Plein-air pen and wash on paper

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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.


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Art 10

The Art 10 Gallery acquired a new bench for visitors to sit on and relax. It provides an ideal view of Brian Buckrell’s paintings that are prominently featured at the entrance to the gallery. Come see the amazing colour choices in Brian’s work.

This bench also makes for a good vantage point for some quick sketches of the pictures and of the mall. Fortunately, a pen and ink drawing gives me an excuse for omitting actual colours in this scene; I only need to outline where things are located, more or less.

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Spring Day

Today, weather conditions were inviting for outside activities, including some sketching; first time this year.

This quick sketch of some boats covered in tarps and moored in Stones Marina was made in the morning. The drawing was done with a fountain pen using walnut-brown ink on a 6″ x 18″ sketchbook surface.

It appears unfinished and a bit hurried on the left-hand side, as a result of me wanting to warm my hands, to go home and get some lunch.

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Happy New Year and Carry-overs from 2017

The Light House Bistro with a bar on the second floor is located in the Harbour. It is supported on wood piles that are rising out of the water. It is one of several Nanaimo landmark buildings that can be sketched from various viewpoints; always challenging and entertaining to draw under the right conditions. Usually, the best results are obtained when finishing the drawing before going into the bar.

Making a pen-sketch is straight forward, but following up with designing the setting as to what to leave out or add in, deciding on light and dark areas, and most of all making colour choices, warm or cold etcetera, is like a puzzle with an open-ended solution.

In the winter time I like to play with it to keep busy while sitting comfortably inside, using black and white photographic references to start an initial drawing with pen and ink. A dip pen is preferred over a fountain pen as the nib flexes nicely to vary the line-width and it glides better in any direction if one holds it more flat.

These pictures using 8.5″ x 11″ on Fabriano 140 lbs cold pressed paper, were recently completed, that is at the end of last year.
I like to carry on with this game (or is it carry-over) into the new year on a larger format; quarter sheets of w/c paper.

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Old Newcastle Avenue

There used to be an interesting old heritage house along Newcastle Avenue; it was torn down about a year ago. The huge, broad leaf maple trees on this property is all that remains. They become very conspicuous in the spring when the warm greens appear out of nowhere to announce the change of season, and again in autumn when the sun gives the foliage a golden glow.

This week I made two sketches of this scene from photo references on an eighth sheet of w/c paper and another one on a quarter sheet, leaving out the seawall and the water, as well as moving things around a bit to enhance the view.


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.