Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Westminster Presbyterian Church

This is a piece I have been working on all week in walnut ink and watercolor.

We have lost someone special and this Westminster Presbyterian Church has embraced the family. I worked on this as I thought through what community means.

Very loose interpretation based off of an old photo.  I took some liberties. Some of the higher windows are stone but I wish they were glass so I made them so.

Anyway, hope you enjoy my little therapy session.

This is  11x17

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Clevelander view from the beachside seats

I was an invited artist to the Clevelander in South Beach on a dream trip twice a few years ago.  I was invited to come and sketch as much as I could for 4 days.  

I see that I never posted this process image, drawn and painted at night and onsite while enjoying the atmosphere.  The next day with actual sunlight I pushed and pulled a few things.

This is pretty typical of my process and also shows my paint kit.

This was such an amazing trip. If you ever visit the Clevelander they also own the Essex House on the same block. It is beautiful, the courtyard is amazing, and Zen Sai is fantastic as well.

a panarama from my vantage point

Laying out the big shapes and getting the proportions right

The inking starts. This is not a tracing, this is drawing a second time and often times I am making changes on my second pass.

More progress

Starting to clean up

Now for color

I use a limited pallete and then only three colors from that. Especially when I paint in the dark with colored lights.

Blocking out more color.

In the daylight. Working while eating.

More or less finished.

This was a fun trip.  I have a second round of drawings that I have never posted but the first round can be found here:

Hope you enjoyed a peek at my process!

Saturday, November 19, 2016


Some time ago submitted these 11 X 17 boards to a sketch competition for d3. 2013 submission call.  These boards, along with a1,500 others were hung the Fordham University in NYC.

Since then I have used these boards over and over when the subject of sketching in architecture comes up.

This is a pretty good summary of my work when it comes to design thinking and how it relates to drawing.

I hope you enjoy these.

This first board is about digital sketching. For me it isn't either or.  It is just a different medium. You approach a charcoal drawing differently than an ink wash. It is the same with digital versus traditional media.  Craft is craft.

I do A LOT of travel sketching. As an architect to me it is similar to a musician practicing their favorite artist melody lines. To learn to see (or hear), try to figure out what they were saying and why it worked (or didn't), and especially to remember.

At this point I can walk while drawing and painting.  I can also draw upside down almost as well as right side up.  Somehow my handwriting is so much better than the normal way but it is much slower.

Often times I am in conversations about how to put complex assemblies together.  I have found these types of drawings to really help that conversation along and get past the basics and on to the good ideas from the folks in the field.

As architects, we do a ton of 3d modeling. I set up the basic bones of a building faster in 3d which gives me something accurate to sketch options over. Pick and option, model that, print and sketch over to the next level of detail and options, model and test that, sketch over get the picture but I almost have construction documents when I am done.

This is also a good way to have conversations with multiple trades. The construction folk look at it toward constructability, sequencing, and cost. The owner or developer wants to see the image and the feel along with cost. There are lots of players with different centers of their universe and this lets me communicate in a way to talks to all of them.

Plus.... I just love drawing and use any excuse I can.

Hope you enjoyed this.
Samples of my other work can be found by searching James Nutt and Behance.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Metro Sketchers at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

These sketches are from a couple of years ago, but the "Spoon and Cherry!"  has made the rounds in a few shows and the prints have sold well.

Liz Carlson sets up this wonderful monthly sketch group - MetroSketchers - and all of these were done onsite with about 30 other talented and fun people.

Since this time they have redone the sculpture garden.  Perhaps it is time to go and make new sketches.

Angular planes of metal were fund to capture.

One of my favorite pieces. This is all inkwash. The red color is the crazy Noodlers brand of ink named Cayenne.  It goes crazy with water. (11x14)

a small 3x5 study in water color

3 x5 church study

I am not sure if I will ever add color. Maybe just the red on the  cherry. What I remember about this was the conversation around me at the time.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed these.

(BTW traffic on my site has really jumped! Thank you. If anyone knows why please send me a comment of how you heard about this humble blog.)

For more art see my portfolio site on

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Swiss German Trip...All the Sketches

Last Year we took an amazing vacation to Germany and Switzerland.  Each of these could be a blog post in itself, but for now here is the whole group. Most of these are fairly small 3"x5" to 1"x14", done onsite and took between 4 minutes to an hour.

I think I will break these out at a later date, but for now, enjoy!

My Family also sketches and paints.  These are from many of the same vantage points done by my wife who I share the studio with.