Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Life styles

Life drawing is a good place to practice new drawing styles - lots of quick drawings, familiar subject matter, and it doesn't feel like you have to produce an epic masterpiece every time.  Good opportunities for mistakes, and, eventually, new ways of expressing yourself.

This is my standard two-minute gesture in charcoal pastel.  They're all about getting hands and eyes working together quickly.
A couple of my more traditional 15-minute poses - not quite "classical", but straightforward depiction is the general goal.

Two more challenging poses, with a bit more emphasis on a visually interesting composition.

Then moving into colour with short poses, thinking about the gesture, form and warm/cool shading.
Moving right along, a somewhat longer pose, done in water-soluble ink and watercolour, for a bit more "painterly" effect.
Then some experiments with soluble Kuretake markers, some water and a lot of chaos - really an excuse to play with bright shiny colours.

And finally, working towards more expressive options, some mixed media on Yupo paper (aka as "messes").  These are the only ones here done from images rather than live models.  There are pens, charcoal, pastels, inks and watercolour involved here, and sandpaper too - a bit much kit for a live-model studio!

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Two waterfronts

Saltmarshes are unique ecosystems.  Flooded by the highest winter tides, the plants have to be adapted to salt, but also to freshwater and dry spells.  Sadly, only about 1% of them are left in Vancouver, the rest now industrial sites or landfill.  The west saltmarsh at Maplewood conservation area was a vibrant green as the plants started growing again on a sunny spring morning.
This is a more typical sight on the North Vancouver waterfront, though an extreme version - the 80m tall shipbuilding crane built for a big federal military contract to Seaspan, Dennis Washington's company that owns essentially everything along the North Vancouver waterfront (hence the red-and-white "W" logo seen everywhere).  It towered over the remains of the MacKay Creek estuary on a much colder greyer afternoon. 

Sunday, 2 April 2017

All over cherry blossoms

We had an urban-sketchers ride-and-draw today (healthier than a drink-and-draw, and certainly healthier than a drink-and-ride) - thanks Lea and Ekaterina!  The topic was cherry blossoms, and there are a lot of them in the West End of Vancouver, looking splendid on a sunny, breezy spring day.  We drew for 15 minutes, rode a few blocks and repeated, five times.  I like the short drawing time, it makes me focus on the key thing.  Which, of course, was cherry blossoms today.

One of the sketcher's profiles said that she was inspired by Paul Madonna's All Over Coffee, which is also one of my favourites.  He does beautiful ink pen-and-wash drawings of San Francisco, accompanied by snippets of conversations that may or may not have anything to do with the drawing.  It made me record some of to the passers-by today - of which there are many in this lively part of Vancouver, about half of them out viewing and photographing the cherries.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Lonsdale Quay

A familiar place for me - sometimes a bit too familiar to inspire sketching - but Lonsdale Quay is a great place for drawing on a blustery spring day of showers and sunny periods.  I hosted a meetup there on Saturday, and it was good to see old sketching friends, to be re-invigorated by their enthusiasm, and to appreciate the mix of locations outside, inside, and in sheltered places in-between.

The mosaic fountain is looking a little tired, drained during the below-zero months.  There were 7 people in the view, and all seven were wearing black baseball caps.
The guy who runs the fish shop loves fish - he was talking fish to various customers the whole time I was drawing.  He also very welcomingly brought out a stool for another sketcher to sit on and draw the red snappers.
The big yellow ship-building cranes - love 'em or hate 'em if you're a sketcher.  I always struggle trying to do a bunch of fine lines in yellow, so I kept them as small background elements.  I prefer the pilings with their witches' caps, and the big blue building where they ... do something nautical.
A Quay drawing from a scouting trip a few days before the meetup. I like those hidden spaces under wharves.  I suspect there are a lot of creepy-crawlies right under all the tourists' feet.
And one more on the wharf'ish theme - the loading dock at the Viterra grain terminal at the Vancouver end of the Second Narrows Bridge.  It's a favourite view, but no shelter for sketchers here.  I was out on a dock exposed to the cold wind on the ocean.  My fingers holding the sketchbook froze in place - I had to peel them off when I was done, and I could barely hold the handlebars to ride home.  I'm sure it made me stronger...

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Some people do their shopping months before Christmas.  I'm not that organized.  But I did do my St. Patrick's Day drawings three months ago.

Friday, 10 March 2017

#OneWeek100People Day 5: Treeples

Eight last pictures to get over the 100 mark.  Some might quibble that snow-covered trees are not technically "people", but in the grand scheme of things they are very similar.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

#OneWeek100People2017 Day 4: Life drawing

I took the easy path for my quota of people on day 4, a gesture drawing session at Basic Inquiry.  Posing models are a lot easier to draw - they're not moving, and you can look long enough to figure out what they actually look like.  You can create stories too, if you do the drawings together with a bit of attention to overlaps and perspective.  Mind you, you never know what the next pose is going to be, and with some fairly unconventional ones here, it's not entirely clear what the story is...  These are 2 and 3 minute poses in charcoal and pastel, and 5 minute poses in ink and watercolour.  And I count 34 people here, so I'm almost done!