Inktober part 1

It’s Inktober!

Inktober hungry
Inktober hungry

And one thing that I like to do when I have the luxury of time is to participate in online art challenges that I discovered through friends or online connections.

You can click for part 2part 3 & part 4..

Inktober
Inktober

One of these initiatives is Inktober which was begun by Jake Parker in 2009 as a challenge to improve his inking skills. The idea being that you draw one picture every day for the entire month of October, resulting in 31 ink pictures by the end of the month.

Inktober noisy man
Inktober noisy man

He guides us as follows :

Inktober rules:

1) Make a drawing in ink (you can do a pencil under-drawing if you want).

2) Post it online

3) Hashtag it with #inktober and #inktober2016

4) Repeat

Note: you can do it daily, or go the half-marathon route and post every other day, or just do the 5K and post once a week. What ever you decide, just be consistent with it. INKtober is about growing and improving and forming positive habits, so the more you’re consistent the better.

Inktober fast
Inktober fast

He even provides a list of prompts for each year if you are lacking in inspiration.

Inktober 2016 prompt list
Inktober 2016 prompt list

This has also been reminding me of Danny Gregory‘s book Every Day Matters, in that it reminds us to look around and see the beauty and art potential in the objects that surround us. Like pocket change, if you look closely at the details there are history lessons, iconic animals and a little pocket lint 😉

Inktober coin collection
Inktober coin collection

As I have mentioned before, I am one of the  co-coordinators the Victoria Urban Sketchers group. We meet bi-weekly around town to sketch together from what we see in our surroundings, not from photographs. Here a couple samples:

Café sketch
Café sketch
School house wall
School house wall
Café sketch by Rick Thomas
Café sketch of me by Rick Thomas
bluechairdiary
Sunday Sketches @bluechairdiary
http://paintpartyfriday.blogspot.ca/
Paint Party Friday

From Urban Sketch to Note Cards & Mugs

A tribute in cards.

I am honoured that some of my art was selected for a set of note cards and mugs.

A fellow artist spotted my urban sketch of of the Cridge Centre as she browsing through my sketch book one day.

My original watercolour and ink sketch of the Cridge Centre.
My original watercolour and ink sketch of the Cridge Centre.

She remarked on it because she is on the Board of Director’s of The Cridge Centre for the Family.

Months passed by and forgot about it when she came back to me and requested a scan of the image so that she may have it made into note cards. Today she brought by the finished results and I’m thrilled!

My sketch of the Cridge Centre for the Family made into note cards & mugs.
My sketch of the Cridge Centre for the Family made into note cards & mugs.

I am one of the organizers of the Victoria Urban Sketchers, our local chapter of the international Urban Sketchers organization. We meet every second Saturday morning in different areas around Greater Victoria to sketch as a group.

This is one way I have been able to regularly channel my creative energy. We all have busy lives, but even when I’ve been overwhelmed with everything the universe decides to throw at me I’ve managed to maintain this art habit.

 

The Cridge Centre is a great exterior to sketch. The grounds surrounding this turn-of-the-century brick building are filled with old oak trees, flowing shrubs and rock outcroppings.

Cridge Centre photo
Cridge Centre photo from 2015.

The British Columbia Protestant Orphans’ Home had humble, unpretentious beginnings. As the need arose for more beds, funds were raised from the community to build the Taylor building high on a hill in 1893. It now houses Seniors and provides many other valuable services to families in our community.

Historic Photo of Cridge Centre
Historic Photo of Cridge Centre
bluechairdiary
Sunday Sketches @bluechairdiary
http://paintpartyfriday.blogspot.ca/
Paint Party Friday

Self Portraits aka Selfies

This coming week in participating in a group art show at the Martin Bachelor Gallery which is themed Selfie.  Or  what they used to refer to back in the days of Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Kahlo  etc as self portraits.

Selfie painting, acrylic, 12" square
Selfie painting, acrylic, 12″ square

No, I’m not a Millenial narcissist as Psychology Today and this selfie article help explain the point of view.

Selfie painting, chalk and charcoal, coloured pencil, toned tan, 9" x 12"
Selfie painting, chalk and charcoal, coloured pencil, toned tan, 9″ x 12″

It should be a fun show with dozens of faces of different styles and interpretations staring down at the viewers.

UPDATE: One of the curators Efren Quiroz made this video interviewing many of the artists. Sadly is unable to attend the opening and meet some of  these talented people.

Here is a review of the show has recently been published in the Times-Colonist, written by a well known local arts writer/critic Robert Amos.

This post is being shared on

Blue Chair Diary blog
Blue Chair Diary blog
Paint Party Friday
Paint Party Friday

Little Critter Dog Portrait

Drawing animals isn’t hard, right?

Like a dog portrait. Unless you’ve been commissioned by a sentimental owner or a zoologist that can spot the variances in its anatomy!  😡
A year ago my boss at my regular day job asked me to do a painting of his dog who had passed away some time earlier. I agreed because I’m up for a challenge generally. He supplied me with a dozen snap shot photos from the 1970’s, which is to say that they aren’t of the best condition or composition.

I’m now beginning my third attempt 😬

Work in progress, sketch on wood panel
Work in progress, sketch on wood panel
Snap shot from the 1970's as a reference for the dog portrait
Snap shot from the 1970’s as a reference for the dog portrait

I rather liked my second attempt in watercolours but he thought the dog looked silly. I thought it showed his personality! Like many of the dogs in this how-to guide

Dog portrait, watercolour on paper
Dog portrait, watercolour on paper

My first attempt in acrylics from last summer s going okay until a bit a roadblock on the background. I stared at it for weeks before turning it towards the wall. I just couldn’t make the gravel of the background interesting.

Dog portrait in acrylic on canvas
Dog portrait in acrylic on canvas

If he doesn’t like number #3 I might throw in the towel 😢

 

This post is being linked with Sunday Sketches weekly art sharing co-op

Blue Chair Diary blog
Blue Chair Diary blog

Creative Tuesdays a biweekly themed art challenge

Creative Tuesdays At Co-Op
Creative Tuesdays Art Co-Op

Also, Paint Party Friday

Paint Party Friday
Paint Party Friday

 

 

 

The Orange Light of Dawn

I’m This week’s blog post is brought to you by the color, Orange.

This morning everyone in our little part of the world woke up to strange orange light glowing from the sky. It felt like I was wearing aviators sunglasses or was somehow trapped in a sepia photograph.

Here is a beautiful example captured by my friend and local photographer Alan Klughammer.

The unfiltered orange colour of sunlight through wildfire smoke. Photo credit: Alan Klughammer
The unfiltered orange colour of sunlight through wildfire smoke. Photo credit: Alan Klughammer

 

“In my head, the sky is blue, the grass is green and cats are orange.”
Jim Davis, In Dog Years I’d be Dead: Garfield at 25

 

I live on Vancouver Island in Beautiful BC just off the coast of the mainland & a little north of Seattle. Smog is (thankfully) something which we never need to contend with here. Unfortunately, there have been numerous wildfires on the West Coast of North America and the smoke blown our direction has changed the colour of the sunlight.

Satellite photo of smoke covering lower Vancouver Island from a forest fire.
Satellite photo of smoke covering lower Vancouver Island from a forest fire.

After a few hours of this phenomena I decided I had to try to capture some of it.

Making beauty of of tragedy! I applied a watercolor wash of pinky yellow aka orange 🙂 and let it dry. I then pulled out one of my new toys: a dip pen with a flexible nib and sepia India ink.

The orange light coming from behind the trees in our backyard. Watercolour and india ink done with a dip pen.
The orange light coming from behind the trees in our backyard. Watercolour and india ink done with a dip pen.

Then I grabbed my bag with art supplies and went for a walk up a nearby hill hoping to get a view. But everything just looked dirty viewing it from that altitude. 😥 So I sat down on a rocky knoll next to a small Garry oak tree amongst the dry grass for sketch.

Garry oak in dry grass. Ink and watercolour.
Garry oak in dry grass. Ink and watercolour.

Speaking of sepia:

These sepia colors remind me of a painting I did a while back. I had a favorite colorized photograph of my grandpa Jim, he was a real cowboy during the Depression. One night he got all gussied up in his best chaps and gear to go to a local dance. Our family had a farm in Fort St. John not far from where many of the current forest fires are.

Cowboy Jim, acrylic on canvas
Cowboy Jim, acrylic on canvas, 16″ x 20 “.

I’m linking this post to Sunday Sketches , Paint Party Friday,  Try It On Tuesday

A purple and yellow challenge

Purple and yellow are such good friends

I am participating in a few blog parties and online challenges this summer. 

 

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”
Alice Walker (The Color Purple)

 

The colour challenge from Summer of Color 5 this week is purple, purple and yellow. Hop on over to Kristin’s site to see more.

The subject matter suggested by Creative Tuesdays is “Little Twitters” (birds). I’ve always loved birds, crows particularly, so it was easy!

 

Yellow and purple finch
Yellow and purple finch

Oddly enough, Purple Finches aren’t purple! I suppose like blue flowers are really purple? I’m not sure how this is interpreted. So I used a more literalapproach with some artistic license 😉

I had a look through some of my past work to see if I had anything that fit the colour challenge but found only this abstracted photo of pigment. (I can’t help myself sometimes, whipping my phone out at work, trying to catch the rapidly changing swirls!)

Yellow and purple pigment
Mysterious & unrepeatable swirling patterns yellow and purple pigment

I am also linking to Sunday Sketches and Paint Party Friday.

Sketches of women in pink and orange.

I sketched these lovely ladies for the Summer of Color blog party, week 2. The color prompts for this week are Pink + Pink + Orange.

In my search for a subject that would reasonably translate to these colors I saw many works of girls and women with pink and orange peach skin, pink clothing and auburn hair. Bingo!
I have always admired the classic sketches of women by artists such as Leonardo DaVinci (indisputably a genius!) but I have yet to master his subtlety. I have made attempts to learn from copying his work before but decided to look a little farther afield when I came across a red chalk sketch by Edward Burne-Jones. Red, pink, orange. They’re all the same family, right?

Most of the models used by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood had a very distinctly stylized look to their lips, nose and jaw line. I got close with the lips but I still have more practice ahead of me.

Sketch of a woman based of work of Edward Burne-Jones. Pink & orange pencil on orange paper.
Sketch of a woman based of work of Edward Burne-Jones. Pink & orange pencil on orange paper.

While I still had the inspiration and not ready for bed yet I did another quick sketch but switched the colours around. In the hundreds of ladies I flipped past in the search results I found an older artist previously unknown to me: Phillppe Mercier. He was most well known for his portrait work.

Sketch of a woman reading a book. Based on the work of Phillppe Mercier.
Sketch of a woman reading a book. Based on the work of Phillppe Mercier.
Sketch of a women in contemplation
Sketch of a women in contemplation, work in progress. Based on DaVinci.
Venus sketch
Venus sketch, inspired by Botticelli.
The Red Head was illustrated with the Magic pencil in Fire (yellow, orange & magenta) by Koh-i-noor Hardtmuth
The Red Head was illustrated with the Magic pencil in Fire (yellow, orange & magenta) by Koh-i-noor Hardtmuth

I’m linking this post to Sunday Sketches where you can go for more “artspiration”

Blue Chair Diary blog
Blue Chair Diary blog

Feeling A Bit Blue Green Aqua

Do you ever feel a bit blue green aqua?

I enjoy a little creative challenge every now and then to help think outside my comfort zone. So this week I incorporated several different bits of online homework and blog challenges altogether that had a few things in common. Namely the colours blue, green & aqua. 

Cool Windmills in Estonia
Cool Windmills in Estonia
    The first here combines

  • Virtual Paintout, Estonia here
  • Sketchbook Skool, Bootkamp : Juicy Colors here
  • Summer of Color 5,  Blue/Blue/Green here
  • Creative Tuesdays,  Aqua here
  • Sunday Sketches  here
Cool Volkswagen Van
Cool Volkswagen Van

This funky little van was based on an image I found on Pinterest here

  • Sketchbook Skool, Bootkamp : Stealing Influences
  • Stop Pinning and Make Something here
  • Summer of Color 5, Blue/Blue/Green
  • Creative Tuesdays, Aqua

I thought I’d include a few other pieces I’ve done previously that follow the colour theme.

The Whisper, oil painting of Bull Kelp
The Whisper, oil painting of Bull Kelp, 16 x 20

 

Quadra Island boat, watercolour paint on wood
“Quadra Island boat” is ink & watercolour on wood cradel board, 10″ × 10″.

vpo_link2

You're Invited!
You’re Invited!
Blue Chair Diary blog
Blue Chair Diary blog

Urban Sketching : Rock Bay Heritage

This past week’s location for Urban Sketching: Rock Bay, Victoria BC.

Modern day Rock Bay, Victoria
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.

Urban sketching in Rock Bay, Victoria
Urban sketching in Rock Bay, Victoria
Blue Chair Diary blog
Blue Chair Diary blog
You're Invited!
Paint Party Friday

Food Revolution Day 2015

I have participated in Food Revolution Day the past few years by continuing to teach my kids some basic life skills primarily the ability to be able to prepare simple, healthy, tasty and affordable food.

Very serious chefs preparing for a Food Revolution.
Very serious teenage chefs preparing for a Food Revolution.

Spring is a time for new beginnings, probably not a coincidence that Jamie Oliver has timed his campaign for Food Education for Children around the world for this season.

My son stirring the pan full of vegetables
My son stirring the pan full of vegetables

Each year I choose a recipe from Jamie’s suggestions (this year Pukka Yellow Curry), make sure I have all of the ingredients on hand and print out the recipe. I coach them along the way but if there is a short accompanying video to help wrap their heads around the concept then that can be helpful.

The preparation was a little slow for my newbie cooks but after the Curry finished my son could be quoted as saying “This was worth the wait!” and the leftovers on day 2 were great too 😋

The end result: Pukka Yellow Curry garnished with sour cream and Cilantro.
The end result: Pukka Yellow Curry garnished with sour cream and Cilantro.