Ten tulips

I think the trick to painting flowers in watercolour is letting the paint and the water do some of the work for you. After all, the last thing you want is for flowers to look dry and wooden. For these tulips, I wet the shapes with clear water and then dropped some fresh paint into the puddles. I like what happened with the paint, how it flowed around and created texture on its own. I had some different colours of red and yellow on the brush, which mixed around on the paper and in some places, even mixed in with the green of the leaves. Resist the urge to muck around in the puddles of colour. Just let the paint and water combine and wait to see what happens when the paper dries. You might like it.


Chocolatier in line

It’s the combination of building and tree that attracts me to the chocolatier in Pointe Claire Village. That, and the parking spot facing the facades, which doesn’t happen very often. I’ve only ever sketched the buildings in watercolour, so thought I’d use a combo of the dip pen and the brush pen today. It’s a funny time of year with the snow melting and bits of dead grass appearing underneath, along with lots of winter’s detritus, which is why I thought the scene might work better in black and white.


Early bird registration now open for USk Symposium in Singapore!


logoJuly 22-25, 2015
Early bird registration (10% off) is now open for the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Singapore.
Programming and faculty details will be announced on March 31.
Standard registration begins on April 11.

Hope to see you there!


Left leaning

Looking out from the window, you might think it was spring. The light is bright, the days are long and I can hear birds. But take one step outside and the wind knocks you right back to late January. It was -15°C outside this morning and since the motor died on my furnace, almost as chilly inside. I know the cold will end soon but I’m still painting in the car for the time being. Today I did a few planning sketches of the leaning trees at the cemetery. Vertical, horizontal? I wasn’t quite sure. In the end, I realized I only had a square format sketchbook with me, so I guess it ended up being something in between.



Division of space

It’s too late to change this sketch, but if I could, I would modify the division of space in the picture. The image at the top is the original sketch, and as you can see, it’s about half sky, half buildings/foreground. If I had spent a few minutes planning this better, I think I would have changed that proportion. Since the foreground doesn’t have much interest in it, I should have moved that complex strip of farm buildings and trees down on the page. That would have allowed me to have a sketch with 3/4 sky and 1/4 land instead of a 50/50 split.

Here’s a cropped version of the sketch with less foreground, but it’s still not right.

Ideally I would extend the sky by another two inches. Sadly, I don’t have enough room on the paper to add more clouds, but by the modern miracle of the “content aware” tool in Photoshop, I can get a better idea of what I should have done.


Just line

The last time I drew with a dip pen was probably in university, and I forgot how much fun it is to use. The rich blackness of the china ink is something you can just never obtain with a marker, as well as the varied line widths that result from pressure on the nib. I sketched this building on Boul. René Levesque (south side near Fort) that has always reminded me of a classic haunted house. It’s brick with light coloured quoins (I had to look that one up) but I can’t find any info about the history of the building. If you know what it’s called or anything about it, I’d be interested in hearing.


Head and shoulders

If I lived in Kitchener, Ontario, I would be heading straight to THEMUSEUM to see Getting Naked, an exhibition of more than 120 nudes from the Canada Council Art Bank collection. It looks like a really interesting show of works that aren’t often on display, and if you want to read a little about it, there’s a good review in the Globe and Mail. It might have helped to see the show before yesterday’s model session when I struggled to paint Christian. This week, instead of trying to draw the whole body, I focused on his head and shoulders. It seemed like a more manageable goal in the thirty minutes that I had.



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