Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Mohr Island

My pal David sent me an amazing set of watercolour paints from Japan last month.  The colours are strong and most are opaque.  I have been doing some experiments with hem on a nice little pad of 6" x 6" high cotton content made by Papier Canal in Montreal.

I find it surprisingly difficult to just choose colours and do splotches of colour as an abstract painting and after a few peices, chose to work from something I could see.  This was the view from the boat moored at Mohr Island on the Ottawa River, complete with the navigation buoy off the sandbar.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Yank Thou

I've been having some fun making cards for friends lately.  The addition of a rubber alphabet stamp set has opened some new possibilities...just add a dash of pig latin and a shake of spoonerism.

eatgrey unfay!

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Big Blue

"Big Blue" is the pride and joy of the harbour at Britannia Yacht Club, or at least my pride and joy as the Harbour Master.  It's a 5000 kg. hydraulic stationary crane that can lift all but about a dozen boats in our fleet.  Before we bought it, we had to bring in mobile cranes and basically launched about 175 boats with three cranes in one day.  If you missed launch or haul-out, or had to pull the boat out for a repair, it meant you had to bring in a crane and pay the minimum hours charge - very expensive.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Tiny Perfect Library

 I have a great little library just down the street.  Its free - no library cards, fines, or need to be quiet.  I first saw one of these on Toronto Island and attributed it to the Islands' strong cultural identity, but have learned that Little Free Libraries have been springing up all over the continent.  I check it out on the way by on my various dog walks and have slowly left two boxes of books that I've been carting around for decades.  There is always something of interest there and it's rarely depleted.

The other thing I appreciate is the design.  I've never talked to the owner, but clearly the cabinet was designed by a professional - an industrial designer, I'm thinking.  Very thoughtful detailing and skillful fabrication. Kudos to the designer/builder.


I consider one of my strengths to be the ability to synthesize.  Maybe that's what's behind this sketch/cartoon I did last weekend, while helping out at Wintergreen.  Wintergreen is a retreat centre which offers a quiet, natural, place to go a little deeper into whatever your "community of interest" might be.

So, last week end as I chopped vegetables and washed dishes, I listened into  a group from a local church taking the Alpha Course on Christianity.  I took a few minutes, between runs to the compost pile, to do this sketch and then added the captions back at home.

I sent it on to the group and hope that they see it as intended - a sort of blurred time-frame snapshot of their session.

This aligns my life-long desire to be an editorial cartoonist and attraction to urban sketching as story-telling.  I think I'll use this device again.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Choosing the Angle

This was a longer pose - maybe an hour and a half, but I didn't take the full time.  I did the upper drawing first and then did a walk around to see what the other participants were up to.  That's when I realized that the straight-on view was a little static and repositioned to do the lower drawing, which I think was a more interesting angle. I could probably have had more fun with the foreshortening, even exaggerating the size of the feet.

Something to remember for next time.

10 and 20 Minute Poses

As much as I like the short gesture poses, it is nice to have a few more minutes to draw the whole figure and even add some colour.  In keeping with my training for urban sketching, given more time and I'm likely to start again from a different angle, or even draw the drawers.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Life Drawing - Gestures

I don't know why its called "life drawing", but drawing naked models has long been considered the best way to learn to draw.  Maybe its because our human brains are so trained to judge the visual proportions of a person and we innately know when its accurate, as opposed to a building or landscape, which if unknown, can look credible.

My interest is urban sketching and I try to be evocative rather than precise.  So, in last weekends life drawing workshop, I stood with a small notebook and my trusty Lamy fountain pen, as standing  and going straight to ink yields more energetic drawings.  When I sit, my drawings tend to become overly detailed and stiff, and some people even say that standing is a more representative point of view of how we experience urban spaces.

 These contour drawings were some of the warm up sketches - 2 minutes each, which is why the model could hold such dramatic poses.  These short "gestures" are my favourite, as it's really fun.  And also because, I'm less interested and patient to work on detailed studies, although I would like to do more portraits and it's an excellent opportunity to practice hands and feet, which are really difficult to get right.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Floating Over the Room

I've been playing with aerial views and one-point perspectives looking down on urban spaces, so thought I'd draw the whole room this way during a 2 hour life drawing pose.

This is  an interesting way to study and record a place, as you must look beyond what you can see from one static, point of view.  It's drawing what you see, but not the way you see it, with the exception of myself, of course.