This past week’s location for Urban Sketching: Rock Bay, Victoria BC.
Modern day Rock Bay, Victoria
When I heard that or local urban sketching group was heading to a heritage/industrial district I knew that is be aiming for buildings, not people or flowers. I arrived around 10:30 a.m. on a sunny Saturday and remembered that I didn’t apply sunblock, oh well, sketching on the edge!
I plunked my tiny tripod stool down on the side of the intersection of Store and Pembroke Streets. I hoped my pink baseball hat would make me visible to the dump trucks and commercial vehicles going by.
British Columbia is a very young place in terms of (white man’s) history and the kind of man-made structures that survive many generations.
They say that in England 125 years ago was just like yesterday, where in BC 125 kilometres is a pleasant drive. Space? We have loads by European standards.
The Victoria area was colonized in & around 1850. So any building still standing from this time frame is REALLY old.
The Rock Bay area is very close to the harbour of Victoria and began as & has continued to be an industrial area. This unfortunately has resulted in alot of environmental contamination. They have been working for years to remediate land here.
It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.
This house portrait was thoughtfully commissioned by a friend as a surprise Christmas gift for her mother after she had seen some of the urban sketching I’d done.
Their house, like many, has allot of sentiment as it was built by her parents more than 30 years ago to be the home to raise their family in and now, the next generation of grandchildren are finding comfort there as well.
House portraits preserve a moment in time -a first home, a family home, a home in a specific season. (pets can also be included in the house portrait.)
Do you have a home, business or building you would like a momento of? Perhaps even a gift to a client. You can email me or send a picture of your home via post and I can produce a hand-rendered 8″ x 10″ ink and watercolor portrait on watercolor paper or illustration board. Once the pictures and details are in hand -it takes approx. 2 weeks to complete the portrait. Please don’t hesitate to enquire!
I have never been to Rome but as I have recently returned from Amsterdam, Barcelona & Paris. I can imagine to a small degree what it could be like: Narrow, cobbled streets lined with tall antiquated buildings (by my Victoria, BC standards, where some of the oldest buildings are 135-140 years old. Only babies by European or Asian standards!) in various states of decay/preservation, with cafe tables in every other doorway. I’ll get there eventually but for now, this surrogate ramble through the medium of Streetview with have to suffice.
While doing research for the Virtual Paintout the contrast of warm stucco against the cool sky caught my eye this time around. I also like the the negative space, the slightly cock-eyed “X” of the sky.
If your curious to see a glimpse of how Piazza del Paradiso appears in Streetview, click the link here, but remember you’ll need to crank your head way up to get the perspective.
An assortment of crows. All are acrylics except centre right which is watercolor on birch panel.
What can be learned by doing things really fast? Or really slow? Or in a series?
Many artists painted have the same subject over and over, from different angles (Monet’s Waterlilies) and others have painted the subject repeatedly looking the same (Warhol’s Marilyn silkscreens) in an effort to show that even with endless amounts of reproduction where on the surface they appear the same, the small smears and clogs give an individuality to each piece. Even in my attempts to manually reproduce the same familiar image from memory, each time there would be variations to the theme. Some I liked and of course others not so much.
What I found is that each time I repeat a subject (such as a bird) I become more aware of :
*the textures & highlights
*the shape & proportion
*the body language & movement
*seemingly subtle things such as the highlights of an eye can draw your attention
*the addition of a tiny prop like a cigarette can change the attitude
I hadn’t tried to give myself a time limit until I applied to compete in Art Battle, along with a few friends (Buddy System!).
My first reaction to the challenge was trepidation but the more I thought about it the old saying of “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” was lingering in the back of my mind. That’s when I made the dive and sent in an application, only then to panic with my acceptance!
I needed a plan of action so our group, which we soon dubbed “the A-Team” (an attempt to take on the strength & ingenuity of these iconic characters) put into motion several practice sessions, complete with timers, distractions and loud music (we had to learn to block these things out). We tried new images and old familiar ones to the point where it began to feel that our hands began to form a memory of their own for the twists and turns required, endeavoring to become more efficient in the movements each time. The results did surprise me at times and really made me consider whether some of the long drawn out hours necessarily paid off?
The day of the competition was loaded with adrenalin, unfamiliar materials and faces but I’m certainly glad I did it. Will I compete again? Only the future will tell but in the meantime I have a collection of birds in various sizes and shapes to contemplate and learn from 🙂
I participated in the Virtual Paintout Ireland this month. The area to focus on was County Kerry.
It was very easy to “wander” the streets and pathways for hours through Google Streetview this month. It seemed every time you turned a corner that there was another beautiful lake, a fine old pub, stone cottages, and little churches overlooking another pastoral scene.
I chose another tall building, maybe I’m attracted to the distortion of the upward angle.
Muckross House is located in Ireland’s Killarney National Park and was built in 1843 for the politician Henry Herbert.
If your curious to see a glimpse of how Muckross House appears in Streetview, click the link here