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’.
Google Earth allows you to walk around in many other towns, almost anywhere in the world. This comes in handy during the rain season in my hometown.
I have been using this feature to visit Nevers in France, just by chance really. This town has several historic buildings and many winding narrow streets that are lined with a mixture of nice, and not so nice, often grey looking dilapidated houses in it. These are interesting subjects to sketch because of the endless variety of shapes and it gives you a feeling of being on holidays.
These are card size, 5”x5” that fit in an envelope. It takes less than half an hour to finish one of these using pen and ink and a light application of watercolour with a Pentel water-brush.
The repairs to the Morden Mine structures are in progress. There is so much scaffolding to support the structures that the concrete columns and walls are hardly visible anymore.
Here and there one can see the new concrete surfaces peaking through the scaffolding, replacing the old crumbling sections at this century old heritage site. Hopefully, there will be sufficient funds to complete this restoration work soon and remove the crutches.
Refer to http://www.mordenmine.com for information on this heritage resource and the people associated with this project.
Today, I needed the car for some grocery shopping and used it to park at Sealand and make some sketches, while keeping the engine running to stay warm. It was nice to become absorbed again by sketching after a few weeks of moving from one apartment to another.
I parked the car to have a view of some forty year old buildings, some are vacant, some are occupied permanently others just seasonally. There is kayak rental shop, a pub, a restaurant and a chandlery with a boatyard.
I moved then to the other side of the nearly empty parking area to make another sketch, this time including some yachts on stilts. I tried to sort out the jumble of light and dark shapes of the boats.
The boatyard appears to be always full, as boat owners make repairs, modifications or clean the barnacles from the hull of the boat.
It is not often that one can sit at the oceanfront for longer than 10 minutes or so, without getting really cold from that wind that blows in from the sea. But one afternoon this week, I sat down at the end of the crabbing pier to draw this view of the Cameron Island apartments where we are still living till we move to a new place at the end of this month.
There are always people fishing for crab, which makes this pier a popular tourist attraction. They simply put a piece of meat, usually chicken, in a trap that is swung out into the water. After 10 minutes or so the trap is pulled up with an number of crabs in it; anywhere from from one to a dozen. Most of the time these crabs are undersized and returned back into the water, however, once in a while a large specimen that meets the legal requirements is preserved in a bucket with water to be saved for dinner, I suppose.
These are some sketches that were made and were shown in earlier blogs, but I decided to go back there and add some colour and shade, while the subjects were basking in the morning sun.
Recently, we enjoyed nice fall weather, some fog, some sunshine; calm days with very little or no wind. These are productive conditions for sketching.
Going back about a week now, I made these sketches in town, all within walking distance from my place, and mostly using my current 7.5” x 11” sketchbook.
One day this week there were two freighters moored in the harbour to load raw logs for export. I spend a whole day watching and sketching these things. I is quite fascinating to see how people walk on floating logs to assemble them in bunches so that a crane can lift the logs into the ship. It looks like dangerous work to me.
I made two drawings in the morning and returned after going home for lunch to add some colours to the drawings.
Last Monday morning at the paint-out on the Sebastian Beach in Lantzville, I started my new sketch book with this sketch. No baroque music audible, only the sound of the waves crashing on the shore.
Lately I have been making my own sketch books. This paper was cut from full sheets 22”x 30” w/c paper, an American product. It is sold as cold pressed, 100% cotton fibre, but the texture is fairly smooth with only a slight grit. I like it because the pen glides nicely accros the surface and it is reasonably adaptive to the application of water colour paint.
On Tuesday I sat down again in Nob Hill park with a view on the Oak Tree Manor. This time the oak tree was included, front and centre, filling most of the page.
Probably should have left the hydro-poles out. Don’t know yet how to end this sketch, but might try something when stuck inside on a rainy day.