Plein-air pen and wash on paper

Late Summer

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This week was exceptionally nice weather, keeping me busy with outdoor sketching. Commercial Street was the first one on Tuesday. I actually sat down at an outside cafe to enjoy this view, the weather and the coffee. A lot of time was spent on the drawing part as there is so much going on. The sky was blue so the clouds are invented.

Commercial Street Nanaimo

Commercial Street Nanaimo

I started painting at about 10:30 and quit at 11:00 or so and then finished this one at home as it was getting very busy in the late morning, both car and pedestrian traffic; too many distractions becomes uncomfortable.

The next day I rode my bike to the Colliery dam park and used the new picnic table across the lake from the new auxiliary spillway; what a nice place to sit around. The resulting picture worked out better than the last time I sketched this scene from the same location. Still a few things bothering me with the final result; it requires another attempt, hopefully this fall, weather permitting.

Colliery dam auxiliary spillway

Colliery dam auxiliary spillway

On Thursday I had another go at the Bastion, a heritage structure in downtown Nanaimo, resulting in this sketch. The small ornamental tree in front of the big Gary oak turns reddish which provides some interest and contrast. I have been to this spot so many times that I can draw the tower probably without looking, however, the stairs in the foreground that are curved in plan remain a challenge. As I don’t usually copy a blue sky in my sketches  I decided to finish this one at home using a photograph from my collection of sky pictures that would fit this scene. Some colors look faded in the scanned reproduction.

The Bastion Nanaimo

The Bastion Nanaimo

On Friday, the weather was changing. The outdoor temperature dropped and a cold wind coming from the south made me seek for a spot away from the waterfront on a park bench behind some bushes. Once in a while the sun came through from behind the clouds. What struck me here was the repetition of the pointy shapes in the umbrellas and the roof of the bandstand. The different shapes and colours of the foliage were also enticing.

Mafeo Sutton Park Nanaimo

Mafeo Sutton Park Nanaimo

It started to rain on my way home. Hopefully this is not the end of outdoor activities for this year.

All of these four images were scanned instead of photographed. The colours are not perfect but better then reproductions using my (snap shot) camera. I still prefer my tablet which is currently at the repair shop, as it is more expedient than a computer; it will take the copy of the original acting as a camera or as a scanner and then “share” the resulting images with WordPress. It then allows me to prepare a new post to publish on my website all in one operation with one simple tool; more expedient than using an assortment of cameras, scanners or laptop computers.


Author: John Hofman

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