Thursday, 11 January 2018

I'm on Instagram

I have been assimilated - I'm on Instagram.  It's easier to post miscellaneous drawings there.  And I know that someone other than Russian hackers and Chinese search engines are seeing my drawings.  But I'll continue to post here, especially for things that require more than a square picture taken with a poor camera phone.  Instagrammers can find me @dave.huggard.drawing.  For others, try

Monday, 1 January 2018

A Dozen Drawing-A-Day's

I started a 30-day drawing-a-day plan two weeks ago, figuring that I could get some drawing momentum built up over the holidays and continue it into the New Year.  So far, so good.  Doing a drawing (or more) a day lets me experiment more.  If it turns out horribly, as some do, well, there's always tomorrow.  These are ones that I like - a mix of outdoors (with a couple of ice-colour paintings included) and things I found to draw indoors on the worst days, or when it was 10p.m. and I hadn't done the day's drawing yet.

Get it done before the sun is even up:

Christmas ornaments are perfect models:

Five-minute portraits on the seabus.  All praise to beards - you get a lot of chances to get the chin right!

The ski-and-sketches.  Some nice ice crystal development in a couple of these.  The background trees in the last one were painted using the big wet snowflakes that were rapidly covering the page, instead of water.

Details of warm interiors, as heavy sleet or dusk fell outside.

A more abstracted view of the first morning sunbeams in the dawn forest.

And finally this fellow - a snow-covered sapling, or the ghost of one of the early Hollyburn pioneers?

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Ice-colour painting - endangered?

The challenges of using watercolours outside when it is below freezing are well rewarded by, umm... trying to capture details with frozen-solid brushes? blotchy skies? frostbitten fingers? Well, maybe a unique style, a sharper appreciation for working quickly, and definitely a memorable experience.  This is a good example from early November, when it was about -6C on Hollyburn peak.  You can see some nice crystalization in the sky and mountains.
But my recent attempts have failed - it just hasn't been cold enough.  This one from the Hollyburn cross-country area as the clouds rolled in was close, just below 0C, but not quite enough to freeze the paint.

Even Edmonton, on the last day of November - this should be the world centre for ice-colour painting - came in well above freezing as I drew the river from a pedestrian bridge.

And back on Hollyburn Peak, mid-December now, it was a sunny +9C with a warm breeze, in a strong inversion that was blanketing Vancouver below in fog.  It was so warm that I skied up the rapidly melting (but still deep) snow in a short-sleeved shirt, and people on the peak were dancing around in their underwear.  (There are still a few eccentric and exuberant people left in this age of internet shaming).  I am wondering if the days of ice-colour painting are numbered...

Monday, 4 December 2017

Dr Sketchy has a birthday

It was party night at Dr Sketchy's on Sunday (as if it isn't always party night at Dr Sketchy's), celebrating a ninth birthday, all hosted by the beloved Shari Contrary.  The model was the same one who started it all - before my time - the lovely and talented Melody Mangler.  Food, beer, music, lively company, Ms Mangler, and lots of drawing - it's hard to think what else you could want for a birthday.  I'm just a bit leery about what will happen when Dr S  hits those awkward teenage years...

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Polygon Gallery

The Polygon Gallery opened this weekend on the waterfront in North Vancouver.  It is a major upgrade on the old Presentation House gallery, retaining the focus on photography.  The building is interesting architecturally, with a glass-walled lower floor and the gallery upstairs, where a series of triangular roofs give a visual nod to the North Shore mountains while letting in natural light from the north.  A second-floor atrium and balcony give views of Lonsdale Quay, the harbour and the city of Vancouver.  Most importantly, the building provides a beautiful space for the art, without shouting "Look at me, I was designed by an architect!"  In a place where we often sit around lamenting better things that have been replaced by condominiums, I think the gallery will be a very positive addition to the city.  Here is my quick "wet-on-wet-in-wet" impression (it was pouring rain).

The opening exhibition focuses on North Vancouver, with an appealing mix of photographs - some historical, some from the contemporary photographers that Vancouver is most famous for in the international art world - and sculptures and weaving, much of it from local First Nations artists.  A huge light-box photo by Rodney Graham is one of my favourite local art works.  It's visually very attractive, and has layer-upon-layer of interpretations (at least, I think so - I don't know what the "official" story is!)

The sculptures are a happy addition for sketchers, more fun to draw than trying to make a picture of a picture.  I was joined by a couple of knee-high future artists drawing Gabrielle L'Hirondelle Hill's quirky piece made from parts found in the historical shipyards nearby.  And I appreciated Cameron Kerr's large yellow-cedar sculpture representing a central element of North Vancouver culture - a bridge on the highway.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Corsica V: Mountains, and a bonus

Our last day in Corsica was spent crossing the island, winding up one side of the central mountains, and winding down the other.  And regretting not having far more time there, for the whole country but specifically for the several beautiful gorges with long hiking trails.  The trails were fairly old - some of the recent upgrades were done by the Romans.  This bridge near Ota wasn't quite that old, but was an amazing piece of stone work, a slender arch less that two feet thick spanning a large river, and strong enough to support countless mule trains over the centuries.
The higher mountains had forests of pines, other conifers and some deciduous trees showing fall colours, with soaring granite cliffs behind them.  They looked like Yosemite or other parts of the US southwest.  Right near treeline were some huge, weather-beaten Corsican black pines that I had to add to my sketch collection of Really Big Trees of the World.
Overnight at an olive farm surrounded by grapefruit orchards near Bastia, then back home.  I didn't get any drawing done while negotiating the metropolis of Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, but I did get this one quick sketch in of our IcelandAir landing in Reykjavik - huge storm waves on the North Atlantic, the dark coastal rocks and green tundra.  About as far as you could get from the sunny turquoise Mediterranean in a few hours' flight...

Friday, 3 November 2017

Corsica IV: Piana and the Calanches

Back to the coast, we stayed a couple nights in an elegant hotel from the early twentieth century.  Les Roches Rouges in Piana was the place to be in the 1920's, but was abandoned for several decades.  It is now being resurrected, and has an appealing decayed art deco Jazz Age vibe - it is a pretty fine place to be in this century too.
Like most places in coastal Corsica, there's a beach.  No aggressive cows here, but there was a large herd of goats to navigate by on the winding road from Piana.  And - unusual in our experience on Corsica - there were other people on the beach.  Nine of them, to be precise (I counted).  One of the 16th-century anti-pirate guard towers dominates a rock outcrop in the background.
A main attraction in the area is the Calanches, a range of jagged red mountains eroded into fantastical shapes.  We climbed way up into the alpine, seeing only one other person - a Corsican hunter who pointed out the best trails, speaking in Corsu, which is a surprisingly understandable medieval form of Italian with some French thrown in.  We did a bit of scrambling up some small peaks, where the eroded stone made ridiculously easy hand- and foot-holds.  I sat on top of one outcrop and drew the rock formations, one of which looked either like a French aristocrat or mating cows, depending on your point-of-view.