Plein-air pen and wash on paper

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Corner of Milton Street and Irwin Street.

Some years ago now, this heritage house was moved a few blocks to become a prominent display, kitty corner from Deverill Square Park. The exterior was renovated and still looks brand new.

I tried out a new Lamy fountain pen with a medium tip on hot pressed watercolour paper. The pen has a piston type reservoir that I filled up with Noodlers waterproof ink.

The pen glides nicely over the paper surface in any direction and produces a crispy black line. As is to be expected, it is less useful on cold pressed paper.


Crossing the Finish

This building on Front Street is known as the old Globe Hotel.
It has a mansard roof just like many buildings in Quebec. It was originally constructed with brick masonry, but has been plastered over since then. There is a spot across the street in the shade and out of the wind, which is still cold for the time of year, and where I could sit down.

Yesterday’s sketch was finished on an 8.5″×11″ sheet of watercolour paper in a sketchbook.

Today”s sketch on 11″×14″ Fabriano cold pressed paper needs some more work before it is finished.

I used a dip pen and brown ink for the initial sketch. It is not very practical to manipulate the pen, inkpot and paper while sitting outside on a little stool. However, it is a pleasure to have this pen skating over the paper surface resulting in linework of varying width.

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Tilicum Lelum Centre

This morning the conditions were perfect for sketching outside. I found a spot on the sidewalk at the corner of Needham and Haliburton. The friendly owners of R-U Computing offered me a chair to sit comfortably in the shade of their shop with a view of the old church building across the street. The building is now referred to as Tillicum Lelum Centre and was also the subject in my post of April 25, 2016 looking at if from the other side.

Comparing the “grey-scale” photograph below with the initial pen sketch, it is obvious that I took some liberties with the actual scene by deleting or moving items. This is not unjustifiable considering that the final product has to be able to stand on its own after everything is said and done.

For example the big hydro pole is isolated and would divide the picture in two; it was left out. The traffic sign coincides with the corner of the tower, which can be confusing as they are unrelated objects. I moved if over rather than deleting it as it bridges the foreground to the middle ground by crossing the long sandstone wall. The corner of the house was deleted to keep it simple; it does not contribute to the scene but might be distracting the viewer’s attention away from the main subject. Generally, I like the bright red and yellow colour touches of fire hydrants but left it out this time and painted the front gate in red.




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Canada Day Weekend

On Saturday July 1, thousands of people came down to the park where the Canada Day festivities took place. My plan was to find a nice spot to sketch but there was no such thing; too much going on. Several government and community volunteer organisations used the occasion to strut their stuff such as musicians, dancers, gymnasts, ethnic groups and many more. There was entertainment for families with small kids and of course the usual array of food vendors.

Anyways, after an hour or so I left the melee to find a cool spot for some sketching.

Saturday’s picture was made on Fitzwilliam Street, which looked abandoned, hardly any pedestrians or cars, which is somewhat unusual for this area. Sunday’s sketch was another picture of the old museum. There are some views in town that I keep coming back to, including these two.



About halfway on my way to the north end of town on the parkway trail I decided to turn off and follow a trail trough the woods going downhill that ends up on Maxey Road. Generally, steep descending trails are to be avoided, as one will eventually be faced with hard work climbing out of the valley.

I arrived in an idyllic rural area with connecting acreages, farmland and wooded areas, and with bridge crossings of the Millstone river here and there.

To my surprise there was this old Ford truck displayed along the road.

I settled down in a shady spot on the opposite side of the road and made this picture.

A half a kilometer south of this location is an antique tractor parked that I sketched a few years ago with a PAN Monday morning paint out. I had forgotten about it until I passed it on my way out of the river valley.

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Beachcombers Park

On Monday the Plein Air Nanaimo group of painters visited Beachcomber Park in Nanoose. It is a typical small ocean side park with mature second-growth trees surrounded by a rocky beach and breaking waves, and with views of islands, the ocean and in this case Mount Arrowsmith.

My preference would have been to sit on the other side of this park, but the wind coming over the water was too cold, so most of us settled down on the leeward side, facing the main island.

I used my Opus Framing sketchbook with 11″ x 14″ sheets to make this picture in about two hours time, including some preliminary planning scribbles.

Once you get going on this, time flies as it absorbes 100% of your attention or focus, somewhat similar to writing an exam in school (very long tine ago now) or watching a spelbinding action movie. Afterwards the whole company had lunch at the golf club canteen nearby to chat and compare the results of that morning’s work.

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Last Sunday I tried out a new sketchbook. It is cold pressed, 140 lbs water-colour paper with 100% cotton. It is produced by the Bee Paper Company and is locally available from Iron Oxide in various formats. I bought the 8.5″ x 11″ version. A spiral ring allows you to fold over the book or individual sheets 360°.

This is a scene at Maffeo Sutton park of a fundraiser for the Canadian Mental Health Association; a public event that I happened to walk into. In this park, a wide variety of activities are taking place almost every weekend during the summer. The following comment has no connection at all with this event,however,I read somewhere that drawing and painting activities have been recommended for mental health therapy. Perhaps one of the reasons that many people enjoy this as a hobby.

They used the bandstand (not shown in this picture) for announcements and speeches and played prerecorded spanish guitar music in the background; very entertaining and relaxing, and a real departure from the usual loud rock music.

I was very pleased with the paper. The pen will glide nicely over the surface and the pigments distribute very well, generally meeting the expectations for watercolour papers.