Sunday, 22 September 2013

Start of fall

I have a little sketchbook where I do a drawing-a-day-almost.  Here's a page with 3 days from the end of summer to the start of fall: the grapes are ripe, one last red flower from the summer, and a windy break in the first fall storm.  If I'd drawn faster, I could have caught the neighbour's lawn chair sailing into the back lane.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

A gritty nude

This is my best painting so far on sandpaper.  OK, it's also my only painting so far on sandpaper, but it's a promising medium.  The idea came about when drawing-friend Sigrid starting drawing on wood veneer, which she got as an assorted box of scraps from Lee Valley.  That reminded of the 10 pound box of random sandpaper bits that I got there 5 years ago, which I've been going through at the rate of about 0.01 pounds per year (it's high-quality industrial stuff, and doesn't wear out).  After a bit of experiment, I found a technique: I put down areas of white gouache, rub Inktense blocks on the rough sandpaper, then mix the two with a damp brush.  It feels a lot like oil paint, except that I can also remove colour easily.  I haven't liked the Inktense sticks on paper, but they're great on the rough surface, bursting into colour when I add water.  It's fun for capturing shorter poses like this when my charcoal isn't co-operating, and may be a nice change from pen-and-watercolour for sketching.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Ocean cement

Ocean Cement has been operating out of Granville Island since 1917, and they are still going strong.  It's a prime spot, right by downtown - within concrete-setting-time distance - and it's on the water to get materials easily.  It helps keep the area with the market, art school and all the studios a bit more real than they might otherwise be.  Plus they paint the cement trucks with funky designs.  I saw one that was painted as a pickle today.

I was drawing there with the urban-sketchers meetup group, because the mobile park-in-a-dumpster that we call home-away-from-home was parked outside Emily Carr University.  But I think "They" have realized how seditious a public drawing group is, because I noticed a sinister looking agent in camouflage-orange observing us carefully from behind the foliage on a nearby balcony.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Marilyn at Dr Sketchy's

Marilyn Monroe was at Dr. Sketchy's in Vancouver last night.  In case you were wondering where she's been all these years.  And still looking great.  Mind you, most of my drawings looked more like Norma Jeane than Marilyn.  I blame that on the heat - a small cafe with a lot of people, not to mention spot lights, on a warm Vancouver night is very hot.  But some like it that way.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Gambier Island

We spent the long weekend on Gambier Island, with a few of the in-laws and friends - say, 50 of them or so, many under the age of 13.  There was a bit of pandemonium, not to mention 5 meals a day, so it was nice to escape periodically to draw.  The government wharf on the island was covered in boys doing things that I thought boys weren't allowed to do any more - climbing pilings, jumping off them into the shallow water at low tide, hanging over the side on rusty chains.  Then a mother showed up - not to chastise them, but to bring them lunch, then let them continue being boys.  That was nice to see.  It's a scenic place, from Halkett Bay, a marine park, to Two-and-a-Half-Tree Island just off the cabin's dock.  There were visits from seals, sea lions, a dolphin and lion's mane jellyfish (tough luck about the arm, Mike - it'll grow back). It's also a damp place, which is good for intertidal life, not so good for camping equipment.