Sketch-It

Plein-air pen and wash on paper


Leave a comment

Carlos O’Brien’s Irish Pub

Around noon today the weather turned warm and sunny. Couldn’t resist to grab my bike, go for a ride and find a spot to sketch. That is how I arrived at this subject.

Carlos O’Brien’s Pub

This is one of three bar/restaurants very close together at the boat ramp. This building was fairly recently renovated, it is founded on piles, it features sloping red roofs and white walls. The other two are part of an older complex of buildings, kind of market place, somewhat like Granville Island in Vancouver, except much smaller and it never really took off.

All three buildings would be interesting to sketch; I preferred this one as it is conveniently visible from a bench along the trail, and I have been here before. By the time I was finished with this sketch the rain clouds and the cold winds returned, prompting me to rush back to downtown.


Leave a comment

Colliery Dam Spillway

Today the conditions were right for a bike ride along the southern route. One starts in downtown, then travels through Bowen Park, along Buttertubs bird sanctuary and across  Third Street Park to arrive at the Nanaimo Ice Centre. This is usually my first stop as there is a public washroom, a WIFI to check for email messages and  there seem to be always hockey games in progress. I  have not tied on any skates since we moved to the Island but still am a spectator who admires the agility of the players in this fast-moving game. Had last week’s City referendum question been for another one of these rinks at a modest cost of approximately 20 million,  the result would probably have turned into a resounding YES.

Anyways, after leaving this skating rink the trail leads through the Vancouver Island University Campus before it enters Colliery Dam Park, my favourite spot to stop for lunch. There are often anglers fishing for trout stocked in this lake. Today two of them were very successful for a while in catching mostly small specimens that were tossed back into the water.

I travelled very light today with only a small notebook and a few sharpy pens in my backpack. Between munching away at my lunch and watching the show that the anglers put on, I made a simple pen sketch, looking in the opposite direction towards the  new spillway.

Colliery Dam Spillway

Two more markers with  lighter shades of greys would have been handy time savers for shading areas instead off drawing all these lines with a pen. Then there is always next time; I put these markers in my backpack as soon as I got home.

Leaving this park is an uphill battle, literally, to reach the start of the southern leg of the Parkway trail. From there it is mostly freewheeling downhill to Chase River where the trail system ends. My preference is to find my way back to downtown using Haliburton Street.


Leave a comment

Sunday Sunshine

After weeks of rain showers, occasionally mixed with snow, the sun came up this morning with some white clouds decorating the skyline. So I spend the morning on a bench along the waterfront to try painting skies on location. When you sit out there it is so different from working off photographs seated at a desk, particularly when no pen is used in a picture without buildings. It feels like walking on a balancing bar that is perched 10 feet off the ground.

Clouds over Gabriola Island.

I was not happy with the first go around and decided to let it dry before applying a second wash in an effort to give the clouds some more definition.

It was still too cold this morning to stay around and start a new sheet, but I will certainly go back there again at the next opportunity to paint these clouds in one go. This reminds me of a boss I had, many years ago now, who used to say that as practicing architects we hopefully get it right one day.


Leave a comment

Victoria Shipyards.

Today I was called out to my employer’s Victoria office to help out with some background information on a project that started out in the days before I retired.

On my way back to Nanaimo, I noticed these huge ships sitting high and dry along Harbour Road. It did not take me long deciding to park the car in a 2-hour zone along this road and started sketching.

Unfortunately the view from my car was obstructed by a row of storage bins or dumpsters, not sure what their purpose was. Anyways, in my sketch it looks like these steel boxes are pedestals for the boats; definitely not so. It is something to keep in mind for future on-location sketches.


Leave a comment

More People Sketches

Friday was the last day of the #OneWeek100People2017 event. These sketches are from patrons in a food court of a large local shopping centre.

People eating their snack or lunch seems to be the best time for sketching; they take their time, don’t change their posture much and seem to be just content no matter who is watching them.

This people sketching event improved my interest and self confidence in drawing people a whole lot and my skills a little bit as well. It was fun and is probably going to be part of my sketching routine on some regular basis.


Leave a comment

Back to the Library

Today I went back to the library’s main floor level to draw some more people for day four of the #OneWeek100People2017 event.

I have not noticed this before, but today it happened twice that people seemed annoyed with me drawing them, as they glowered at me, got up and moved somewhere else. Oh well, this had to come sooner or later; actors, good and bad, keep coming and going.

Tomorrow I need to find something different. If it did not snow and rain so much I could ride my bike to the Woodgrove Shopping mall but it looks like I might  have to use the car. That being the case, I could park close to a bus shelter as people are sitting and standing around there as well, waiting for the bus.