Monday, 25 January 2016


Simonetta Vespucci modeled for us on Saturday.  She's looking quite good for a 560-year old, and she held the same pose that she did for Sandro Botticelli in the 1470's.  We're still looking for a couple of minor deities who can model while floating in the air, and a very pregnant woman.
And a bonus, the same model at an earlier life drawing session, in pen and wash.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Everyday drawings

I had 9 pages left in a sketchbook on January 1, so I gave myself the very little goal of filling one a day: a comet seen through binoculars from a mountain side at 6am New Year's day, gorp, my namesake statue at Calabria Cafe, yet another evening spent watching the Canucks, a bit of work on the beer-illustrator career, the paper glacier in my office, a challenging pollarded willow, my pre-hockey dietary regime of a chocolate-chip muffin, and an elfin stump with a snow cap up the mountain.  As Annie Dillard said, "How we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives." The least we can do is pay attention.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Lonsdale: Rain, sleet, fog, snow and latte

Neither snow nor rain nor sleet... the mail gets through, and Lonsdale blocks get sketched.  I started the cheery older apartment block at 6th and Lonsdale in a patch of sunlight, but by the time I was done an hour later, I was bent over the page trying to shelter it from cold blowing rain.  When my random-number generator sent me up towards the top of the hill, I disappeared into fog and sleet, and had to do the sketch "Montreal style" (from inside my car).  A couple days later I was back to the very top block on a cold clear morning with thick snow on the trees just a bit further up - I'd thought to bring a thermos of hot water, not for me, but to do the watercolours before they froze.  Then the fourth block of the set, done under exceedingly challenging conditions - trying to sketch while drinking a latte and eating a chocolate-chip muffin in a conveniently located cafe...

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Anita Wigl'it at Dr Sketchy's

Shari Contrary scours the world to bring the best to Dr. Sketchy's.  This week's model, Anita Wigl'it, the internationally renowned drag queen from New Zealand, was head-and-shoulders above the others.  Literally - she's* about 6' 5", before the heels.  She had great costumes, an exuberant lip-sync show, and was kind enough to award me one of the coveted Dr Sketchy pencils.  What could be better?  The only downside was that, in a fit of exuberance and stunning clutziness, I flung my entire jar of black ink onto the floor and spent the rest of the night on my hands and knees cleaning.  (Thanks to Sigrid for her help during that emergency, and the owners of the Cottage Bistro for being much calmer than I would have been if someone was wrecking my restaurant).  I might be demoted back to pencil drawing for a while...
* This being a somewhat new cultural experience for me, I wasn't sure what pronoun to use for a drag queen.  So I asked.  "She" is the correct choice.  So now you know too.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Cafe Calabria

The Urbansketchers started the year with a full-scale invasion of Cafe Calabria on Commercial Drive.  It's a great sketching place, not to mention a great cafe, full of classical sculptures, European decor, cherubs painted on the ceiling, and (oddly?) Flesh Gordon posters.  Unforgettable music too ("When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore"  Now it's stuck in your head too).  And great characters - the fellow in the portrait was perhaps not thrilled that I kept looking at him to draw, but that's not a rude hand gesture - he wouldn't hold his hand still, so I tried to draw it after he'd left and it didn't quite turn out right...