Urban Sketchers

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Monday, 23 June 2014

Sketching at the Forks

Charleswood Art Group members met at the Forks today. Rain was predicted for sometime during the day but the morning was absolutely perfect. There was sun, just a hint of breeze and no bugs to speak of. The Forks is such a popular meeting place in Winnipeg for both locals and tourists. It has a lot to offer ... shopping, dining, access to the river, people, etc.; a great place to sketch!

A few of us started down by the water where there were several families of Canada Geese happily feeding on what was being offered by tourists. It was fascinating to watch these birds for awhile. Something I hadn't observed before was the gosling's behaviour when there was a problem ie one of the adults chasing another adult away. As soon as the commotion started, the goslings all ducked under just like synchronized swimmers for seconds and then all bobbed up together again. It must be a defense mechanism to protect themselves when there's trouble. It is really difficult to paint geese. Of interest to me is the lovely flexible bend they put in their necks and of course that's what's always moving. It seemed to work best when I quickly put down the top line running from their tail, up over their body following up their neck to the end of their beak. If I could get that down as in "contour drawing", it was relatively easy to put the underside of their body in. We started to notice commonalities in their bodies that you could use when they moved and you had to rely on what you knew about them. We noticed that the goslings seemed to have the bony, lanky shoulders like teenage boys so this shape was distinctive and therefore memorable.

Ruth's sketches

Ink and white pencil on Strathmore toned paper

Following our geese sketching, we went inside for a bite to eat and then took a stroll through the Punch Gallery for some inspiration.  Following our gallery tour, the remaining people headed home which left Susan and I to continue painting and sketching. We sketched outside until it started to rain and then sketched people indoors in the food court area. It was a good day of sketching.
Peter chose to sketch the downtown view

An abstracted, loose interpretation of the Forks canopy

The water taxi docked - LAMY pen and ink on toned paper

Fill up the page with Food Court sketches

Monday, 16 June 2014

Sketching at Assiniboine Park

Members of the Charleswood Art Group met at the footbridge in Assiniboine Park. I chose to arrive an hour earlier to get maximum time with the best light. Today, I had my sketchbook, watercolors and my setup for pastel.

The first place I set up was right at the start of the foot bridge looking down the flooded area along the bank. This includes the riparian forested area which the Park has devoted a lot of effort to bring back to a natural state. The light was beautiful ... there was a stream of light down the meandering path of the water. The trees were backlit with lots of nice darks to set them off. I used the angled top of the footbridge to rest my sketchbook and water container on. It was the perfect height! I found that because I was looking in that direction painting, others on the bridge stopped and took a look also and appreciated what I saw on the scene. Now ... isn't that partly what artists do but to showcase what others might otherwise miss.

After an hour at this scene, I moved to the other side of the river and spotted the row of nicely sculpted lilac shrubs. It was a small part of the whole large scene but easy to see when you use a viewfinder and take your time to decide what to paint. This time I set up my tripod and travel adaptor to do a small pastel painting; only 5 x 7.  I thought I might have trouble working on such a small support but was pleasantly surprised at the amount of detail I got in the finished painting.

The day was very successful ... probably had something to do with my very relaxed state.

Charleswood Art Group Members out to paint

Lilacs done with pastel on 5x7 Pastel Board

Looking down the bank from the footbridge
A watercolor sketch/notes of the scene on the left