Saturday, December 1, 2012

Faces - Who dat??

A short while ago I decided to experiment with pencil-only sketches of faces. I started a new sketchbook 7.5" x 11" (Watercolour paper slightly rough) dedicated to these faces and restricted myself to three pencils (4H, HB and 2B). I tried to capture the individual nuances of each subject.
Let's see if you recognize the individuals so far in the first 6. I expect to continue adding new ones on a regular basis and see if I can improve as I move forward.

Face# 01
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Face# 02
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Face# 03
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Face# 04
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Face# 05
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Face# 06 - Still in progress

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sea Village-4

"Sea Village #4"
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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sea Village-3

Another sketch of Sea Village done Sat Oct 20th 2012.

"Sea Village - Sketch 3"

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sketchcrawl 37 - Sea Village

I was unable to attend Sketchcrawl 37 on the official day as I was otherwise occupied. Besides, it was raining hard that day and therefore would have been miserable weather for sketching.

I decided to do my sketches for Sketchcrawl 37 on Tuesday Oct 16th when the weather was much better. Since I had plans to pick up some supplies at Opus Art Store on Granville Isand, I decided to sketch the Sea Village of boathouses nearby on the island.

Here are my pencil and watercolour sketches for the day. I was sketching solo and being a Tuesday it was quite quiet. I was able to sit in the sun on a choice of benches along the dock. So many straight lines here, gave me lots of practice doing manual line work. i did a light sketch in 7H pencil to get things sorted out and finished with a HB pencil and a light brushing of watercolour.

PS: I have tried out the Opus store brand of watercolour sketchbook and it works real well for me. They have done a great job with the hard cover, double-wire binding and ribbon close. The paper is 140lb/300gsm watercolour paper that seems to work well for sketching and takes a light watercolour application okay. The sketchbook comes in a clearview re-sealable bag which is nice to keep the water off the book when it is in my bag being transported. This is the smaller of the two sketchbook sizes available. Each sketchbook has 20 watercolour sheets.

"Sea Village -1"
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"Sea Village - 2"
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Building Next Door Gets Re-Paint

"Building Next Door Get's Re-Painted"
View from my studio window

Friday, October 12, 2012

Brother' Visit

"Airport - Arrival"

"Visit by my brother Keith"
Tuning my guitar

Monday, September 3, 2012

Jackson - Master Mechanic [Final]

Jackson - Master Mechanic [Final]

Well finally finished and declared done... :-)

"Jackson - Master Mechanic"
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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sketchcrawl 36 - late postings

Sketchcrawl 36 late postings

Unfortunately I was pretty tired before I went out to do Sketchcrawl 36 so I did not fair well that day.
I made a feeble attempt at the sketch immediately below and intended to try out some markers.
Had to give up as I kept falling asleep and was feeling kind of sick in the sun.

The second sketch below, was a result of some really rough pencil scratchings while talking to Garman. I decided yesterday to finish the sketch using a Pilot drawing pen and a single Derwent Graphitint Warm Grey pencil. So here it is in Black and White.

"Devonian Harbour Park - Vancouver, BC"
Unfinished as I was feeling ill and had to leave - here it is such as it was"
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"Devonian Harbour Park - Vancouver, BC"
Original very rough pencil under-sketch done on Sketchcrawl 36 day - this sketch was first of the day
Completed and inked 11-Aug-2012
This sketch dedicated to Mark Fletcher & Sara Chang - friends and inspiration
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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Jackson - Master Mechanic (Part 4)

Jackson - Master Mechanic (Part 4)

More progress - still have a way to go before being complete. Need to add shadows, a bit more detail and scuff up the garage floor... way to clean :-)

"Jackson - Master Mechanic" - Part 4 - 01-Jul-2012
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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Jackson - Master Mechanic (Part 3)

Jackson - Master Mechanic

More progress but still basically blocking in colour.

"Jackson - Master Mechanic" - In Progress - 24 Jun 2012
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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Jackson - Master Mechanic (part 2)

Jackson - Master Mechanic

Updated photo
"Jackson - Master Mechanic" - In progress 20-Jun-2012
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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Jackson - Master Mechanic

A friend of mine has a very inquisitive son, Jackson. Yesterday I started to paint him as he was busy helping fix his Dad's motorcycle. I am sure his Dad appreciates the help :-)

Here is the painting as it stands today in progress with the start of some colours being blocked in. This is the first time I have tried painting watercolour directly onto aluminum composite panel. The first step was to sand and prime the panel with watercolour ground (gesso). This seems to yield a surface somewhat like canvas but without the flex. It feels strange working on the panel as it always feels cool to the touch. The watercolour gesso also tends to dull down the paint a bit so I had to go brighter and bolder than I would normally do.

As you can see I have not yet drawn in the rest of the motorcycle and the foreground. I first wanted to define Jackson and the dominant elements. As the painting develops, I will need to harmonize the colours. The orange tarp will need to be toned down and be a mixture of golds and reds. Jackson's hoodie will become a rustier brown and the oil in the pan will need to have some browns added. After the painting has been developed further then I will concentrate on defining the facial details and the hair more clearly.

The panel is 24" x 18".

"Jackson - Master Mechanic" - In Progress 10-Jun-2012
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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Say What!

I was sitting here yesterday munching on some fruit and it suddenly hit me how everything these days is catalogued and bar coded. All the fruit in front of me was labelled with bar codes and product numbers to help the grocery stores figure out what they were selling. I just wondered what people did before all this technology took over and what they would have thought about all these stickers and bar codes on their produce.

Well inspired by my friend Brian and his "So I Noticed This" blog I pondered some more and thought about where this was all going. Today those annoying stickers, tomorrow why not Genetically Engineered or Modified produce. Why not grow the produce with the bar codes right in the darn food and save having to print and stick on all these tags. LOL

So after having a break from sketching and painting for a long while, I thought this would make a good piece to practice on. So I got out my blue Mont Blanc fountain pen ink and sharpened up a handy chopstick. The sketch was all done in ink with only the stick as an application tool. I kind of enjoy doing this as the stick and ink are hard to control and it makes me concentrate but keep things relatively simple. The single colour helps me concentrate on hard and soft edges.

"From Bar Coded Stickers to Genetically Modified Produce"

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Urban Sketching

I have known about a group of Urban Sketchers around the world for a couple of years but only recently saw this article about Urban Sketching. ""

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Vancouver Contemporary Artists Group

At the Sketchcrawl 35 event I met a number of very keen artists that came out to sketch. About 10 of them belonged to Meetup! The Vancouver Contemporary Artists Group. I decided to sign up as they have some very interesting ways of meeting, discussing art and drawing. As of today I have not attended any of their events but intend to do so.

"The Vancouver Contemporary Artists is a group of active professional and passionate visual artists, (The visual arts are art forms that create works which are primarily visual in nature, such as painting, ceramics, drawing, sculpture, architecture, printmaking, photography) who work in their studios and would like to get together with other artists alike to talk about art, their work and other artists' works, who would like to have studio visits for viewing, discussion and critique, and who would like to be actively involved in the art community (opening exhibition, gallery visits)."

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sketchcrawl 35

Today is Sketchcrawl 35 day an here is my first sketch of the day. This is my first attempt at doing an Arist Trading Card (ATC).

"Cactus Cub Cafe" - English Bay

"Artist Trading Cards - 1"

"Artist Trading Cards - 2"

"Sketchers at the Laughing Statues"

"Vendor at English Bay"

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Reports of Sketcher Gangs on Skytrain

There have been reports of Sketch gangs roaming the Vancouver Skytrain on Sunday nights. Apparently these vicious gang members blazenly whip out their sketchbooks and draw unsuspecting Skytrain riders. Is the Skytrain safe for the public to ride anymore?

Strangely these unsuspecting riders do not seem to mind having their profiles and poses sketched as they head sleepily home.

Now each Sunday evening starting at 4pm, members of the Vancouver Skytrain Sketch Group meet at the Waterfront Station (main concourse) under the big blue T - they wait for 15 minutes for the group to gather then hop on the Skytrain for for a few hours of serious sketching.

So if you have the urge to just go out and draw, go and join this group on Sunday night and have fun. All are welcome.

Thumbs up for the Vancouver Skytrain Sketch Group. :-)

For those interested there is also a rival gang in Toronto called the Toronto Subway Sketch Group

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Displaying Art Prints

Last week I started putting some of my prints up on the wall in my apartment hallway. Still a few more pieces to be hung, but this is a start. It gets them off the floors :-) where the rest of them are sitting. These  prints are the ones mentioned in an earlier blog post that were digitally printed on Cold Pressed Watercolour paper and mounted on aluminum composite panel. See how thin this sturdy panel is and how it hangs cleanly on the wall without glass or framing. A bit of a change from the traditional method of hanging art.

"The First Three Prints Hung"
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"Another Angle"
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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Christmas in March

Yesterday it felt like I was getting ready for Christmas. I was wrapping and packaging 10 paintings ready to be sent to their new homes. Now all I need to do is take them to the courier or post office :-)

Each package was personally inspected by my little furry buddy as she had to lay down on each package and sniff each one. I think she has some kind of brown paper fetish :-) No there are no drugs in the package and no she is not a drug finding cat working for the DEA.

I thought I would just impart some words of wisdom about shipping un-framed watercolours.

  • 300lb Watercolour paper just does not want to roll up and fit in a mailing tube. :-(
  • So you need to ship the painting flat and rigid to prevent those pesky delivery guys bending, folding or mutilating your artwork. ;-)
  • I elected to do the following for now, but may try to come up with a cheaper solution. I first taped the painting lightly to a piece of acid-free mat. Then put the painting and mat into a "Crystal Clear Bag" to keep the artwork dry and clean. I then taped the bag with the artwork onto a piece of high-density foam-core and covered it with another piece of the same foam-core. Taped the foam core sandwich together to form a rigid package. Then wrapped the foam-core sandwich in plain brown paper suitable for shipping. Finally I labelled the package with both a from and a to address including a telephone number for both addresses. I then clear taped over the marker written addresses so that the marker ink would not run if the package got wet. Oh.. re-inforce the corners with clear packing tape, 'cause that it usually where any rips in the packaging start. 
  • Whenever possible send multiple paintings in one package  .. it's cheaper :-)
  • Well we shall see how this works out when they get physically shipped. I have stuff going to various parts of India, UK , USA and Canada.
  • I have a feeling shipping will not be cheap :-(
Okay I will let you all know how that works out. The delivery guys should be able to toss, drop-kick, and wet the packages without damaging the painting.

Okay so thats the originals sorted out.

So the next thing is what happens if the customer wants the high-resolution images for digital printing?

  • Well, if you agree they get a copy so they can get prints done locally, then you need to get them the file(s) and this usually includes a high-res .tif file and a web-ready .jpg. Try and get your photographer to provide colour corrected image files that are 300 dpi at at the size of the original art. 300 dpi file for a 8" x 10" image is not the same a 300 dpi for a 30" x 22" image. If this is not right then you or the customer will be disappointed when digital print is made at full size. You can always make the file/image smaller but not make it bigger without losing resolution.
  • The .tif file usually ends up being bigger than you want to be sending via email and lately there have been lots of issues with sending non-commercial CD's / DVD's through the mail or courier service. This is especially true when shipping internationally. There are all sorts of iCloud and ftp site methods for allowing the retrieval of these files. I have just recently begun using Drop Box. I set up a low volume free account which is fine for me as long as i keep the box clean. I just found out about the public box that allows non-drop box people to access individual files and download using their internet browser. You just send the recipient the individual file link and the he/she can retrieve the file through the browser and do a save as to keep the file. I tried it out and it works just great.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Prints on Aluminum Panel

Today I also was finally able to get my aluminum mounted digital prints from Opus Art Supplies Downtown. I was delighted with the results as they were digital images of 5 watercolours printed on watercolour art paper CP mounted on aluminum panel and a light laminating film for protection.

The colours did turn out a bit more vibrant than the originals and the images are sharp and crisp. The prints were done at the same size as the originals. The aluminum panels are very thin but extremely tough and rigid providing excellent support. The back of each panel has a nice rectangular mall mount bar and hardware that allow the panel to be screwed directly to the wall.

As soon as I am able I will take photos of these 5 prints mounted on my wall.


Lindsay May Latest CD "Shimmer"

I was presently surprised this week to receive a autographed copy of Lindsay May's latest CD "Shimmer" in the mail. :-)  The CD came with a wonderful thank you "David from one artist to another". A very nice touch.

Lindsay's new CD was just released March 8th and she has just headed off on tour. Last I heard she was in Edmonton.

Lindsay's thanks were for two ink and watercolour sketches of her singing outside on Granville Island in September and October last year. I had dropped off the two original sketches at Nimbus Studios in Vancouver where she was recording "Shimmer".

I have suggested today in her blog that when she gets back into town after her tour that I perhaps have a chance to do a few more sketches, maybe even a portrait. I think Granville Island is still a good venue as it is outside and it suits her music. Well we'll see.

For those interested, you can find photos of the sketches in this blog in the older posts.


iMac Hard Drive Died

This week my system hard drive died on me :-( so until I can rebuild my main iMac intel core 2 duo computer I am limited to communicating and working with my little iMac G4 700mhz machine. Kind of slow but the little workhorse does it's job. Problem is the little thing is about 4 versions of OS behind and since it is non-Intel has the occasional fight with blogger and other internet applications.

Unfortunately a lot of my files, images and fancy software applications are stuck on the busted drive. I had some backup done but not all I needed. Hopefully I will be able to pry some of these off the damages drive :-(

Sunday, February 26, 2012


In progress..

Watercolour 22" x 15"
Paper: Arches 300lb Rough
"Pokadots" - Sabreen
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Digital Printing

On Sunday February 12th 2012, I took 6 of my recent watercolour portraits I had painted in for digitizing. I decided I should start documenting my art before it went off to it's new owners, never to be seen again. I also wanted some reasonable photos done that I was not capable of taking with my little point-and-click camera. So I made an appointment with the Andrea Walker Collins (Photographer) and went over for the photo shoot.

A few days later Andrea sent a web-ready .JPG and a high-resolution .TIF file for each of my paintings. The files were sent via DROP-BOX. These files were very much cleaner and colour-correct than anything my camera could product.

On Monday February 20th 2012, I took 5 of the images mentioned above to the Digital Printing section of Opus Art's Downtown to get prints made. This was a new experience to me. I decided I wanted the images printed onto watercolour Cold Press paper original size and mounted on Aluminum panel. The panels are actually two thin sheets of aluminum that sandwich a foam-core. This makes the panel light but rigid. The digital printed image on the watercolour paper is mounted to the aluminum panel and a thin laminate is applied over the printed image. This laminate protects the image for dirt and UV. After sorting out the sizes and options, we checked for colour correctness against the originals. Apparently the printing and mounting service takes a week therefore I have to wait until Monday February 27th before I can pick up.

I was however, a little disappointed. After seeing the Opus video on their digital print service, I expected to see some printing in action. When I  was at the store there was no sign of an digital printing taking place. The digital printer at the store did not appear to have seen much use and the work table in front of the printer was covered in various other items for pickup. Apparently the work is sent to Opus' sister company in the warehouse district near Granville Island where the printing and mounting is done. I had hoped to see some printing in action :-(

I'll let everyone know how things turn out.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Portrait "Sabreen"

Portrait of "Sabreen" daughter of my friend Pabhjeet.

Portrait is 30" x 22" Watercolour
Paper: Arches 300lb Rough
Started: Tuesday January 24, 2012
Completed: Saturday January 28, 2012
Client lives in: Karnal, Haryana, India

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Sketchcrawl # 34 - Sketches #3 & #4

Sketchcrawl # 34 - Sketch/painting #3
I really did not have my heart in doing this sketch/painting, it just was not going where I wanted it to go. I tried to fix it, but IMHO it really became a splotchy mess. Hopefully the colours helps redeem what really turned into a mini-painting. This was my decoy while doing the portrait sketches (Sketch #2). Much of the sketching and colour was already done at the Bloedel on Saturday, but fixes and completion done Sunday at home.

11" x 15" Watercolour
Paper: Arches 300lb Rough
"Blue and Gold Macaw"
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Sketchcrawl # 34 - Sketch #4
My 4th and final for Sketchcrawl #34 is a quick sepia sketch worked as negative space. The sketch was done using Sakura Pigma Sepia pens. As I did this at the very end of the day, I was rushed. After scribbling in the darks with the Pigma Brush pen, I realized it would have been better and easier on the pens to use lines and cross-hatching. Oh well! something for another day to try. These pens do work really well on Arches Rough paper.

4" x 6" Sepia Pen Sketch
Paper: Arches 300lb Rough
"Plant Sketch in Sepia"
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Sketchcrawl # 34 - Sketch #2

This sketch will be a surprise for the Vancouver Bloedel Sketch Group as I did not tell them I was doing this. Before going to the crawl site I had decided I wanted to do a series of sketches of the sketching group at work. It did not turn out so easy as we were scattered around the Bloedell Conservatory dome on the winding paths. I had taken two pre-taped foam boards with Arches 300lb Rough watercolour paper of 22" x 15" with me to the site and was determined to "sneak in" sketches of the others. While the others in the group were off sketching elsewhere I did the rough under-sketch. It was not easy as I had to sketch partly from memory and partly from various images from the viewer on the back of my tiny camera. I wish I had at least brought my iPad to view the photos bigger. I did manage to get most of the under-sketch done during the day without the others being aware. I had staked out a bench with all my stuff and this "sneaky" activity was the main reason for staying in one spot most of the day. Well maybe also because it was comfy there and I was too lazy to lug around all my sketch kit.

I also had another sketch/painting going on the second board that I had sub-divided into 3 sketch areas. This was my "decoy" sketch that came out whenever any of the others came back. I am nothing if not sneaky. LOL ... This second board sketch was of a Blue_and_Gold Macaw (Ara ararauna) sitting under an umbrella. Alternating between sketches meant that this second sketch did not show as much progress as it should. Towards the end I was getting tired of the Blue and Gold Macaw sketch/painting and started a sepia sketch in marker of some plants on another part of the board. I will post the two sketches from this second board separately.

When I returned home on Saturday afternoon, I did some clean up of the group portrait and roughed in the skin-tones and supporting dark colours. I was totally wiped out by 7:00pm. On Sunday, in between a number of other personal jobs, posting the sketchcrawl photos and moderating on the Sketchcrawl forum, I was able to do more painting-in with the watercolours. I probably need to stand back before trying to clean up the facial features but I could probably work this to death. So for now here is the group portrait as it stands.

I hope none of the group are offended from the portrait, it was meant to be a bit of fun. I could not resist using a photo of Ben when he pulled a "funny" face. I did find it tough getting the features and characters down as this was the first time I had met any of them.

"Sketchcrawl#34 - Vancouver"
The Bloedel Sketch Group
22" x 15" watercolour on Arches 300lb Rough
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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sketchcrawl # 34 - Sketch #1

Sketches done while at the Bloedel Conservatory on Saturday Jan 21, 2012

"Maria.. a macaw"
First of a few sketches done at the Bloedel
Conservatory. This first one was a warm up 
exercise when I first arrived. 10 minutes.
Done entirely with watercolour pencil
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Sketchcrawl_34 [Photos]

On Saturday Jan 21, 2012 - World-wide Sketchcrawl was on. Artists from around the globe did a marathon sketching/painting activity in their respective cities and countries.
For resulting sketches and photos for Sketchcrawl #34 from around the world see Sketchcrawl #34.

In Vancouver their were two groups participating. One group did a "walk-about" around Gas Town and China Town while the second group went to the Bloedel Conservatory at Queen Elizabeth Park. The group at Bloedel were inside toasty and warm with the tropical plants, exotic birds and tropical fish. You can guess which group I was with :-)
For posted sketches and photos from both the Vancouver groups see Vancouver, BC Canada [Results].

The photo's below are from the Bloedel group of sketchers (6 people). I believe others in the group took more photos but these are from my camera.

9:40am - Early arrival at the Bloedel Conservatory
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Maria a Macaw... Carmen 
her sister in the background
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Alle - sketching the Maria
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Alle - The MacCaws say 
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Asuka and Jimmy
(Asuka visiting from Australia)
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Nina, Ben, Asuka, Jimmy, Alle
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Asuka, Ben, Jimmy, Dave, Alle
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Asuka, Ben, Jimmy, Dave, Nina
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4:00pm - Everyone else gone - Outside the Bloedel
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Friday, January 20, 2012

Sketchcrawl #34

Saturday January 21, 2012 is World-Wide Sketchcrawl day where artists around the globe do a marathon sketch session. See the general sketchcrawl site and the Sketchcrawl Forum containing current and past sketches from around the world.

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