Saturday, 27 February 2016

Mayne Island

We went to Mayne Island in the Gulf Islands last weekend for a career retrospective show by Kelly's aunt, Sarah Landry.  Sally is a biological illustrator and artist, who did famous drawings for biologist E.O. Wilson's books (she calls him "Ed"; that's like calling Obama "Barry"), Peterson field guides, large-scale murals at aquariums, and many stand-alone works.  It was amazing to see the assembled collection, and realize how much painstaking effort was required to produce so many drawings that are accurate, detailed and beautifully nuanced.  And at the other end of the scale, here are some of my drawings...

A couple very quick sketches from the ferry.  There are two types of people in the world - those who stand outside on the ferry, regardless of cold, wind, rain and sleet, and those who don't.  In other words, there's me and the rest of the world.  The first was done in blowing rain - definitely "wet on wet" technique -, the second in sleet during the brief stop at Galliano Island, sheltering the page with my body so I could use my water-soluble pen.

Then another quick drawing between rainstorms and in-law family events, from Canada's newest national park, which is scattered across the southern Gulf Islands.

And a couple somewhat more leisurely drawings on the sunny following day, at the Georgina Pt. lighthouse, with either Galliano Island or the mainland in the background.

Finally, on the return journey, I joined the sensible majority for at least part of the trip, and drew Mt Baker and surroundings through the ferry window, as storm clouds gathered again.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Up and down a sunny Lonsdale

Warm sunny holiday Mondays don't happen very often in February, so you have to pack a lot in, including 3 blocks of Lonsdale sketching.  I did all three in water-soluble pen and watercolour - a combination always right on the edge of big-black-blob disaster, but it forces me to keep the lines simple and it's just not an option to overwork the watercolour.  I got all three done within two hours, including riding time.

The top of the three was above 29th St, home of the Queen's Cross pub.  It's mentioned in Spirit of the West's The Crawl, so the verbal part of my mind was "We're good old boys, we come from the North Shore..." the whole time.

Then ten blocks down to 19th, where there are - remarkably for North Vancouver - five restaurants in a row without a single sushi place. Just Thai, Szechuan, pizza, candy (not really a restaurant, and for lease - it will probably become a sushi place) and Malaysian.

And all the way down the hill to the block above Esplanade.  Aldo Leopold wrote "The sadness discernible in some marshes arises, perhaps, from their once having harbored cranes."  The sadness discernible in this building arises from it once having harboured Paine's Hardware, a place with as much history as the rest of North Vancouver, and which always had the obscure bolt you needed, on the top of a shelf in the basement, where it had been waiting for you for 50 years.  It burned down (accidentally?) several years ago, and is now just a facade in front of condos, with a spa and an "integrative pharmacy."

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Cafe captures

Cafes are like zoos for people - there's a variety of creatures, and they don't move around much.  Perfect for drawing!

Monday, 1 February 2016

Seven more days

I've kept up the drawing-a-day thing for January.  Besides feeling guilty if I don't draw, this lets me try more new things.  These two drawings were about quickness - I used a timer for the pen and the watercolour stages, for a total of 8 minutes (excluding the time to drop my brush off the porch and crawl through wet shrubbery to retrieve it):
These ones were about liveliness.  I channeled my inner Don McNulty for the street scene, done while I waited for Kelly to grab something from her office:

This one was character-building - could I stand to draw the parking lot outside the supermarket from my car?  (Just barely):
And two having fun with shapes of snow-covered things up the mountain, and trying to represent the background forest without actually drawing any of it:

[An observant observer will note that those are only 7 drawings over 11 days.  They don't all work.  If you don't fall, you're not skiing hard enough.  Or, as Orville and Wilbur said, you can't learn to fly without crashing a few times.]