Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August 29, 2011

Sketch for Monday August 29, 2011 is of the Nicola Dry Cleaners building in Vancouver's West-end. This building is located at 996 Nicola Street (corner of Nelson and Nicola streets). Nestled between high-rise apartments and heritage buildings, this dry cleaner is a neighbourhood favourite. On the corner and hard to miss, the store has been there at least 15 years, if not more. They do one hour dry cleaning and shirt laundry for reasonable cost. If you don't feel like walking to Denman Street and dropping off a load there, this is the next best thing. That is if you don't want to haul the load to Fletcher's Fabricare (Dry Cleaning) at West Broadway and Arbutus :-) ... okay.. not related .. just teasing.

"Nicola Dry Cleaning"
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August 28, 2011

Sketch for Sunday August 28, 2011 is of Fire Hall #6 in Vancouver's West-end. Fire Hall # 6 was opened March 1, 1908 and is located at the corner of Nelson and Nicola streets. Fire Hall #6 is still a fully functional fire station serving the West-end neighbourhood. When the Fire Hall was built in 1908, it was thought to be the first in North America to be built for motorized fire engines.

"Fire Hall #6"
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August 27, 2011

Sketch for Saturday August 27, 2011 is of Roedde House and Museum located at Barclay and Broughton streets in Vancouver's West-end. Roedde House was built for Gustav and Matilda Roedde in 1893. The style of house is "Queen Anne Revival". Gustav Roedde was born in 1860 in Grossbodungen, Thuringen, Germany and trained as a bookbinder in Leipzig. He immigrated to Cleveland Ohio USA in 1881 and married Matilda Cassebohm. The couple moved to San Francisco then Victoria, British Columbia and finally Vancouver. In 1886, Gustav opened the city's first bookbindery. By 1893, the Roeddes were able to afford to have a new house built at 1415 Barclay Street (now labelled "the Roedde House". In 1976, Roedde House was designated a heritage building and in 1984 the house was painstakingly restored and filled with authentic furnishings.

"Roedde House and Museum"
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Friday, August 26, 2011

August 25, 2011

A couple more sketches done in my smaller - handy to carry - 8.25" x 5" Moleskine sketchbook. Henceforth this book will be referred to as my "Little Blue Sketchbook" as all sketches to-date in it have been sketched using a #6 watercolour brush and a bottle of blue Mont Blanc fountain pen ink. Gets a bit messy on the hands if not careful and I get a few stares from passers-by. Anyway, these two sketches done sitting on bus stop bench at Granville and West Broadway in Vancouver. I had just got out of a meeting with a client at Starbucks at that intersection. The sketches are of two different buses on the same route. The second bus I did not finish the details until a day later, but the first was done on-site.

"Granville Bus - 1" and "Granville Bus-2"
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I have found that it is easier to start with the outline with a mixture of 75% water and 25% ink and rough in the area. Quickly sketch the window locations with this same light ink mix and the wheels and shadow. Fortunately both buses did two circuits while I was there, so picked up details missed on second round. Next took 100% ink and sketched in all the darks for contrast. Then taking a 50/50 mix of ink and water did the middle-tone. Careful to leave white for the numbers and lettering. Then carefully negative painted in the letters and numbers. I did forego the background as I did not have the time to do that. I was starting to get fried in the sun. (Need to invest in a wide-brimmed painters hat.. LOL.

Still a bit OCD with the details and tightness of the sketch.. I am working on that next to loosen up.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

August 24, 2011

More  brush and ink sketches. These two done at Starbucks on the corner of Granville and W. Broadway. One of these I informally labelled "Mr Spock meets Dr. Mc Coy".

"Starbucks" - Granville / Broadway
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August 22, 2011

Monday's sketches from the corner of Robson and Bute streets on a rainy afternoon.

"Rainy Day 1 on Robson Street"
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"Rainy Day 2 on Robson Street"
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Monday, August 22, 2011

Brush and Ink Sketches

I am finding the brush and ink sketching is a little tricky. Firstly the ink I am using (Mont Blanc Blue fountain pen ink) is a little tricky to control. Once the ink is down there is no erasing. Successive applications of ink makes the area darker and once added cannot easily be lightened again. It is also difficult for me to get used to just one colour - but I like the result. It is teaching me each day to look at the different shades of a scene.

Just imagine if you could only see in shades of grey..

Brush and Ink - p1 & 2
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Brush and Ink - p3 & 4
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Brush and Ink - p5 & 6
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Sunday, August 21, 2011

August 20, 2011

Today's sketch is of the Haywood Bandstand that sits in Alexandra Park in the West-end of Vancouver. This bandstand is used during the spring and summer to hold free concerts. The concerts usually take place on Sunday afternoons from 1:00pm to 3:00pm, with the following Saturday as the scheduled date should it rain on the Sunday. The bandstand built in 1915 is controlled and serviced by the Vancouver Parks office and sits in the park triangle formed by Beach Ave / Bidwell St / Burnaby St.  Please excuse the photo of the sketch, I just could not get the contrast and details to show that are in the actual drawing.

"Haywood Bandstand" - Alexandra Park
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Saturday, August 20, 2011

August 19, 2011

Today I tried experimenting with sketches with only brush and ink. The brush used was a standard #6 watercolour brush and the ink was blue Mont Blanc fountain pen ink. The idea was to sketch without my regular crutch of resorting to watercolour. The sketches were done in under ten minutes each. Today I broke in a new sketch pad - Moleskine 8.25" x 5" Watercolour book. I normally favour the larger Moleskine 11.25" x 8" Watercolour books. I will continue in parallel with the larger Moleskine for my regular sketches while using the smaller for experimentation.

"Nestea Lemon"

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

August 17, 2011

Todays sketch is of a building at the corner of Comox and Denman streets. Denman Street buildings were created when the Robson / Denman / Davie tram cars were installed in the early 1900's to carry residents of the West-end into downtown. Originally the West-end held the rich Vancouver elite, but as they gradually moved to the Shaunassey area up Granville, the West-end became a home for the middle class. The West-end soon began to fill with transient workers and new arrivals. This meant that the houses were sub-divided to house the extra people. The stores were created at street level to service the area, and the owners and tenants lived above or behind the stores. This happens today, for example the owner of the Central Bistro lives above the Legendary Noodle Restaurant. Note the balconies and terraces created in the upper levels to replace the lack of garden space.

"Legendary Noodle"
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Sunday, August 14, 2011

August 14, 2011

Sunday.. a day of rest... so I only did a cartoon today. :-)
While out sketching yesterday, I saw one of the oddest things on the seawall.

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Added: Aug 17, 2011 - according to a friend of mine, the harp belongs to my neighbour at 1995 Comox (one of the Tudor style houses sketched). Bob the owner of the house has this guy take the harp along the seawall where it is to be played. As I understand it Bob, also used to be the owner of the English Bay Inn (also sketched). I will show Bob the sketches in the next few days and confirm all this is true.

August 13, 2011

Saturday's sketch of the "Laughing Statues" in Morton Park. The statues, called “A-Maze-in Laughter”, depict a series of laughing men sculpted in the image of Beijing-based artist Yue Minjun, a leading figure in China’s ‘Cynical Realism’ movement, which began in the 1990s. The movement grew out of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, in which emphasis on individual expression broke away from the dominant collective mindset of the era. 14 figures each standing roughly 8' tall sculpted in 7 different positions, with bared teeth and squinty eyes. The piece made its Canadian debut as part of the Vancouver Biennale, a citywide public art exhibit that will feature Minjun’s work and those of 30 other artists until June 2011. The “A-Maze-in Laughter” exhibit also served as the site of the Biennale’s official launch on October 27, 2009. Although initially the sculptures were to be in Morton Park (junction of Beach Ave. / Denman St. / Davie St.) until June 2011, they are still here being enjoyed by all.
"Laughing Statues"
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The photo does not show the sketch well as the subtle pencil marks do not come through well. The photo also does not pick up the colours as clearly as I expected. It looks much better in my "Vancouver West-end Sketchbook".

For me this was a tough sketch to do.. so many people wandering around in the way, and it was hot in the afternoon. I ended up sketching the statues first in pencil because the did not move. I was going to sketch them as separate groups of sculptures, but then quickly decided to show all 14 statutes as a double page view. After sketching the statues, I then added the people overtop as they arrived one-by-one. Ha! People certainly like to play with them, hanging all sorts of stuff from the hands. Not just kids but adults too. Finally I added the foliage in the background and the far background. The colour was added last.

Friday, August 12, 2011

August 12, 2011

Sketch du Jour.. Girl and bicycle were done as rough pencil outline as she rode by, but rest of scene and colour application completed after she had fled the scene. The sketch was done from a bench in the Chilco Street parkette just below my apartment.
"Girl on Bicycle"
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Thursday, August 11, 2011

August 10, 2011

Todays sketch - "The Residency" at 1049 Chilco Street isn't the prettiest building in the West-end, just one ugly oblong block of concrete but it has been my home since April 2000.   The Residency located at Chilco and Comox, was built in 1956 as a low cost development project. The building has 4 claims to fame: Firstly, it was built on the site of some really steamy celebrity party's in the early 1950's. Secondly the building has huge almost floor-to-ceiling and room-width windows. Thirdly, Chilco is blocked off to vehicular traffic at that point and so the building looks onto a beautiful parkette. Lastly it was built and designed by the famous Vancouver Architect Arthur Erickson (his first building) with his partner Geoffrey Massey. The Residency has been described as a white concrete six-storey Modernist shoebox with large letterbox windows. Erikson was quoted as saying "I'm sure we didn't want to repeat it, or even own up to it," and "I guess the challenges were technical, not artistic.". "It had to fit the rectangular site and the six storey maximum zoning by-laws (which were amended to allow even higher structures in the same year that The Residency was completed). There wasn't much we could do. Make the façade as simple as possible, have as many windows and as much floor space as possible."

"The Residency"
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Other Arthur Erickson buildings include the following: Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada; Government of Canada pavilion, Expo '70, Osaka; University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, CanadaMuseum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada; Eglinton West Subway Station, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Yorkdale Subway Station, Toronto; Robson Square, Provincial Law Courts, and Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver;  Bank of Canada Building addition, Ottawa, Canada (with Marani Rounthwaite & Dick); Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto; Napp Laboratories, Cambridge, England; King's Landing, Toronto; One California Plaza, Los Angeles, California;  Canadian Chancery, Washington, DCMarkham Civic Centre, Markham, Ontario (with Richard Stevens Architects Limited); Convention Center, San Diego, California; The Kingbridge Centre, King City, Ontario; Fresno City Hall, Fresno, California; McGaugh Hall, University of California, Irvine, California;  Two California Plaza, Los Angeles, California; Walter C. Koerner Library, University of British ColumbiaMuseum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington, USA;  Waterfall building, Vancouver;  RCMP Heritage Centre, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; Ritz-Carlton Vancouver, Vancouver (cancelled); and  The Erickson, Vancouver.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

August 9, 2011

Today's sketch is of the Tudor style house at 1995 Comox Street in the Vancouver West-end.

"1995 Comox Street"
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Monday, August 8, 2011

August 7, 2011

Today's sketch is of Hirshfield House at 1963 Comox Street in the Vancouver West-end. This Heritage home was built 1910 and is a Craftsman style home. It was built for Alfred C. Hirshfield, a Vancouver real estate broker and businessman.

"Hirshfield House"
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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Just Thinking!

Okay, so no sketch on this post.. relax and read on.

I have been thinking lately about the way I use pen and ink in my sketches. Being somewhat of a control freak, I like the control provided by using a set of technical pens for sketching. Seeing other more experienced and skilled artists sketching has made me think of how much more expressive their drawings are when the use brush and ink, or as some do use a stick to apply the ink. Firstly, using a brush enables the artist to vary the line created and provide very interesting effects. Using a stick or "found object" to apply the ink, gives the lines a less controlled look.

Anyway, I feel a bit chicken-hearted and resistant to leaving my comfort zone. I will need to experiment in my sketchbooks and try both of these techniques.

I have also began running multiple sketchbooks in parallel, and just recently started a separate one for sketches of the Vancouver West-end.


August 6, 2011

While "locked in" to the West-end due to he road closures for the Celebration of Light Fireworks, I decided to sketch local scenes around home. This is my rendition of the English Bay Inn at 1968 Comox Street, Vancouver as of this date.

This Tudor house acts as a Bed and Breakfast Inn and has four bedrooms and two fully self-contained suites, each furnished with rare antiques. The view shown here is the front of the house, but the rear opens up to a private patio and garden. The Inn sits between two high-rise apartment buildings at the corner of Comox and Chilco Streets in the West-end.

"English Bay Inn" - Vancouver
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Friday, August 5, 2011

August 3rd, 2011

Sketch done of the back of the apartment building at 2044 Nelson Street, Vancouver. Sketch done from my office window.

"Shelf Life"

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Crude But Useful

Since I am generally proportion-deficient when sketching but want my architectural sketches to be somewhat realistic in dimensions, I put together this crude measuring device. I call it a "Measurybob". It is simply a pair of unbroken wooden chop-sticks with markings of 1", 1/2" and 1/4" increments. By holding this at arms length, I can quickly size up the relative dimensions of my sketch subject. It is cheap, handy to carry, easy to replace and can attach nicely to a pocket or bag sleeve. :-)

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August 1, 2011

Until I get a chance to get back out and do some more architectural or scenic sketches, I am continuing with small sketches around the home. I was watching the cat doing some exploring and thought the following scene was relatively funny.

"Killer Piranha Eats My Cat"
Fish Bed created for Fluffy by
Debra Dougal (Salem, Oregon)
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