I haven’t seen all of Singapore but Kampong Glam is still a favourite area for sketching because the streets are shaded and quiet, at least in the morning. There was too much to try to fit on the page in this one. The golden dome of the mosque, the row of palms, the minarets, the shophouses that line the street… can you believe this is Singapore? Every day more sketchers arrive from around the world to attend the Symposium that starts tomorrow. I’m trying to enjoy the sights now because the next four days will be chaotic. Teaching, taking workshops, attending lectures — it’s information overload for the sketcher and I’m still pinching myself that I’m here.
Painting in Singapore is a little more challenging than I expected because of the humidity – the paper just never dries. It never occurred to me that this would be a problem, but if you control the wetness on the brush (keep it drier than usual) it becomes manageable. I was on Waterloo Street by 7 am, hoping to get there before the crowds gathering around the two temples on that section of the pedestrian mall. The vendors selling bunches of flowers and red sticks of incense were just setting up, and the street lights were still on. It’s always a magical sight to see a city waking up.
Between the long flight, the overwhelming heat and the jet lag, it’s been a slow start to sketching in Singapore, but this morning I finally got my sketching brain going again. Like nearby Little India, Kampong Glam is one of those heritage Singapore neighbourhoods made up of tiny streets of colourful shophouses, cafes, fabric stores, and a gold-domed mosque. The thing is, you have to get out early to sketch because later in the day the heat makes it impossible, at least for a Northerner like me. I found this view looking down a side street where, fortunately, there was a cafe and a spot under a giant umbrella.
I’m off soon to Singapore for the Urban Sketchers Symposium. Palette, brushes, paper and paints are packed (as well as a lot of other things) and all that’s left is to fill my carry-on bag for the long journey. While searching for a drawing book, I came upon some drawings of Teresita the Costa Rican cat that I had never posted. Of course I hope to be uploading sketches from Singapore and other places in Asia during my travels. I do have a few days before the Symposium starts to have a look around, sketch in my workshop location and maybe even go up in the Singapore Flyer. More to come soon…
Here’s something cool. There’s a whole other group of people who paint and sketch outdoors on Sundays in the summer, and it’s not Urban Sketchers. They set up easels on the Canal right by the St. Gabriel Locks every second Sunday in the summer. The group is organized by the Montreal Art Centre, and if you are interested you can even reserve an easel and a table. I joined them today to paint, sketch and watch the cyclists going by along the canal. They’re a really nice group, and if you want to find out more, check them out here. The views at the spot where they gather are pretty interesting too, especially if you like the overlapping mix of decaying industrial buildings and new condo complexes. Our Urban Sketchers group isn’t meeting again until August but if you want to meet the other group, their next outing is on July 26th.
I love when I’m painting on the street and a passerby gives me a little tidbit of information about what I am painting. Especially since sometimes I’m not really sure what I am going to write for the day’s post. Today I was mostly thinking “What can I say about these weeds on the side of the road?” But the polite gentleman who stopped to have a gander over my shoulder did have a little knowledge about the white weeds. It wasn’t the name of them — that was what I wanted to know, although now that I have had a second look I think they may be Queen Anne’s lace — no, what he remembered about these plants was that when he was a child he used to snap off the flower heads and use the hollow stems as peashooters. And yes, I do know that the orange ones are daylilies.
Drawing thumbnails is quite helpful to me. It gives me a chance to really look at things, to decide if they are worth investing time in and also to see if the place I have chosen will be a good spot to spend some time in. This morning I wandered around the village of Pointe Claire with my folding stool, hoping to find a nice facade to draw. The day is cloudy and the light is flat but I did a few quick sketches of a building, including a closeup of the doorway and even a sketch of that unique Montreal architectural symbol — the outdoor staircase. In the end I decided to move on because none of the thumbnails seemed interesting enough to take to the next step (although I may go back to draw the staircase on a sunny day.)
A little further along the road I noticed the fence at Maison Antoine Pilon. Yes, cliché, I know. Little house, picket fence, flowers tumbling. A bit too cute. But I couldn’t resist the white shapes against the dark green so I drew it anyway.