Monday, February 24, 2014

A New Book - A New Start

Fiddlehead Red Violin

The start of a new sketchbook is always exciting. Inside, the white watercolour pages hold the promise of lovely sketches and paintings. The book will become a collection of memories, ideas and images that mark the next several months. I must admit, a fresh book can be intimidating. I always resist starting, for the irrational fear that the first entry will be lousy, and somehow spoil the book. But, bravely, I started this new book and ended up with a nice painting of the fiddlehead of our beloved violin. So then of course, I hesitated about adding anything else to the double page spread, for fear of ruining it. Damned if I make a dud, damned if I make a gem! So I channel Roz Stendhal, with words of wisdom about being prolific and not worrying about perfect pages. And so I'm off to the illustration races……but I think I will leave this one to enjoy some white space around it.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Urban Sketching Off Grid

I have been going on various sketch crawls with the Vancouver Urban Sketchers. I might go so far as to call myself an urban sketcher. I think I adhere to the guidelines in the International Urban Sketchers' official Manifesto as quoted below. 

        1. We draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from direct observation.
2.   Our drawings tell the story of our surroundings, the places we live and where we travel.
3.   Our drawings are a record of time and place.
4.   We are truthful to the scenes we witness.
5.    We use any kind of media and cherish our individual styles.
6.   We support each other and draw together.
7.   We share our drawings online.
8.   We show the world, one drawing at a time.

It did strike me as funny though, to call my practice Urban Sketching, as I worked away this past weekend up at our snowy shack in the woods.  Other than intermittent cell phone reception, this cabin is fairly off grid; no electricity, nor running water, just wood stoves and propane lights. We park the car at the local ski area and walk, snowshoe or ski to the place in just under half an hour. Not really very urban at all. But what's in a label anyway? I was in bliss drawing and painting from direct observation while telling the story of the cabin, one drawing at a time. 

Snow water pot on the wood stove. Japanese cracker tin inset. 
So many small details to study.

The cabin is full of relics -  fertile ground for sketching!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Vancouver Urban Sketchers at Lonsdale Quay

A Second View
Warm Up Sketch

This weekend , I joined the Vancouver Urban Sketchers at Lonsdale Quay. The cold weather outside kept most of us indoors. It was a very convivial group and we had fun swapping intel about art materials, books, online courses and inspiration. I never feel like I do great work in a group. I end up being draw into conversations and get distracted but I sure enjoy touching base with other people who enjoy urban sketching. My first effort lacks a bit of depth. I do like the  gap view through the shipyard to the hill behind. The second view was a bit crisper, even if the BC provincial flag looks like a tie dye. How very west coast!