Saturday, 29 June 2013

Night market, Shipbuilders' Square

North Vancouver has had a night market on the waterfront for a couple years now, with market stalls, food trucks, a beer garden, and live music.  It's in the area now called "Shipbuilders' Square", which was until recently a derelict industrial area of abandoned ship-building companies, big rusty things and weeds.  There were grand plans to build a maritime museum, shops, and galleries, which fell through.  But they did fix up some of the old buildings, put in a plaza around the huge yellow crane, and, most importantly, opened up an enormous pier to the public.  The pier serves as a promenade (pattern 31 of A Pattern Language, for Christopher Alexander fans) where people can go to stroll, sit, see and be seen.  North Vancouver never really had a place like that before.  

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Ghosts on Whyte

When I'm in Edmonton, I stay at a hotel on Whyte Avenue with an octagonal central hallway, so when I get to my room, I never know which way I'm facing.  This time I was happily surprised to look out on these ghosts signs on the sides of the old brick buildings.  The near one is for Dreger's Kitchen Corner "Your Kitchen Design Center".  The building was built in 1912 for a druggist and a bakery.  It was occupied by Dreger's from 1959 to 1984 - so the paint has already survived for quite a while, including some very 1960's-modern yellow twinkles on the arrow, and will hopefully outlast the graffiti at the bottom.  Times change and the building is now home to a shoe store, a music shop, a tattoo parlour, a bar-tending school and an emporium selling "junque".  Further back, the building occupied by Podersky's Furniture for many years was originally built in 1909 for A.H. Richards and Co General Store.  It now has a clothes store and a frozen yoghurt stand.

Saturday, 22 June 2013


 An urbansketchers' meet-up in Gastown today - several sketchers per block had the area pretty much covered.  There were an amazing number of people on the street, with buses bringing 'em in and trucking em' out every couple of minutes.  I was photographed by about 20 people as I sat drawing on a - very uncomfortable - roadside post.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Ode to Phidippus

Phidippus johnsoni is one of the more distinguished denizens of our yard, and occasionally house.  It is the only creature I have identified to species based on the quality of my spider-averse girlfriend's screams.  It's big, its abdomen is I'm-dangerous red, and it has iridescent chelicerae.  I thought that was deserving of a poem.  (Poetry's not my thing, but then drawing wasn't once either).

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Trout Lake farmers' market

The urban-sketching meet-up met at the Trout Lake Farmers' Market.  Half the population of Vancouver was there.  Most of them were in the line-up for La Boheme crepes - which are the best in Vancouver, unless, like me, you're too impatient to wait for them.

I like the progress of the seasons at the farmers' markets - from the first spring greens, to early berries, to summer fruit,  to all the late-summer crops, to the squashes, and through the ever-diminishing winter stalwarts, until it all starts again.  We are in strawberry, fava bean and early cherry season.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Victoria and Triumph

We had an UrbanSippers meetup at the Parallel49 Brewery today.  Well, actually first we sketched some things, but conveniently in Vancouver's new micro-brewery district.  And as a result, I benefited from the one truly important lesson I've learned about sketching on location.  First, the location - I drew at the corner of Victoria and Triumph streets.  With those names, you would expect brass bands, military parades, arches commemorating the glory of the empire...but instead there is a fairly nondescript building with grain elevators in the background, and a cheerful row house on the other corner - the sort of place where people have large red armchairs filling their front porches.  Also a number of very hip people and very hip bicycles.
    Now the truly important lesson - always put your sketchbooks in zip-lock bags!  That way when you're riding home with a large bottle of micro-brewery IPA and it explodes in your pannier, no damage is done.  Fortunately, I learned the lesson last year with a minor water bottle spill, so all was well today, except the slight loss of beer.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Chicken, chicken, chicken, duck!

A friend has five chickens and a duck.  They aren't the best models - they keep moving.  But they work for chicken feed.

Monday, 3 June 2013

View from the porch

I started my Moleskine watercolour sketchbook with a drawing of our house, so I thought I'd finish the last page with the view from the house.  It was pretty colourful on a late summer afternoon.  Our favourite non-purple house on the street is the little one across the road - we'll lose our view of the Lions if/when it becomes the neigbourhood-standard maximum-envelope brown box.  I need to work on my car drawings, since they are such a prominent part of any urban view.  If I drew people as badly, they would look like orang-utans.