Plein-air pen and wash on paper

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Monday Morning Paint-out.

Today we went to the Colliery dam park in Harewood. The weather condition was perfect; actually starts to feel like fall already.

There is a lake, trees and sky, and spillway structures. To get a view of these for painting, one needs a boat. Failing that, there are some bits of concrete wall shown as in this picture with lots of forest.

Last week I sat down a few times in the downtown park along the waterfront to relax and do some sketching.

Permanent tent structure in the centre of Maffeo-Sutton park.

View of Newcastle Avenue.

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Brechin United Church.

At the intersection of Brechin and Estevan roads used to be an A-frame church building that I never sketched, but in hindsight, should have done.

Like so many land marks it was recently demolished to make room for “bigger and better”. The construction of a new church combined with a multi-family development is well underway. This morning I parked my car in a parking lot across the road from this site to make a sketch of the progress. There is lots to draw and it kept me busy for an hour or so to put everything that was visible more or less in the right place. The darker section on the left hand side is concrete block masonry construction, while wood framing is used for the remainder. The bricklayers were working today but it looks like the carpenters decided to enjoy the weekend somewhere else.

Compared to the rendering, partially shown below, that was published as part of the development permit process, there is one more storey to be added to the residential section while the actual church building in the foreground was hardly started.

Only part of the South Elevation is shown here as the total building is much larger. By the way, I really like the massing, the proportions and the colour schemes of the architectural design and I am glad that nobody has to built anything from my effort. It would take the fun out of sketching and cause headaches for everybody else working on the project. It is the apparent messy arrangement of materials, scaffolding and equipment, typical for construction sites, that makes it attractive to me for drawing.



On Saturday I conducted a Workshop at The Old Schoolhouse (Tosh) in Qualicum Beach.; a whole new experience. It was enjoyable because the participants were enthusiastic about the subject, and I learned a few things on how to make changes or improvements to my presentations for the next time I get a similar opportunity. The main theme was linear perspective and how to approach challenges when sketching in an urban setting using pen & ink with watercolours.

Close-up of my worktable which had a large mirror overhead.

Of course some drawing, sketching and watercolour demos were included. Someone in the group of participants took some snapshots to post on facebook.

Diane’s Work.

Thanks to the administration and volunteers of Tosh to help make events like this a success and to keep this facility a viable asset to Qualicum Beach and neighbouring communities.

On the other hand it is relief that it is over, as preparations have been on my mind for the last two months and my head is now clear again to focus on other things.


Polish Heritage

These sketches were based on old photographs for the house and some scribbles with a verbal description for the farmyard of what they looked like after the second world war in Poland. These may be used to illustrate a biography of a grandmother for her Canadian grandchildren.


I tried to make several versions for each of the basic images, something that seems to become a habit lately. The format is 8.5″ x 11″ on various types of paper with a dip pen, waterproof ink and a watercolour wash. The pen sketches were scanned and photocopied before adding a colour wash.


More on Qualicum Beach

Here are two more pictures of Qualicum Beach town centre, that kept me busy this week.

This should do it for a while; want to move on to another subject.


Keeping at It

The winter weather drives us back indoors to play around with ideas and maybe develop new insights. These are two sketches (4″×6″ or so) with water-soluble ink, followed by two larger images on 11″×15″ watercolour paper that were started with waterproof ink drawings, copied from photo references, and rendered with watercolours.



There are a lot (too many?) of choices to make, such as paper surface, pigments, colours or monochrome, and the amount of editing applied to the reference photograph, to mention just a few.
This keeps me going without knowing where I want to arrive, but I don’t feel lost, not yet anyways, and will probably keep at it in the days to come.



The other day I picked up a library book on the subject of watercolours. I followed one of several paint-along examples presented in this publication, but made my own layout, to come up with this watercolour sketch.

I found the first one too blue, and decided a day later to tone it down a bit with some raw umber in spots, as it is a fairly transparent pigment and much warmer.

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More Inktober’s Sketches

This week I managed to get a fairly quick sketch done every other day or so, however, only one was made on location as the weather turned out to be too cold to sit outside on most days.

The one at the top shows some houses on Albert Street and was made on location while sharing a bench across the road with some smokers.


To Canvass for a Canvas

Today I got a 10″×10″ canvas to be used as a fundraiser for a local arts organisation. My pens and watercolours are not compatible with a woven fabric so I cheated a bit and used watercolour paper to make this picture in the usual fashion. Then I cut it to size so that the white canvas would frame around it to simulate a matboard. Two sided tape was used to adhere the paper to the canvas.

Perhaps it could be varnished or sprayed with a fixative film to seal the water-colour pigments. Maybe next time.

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No Pen or Ink

Two recent watercolour sketches that started with a pencil outline instead of the usual pen and ink drawing.
This one is from the Bastion where I deliberately applied colours and values that were invented; fun stuff.

This one was from a bicycle trip along the southern leg of the Parkway Trail a few days ago, when I took advantage of the nice fall weather. Most trees still have green colours, we do not get much fall colours here from the indigenous trees, and if we do it tends to be for a short time only. There are no straight lines in this scene prompting me to start with a thin pencil outline before painting with a brush and to live with the consequences if any.

Weather permitting, this approach calls for a repeat(s).