Urban Sketchers

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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Rainy Day Sketching in the Library

What do you do when it's pouring rain outside? It's a great opportunity to head indoors. I hitched a ride downtown and following some lunch, I sat inside the Millenium Library and did some surreptitious sketching of people at the study desks. I used my LAMY pen and a few watercolor pencils that I had with me. I love the LAMY pen which does have LAMY ink in it. What I like about the LAMY ink is that it moves so easily with water and has subtle variation in the colors once wet. I became engrossed in my sketching and by the time I looked at my watch, it was three minutes before I was to be out on the curb to wait for my ride back home. As I was out on the street, I saw so many people that I would just love to have sketched. I will definitely have to come downtown again when there's better weather for being outdoors.

People Sketching at the Millenium Library

Monday, 20 May 2013

Rain, rain ... Indoors at Shelmerdines

On Saturday morning, I decided to take my sketching bag to Shelmerdine's. Garden Centers are such nice places to visit this time year. They are filled with an array of fresh and colorful new plants. I arrived early and started outdoors. I'm crazy about willows and decided to go through the willows to the field next door. My first really quick watercolor sketch was of the Shelmerdine building through the willows. It was starting to drizzle so I had to work quickly. You can see where the water was hitting my paper 

For my second sketch, I went indoors and found a quiet corner in the store where I had a view of plants through an entranceway. Although I thought I was out of the way, I had to move a few times to let plant shoppers get through with their cart. I drew this sketch with one of my Pitt pens and decided to add a bit of color so I bought a coffee and sat down at one of the tables in their little coffee shop. One of the special experiences about sketching and painting on location is the people you meet. While I was sitting there, I had three people "drop by" and talk to me. The first was another customer, the second was one of the two people working the coffee bar and third was Eileen Korponay who is a local artist that we all know.

The next CAG sketchout is back at the Forks on Monday, May 27. I look forward to going back there.
Shelmerdines through the Willows

The plants through an Entrance Way

Monday, 13 May 2013

Winnipeg ... the windy city

Weather:  Windy; up to 50kmph with temperatures reaching 24 degrees

The hope was that I could finally go out plein-air painting with my oils but the strong winds nixed that idea.  The Charleswood group had scheduled to meet at the Forks for 10:00am. Angela and I met earlier at the Conservatory given the too windy day for plein-air painting.

The Conservatory had completely changed since were last there; they had a gazebo set up and a zig zag of stone bordered walkways built. There were tulips, hydrangeas and daffodils all set off by the occasional Japanese Maple. I was intrigued by the Japanese maples ... it's difficult to capture the lacy texture and the contrasting greyed red colors with the bright warm reds of their upper leaves.

 Angela left at 11:00 so I decided to rush home, make a sandwich and join up with the Charleswood people. I found Ruth, Ginette, Bernice and Susan all sitting inside the Forks in the marketplace painting a display of shoes and mannequins. I was sitting directly in front of where the shop owner was sitting ... he came out and asked what we were doing. He was worried that we was copying his designs. I assured him that we were just a group of artists who liked to sketch and paint in the summertime outdoors.

After lunch, a few went home and Susan and I chose to stay until 3:00pm. We tried doing the shoes as they were such interesting shapes and colors. Of course, the somewhat bored sales girl kept rearranging the shoes on us. That's what makes sketching and painting from life fun. At the end of our session, I took our water containers and headed outside to empty them. I could see that the security guard out on his smoke break was about to say something to me and I thought, "Oh no .. what am I doing wrong". All he wanted to do was compliment us on the work we had been doing. He said that he had been standing on the second level and was watching us from there. Now isn't that interesting ... he was watching us watching other people that we were trying to sketch.

It was a good day even if I didn't get to paint with my plein-air gear. It was interesting listening to some of the conversation today ... there was some talk of goals for the summer. One person wanted to "paint looser"; another person felt they need to paint less loose. It's a good idea to think about what you want to accomplish when you start a new project or a new phase of your work.

The Charleswood Group at the Forks

Japanese Maples at the Conservatory

Shoes --- Same but different

Sketch of outside of buildings at The Forks

Shaft of sunlight through the courtyard

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Still cold so back to the Conservatory

Weather: Overcast with temperatures around 0 degrees

Well, apparently we've made the record books with the unseasonably cold April we had.  They're predicting temperatures to be hovering around 20 degrees for Monday andTuesday which will be absolutely wonderful.  Because of the cooler temperatures,  we chose to abandon our plan to go to LaBarriere Park and go back to the Assiniboine Park Conservatory.

We had less time today so I chose to do some "quasi contour" drawings of flowers. I say quasi contour,  because in contour drawing you are supposed to keep your pen on the paper and do a continuous drawing.  I did lift my pen at times but they had the spirit of contour drawing in that I do drew long continuous lines. I'm not one who would generally gravitate towards doing paintings of flowers,  but it's a lot of fun to draw them ... the fluid and graceful lines of the stems and leaves and sometimes chaotic jumble is very appealing and of course the colors are bright and vivid!

I particularly like the daffodils as they make me think of young children happy and smiling. The tulips are also good subjects particularly when you can draw them at their different stages; from the tight, smooth buds to the overblown look they have when they are almost finished their bloom. Today, the staff were pulling a number of the tulip pots and throwing them into a garbage can.  Even in the garbage can, they were lovely.  Unfortunately, they don't have the space to keep them so out they go into a compost heap somewhere.

I look forward to the prospect of improved weather as I expect it will finally be time to get out my plein air painting gear and my oil paints. If I don't get out and get some practice in, I will feel somewhat awkward at my summer workshop.

A quick ink/watercolor sketch
Their time is over!

Happy faces of the daffodils

Ink drawing of tulips