In September of 2019, I began a series of sketches of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. Some are quick impressions of familiar places. Others are closely-observed investigations of places I have overlooked. As I document life in this diverse city, I aim to show glimpses of the human condition. I think these works also reflect a city that is firmly holding onto the past as it slowly moves forward.
Knoxville on the border of Mt. Oliver Borough. 14″ x 11″, March 9, 2020.
Light rail, The T, making its way down Broadway Avenue, Beechview. It was a cold, windy day. I could smell the Mexican food cooking at nearby restaurants. 17″ x 14″, March 3, 2020.
Sketching from the balcony of Arcade Shops, a Downtown Pittsburgh mall and food court. A collage of inside/outside imagery. February 28, 2020.
Bantha Tea Bar, Penn Avenue, Bloomfield – Garfield. This gritty, but rapidly gentrifying, neighborhood holds monthly Unblurred gallery crawls. 9.5″ x 12″ November 22, 2019.
South Side, looking down S. 15th Street towards East Carson Street from the pedestrian train crossing at the base of the South Side Slopes. I lived in this neighborhood for several years. I love the mix of old church architecture, refurbished storefronts and new structures. 5.75″ x 8.5″, January 7th, 2020.
Entrance to Highland Park. 10″ x 8.5″, September 12, 2019.
Located in Central Lawrenceville, Allegheny Cemetery is a sprawling park-like complex with ponds, fountains and tree-lined paths. As I sketched this pond, a couple pulled up and ate a box of doughnuts in their car. 14″ x 11″, October 26, 2019.
The Squirrel Hill Cafe, better known as the Squirrel Cage, Squirrel Hill South. 8.5″ x 5.75″, February 10th, 2020.
Squirrel Hill North, Forbes Avenue. 5.5″ x 8.5″, September 11, 2019
Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, Highland Park. During the winter months, the zoo holds regular Saturday penguin parades. Crowds of visitors line up along zoo pathways, eager to catch a glimpse of the waddling creatures. 5.5″ x 6″, February 15, 2020.
Waiting to get my hair cut at The Humble Barber, Brighton Heights. 5.5″ x 6″, Fall 2019.
Murray Avenue, Greenfield. 8.5″ x 5.75″, February 6th, 2020.
View from Points of View Park, Grandview Avenue, Mount Washington. I was looking down the Ohio River towards Brunot’s Island. 17″ x 14″, January 15, 2020.
Pirates baseball at PNC Park, North Shore. 4″ x 6″, September 17, 2019.
Homewood South. One of the most beautiful libraries of the Carnegie network, the Homewood branch. 10″ x 7″, December 10, 2019.
Trinity Cathedral in Downtown Pittsburgh. The Episcopal, Gothic-style church was completed in 1872. The site holds the oldest marked graves west of the Atlantic Seaboard. 14.5″ x 23.5″, September 24, 2019.
Middle Hill District, view looking out the window of the new Carnegie Library. 9″ x 12″, February 22nd, 2020.
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Central Oakland. The plants and antique structures of the conservatory are amazing, but on this trip, I tried to capture some of the human activity. 5.5″ x 6″, February 9, 2020.
Part 2 of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. 5.5″ x 6″, February 9, 2020.
Upper Hill District. View from reservoir at Robert E. Williams Memorial Park looking west. 5.5″ x 8.5″, March 4, 2020.
The row houses have been thinned out a bit in the California-Kirkbride neighborhood of the North Side. 5.5″ x 8.5″, March 18, 2020.
East Ohio Street, East Allegheny. 24″ x 19″, April 8, 2020.
Point Breeze. The Clayton Mansion, once the majestic home of the Henry Clay Frick family, is now part of The Frick Museum and Gardens. 11″ x 14″, October 12, 2019.
Located on the western edge of the city bordering McKees Rocks, Windgap is a quiet area of overgrown fields and light industry mixed with areas of older homes. I often take a shortcut past this area of towering power lines. 12.5″ x 9″, February 17, 2020.
Woods Run Branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Marshall-Shadeland neighborhood. 8.5″ x 5.75″, January 16, 2020.
PPG Aquarium at Pittsburgh Zoo, Highland Park. 5.5″ x 6″, February 15, 2020.
Motorcycle cruising down Butler Street, Lower Lawrenceville. Featuring former Pittsburgh Wash House & Public Baths building (1903). 17″ x 14″, February 6, 2020.
A gritty corner of Downtown Pittsburgh. Smithfield Street and the Boulevard of The Allies. 8.5″ x 5.5″, February 29, 2020.
Noblestown Road Shop n’ Save, Westwood. As I sketched, I noticed a woman eating a Taco Bell lunch in a nearby vehicle. 8.5″ x 5.5″, January 8, 2020.
I stopped at Ka-Fair Coffee in Morningside for breakfast and sketched the view out the front window. Some repairs were happening on a nearby building. 5.5″ x 6″, January 23, 2020.
A secluded spot at the beginning of social distancing. Nine Mile Run Trailhead in Swisshelm Park. The watershed has undergone major remediation since Pittsburgh’s industrial era. The impressive bridge structure is I-376 just outside of the eastern end of the Squirrel Hill tunnels. 12″ x 9″, March 17, 2020.
As I ate breakfast, people around me were nervously talking about the pandemic. Kelly O’s Diner, Strip District. 5.5″ x 6″, March 11, 2020.
Some city stairs coming down the South Side Slopes. 8.5″ x 5.5″, March 8, 2020.
Lots of tall, old, wood-framed houses adjacent to a majestic Classical church in Polish Hill. 5.5″ x 8.5″, March 5, 2020.
Schenley Plaza, Central Oakland. 5.5″ x 6″, September 25, 2019.
A small Beto O’Rourke rally organized by University of Pittsburgh students at Schenley Plaza. 5.5″ x 6″, September 25, 2019.
Crawford-Roberts neighborhood of the Hill District. August Wilson House, the childhood home of the Pittsburgh playwright. The 1727 Bedford Avenue site is being transformed into a center for arts and community programs. 12″ x 9″, March 13, 2020.
The last Farmer’s Market day of 2019, Market Square, Downtown Pittsburgh. 5.5″ x 6″, October 24, 2019.
People gathering at the public tables at Market Square, Downtown Pittsburgh, during the last Farmer’s Market day of 2019. 5.5″ x 6″, October 24, 2019.
A construction site along Butler Street, Lower Lawrenceville. 5.75″ x 8.5″, February 12, 2020.
Pennsylvania Macaroni, Penn Avenue, Strip District. 5.5″ x 8.5″ September 10, 2019.
Forbes Avenue, North Oakland. 14″ x 11″, February 26, 2020.
Bedford Hope Center located in Bedford Dwellings, a public housing project in the Hill District. The center provides social services to the community. 12″ x 9″, March 16, 2020.
Birch tree in Friendship. 5.5″ x 6″, February 18, 2020.
Warrington Avenue, Allentown. 5.5″ x 8.5″ October 9th, 2019
Children’s Museum, Allegheny Center. 10″ x 8″, September 9, 2019.
The Walnut Street shopping district of Shadyside. Walnut and Copeland Street intersection. 14″ x 11″, October 31, 2020.
Brookline Boulevard, Brookline. This is one of my regular stops (Pitaland and Las Palmas). 24″ x 19″, December 26, 2019.
A quick sketch of Bluff, otherwise known as Uptown. 8.5 x 5.5, February 20, 2020.
A snowy day in Esplen. 9″ x 12″, February 7. 2020.
East Carson Street South Side Flats / Jack’s Bar. 14″ x 11″ January 10, 2020.
Liberty Avenue, Bloomfield. 10″ x 8″, September 8th, 2019.
Penn & Highland, East Liberty. 11″ x 14″ November 27, 2019.
View of Downtown Pittsburgh from the West End Overlook, Elliott. 8″ x 10″, September 6th, 2019.
Perry North. Observatory Hill in Riverview Park. 11″ x 14″, January 2nd, 2020.
North Shore. The Andy Warhol Bridge crossing the Monongahela River. 4″ x 6″, September 4th, 2019.
Home Sweet Home, 14″ x 17″, January 22, 2020.