This house is huge, probably 3 stories plus an attic. It is located near the top of Prideau Street close to Nob Hill Park. I made a sketch of it last year when it was throwing shadows from a morning sun. This afternoon the other side was turned away from the light. I prefer to have a light and a dark side when sketching, so that the subject building has definition.
This morning the weather was perfect for a walk and some sketching.
I ended up on a bench along the waterfront with my back to the sun. Problem was that the shadow cast by my hand on the paper made it difficult to see my lines, as I was wearing sunglasses.
Some editing indoors did not improve the overall appearance.
I will go back here some time in the future to make another sketch, as I like this building. It was designed by Gerry Ellins, a local Architect who is still around, for the owners of the Madill forestry company, which is no longer existing in Nanaimo.
Around the year 1998, I was hired by Mr. Chuck Madill to investigate and make recommendations for upgrades and repairs to mitigate water ingress problems. At that time, I was an employee of an engineering company, which is also no longer operating. However, this building is still a prominent and attractive looking landmark close to downtown overlooking Newcastle Island and the channel.
Today I used a photograph to make a painting of some heritage buildings in Nanaimo. These are located down the road from yesterday’s picture.
This is a very nice little store where they sell fountain pens and carbon inks to go with it. In the window of this store it says “Stationery well curated“. The building is part of a cluster of small retail buildings, attractively renovated in heritage style.
Across the street from it is a mini park with a bench under a tree that I used occasionally to sit down and sketch. There are two views from that spot; one looking at some buildings and trees on the hill across the highway, and the other one looking at the Common Foundry store.
Over the years, I probably sketched this a dozen times or so. Today, when I was almost finished, we got a cloudburst. I had to run for cover and stand pat for 20 minutes.
In the afternoon the showers kept coming and going. The studio seemed to be the ideal place to shelter and make a painting from my collection of photographs.
I may do this again tomorrow as it is stimulating to work on real water colour paper of 100% cotton fibre while having my favourite CBC radio station playing music in the background.
Lately, the weather seemed reluctant to improve as it persists in presenting rain and cold winds. However on exceptional days I venture out to find a spot to sketch. I have two sketchbooks that I use these days. A 6×9 inch and an 8x11inch, both have about 60 lbs cheap cartridge paper or pulp. It wrinkles a bit when applying a light wash. Real water colour paper is much nicer to work on but it is expensive, which I find inhibiting.
Someone put a comfortable bench in front of the old Railway Station with a view on a row of heritage houses across the street.
The best part was that the people from the coffee house offered me a coffee while I was drawing. I will have to cut a mat-board and give them my sketch in return, the next time I am out that way.
Recently, I spend some time in the studio to get back in the “groove”.
Instead of going out for dinner once a week, we now go for a hike in a local park, take many photographs, and then have a late lunch on a patio of a bar. There are a lot of choices around town, as inside dining is temporarily closed in this province.
On a nice day, the cloud scapes are impressive. There is no pen and ink involved and it becomes a challenge for me to paint these scenes.
When the skies became frustrating, I returned to an old standby; the blue house at the top of Albert Street. using a photograph.
Yesterday the temperatures went up to 18 degrees and today was even warmer. Good enough to settle in somewhere and make a sketch.
In the beginning of 2021 Denise MacNeill past away after a half year suffering from cancer. She was a great artist and caring person who was a member of Art 10, a co-op of about two dozen artists in Nanaimo. (www.art10gallery.ca). I am a member of this group.
She was known for her oil and acrylic paintings of coastal landscapes favouring the arbutus tree in magnificent colours and settings. We have an arbutus tree painting from the days that she shared a gallery with her dad in the Old City Quarters.
She also expressed her unbounded creativity by experimenting abstracts in various media. What struck me were the small greeting cards, about 3”x3” with interesting compositions that she made in series, packed in a little box.
When I visited her in the fall of 2020, she gave me a bag full of cards that she did not need anymore on the premise to put them to good use. I have been playing with these things for some time now, when I have a shift attending to the gallery averaging about two days per month.
Most of my cards are made using google earth with urban scenes of old towns and cities in Europe. Some from Nanaimo. Lately I have been using photographs of flower arrangements.
Regretfully, I have been neglecting my website lately. Many excuses come to mind, but I don’t want to become too boring. So yesterday I had to go to my daughter’s place with the car to deliver and pick up christmassy stuff. Glad to be out after sitting at home for most days to reduce the risk of picking up this dreaded, mysterious covid thing.
On the way back I decided to find a building to sketch. I found an empty parking lot across the street from this building, the office of the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce. It is only about ten years old but looks a bit like a stately residence from the 1920’s or so. What attracted me are the variety if roof shapes and set-backs of the walls of this structure.
I had one hour time to do this, but took only 20 minutes. I had to hurry, because it was raining, so that the windshield wipers were turned on requiring to keep the engine idling, which I consider a ‘No No’.