Thursday, 19 May 2016

Big Blue

"Big Blue" is the pride and joy of the harbour at Britannia Yacht Club, or at least my pride and joy as the Harbour Master.  It's a 5000 kg. hydraulic stationary crane that can lift all but about a dozen boats in our fleet.  Before we bought it, we had to bring in mobile cranes and basically launched about 175 boats with three cranes in one day.  If you missed launch or haul-out, or had to pull the boat out for a repair, it meant you had to bring in a crane and pay the minimum hours charge - very expensive.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Tiny Perfect Library

 I have a great little library just down the street.  Its free - no library cards, fines, or need to be quiet.  I first saw one of these on Toronto Island and attributed it to the Islands' strong cultural identity, but have learned that Little Free Libraries have been springing up all over the continent.  I check it out on the way by on my various dog walks and have slowly left two boxes of books that I've been carting around for decades.  There is always something of interest there and it's rarely depleted.

The other thing I appreciate is the design.  I've never talked to the owner, but clearly the cabinet was designed by a professional - an industrial designer, I'm thinking.  Very thoughtful detailing and skillful fabrication. Kudos to the designer/builder.


I consider one of my strengths to be the ability to synthesize.  Maybe that's what's behind this sketch/cartoon I did last weekend, while helping out at Wintergreen.  Wintergreen is a retreat centre which offers a quiet, natural, place to go a little deeper into whatever your "community of interest" might be.

So, last week end as I chopped vegetables and washed dishes, I listened into  a group from a local church taking the Alpha Course on Christianity.  I took a few minutes, between runs to the compost pile, to do this sketch and then added the captions back at home.

I sent it on to the group and hope that they see it as intended - a sort of blurred time-frame snapshot of their session.

This aligns my life-long desire to be an editorial cartoonist and attraction to urban sketching as story-telling.  I think I'll use this device again.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Choosing the Angle

This was a longer pose - maybe an hour and a half, but I didn't take the full time.  I did the upper drawing first and then did a walk around to see what the other participants were up to.  That's when I realized that the straight-on view was a little static and repositioned to do the lower drawing, which I think was a more interesting angle. I could probably have had more fun with the foreshortening, even exaggerating the size of the feet.

Something to remember for next time.

10 and 20 Minute Poses

As much as I like the short gesture poses, it is nice to have a few more minutes to draw the whole figure and even add some colour.  In keeping with my training for urban sketching, given more time and I'm likely to start again from a different angle, or even draw the drawers.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Life Drawing - Gestures

I don't know why its called "life drawing", but drawing naked models has long been considered the best way to learn to draw.  Maybe its because our human brains are so trained to judge the visual proportions of a person and we innately know when its accurate, as opposed to a building or landscape, which if unknown, can look credible.

My interest is urban sketching and I try to be evocative rather than precise.  So, in last weekends life drawing workshop, I stood with a small notebook and my trusty Lamy fountain pen, as standing  and going straight to ink yields more energetic drawings.  When I sit, my drawings tend to become overly detailed and stiff, and some people even say that standing is a more representative point of view of how we experience urban spaces.

 These contour drawings were some of the warm up sketches - 2 minutes each, which is why the model could hold such dramatic poses.  These short "gestures" are my favourite, as it's really fun.  And also because, I'm less interested and patient to work on detailed studies, although I would like to do more portraits and it's an excellent opportunity to practice hands and feet, which are really difficult to get right.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Floating Over the Room

I've been playing with aerial views and one-point perspectives looking down on urban spaces, so thought I'd draw the whole room this way during a 2 hour life drawing pose.

This is  an interesting way to study and record a place, as you must look beyond what you can see from one static, point of view.  It's drawing what you see, but not the way you see it, with the exception of myself, of course.

Drawing the Drawers

"No one told me I was supposed to just draw the nude guy."

I love the short warm-up gestures and shorter poses, but am less interested in complete careful drawings on the poses over an hour in length, when life drawing.   And more and more, I prefer to just go straight to ink, rather than blocking out first with pencil. So, in the fine tradition of Urban Sketchers, I decided to entertain myself by drawing the drawers.  As much as studying the model improves my drawing, the participants are generally quite still, and like people in a coffee shop, if they move, inevitably, they go back to  the previous position.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Expanding my horizons

Last week I attended a lecture supporting an exhibition by the Organization of Kingston Women Artists (OKWA) in the Steam Museum.   Its' a high quality mix of work around the theme of " A Sense of Place".  The "place" being Kingston.

I was quite taken by an abstract painting by Caroline Marshall  which uses very subtle colours with a flat (matte) finish and deep fissures.  I was very interested to hear her describe her working methods and techniques of layering and using cold wax.

One of the other delightful paintings was called "Pandemonium", by Mary Peppard.  It depicts a woman feeding the birds on the shore of Lake Ontario by the Celtic cross memorial to the Irish workers who died building the Rideau Canal with the wind towers across the bay on Wolfe Island in the background.