Bright and earlyMt. Rainier from Tumwater, WA

Mt. Rainier sketch by Chandler O'Leary

I’m generally a morning person—especially when it comes to sketching. But I live at 47 degrees north latitude, where for months at a time, being a morning person means spending a lot of time in the dark. Right now I’m still shaking off that lazy Northwest winter-mode version of “early,” where 8 am still feels like the crack of dawn. Now that we’re racing toward the summer solstice, “early” means something much different. If I want to make more sketches like this one (where, I might add, I had to drive for an hour just to reach that location!)—well, I’m clearly going to have to whip myself back into shape.

Comments (0) Pin it!

For the wearyPenland, NC

Wingback chair sketch by Chandler O'Leary

This might be a holiday weekend for a lot of people, but some seriously looming deadlines mean it’ll be a working weekend at my house. So while I might normally imagine traveling to exotic locales to pass the time in the studio — this time I have a feeling I’ll be dreaming of nothing more than a nice comfy chair.

Comments (1) Pin it!

Boston StrongBoston, MA

Boston sketch by Chandler O'Leary

I wasn’t there at the time of the Marathon bombings last year—I was here, on the opposite coast. But Boston is my home city, and I remember feeling at the time that I had to do something, no matter how small. So I grabbed the first thing I always think of—my sketchbook—and put together this little tribute while I waited anxiously for news with the rest of the country.

A year later, I’m still far from the scene, but you can bet I’ll be cheering for the marathon runners this year, and for my favorite city. Stay strong, Boston.

Comments (3) Pin it!

Captain’s quartersMendocino, CA

Mendocino water towers sketch by Chandler O'Leary

When it comes to water towers, Mendocino might just be the capital of the world. They serve a very specific purpose there: the town sits on a headland out over the Pacific, and the water table there is extremely low. So for the past 150 years or so, residents have had small wooden water towers on their properties, in case of drought during the summer. A handful are still in use, but many others have been converted into cottages, artist studios, spare rooms or storage sheds.

Mendocino water tower sketch by Chandler O'Leary

And a very few have become guest rooms—and I got to stay in one.

Mendocino water tower sketch by Chandler O'Leary

It was just about the best overnight I’ve ever had on a road trip; it felt like I was eight years old again, and had discovered some sort of secret hideout. I called a friend that night and told her where I was, and she laughed and said, “That’s so you. It’s just about the most ‘Chandler-y’ place you could have found.” Yep.

The downside, though? It’s pretty much ruined regular hotel rooms for me forever.

Comments (3) Pin it!

Calligraphic cobblestonesRoche Harbor, San Juan Island, WA

San Juan Island bricks sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Roche Harbor is a hidden little pocket on San Juan Island, with impeccably preserved turn-of-the-century buildings, picturesque lime kiln ruins, a pristine saltwater inlet, and wharf buildings that hearken back to some (perhaps slightly revisionist) halcyon era gone by. Yet I had to force myself to even look at those things, let alone sketch them—because I would have been perfectly content to spend all day staring down at my feet.

Comments (4) Pin it!

Follow the Red Brick RoadBoston, MA

Boston Freedom Trail sketch by Chandler O'Leary

These days there are many places where the Freedom Trail is marked with ugly red paint on concrete. But wherever you can find the path traced in brick, running out from one of the old bronze markers—well, that’s where you can almost feel history pulsing under your feet.

Comments (3) Pin it!
« Older Posts