Ottawa in the rain

John Ruskin was the original urban sketcher. I was in Ottawa today to see the exhibit John Ruskin: Artist and Observer. I’ve always thought of him mainly as an art critic so I was astounded to see his meticulous drawings and watercolours. The exhibit is composed of his observations of architecture and architectural details, geology and rock formations, alpine towns and mountain tops, plants and clouds, each rendered in fine, fine, fine detail. It’s definitely worth the trip to see the show before it closes next week.

Since there was no opportunity to sketch outdoors I spent a bit of time in the museum cafeteria, hoping to find a good view of the parliament buildings. No luck seeing them but I did face out onto a garden with Roxy Paine’s sculpture One Hundred Foot Line, a spiky, spindly stainless steel tree trunk that squiggles up into the Ottawa sky. A perfect complement to Ruskin’s trees and a really fun object to draw.


9 Comments on “Ottawa in the rain”

  1. That is so fun! And it’s great to have to scroll top to bottom, wondering what is next, only to see the scale of the sculpture and the lovely grass color at the bottom.


  2. ISpontein says:

    It’s mysterious and beautiful. One can write a fantasy short story on it. Nice… 🙂


  3. I had no idea about Ruskin being a sketcher – I must investigate more. That’s a fantastic sculpture. That wonderful format again!


  4. Jane Hannah says:

    Hi Shari — yesterday we went to see John Ruskin and I fell in love with his art -) Thank you for posting the information!


    • I’m so glad you liked it Jane. Isn’t he amazing? I loved those first early drawings, the streetscenes of Italy. I didn’t have time to comment but I loved your sketch of Maman. What perfect timing for you to be there on Mother’s Day. And it was great that you put a person in there, for scale.


      • Jane Hannah says:

        Hi Shari — I actually bought his book and my husband also loved his work. The detail in his work, his graphites are incredible. When I drew Maman I had not realized that it was named that way… it is when I got home to research it and put it on my blog, that I found out. A really nice coincidence -) Yes tentative people for scale… my husband was very proud to pose for me.


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