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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’m linking this post to Sunday Sketches where you can go for more “artspiration”
This past week’s location for Urban Sketching: Rock Bay, Victoria BC.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
I was slow to get going with the distractions of conversations and helping the other ladies set up their equipment.
The hours flew by with chatting, food and gorgeous weather.
To view photos of other people’s work for the day check Opus’s facebook album here
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.
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!
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.
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.
Gaudi, Gaudi, Gaudi, & Gaudi. The Catalan architects influence is evident throughout Barcelona. It was underfoot in the walkways and countless buildings as well.
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.
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.
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
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. :
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!