Monday, 31 August 2015

Ontario trip

I'm just back from a trip to Ontario and upstate New York.  It was 7 places in 8 days, so more driving than drawing, but I did manage a picture in all but one day.  The first was on the flight there.  Over Minnesota, the pilot came on the intercom saying "There's a big line of thunderstorms, but we see a bit of a gap, so we're going for it."  Fun flying at 35,000 feet with clouds surging above you on both sides, and even more fun drawing them as we bumped and rattled our way through.

The next day we went to our family cottage in Southampton, an old fishing town on Lake Huron.  The town docks were built when the water levels were a lot higher, so the tied-up fishing boats now look like a bit like submarines, with their hulls below the dock.

A storm rolled in the next day, a proper Three-Day Blow, with squalls, big winds and big waves.  The clouds arrived and the rain just started as I finished the increasingly-frenzied half-hour sketch.
I lost a drawing day to the exhaustion of driving back into Toronto's impossible traffic, but then went on to Kingston, where my sister has a little cabin on a lovely piece of lakeside land.
Then we continued around Lake Ontario to Ithaca in upstate New York, home of Cornell and birthplace of my partner.  We stayed at an elegant bed-and-breakfast in a Victorian era mansion (with, spectacularly, a desert buffet in the evening).

From there, on to a wedding in St. Catharines Ontario, with a quick visit to Niagara Falls.  I only had a few minutes, so I drew the falls themselves, but the crowds and a century's worth of tourist attractions would also have been great subjects.
And finally, the old standby, an airport view, this time through the plane window as we awaited diagnosis of a mysterious fluid leaking from the wing.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Burnaby Village Museum

Having cheated by doing a sketch of Burnaby from North Vancouver for an upcoming Burnaby sketching show, I managed to make it across a bridge fairly painlessly to get to the Vancouver urbansketchers meetup at Burnaby Village Museum.  It's a neat place, a little village of relocated historical Burnaby buildings, complete with staff in the clothes of the day.  It's the sort of place I wouldn't even know existed without the meetup group.  I drew the main street of the village while sitting on the boardwalk - an adult sitting on the ground drawing is a guaranteed kid magnet, and there was an encouraging audience of them around me much of the time.  Then I did a quick water-soluble-ink sketch of an old steam donkey, used for cutting lumber before electrical power took over.  But I couldn't capture the best part of the experience - those old-fashioned smells of dry rough-hewn timber buildings, machine oil on the big contraptions, and coal smoke from the blacksmith's shop.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Burnaby cheating

Vancouver UrbanSketchers are organizing a show with the Shadbolt Centre in Burnaby (Sept. 15 - Oct. 19, entries welcome from any sketchers).  The show focuses on sketching in Burnaby.  That's all fine and well, but it simply isn't possible to get to Burnaby from North Vancouver.  This isn't Burnaby's fault - it's all the impassable traffic improvements being made in North Vancouver (mainly to allow the huge daily inflow and outflow of dump trucks, construction workers and contractors for the ubiquitous "development" on the North Shore).  This afternoon, for example, I could only get about three blocks from home in any direction before running into overlapping line-ups for the two North Shore bridges.  So I cheated.  I drew the shore of Burnaby from Maplewood Flats, within comfortable riding distance.  The Burnaby shoreline is a mix of forest, houses and a huge oil tank farm, all in surprisingly close proximity to each other.  Some day, some glorious day, I'll actually make it across a bridge and see it all up close...