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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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

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″.

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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
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Blue Chair Diary blog
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Paint Party Friday

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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I’m a participant of the Blue Chair Diary blog

 

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″

 

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