Two braids

The colours in garlic are so subtle. I imagine they would be very easy to paint in oil just by adding different tints to white but in watercolour the challenge is to obtain those very pale warm and cool neutral colours. I used just three pigments for this: raw sienna, cobalt violet and cobalt blue, all very diluted.


Twelve plus tax

I went to the market looking for the first signs of pumpkins to sketch. Even filled up a well in my palette with cadmium orange. But when I pulled in to my parking spot the rows of mums shining in the sun were too much to pass up. Especially since I got to wet the colours in my palette that don’t get used much, like permanent magenta and rose madder.



When I am pressed for time I always seem to end up at this spot in Pointe Claire where the curve in the road gives me an interesting angle on the storefronts and utility poles. This is the first time I have treated it in pencil.


What I learned from you

It gives me great joy to share my drawings every day, but a secondary benefit to having a blog is the discussions that sometimes take place in the comments section of the posts.  A few days ago I shared a problem that was troubling me. In my ink drawing of The Fur Trade I miscalculated the height of the roof, leaving me with a horizontal line in the trees. I worried about it far too much, and in the end it was hardly noticeable but I asked for suggestions/comments about how other sketchers deal with their drawing difficulties. I loved the advice (and hope to remember it all) so thought I’d share some of it today:

“I might have been tempted to add an electric line”

“Usually I turn the page and then use it for fragments and small portraits or for training – like drawing parallel lines while sitting on a bus”

“I was taught that if you draw a line in the ‘wrong’ place… simply draw another line : ) My ‘mistakes’ tend to free me from the pressure of having to do something ‘perfectly’ …and that’s always a good thing.”

“I look at the parts I like and try to think about how I was feeling when I was sketching. I can then usually look back and see the just good stuff.”

“Overcoming obstacles is an art in itself”

“The beauty of sketching is that even though mistakes can and will be made, the final image still evokes memories so uniquely different than a photograph ever could. When I sketch buildings, I know that mistakes will be made, but unless they are so outright obvious that a degree of believable accuracy is lost, I just soldier on and work toward the overall image.”

“I would probably have done the same as you… hidden it with darker tones on my drawing… except that it wouldn’t have happened to me because I would never do my first sketch in pen… “

“The thing about drawing for me is that I never learn anything from my “successes.” It is my mistakes that make me want to do better.”

“Well, since you asked, just draw another line and press on, never give up on a drawing, often the final result is surprisingly pleasing.”

“There is nothing wrong with a ‘wrong’ line – it is just part of the progress. Best to accept it and allow the drawing to grow around it!”



My brown dog

I spent some time drawing with my pencil again today — at McDonald’s while waiting for a dentist appointment and then again when I got home and I drew my dog enjoying a nap in the sun. Of all the combos of paper and pencil I’ve tried, this MUJI mechanical pencil along with the hand•book sketchbook is my favorite because the pencil just seems to glide over the paper.


The Fur Trade

Does this ever happen to you? You start a drawing (and this only applies when you draw with ink, not pencil) and realize that you made a big mistake that you can’t fix? When I was drawing The Fur Trade Museum in Lachine today I put the roof line too high. You can see it in the foliage, running parallel to the new roof line. It was really tempting to turn the page and start over but that would leave an unfinished sketch in my book (which I hate), so I decided to plod on, hoping that I could somehow disguise the line or hide it in the foliage. I’m happy I continued even though there was no way to mask that line. What would you have done?


One man’s weed

Looking around in my fading garden for something to sketch today I caught a glimpse of something glowing orange in the tangled mess — chinese lanterns on a plant I have been thinking is an invasive weed and yanking out for years. After a little research I learned that it is in fact an invasive weed. But if, yet again, I had been sketching less and gardening more, the plant would be gone and I never would have discovered these.