Monday 18 January 2021

Cup-Cycling WEEK 3 - the first experiments

These line drawings were the first experiments on the flattened coffee cups which lead to my Cup-Cycling exhibition at the Elm Cafe.

I used felt-tipped markers on the first few cups, with the intention of keeping the drawings bold and simple.  Soon, however I gravitated back to the fountain pens I prefer to use and then starting adding watercolour washes.  The paint takes surprisingly well, although can be a bit blotchy if there is any skin oil on the surface.  I have no idea of the longevity as they certainly are not archival.  

And when I say flattened, its a relative term, as its impossible to get the curve out entirely and the surface is a bit wobbly.  Because of this, I've taken to photographing them as the ripples go out of focus on the scanner platen.  If they were to be framed, a shadow box would be best as it would allow the gentle crown to read.

Cup-Cycling WEEK 2

 The second week of my Cup-Cyling exhibit celebrates a couple of the large maple trees that still exist in the Inner Harbour neighbourhood.  These huge old trees are being removed with few replacements, despite the importance of the urban forest in ameliorating climate change.

The top image is on Main Street which is on the west side of the neighbourhood that has delightfully crooked streets and oblique intersections which make for confusing navigation but interesting views.

Below, is an old brick row of workers houses on Bagot Street beside one of the neighbourhood's repurposed school buildings.

Sunday 27 December 2020

Farm, Village, Lake Exhibit - a few of the drawings

A few seconds of video showing the drawings at the General Wolfe Hotel in Marysville in the summer of 2020.  There were 24 drawing sand 2 title sheets mounted on fences along the main street of the village.  There is a stand-alone web site explaining the project.

Saturday 26 December 2020


This fall I've been sketching in the Inner Harbour / Skeleton Park neighbourhood of Kingston ....on coffee cups.  

The Elm Cafe was started only four years ago and has become a bit of a community hub for the creatives who are colonizing what has been a neglected part of town. From the beginning the Cafe has been used as a gallery, now curated by the Skeleton Arts Festival, as well as the venue for a musical coffee house hosted by our multi-talented friend and neighbour, Gary Rasberry.  And so, with this context, I hope you can see the symbolism behind using their coffee cups a medium for vignettes of the neighbourhood. 
As I write this I've done about 50 cups, and as I walk the neighbourhood, I see more subjects everywhere.   The first ones were done as felt-tip pen line drawings, but I quickly moved on to ink and watercolour and have had some fun experimenting with different amounts of colour and even     popping elements up on foam core.  There are no rules, other than combing the Elm cups with the immediate neighbourhood.              

Logan (the L of ELM) has been generous in allowing me to have a bit of wall on to display the cups.  The plan is to change them weekly through until spring and with some luck, find a gallery or venue to display the whole batch as a show at some point.  I hope the sketches draw attention to the interesting character of the neighbourhood and encourage my neighbours to read the stories in this urban landscape.

Wednesday 19 August 2020

Repairs Underway


On any boat there are always little jobs to do - whipping lines, small repairs and such.  This day it was re-stitching the leather cover on the wheel.  Once again we were powering along with the autohelm steering so the wheel could be removed for better access.

There was plenty of time for that job as well as some other nautical pursuits such as practicing knots and taking measurements to make a dity bag.

Tuesday 18 August 2020

Some Calm Sketching


Lake Ontario can be windy and rough, but mid-summer is as likely to be dead calm.  On our recent trip to and from the Thousand Islands from Toronto, we had both extremes, often from one day to the next.  I prefer to sail, but chugging along under power with autohelm steering, is another reason to have a sketch book on hand. 

Wednesday 29 July 2020

All's Calm on .calm

I just spent a few lazy days, on a pal's sailboat, reading, swimming and sketching while at anchor in the Navy Islands near Gananoque on the St. Laurence River.  It was as busy as I had heard about but was beautiful nonetheless.  

Friday 3 July 2020

An Urban Sketcher Hits the Street

With the Wolfe Island Gallery  closed indefinitely, the idea came to me to use the main Street in the Village of Marysville to exhibit large versions of the sketches I did last winter and spring of the islands and village.  The exhibit title is FARM VILLAGE LAKE as the 24 drawings describe the cultural landscape of Marysville, Wolfe and Simcoe Islands. I reflects my ongoing fascination with development patterns and how they are changing the Ontario Landscape.

The drawings went up in time for Canada Day, including a couple of title sheets which give the url for an explanatory web site.  I deliberately worked fast, standing, with a broad marker to keep the energy of the small original sketches.  I pleased that the scale and number of panels gives the exhibit the right amount of presence on the street.

So far the tyvek is holding up well and villagers assure me that its unlikely that any will be stolen, although I'm sure they'll be a little fatigued by Labour Day.

Sunday 14 June 2020

Scaling Up for an Installation

Several months ago I bought a lovely sketchbook and some new fountain pens and have filled it almost exclusively with line drawings of Wolfe and Simcoe Islands.

There was no plan, other than a sort of fixation with the islands and the village of Marysville in particular and faith that it would lead to something else.  Along the way, I joined the Wolfe Island Gallery, which is an artists co-operative in the village, again with no clear idea of just what I would display.  When word came through that the Gallery would not physically open this summer, a purpose for the drawings
occurred to me, as I had hoped it might.

In the absence of the Gallery, I decided to redraw the little sketches on 3' x 4' sheets of durable tyvek and lace those as banners along the main street of Marysville.  This is also the prompt I needed to do much larger, stand-alone pieces, which will be better suited to exhibition than my tiny little bound sketchbook, not to mention omit the seam of the 2 page spreads.

The photos are of my tiny 6" x 9" sketchbook,
selecting from photocopies which sketches to re-draw and a 3' x 4' test enlargement.