We interrupt our usual programming…

For a glimpse of my secret other life as a very occasional courtroom illustrator.

Oregon has been in the news for the last 4 weeks due to the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge building out on the east side of the Cascades. Yesterday, 7 of the protesters were brought into federal court in Portland after being arrested. I got a call mid-morning from one of the local news channels asking me to go down to the courthouse to draw.

The courtroom experience is always a little fraught for me.The initial procedural hearings happen in a heartbeat — it is a crazy challenge to capture the general appearance of each defendant in less than 10 minutes. Accustomed as I am to working alone in my backyard studio, with no attention and little time pressure, the adrenaline rush of getting to court, angling for a seat where I can see the defendants, setting up a miniature studio around my feet, and cranking out reasonable likenesses of each defendant without knowing how much time I will have to do so — all of this gets my heart beating fast. But once I am drawing, the surroundings slip away and I experience a kind of hyper focus that I rarely achieve in my other work.

But it’s such a relief to return to my hidey-hole!

Ammon Bundy (one of the spokespeople and leaders of the occupying group)


Ryan Bundy


Ryan Payne


Peter Santilli


Joseph O’Shaugnessy


9 Responses

  1. Abigail, One of our book clients is the American Birding Association and I have been following the story.

    Your drawings are amazing and sad. Goor work.
    Scott Flora, About Books

  2. I also wanted to chime in and say that your work here is beautiful.

    They capture a lot of emotion. Have you considered making any of this work available for purchase?

    1. Thanks, Rob!

      The question of selling original courtroom work has rarely come up.
      If you are interested, feel free to email me — abbey (a) abigailmarble.com.

  3. Abby, I found your site from the KOIN 6 news that credited your beautiful drawings to your name. What lovely pictures. I am forwarding this link to my daughter’s high school art teacher. This whole situation with Malheur is a mess, and you managed to make it both human and sad. Thanks for beautiful work.

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