Sunday, 25 November 2012

Howe Sound view and cypress snag

The Cypress ski area reported that they had 151cm of snow, which means there was actually 30cm.  Their exaggeration factor is 5 in the early season, but it declines to about 2 later in the winter.  The snow was frozen solid after rain last week, so I walked to the Bowen Island lookout and to the Howe Sound Crest trail carrying my snowshoes.  It was warm in the sun at the lookout, until the bank of fog seen in the distance here swooshed in.  It was paint-freezing cold in the forest when I drew the huge cedar snag, so I left it uncoloured.  A sapsucker was working the hemlock tree I was sitting under.  He apparently thought I too was frozen solid, so he came within 6 feet of my head.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Pen and watercolour life drawings

Some drawings from last night's Wednesday evening life drawing session.  I switch to pen and ink with watercolour when charcoal is being uncooperative.  I use a dip pen and two brushes, one for the warm tones and one for the cold.  The critical thing I've learned for the two-minute poses (top image) is to make sure that whichever one I'm holding in my mouth has its working end outward.  Otherwise, anything goes, and if it's a mess, at least it's a colourful mess.  The last one I was trying to make a bit more abstact.  The animator on one side was talking about the line-of-action of the curving pose, so I was trying to exaggerate that, while the conversation on the other side (it's not the quietest drawing group) was about a pieta scene, so maybe that contributed to the somewhat gruesome look. 

Friday, 16 November 2012

Fraser River from Iona

I rode out to Iona Island to look for a cave swallow, a very rare bird from Texas or Mexico.  I didn't see it - I'm hoping it headed south, and quickly - but it was a great ride, and I took the opportunity to sketch the log booms in the Fraser River.  This is also a view of Vancouver.  I'm always amazed how often the view of the city becomes water, trees and mountains, with maybe 4 houses peaking out if you look carefully.  Not a bad place to visit if you're an avian tourist from Texas.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Hollyburn Mtn

I hiked up Hollyburn Mountain today.  The snow that fell a couple weeks ago had melted away last week, so it was an easy walk, sunshine and bare ground, which are both exceptional in mid-November.  But it was -5C and breezy at the top.  That meant, first off, that the whiskey jacks felt they were entitled to all the crackers I'd brought for lunch.  It also meant that my paint froze right away, followed by my brush, followed by myself.  The roughness of the sky is because it is very hard to do a smooth wash when you're pushing little flakes of tinted ice around on the page. But the Canadian wine industry has made a lucrative market of ice wine - maybe Canadian painters can cash in on "icecolour paintings". 

Monday, 5 November 2012

Gravel lane, colourful houses

Two nearby members of the Society for the Promotion of Purple Houses, one honorary and one most definite.  The laneway is one of the last gravel lanes, which gives a cheerful small-town feel.  People say the lanes should all be paved so that you don't have to wash your car as often, but the last time I washed my truck was in 1997, so that's not an issue for me.  (It always rains before I get around to it.)  The two Douglas-firs in front of the purple house were majestic trees when our house was built in 1926; the sequoia behind the blue house is working hard to catch up.