Calle El Conde

Calle El Conde, the main pedestrian shopping street in the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo, is interesting not only for its colourful shops and its even more colourful street characters but for the row of ornate street lamps that run down the centre of it way into the distance. Today I also included a photo that my Australian friend and symposium instructor Liz Steel sent me. It’s a remarkable image that I wanted to include because it captures a rare event! That’s me cutting a sketch out of one of my books — a sacrilege in sketchbook circles. The setting was the final night of the symposium, a night where close to 100 sketchers from around the world exhibited their work on long tables, bid on works in a silent auction, and said their goodbyes. In back of me, smiling his sneaky smile, is Jim Richards — sketcher extraordinaire from Texas. The reason for that smile? He has just successfully dared me to cut a sketch out of my book and donate it to the auction (all proceeds going to fund scholarship students for next year’s event). The drawing is the banana seller and his buddies posted on July 13.

Calle El Conde

Cutting a Sketch


Sketching with Simone

Yesterday Marc and I inducted yet another new Montreal urban sketcher into the fold. Simone arrived in Montreal from Italy just a month ago. A biologist by trade, he blogs in Italian about his Canadian experience, and includes sketches, food, photos and music info. Unfortunately for Simone, we plunked ourselves in front of a building on Sherbrooke Street with all this roof ornamentation. It was a very complex subject made more difficult by the wall of dark brick behind it. Here is the link to the beautiful sketches on Simone’s blog and if you understand Italian (or use Google Translate like I do), you can read what he said about us. You can also see a photo of this and then you’ll understand what I mean by the wall of brick.

Old Victorian


Kiosk on rue St. Denis

There’s not too much green space on lower rue St. Denis. Lined on both sides by theatres, bars, cafés and restaurants, and running through the heart of the Quartier Latin, this wouldn’t be the first place I would think of to buy fruit or flowers. But in front of Place Pasteur (one of UQAM’s public spaces) this little green kiosk was pretty much bursting with greenery. Another find in my city.


Polka dots

Start with the spine. I learned that from Melanie Reim at a workshop in Santo Domingo. If you get the position of the spine right then it’s easy to position the rest of the body. And though it may look like this woman had some type of surgery all down her back, it was really just the starting line of my sketch. Who needs a life drawing class when you have the beach?

Polka Dots


From the Governor’s Garden

My city is full of surprises and I discover something almost every time I go out to sketch. Hidden behind the Chateau Ramezay Historic Site and Museum is the Governor’s Garden. Part kitchen garden, part orchard and part ornamental plants — this perfect little oasis next to Old Montreal’s most crowded square even has benches which I am fairly certain are there for sketchers. I was going to draw the garden itself but the shadows were so perfect on the gables of the houses on the perimeter that I started with those.

Governor's Garden


Between two palms

I still haven’t finished scanning my Dominican Republic sketches. Here’s another one done from my beach chair. The clouds were particularly beautiful after a rain and with my new small Raphael brush I was able to create the calligraphy of the palm fronds in front of them.

Between Two Palms


Painting the painters

I had a great sketching day in Old Montreal with Marc Holmes and brand new Montreal Urban Sketcher Helmut Langeder. We painted amidst all the tourists on Place Jacques Cartier in Old Montreal, and even had our own celebrity spotting of Bob Saget being filmed for the Just for Laughs Festival. The Rue des Artistes is a narrow alley filled with people selling paintings and photos — and since it probably would have required some sort of municipal permit to paint inside there — we sat outside looking in.

Rue Des Artistes


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