure.

So what does any respectable Urban Sketcher do to pass the time at an airport...well, of course, and here it is...

Warm colors inside, and cool colors outside as night was falling at Chicago O'Hare airport.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Going Backwards...

My apologies to all for such a long posting absence!  

It's been something of a travel marathon the past three months, proving to be too difficult to post to the blog or anywhere else.  Having a computer (can it already be full???) and phone (didn't like the heat) that didn't work well, didn't help!  

So now, after this post, I am going to go back to the beginning of the summer to show-and-tell you all about Fort Worth, Rome, Civita, Barcelona, The Hague, London, and yes, finally Manchester...oh and Denver too!!!!!!  Yes, you can still cling to a few more warm days.

Last week, I flew to Denver to film my second Craftsy class, called 
"The Essentials of Sketching Architecture".  Believe me, that name raises the bar--it's a lot to live up to!

Oh, what a good make-up artist can do!! Thank you, Danica!
 Here is the famous Craftsy studio where many other Urban Sketchers
have filmed as well.  It's VERY difficult to film one of these classes, as you have to teach to a camera
instead of interacting with a class.  I think maybe the bit of theater I did in high school and college helped!

The class will cover things like building materials, sloping surfaces, and even arches (which are not shaped like horseshoes!)  
I will encourage you to think and draw like an architect.

I also make lots of connections between the abstract world of perspective in books and the how-to's of how you can make a sketch on location.  

The class dovetails well with both the first class, 

"Perspective for Sketchers"

and also my book:
The Urban Sketching Handbook: Understanding Perspective.

And here is the crew!  Marshall, Amana the producer, Nick, and Bob who did sound and took the photo.
Also thanks to the Craftsy folks--Anna, Danica, Tommy, Molly, Greg...

Launch date for "The Essentials of Sketching Architecture" is late September.  
Check back here for an instructor's discount link!

OK, up next, 7 weeks of travel sketching.  Buckle your seat belts!