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
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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
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Outdoor Painting Challenge 2015

Family time at the Outdoor Painting Challenge

This was the first year that I was able to participate in the Opus Outdoor Painting Challenge in Victoria.

It landed on Mothers Day this year and I thought that might be an obstacle until a light bulb went on “Ask Mom to do it with me!” and fortuitously my daughter asked to come along as well. Best ask my sister too.

✔ relax and indulge yourself with art

✔ pay attention to Mom

✔ spend time with daughter

✔girl-time quartet

Pray for dry weather and . . . what am I missing?

. . .  That’s it – all the men in the family.

But aren’t we lucky? They have volunteered to make a full – on dinner for us! Excellent, the day is coming together. 👸

The Artists gather with their blank canvases upplied by Opus for the Outdoor Painting Challenge.
The Artists gather with their blank canvases supplied by Opus for the Outdoor Painting Challenge.

An Ideal Location on the Waterfront

We checked in later than planned , armed late ourselves with cups of tea and settled in to enjoy the day on the dock outside Canoe Brewpub.

 

The seaside view of the Canoe Brewpub.
The seaside view of the Canoe Brewpub.

I decided for a bit of a challenge this time out to use only a sepia toned ink (also seen in this post) in both my technical pens and in washes applied by brush.

Beginning sketch of Canoe Brewpub
Beginning sketch of Canoe Brewpub

I was slow to get going with the distractions of conversations and helping the other ladies set up their equipment.

My mother the artist on the dock.
My mother the artist on the dock.
My sister painting her heart out.
My sister painting her heart out.

The hours flew by with chatting, food and gorgeous weather.

Mother and daughter working side by side.
Mother and daughter working side by side.
My sketch by lunch time.
My sketch by lunch time.

 

My finished painting. Done with India ink, 9" x 12".
My finished painting. Done with India ink, 9″ x 12″.

 

To view photos of other people’s work for the day check Opus’s facebook album here

and also the winner for Victoria BC, Peter Loebel

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Virtual Paintout: Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

A freehand sketch of Cesky Krumlov done in India ink.
A freehand sketch of Cesky Krumlov done in India ink.

The Virtual Paintout is in Cesky Krumlov this month.

The Virtual Paintout is in online challenge hosted by Bill Guffey. Each month he chooses a different location around the world that is covered by Google Streetview. Using this technology allows you to “gather together virtually” in the same geographic region with other artists to draw or paint.

A small city in the South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Czech Republic was featured in the Virtual Paintout 5 years ago,  but the Streetview coverage wasn’t spread nearly as far.

Collage of work in progress, Cesky Krumlov
Collage of work in progress, Cesky Krumlov

This view is looking north-west from the gardens outside the regional museum. We can see across the Vltava river towards the Cesky Krumlov Castle that dates back to 1240. The bell tower rises 86m above the river.

It is easy and enjoyable to spend many hours “walking” the streets looking for the most interesting subject or the perfect angle but I am managing with experience to not get lost so much! For this picture I just slightly over 3 hours from the choosing of the position to the final stage.
Just to do something a little different this time, I chose to illustrate this month’s city with Koh-I-Noor Sepia Drawing Ink on an 8″ x 10″ canvas board. I made a few reference points with pencil at the intersections of the rule of thirds then just dove in, sketching with a Pitt Artist pen.  I added a bit of depth by adding washes of the same sepia ink.

You should give the Virtual Paintout a try yourself, it’s fun!

A House Portrait

It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.
Author Unknown

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!

House Portrait
House Portrait, Watercolour & Ink, 9″ x 12″

 

Amsterdam Vacation Redux

A visual recap of my Amsterdam vacation

The 3 days I spent in Amsterdam on vacation, commonly called “Venice of the North” where I found time to sketch as well as eat, drink & relax.

Thoughts that come to mind:

Sketch at YYJ, ballpoint pen, Moleskine journal
Sketch at YYJ, ballpoint pen, Moleskine journal
Waiting out a layover in the Calgary Airport
“From where I sit”, waiting out a layover in the Calgary Airport YYC.
Travel journal beginnings, ballpoint pen and collage.
Travel journal beginnings, ballpoint pen and collage.

 

Amsterdam Rush Hour
Amsterdam Rush Hour
Late night sketch, Concert Hotel, Amsterdam. Watercolour  ink, Moleskine journal.
Late night sketch, Concert Hotel, Amsterdam. Watercolour ink, Moleskine journal.
House of Bols
House of Bols Cocktail Museum, Hall of Taste to test your senses.

 

House of Bols, samples: 2 types of Genever, Passion fruit and Yogurt liqueur.
House of Bols, samples: 2 types of Genever, Passion fruit and Yogurt liqueur.
 Sketch on Van Baerstraat, Amsterdam. Watercolour  ink, Moleskine journal.
Sketch on Van Baerstraat, Amsterdam. Watercolour ink, Moleskine journal.
Museumplein Ice Skating, Amsterdam
Museumplein Ice Skating, infront of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Eurasian Magpie, Corvidae, Pica Pica. Watercolour  ink, Moleskine journal.
Eurasian Magpie, Corvidae, Pica Pica. Watercolour ink, Moleskine journal.
Reypanaer Cheese school, Amsterdam
Reypanaer Cheese school (with wine pairings), Amsterdam
Amsterdam Canal Houses
Amsterdam Canal Houses at twilight.
Amsterdam canal house sketch, mixed media.
Amsterdam canal house sketch, mixed media.
Amsterdam Light Sculpture
Floating light sculpture in the canal, Amsterdam.
Amsterdam Canal Houses
Amsterdam Canal Houses

 

Amsterdam Canal Houses
Amsterdam Canal Houses

Amsterdam canal house GIF

Amsterdam Canal Houses
Amsterdam Canal Houses

Breathing Space in Barcelona

The haunting of history is ever present in Barcelona. I see cities as organisms, as living creatures. To me, Madrid is a man and Barcelona is a woman. And it’s a woman who’s extremely vain.

Carlos Ruiz Zafon

After our days in the urban core of Amsterdam huddled winter clothes, we found some space to breathe.  We spent 5 sunny December days in this hot spot of Spain rambling down and hiking up A LOT! but we made up for the exercise with generous amounts of food & wine.

Charming views were at ones disposal every other city block. For example, this time-worn church that reflected it’s warmth into the courtyard where we lounged over espresso & tapas.

14th century Catalan Gothic church in Barcelona, Spain
14th century Catalan Gothic church in Barcelona, Spain

My Sketchbook came in handy many times during our European jaunt. Many hours were spent waiting for planes, trains &  automobiles. I packed a travel size kit of art supplies for moments such as these.

Sketch at El Prat airport, Barcelona. Ball point pen, Moleskine journal.
Sketch at El Prat airport, Barcelona. Ball point pen, Moleskine journal.

Gaudi, Gaudi, Gaudi, & Gaudi. The Catalan architects influence is evident throughout Barcelona. It was underfoot in the walkways and countless buildings as well.

I was amazed with the architecture and craftsmanship at the Ssagrada de Familia!
I was amazed with the architecture and craftsmanship at the Sagrada de Familia!
Gaudi designed these chimney pots for Casey Milan to look like the helmets of knights.
Gaudi designed these chimney pots for Casey Milan to look like the helmets of knights.
Paving stones on Las Ramblas, Barcelona
Paving stones on Las Ramblas, Barcelona

We couldn’t get around and see all of the sites but tackled as many as we could! I’ll come back. 

Next stop: Bulgaria! Our objective there is to spend time with our friend Amalia who moved to Sunny Beach a few years ago with her husband Matt. 

Rome: Virtual Paintout

Piazza del Paradiso, Virtual Paintout
Piazza del Paradiso, Rome, Italy (coloured pencil & watercolour) for the Virtual Paintout.

 

I participated in the Virtual Paintout again this December. The area to focus on was Rome, Italy.

Every painting is a voyage into a sacred harbour.

Giotto di Bondone

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.

 

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Vritual Paintout
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Artist’s Playroom
Paint Party Friday
Paint Party Friday

 

Virtual Paintout Ireland, Dreaming of Grand Houses, Forests & Lakes.

Virtual Paintout Ireland

Muckross House, Virtual Paintout Ireland
Muckross House, Virtual Paintout Ireland
Muckross House

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.

Muckross House, County Kerry Ireland as seen through Google Streetview.
Muckross House, County Kerry Ireland as seen through Google Streetview.

If your curious to see a glimpse of how Muckross House appears in Streetview, click the link here


 

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Traveling the world -virtually!

 

Nils Ericson Central Train Station. Watercolor and sepia, Virtual Paintout
Nils Ericson Central Train Station. Watercolor and sepia ink on 90 lb. hot press paper.

Gothenburg, Sweden is on the other side of the world from me &  I have never had the pleasure of visiting there but it is this University town where my brother in law lives & works which is why this months Virtual Paintout Challenge caught my attention.

“A good traveller is one who knows how to travel with the mind.” -Michael Bassey-Johnson

A few months ago I found this particular painting challenge which Bill Guffey began in 2009. The idea intrigued me and I have been meaning to try it but this month location gave me the extra motivation to finally put pen and brush to paper.

The general concept of the Virtual Paintout challenge is to use Google Street View as source of inspiration and reference for painting and sketching. No matter where in the world you live, if you are lucky enough to have access to the Internet you can cruise the streets from the view point of a camera mounted on the roof of a Google car. While you certainly have plenty of urban scenes to choose from there are also rural landscapes,  people or animals to be discovered too.

For the last year I’ve been practicing my urban sketching locally so I thought I would be up to this challenge. Once I zoomed in on the locale selected what I came across was very intriguing.  I was cruising the streets,  peering into alleyways and parks,  glimpsing people having lunch in outdoor cafés,  passing cyclists and wondering “Are they going to work or school? “. Part of the test is deciding on an image and while you can submit more than one entry they all that you limit it to three per month.

Shall I do another or wait to see what neck of the woods Bill chooses next?

Check out Bill Guffey’s site. :

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P.S. I came across this article after I did my painting.  They’re so tempting I’m going to need to try some of them too!

http://mentalfloss.com/article/51904/16-amazing-places-visit-google-street-view