Friday, December 30, 2011

Doreen and Alan in Ibiza

Painted over the 2011 Christmas holidays.
Watercolour 16" x 17"
Paper: Arches 140lb Cold Press

"Doreen and Alan in Ibiza"
[Click image for larger view]

Little Santa

Painted over the 2011 Christmas holidays.
Watercolour 17" x 23"
Paper: Arches 140lb Cold Press
[Update Jan 3, 2012: Painting being updated, will post revised version soon. IMHO this painting too washed out and has no punch. Revision will have bolder colours.]

"Little Santa"
[Click image for larger view]
"Little Santa" - revised
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Thursday, December 29, 2011


Over the Christmas Holidays I have been working on portraits. This latest one is of my cousin Julie's grandson. I was asked by my aunt and uncle (Oliver's GreatGrandparents) to paint this for them.

Painting: 17" x 21" Watercolour
Paper: Arches 300lb Rough

[Click on image for larger view]

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Out My Window

Last week there was one afternoon where the weather in Vancouver was really strange. Within an hour the weather went from sunny, to grey and rainy, thunder, lightening, high wind gusts, wind blowing leaves up, wind blowing leaves sideways, more rain, sun showers, dark and then sunny again. I sat watching this out my living room window. When the weather cleared I was left with this really clear view where all the colours outside were intense and crisp. I spent the next hour or so sketching this view. Unfortunately I have been having problems with a virus my eyes and had to set my sketching aside. On Monday Nov 21st I was finally again able to pick up and complete the sketch. This is the result. I have to admit that from my nice comfy chair I did get a little crazy drawing a lot of detail.. but hey.. that's just my style.

"Out My Window"
[Click on image for larger view]

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Roedde House & Museum

The Manager of the Roedde House & Museum has posted a Facebook  link to my Flickr site where I have a sketch of their building. Posted by Roedde House on Nov 17th, 2011/

Monday, November 14, 2011

Illustrated Vancouver

This morning November 14th. one of my sketches was posted on "Illustrated Vancouver" a site dedicated to documenting Vancouver through art.

Second sketch was posted on "Illustrated Vancouver" on November 17th.

Monday, November 7, 2011

November 6, 2011

A further sketch in the "Vancouver West-end Sketchbook". This one is of the English Bay Hotel on the corner of Denman Street at Pendrell Street. This appears to be a 1950's style concrete building (ugly and similar to construction to "The Residency" where I live). I do note that in the 12 or so years I have lived in the area, I do not recall ever seeing anyone enter or exit this building (strange because it is not only a Hotel in a high tourist area but also because it has appeared to be open that whole time).

"English Bay Hotel" - Denman at Pendrell
[Click on image for larger view]

Thursday, November 3, 2011

November 03, 2011

This sketch is of Pendrell and Denman Streets looking at the Tanpopo Sushi Restaurant from outside the Care Point Clinic (Doctors Office). Finished and watercolour version of yesterday B/W unfinished one. This part of the Vancouver West-end Sketchbook and now marks the half-way point of the book. :-)

"Tanpopo Sushi Restaurant"
[Click on the image for larger view]

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November 02, 2011

This sketch is of Pendrell and Denman Streets looking at the Tanpopo Sushi Restaurant from outside the Care Point Clinic (Doctors Office). It is another sketch in the Vancouver West-end Sketchbook. Currently unfinished and only black and white ink sketch so far.

"Tanpopo Sushi"
[Click on image for larger view]

Monday, October 31, 2011

West-End Sketchbook in Progress (more)

Here is the watercolour version of yesterdays sketch for the Vancouver West-end Sketchbook.

"Babylon Cafe and Others"
[Click on image for larger view]

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Back To West-end Book Sketches

It was about time to get the Vancouver West-End Sketches book moving again. So I have braved the wet and grey weather and sketched a section of Denman Street. At the moment I have been able to do most of the black and white ink sketch and have not got around to dabbing on the fall colours or those of the storefront awnings. In previous sketches that were panoramic (double page) I had drawn right through the fold where the pages join. In this case I wanted to avoid that and so I decided to sketch this as a diptych (two separate frames forming one scene). This took a little more planning and forced me to sketch from the inside fold part of each page outwards.

Sketching has been a bit of a strain as early last week I picked up a virus in the left eye. This has resulted in my left eyelid staying open and watering a lot and forcing my right eye to keep refocusing and blinking. Passers-by must think I am winking at them... I better watch out or I will have some guys following me home :-(  Anyway this is leading to eye strain and I cannot sketch long periods without a lot of breaks. The Doctor says wait a week and see it it clears up. Easy for him, he'll not be the guy with the broken nose if I wink at a girl with her boyfriend in tow :-)

Here it is unfinished, but gives me some proof I have made some progress again towards the book. :-)

"Babylon Cafe and Others"
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Friday, October 28, 2011

Great book on texture with pen/ink and watercolour

"Truck Model"
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"Claudia Nice Book"
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"Old Shed"
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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October 24, 2011

From a photo taken earlier.

"Tugboat and Logs on the Fraser River"
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Sunday, October 23, 2011

October 22, 2011

This was sketched with pen and ink with watercolour of "The Coach Inn" in Lesbury, Northumberland, UK as gift for a birthday gift. The Sketch page forms a birthday card when the facing page is folded back.

"The Coach Inn" - Lesbury, Northumberland, UK.
[Click on image for larger view]

Something A Little Different

I decided to try sketching something in high contrast. These were the last of the local poppies before the rain washed them away.

"Last of This Years Poppies"
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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Granville Island Photo's

Photo's from my Sketchcrawl#33 trip to Granville Island Public Market.

Girls and Pidgeons - three young ladies feeding the pidgeons right in her hand. Les Finnigan (busker) in the foreground providing the musical entertainment.

Kids and Pidgeons - Kids fascinated by the masses of pidgeons on the dock behind the Granville Island Public Market. See the False Creek skyline in the background.

Miss Pied Piper#1 and #2 - Little girl was very popular with the all the birds (pidgeons, seagulls and sparrows) as she dragged a bad of bird feed around the dock area behind the market.

Les Finnigan #1 - Solo Acoustic Guitar player busks behind the market.  I felt sorry for him trying to play while the kids were running past, the pidgeons kept taking of in flocks around him and the kids dripped ice cream into his open guitar case. There is a constant stream of buskers performing in this spot. As I understand it they pay for a 3 hour time slot. There is also another busker spot in the "Triangle" in front of the market.

Les Finnigan #2 - Les performs while you can see the gradual build up of pidgeons and gulls, with little miss Pied Piper loading up with bird feed.

Girls and Pidgeons
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Kids and Pidgeons - False Creek Skyline
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Miss Pied Piper #1
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Miss Pied Piper #2
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Les Finnigan #1
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Les Finnigan #2 Solo Acoustic Guitar
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Sketchcrawl#33 - More

On Saturday October 15, 2011 I had been sketching at Granville Island Public Market for my contributions to the World Wide Sketchcrawl #33. After starting at 8:00am in the cold damp I was not feeling very well by 1:30 in the afternoon. I had already done three pencil and watercolour sketches. To get warm I had gone inside the market to do one last sketch. Unlike the other sketch locations, there was nowhere to sit and so I changed my sketch style to suit the situation. I had to work quickly and therefore decided to use a drawing pen instead of pencil. The sketch led itself to a splash of simple watercolours.  I did not get completely finished before I felt so ill I had to leave. The sketch was finished after being home for a while and resting up, but I did not make many changes. The delay in finishing allowed me to consider the sketch and allowed me to make the decision not to colour all the scene. I think this was the correct decision.

"Market Inside" - Granville Island Public Market
[Click on image for larger view]

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sketchcrawl#33 - Granville Island Market

Sketches done for the World Wide Sketchcrawl #33 - Vancouver Granville Island Public Market.

"Granville Island Public Market"
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"Early Morning Produce Delivery"
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"Chase the Seagulls"
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Sketchcrawl #33 - Musketeer Statues

The following sketches were done from photos's supplied by Christine (Tatie) Raban. They are sketches of the famous Four Musketeers Statues located in the city of Condom, France. Christine and others were sketching these "live" today in the city as part of the World Wide Sketchcrawl #33. Condom is the home of the Musketeers that were included in the various stories, and as I understand it there is still a Squadron of real Musketeers in the city. The first sketch was a quick one done using a sharpened chopstick and Mont Blanc fountain pen ink only. The second sketch is done in pencil with watercolour applied.

"Musketeer Statue" - Condom, France
From supplied photo
[Click on image for larger view]

"Four Musketeers Statues" - Condom France
From supplied photo
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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Granville Island Pre-Sketchcrawl

This sketch was done at the end of September on one of my visits to the Granville Island Public Market. I finally finished adding the colour last night while watching a movie.

Lego Boy's Mom tells me you can't just buy plain Lego blocks anymore. Apparently all Lego is sold in specialty kits with this one being the Firetruck and gear. All done to ensure the parent has to keep buying the latest kit and spending more hard-earned cash... Aaah Marketing, what a wonderful process. :-)

[edit] Oh! after publishing this post... I see that the photography work of mine was pretty bad. The original is a nice pencil and watercolour sketch, but my photo makes it a bit edgy. :-(

"Lego Boy & His Mom"
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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sam Kee Building

Sketch done as a birthday gift to a friend I have known for 26 years. This was done on September 16, 2011 as a black and white ink and pencil sketch. The significance of the building is that it is only 4.5 ft wide at the street level and 6.5ft wide at the second level. There are stores under the sidewalk such as the barber shop. The building was pushed back when West Pender Street was widened.

"Sam Kee Building - Vancouver Chinatown"
[Click on image for larger view]

Monday, October 3, 2011

October 02, 2011

On a pre-Sketchcrawl #33 trip to Granville Island Public Market on Sunday October 2nd, I noticed this little boy with his juice box. While all the other kids were running around chasing the seagulls and pigeons, this fella was just standing there enjoying his juice box and ignoring the ruckus around him. Sketch was done quickly in Pencil and watercolour splashed on after he had moved away.

"Juicebox Boy"
[Click image for larger view]

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sketchcrawl 33 Prep - Granville Island

Right after I had done the first sketch of "Lindsay May at Granville Island", I had started a second sketch. Although this is not IMHO as good a view of Lindsay, I decided to finish it. On a recommendation from a (fellow sketcher from Ottawa, Ontario) John Wright I decided to add a splash of colour to hi-light Lindsay in the sketch. The sketch is attached below.

For those that are not familiar with singer/songwriter Lindsay May, I suggest you watch out for her once her CD is released. This young lady has a fantastic voice and creates meaningful lyrics for her songs. Two of her songs "Lie To You" and "Star in the Sky" have been stuck in my head all week. I suggest you check out Lindsay's Website for her songs and current activities.

"Lindsay May #2 - at the Granville Island Market"
[Click on image for larger view]

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

1001 Journals [Joined]

Today I signed up and joined 1001 Journals, a series of travelling journals where you do a few pages and then pass it on to the next person in line. I am in line to receive Journal #5190 and #5191. Lets see how it goes.

September 27, 2011

Yesterday Lindsay May posted my sketch on her web-site. :-)

Monday, September 26, 2011

September 24, 2011 [more]

Saturday when I came back from my visit to Granville Island, I ran into Bob my neighbour. He was out raking leaves (yes.. it is that time of year already). Bob owns the Tudor house next door at 1995 Comox Street that I sketched as part of the "Vancouver West-end Sketches 2011" sketchbook I am working on. I showed Bob my West-end sketchbook and he was really interested. He said he would like to buy a copy when or if I publish it. Bob indicated that he used to own the English Bay Inn across the street but sold it and bought this house. I was asking a little about the existing house he is in and he told me that it is sub-divided into four suites. Bob lives in the upstairs, there are two suites on the ground level and one basement suite. The basement suite has a walk out, so is not totally below ground. The house is fairly large so actually has 3 distinct addresses. The basement suite has 1995 Comox Street address with an entrance onto Comox. The two ground-level suites have separate Chilco Street addresses. He tells me he is adding an extension at the back of the house too.

Bob also indicated to me the harp I saw being pushed along the seawall was not his. A young guy used to store his harp in Bobs basement suite until someone moved in. The young guy plays the harp often in Stanley Park.

I did not want to hold Bob up from his chores (leaf raking), so I left him with the promise to talk again soon and get some details about the house and the English Bay Inn.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

September 24, 2011

I have been busy between work and doing personal sketches and Birthday cards for friends, so my posting has been sparse. Anyway, in preparation for the World-wide Sketchcrawl No. 33 on October 15, 2011, I went down to the Granville Island Public Market to scope out the location. I am hoping I can attract a number of other local Vancouver sketchers to come out and join me at the Granville Island Market for the Sketchcrawl.

In honesty I did not get to do any on-site sketching, but had my unsophisticated little point-and-click digital camera with me. I was mostly there to check out the facilities, what to expect to sketch later and just relax. Lots of interesting people, things and places to explore. I think this will be a good place for our Sketchcrawl.

Something that caught my attention was a young lady, Lindsay May a singer songwriter who was out singing playing both guitar and mandolin, at the back of the public market. I listened, watched and clicked a few photos. When I got home after the outing, I decided to do a sketch from a photo of Lindsay singing. I planned then to use the sketch as a mini-ad on the Sketchcrawl 33 Vancouver forum thread to attract local Vancouver sketchers to come out. I did the following sketch in pen and ink (black and white) thinking I may add a splash of watercolour later to the original. At the moment I think it looks just fine as a black and white sketch.

"Lindsay May at the Granville Island Public Market"
[Click on the image for larger view]

Sunday, September 18, 2011

September 16, 2011

BC Hydro was working on the power transformers at the back of my apartment building. I was watching out my office window and decided to sketch them hard at work. They were working further down the back lane so it was necessary for me to take in the scene in detail using binoculars. This is a new one for me sketching and flipping back and forward looking at my page and then looking out through the binoc's. Unfortunately using these binoculars flattened the focal plane so close and distance items got squished together losing some of the normal perspective. The poles and power lines were annoying as they blocked some of the view of the truck but were never-the-less part of the action so they stayed. This seems to add some of the charm - IMHO. Anyway I kept at it and here is the result. Watercolour was added after the workers had gone but they are reasonably true due to some notes.

Hmm.. some of the neighbours must think I am a peeping-Tom or peeping-Dave (peeping and sketching combo). LOL

"Our BC Hydro at Work"
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Friday, September 16, 2011

Short Break

The last few days I have taken a short break from sketching stuff for public consumption. I have been busy doing sketches and stuff for upcoming birthdays etc. Once I have done this, I will return to sketching more of the West-end.

Also am busy getting ready for Sketchcrawl 33 - coming up on October 15th 2011.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

September 14, 2011

While waiting for a response from a client today, I noticed a guy washing windows on the side of one of the high-rise apartments nearby. This one was hanging down the side of the building at the Stanley Park end of Nelson Street in Vancouver's West-end. Anyway here he was merrily wobbling back and forward with his bucket and squeegee hanging from a rope. When I first noticed him, he was doing windows on the 12th floor... yikes not my kind of job. "I don't do Windows" is a common computer joke for us types who prefer Mac's.. :-)

Anyway out came the sketchbook and pens .. I divided the sketchbook page into 6 sections so that I could force myself to keep each "window" view figure sketch the same relative size. Tried to keep things really simple, not much detail as this guy was moving pretty quickly. I had read somewhere on an Urban Sketcher Symposium site that they recommend keeping sketches simple and that it is generally okay to leave out unimportant details. They suggested that the important thing when sketching figures is to show the activity and create interest, definitely detail sketching the lint falling out of the guys pocket is not something that is needed in the drawing. :-)

Whew.. that was exhausting trying to keep up with him :-)

So here it is with a splash of watercolour...

Oops.. I used yesterdays date on the drawing.. I'll have to correct that..guess I lost a day somehow.. :-)

"Windows Professional 2011"
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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

An Old Watercolour Painting

A friend today was talking about "Hummingbirds" and this reminded me of a watercolour painting I did many years ago. It never got framed and was just hidden away in my watercolour paper drawer. Anyway, I dusted it off and did a quick photo to share. The original was drawn looking through the living room window at my parents house in Belleville, Ontario. With the passing of both my parents, the house now belongs jointly to my brother Keith, his wife Ann Marie and I. At the time of drawing and painting, we had frequent visits from a number of different types of hummingbirds as they were attracted to the flowering shrub by the front deck, and the hummingbird feeder that my father kept stocked with some syrupy food. This painting I think was done in 1998 or 1999 but I cannot remember exactly when.  Ugh! I have left some kind of mucky fingerprint on the painting. I guess at some point I will have to carefully remove it.

Well according to the hummingbird official web-site, the only version frequenting the eastern US and Canada was the Ruby-throated. But this does not look like the pictures of the Ruby-throated hummingbird, but it is what I saw. I suppose some of the coloration seen was due to reflected light from the environment. The other hummingbirds appear to have been females.

[Click on image for larger view]

Monday, September 12, 2011

Little Blue Sketchbook

More sketches in my "Little Blue Sketchbook". Also shown is the sketchbook cover.

Sketchbook Cover

"Robson & Bute - Rainy Day"
"Starbucks - More Customers"

"Blow Dry and Fluff"
"Starbucks - Chance Meeting"

West-end Sketchbook in Progress

As indicated earlier, I have been accumulating sketches of the Vancouver West-end with the intent of publishing a limited copy run. This is to chronicle my view of places and things in the West-end during 2011. Below are photo's of the West-end Sketchbook as it sits today. At this time there are 12 sketches in the book with facing pages ready to receive notes about each sketch.  I definitely need to get out and do more sketches in the book and keep the process moving before 2011 ends .. LOL. In the next few days I will also be interviewing some of the building owners to get more specifics with the intent to write the facing page notes. Shown below are 5 of the sketch pages and the sketchbook cover.
[Click on each image for larger view]

Sketchbook Covers 
For those interested, the cover of the West-end 
sketchbook was done using a photo printed image
of one of the sketches, applied to the front with
double-sided transfer tape, then clear laminating
film was applied to protect the image. The other
smaller sketchbooks had origami paper applied
to each cover using double-sided transfer tape. 
This was done to make each sketchbook unique
and readily identified in my bag. Not sure yet 
whether I will apply laminating film for protection.
All 5 of the sketchbooks shown are "Moleskine"
Watercolour sketchbooks.

West-end Sketchbook Cover
I decided to add the photo to the front of the sketch
book and applied laminating film to make it more 
durable when "out in the field".

First Sketch page - English Bay Inn

Second Sketch page - Hirshfield House

Third Sketch page - 1995 Comox Street
Laughing Statues

Roedde House

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sketchcrawl Wall of Fame

On Sept 2nd, I started my "Sketchcrawl Wall of Fame" by framing and putting up a few sketches from a few sketchcrawlers around the globe. Each framed sketch has permission from the original artist with the explicit promise this is for my home use only with credits to the artist. Two artists included so far are James Robertson (San Francisco, USA) and Somsesh Kumar (Bangalore, India).

I hope to get permission from a number of other sketchcrawl artists in the next few weeks and then frame them too. The images framed are photo prints with the exception of two original sketches by James Robertson.

Note: These are NOT sketches done by me but rather by other artists.. I cannot claim any credit for these great pieces.

Somsesh has posted the following on his blog at
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Saturday, September 3, 2011

September 3, 2011

I was sitting here on the couch looking out the window and checking my "eyelids for holes" when I noticed Fluffy was listening intently to two sparrows chattering away outside. This went on for about half an hour before the birds flew off. I imagined that my dear cat was catching up on the local gossip. I guess the birds knew they were safe through the window and Fluffy knew there was no chance of grabbing them, so she was content to stare and listen.

So I grabbed the first sketchbook and pencil I could find and drew this sketch. Not the best photo, as I find my camera does not pick up pencil well. Never-the-less, here it is.

"Catching Up With The Local Gossip"
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The birthday card version for my cousin in the UK
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