Sunday, 6 December 2015

More Dog Portraits

I sketched some of the (human) participants while waiting for Kya the model dog for a recent Drop In Studio session. 

Kya an Australian Labradoodle was not at all shy.

This next one was of Bryn. Here I was trying watercolour first followed by pen. Bryn is a therapy dog, a Shitzu/Bichon cross, he slept the whole time. This was the last therapy dog painting session.  Drop In Studio, McMullen Gallery. U of Alberta Hospital. Edmonton.

See my earlier post “Dog Portraits” for more on these sessions.

Ink and watercolour in Stillman & Birn Alpha Journal and watercolour paper.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

First Snowfall 2015

I’ve sketched this scene many times before in different seasons but this is my first in winter. We had our first (very late) snowfall a couple of days ago and chaos on the roads and a shut down of the trains kept me at home. I started the sketch at 2pm, filled in the colours at the time the sun started to set around 4pm. 

By the time I finished, it was too dark to take a photo so I took it the next morning. 

Pen and ink, watercolour, #HandbookJournal (watercolour) 5.25”x8.25”

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Dog Portraits

For something different and because I like dogs, I attended several dog sketching/painting sessions at the McMullen Gallery, U of Alberta Hospital, Edmonton. The gallery’s weekly Drop In Studio (for patients, staff and visitors) got a bit of a boost with actual dog models, all therapy dogs in the hospital. The media were at this session last week. 

Here are my sketches of Gurdy the oh so cuddly Bulldog.

The artist leading the sessions is Father Douglas who is the present exhibiting artist with his show - "Songs of the Soul" featuring surreal portraits of dogs inspired by William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience. (Runs Oct 24 - Dec 6, 2015). 

Pen and ink on watercolour paper.
For more on the McMullen Gallery.

Saturday, 7 November 2015


I seem to do a lot of waiting at Southgate Station and indirectly this means a lot of sketching too. This is the overhead covered pedway across the southbound lanes of 111St. Very welcomed when the temperature is minus 30C.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Election Day Canada 2015

19th October 2015 was election day in Canada…and what an election! The longest federal election campaign in Canadian history (78 days) and an unexpected landslide victory for the Liberals led by Justin Trudeau. 

The winner was announced 10 minutes after the polls closed at 7.30pm in my province of 
Alberta. This means that late voters in the province of British Columbia which is an hour behind Alberta knew the result before they even caste their vote!

I love sketching people on the train and on 19th October was able to add a sketch of a person reading the Metro (a freebie paper) with the headline “Get Out and X”. A little memento of a big day in Canadian history. 

Pitt pens in Global Handbook Journal (5.5"x5.5"). 

Friday, 16 October 2015

Fall Colours

We’ve had particularly impressive golden colours on the deciduous trees this year. A storm 3 nights after I did this sketch stripped most of the trees. I guess I've left it too late to sketch more of the Fall colours.

While I was pacing around on the street deciding on the best vantage point to sketch from, a man stopped to ask if I was lost. He seemed nonplussed when I explained what I was doing.

This was the first time trying out my Handbook Journal (watercolour). Thumbs up for the paper – it takes pen and ink nicely and no buckling. Minimal see-through, I'll be able to use both sides. The whole journal feels light and a good size to hold when standing to sketch.

Pen and ink, watercolour, #HandbookJournal (watercolour) 5.25"x8.25".

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Edmonton Mid Autumn Festival

Despite having lived in Edmonton, Canada for 12 years, I don't think I really understood the size of the Chinese community in the city until I attended the Chinese Mid Autumn Festival celebrations recently. It was extremely well attended, support coming mainly from the Chinese community itself. 

The 2014 census of the metropolitan area of Edmonton estimated a population of 1.3 million driven partly by international migration. I’ve not been able to ascertain the number of Chinese living in the city but the vibrancy of this annual festival (only in its second year) sure indicates that it is a healthy number. 

The Mid Autumn Festival celebrations in Churchill Square provided 9 hours of non-stop entertainment culminating in a lion dance parade and the launch of hundreds of Wishing Boats in the pool in front of City Hall. 

My spouse and I lasted 5 hours, ample time for a few sketches. 

Here’s some of the performances we watched. 

My favourites were an orchestra of Chinese classical instruments and a 1930’s Shanghai-style song and dance routine by a group of mature (but very slim) ladies in beautiful long cheongsams. Unfortunately I was so busy watching these that I didn't sketch them.

Here's the main sketch in progress.

The interesting grey building in the background is the Art Gallery of Alberta.

The cone shaped building in the photo above is City Hall.

Pen and ink, watercolour, #Stillman&Birn, Alpha Journal 8.5x5.5"


Saturday, 12 September 2015

Sketching at the Alberta Legislature Building

The Alberta Legislature Building was completed in 1913. It stands on a site which was once a location for Fort Edmonton, a fur trading post. How romantic when you think about the history of this site!

This was the venue for the September sketchcrawl of Urban Sketchers Edmonton. Our small group of intrepid sketchers were windblown and frozen by the end (13 degrees C not counting windchill) but were lucky to get a couple of sunny hours in. This sadly could be the last outdoor sketch meet for the year.

Copic multiliner, Pentel Brush Pen, watercolour,  on Strathmore 400 series Watercolour Journal 7.75”x9.75”.

For more on The Alberta Legislature.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Rutherford House

Built in 1911 Rutherford House was the home of Alexander Cameron Rutherford, the first Premier of Alberta and founder of the University of Alberta. Saved from demolition, it became an Alberta Provincial Historic Site in 1970. The house (open to visitors) has been restored and furnished with belongings of the Rutherford family among other Edwardian-era artifacts. Originally built on spacious grounds, it is presently quite hemmed in as buildings of the adjoining University of Alberta encroach onto it. 

It still has a nice garden at the front (with strategically placed seats) which made for a very pleasant sketching venue. 

Presently closed for renovations, the Arbour Room in Rutherford House is expected to re-open in 2015/16. On the menu in this tearoom is tea and scones…the latter baked from the exact recipe of Mrs. Rutherford!

Here is the side view showing the tearoom on the right at the back of the house (a converted sun room)

I’m starting to like using my Pentel Brush Pen and appreciating a good watercolour paper sketchbook.

Copic multiliner, Pentel Brush Pen, watercolour,  on #Strathmore400 series Watercolour Journal 7.75”x9.75”

For more information on Rutherford House.

More Train Sketching

You could say I have a thing about train sketching. These sketches were done over 4 train trips. On each trip I caught a bit more of the passing neighbourhood. Embellishments done at home.

This next one was sketched from the Health Sciences Station platform while waiting for the train.

Pitt pen in Global Handbook Journal (5.5"x5.5").

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Assiniboia Hall

Assiniboia Hall was built in 1912. It is one of the 3 oldest buildings on the campus of the University of Alberta, Edmonton (Athabasca and Pembina Halls next door being the other two). All three were built in the Collegiate Gothic style. It was formerly a student dorm but now houses faculty offices. This building has particular significance as my spouse has had his office in this building for the past 13 years. 

Below is a plaque to John Kuspira outside Assiniboia Hall, University of Alberta. I did this sketch one Saturday recently while he was working on the (mammoth) task of clearing out his office. 

Dare I say even I felt a tinge of sadness that day.

Men in Cranes

Men in cranes near our apartment have been busy all summer. Here the cranes were conveniently parked together for the Heritage Day public holiday.

Monday, 17 August 2015

T&T Supermarket

Sketching at the live seafood section of the newly opened T&T Asian Supermarket (southside branch) and some shrimp dumplings to finish up with. It’s nice that this new branch is close to where we live. 

We went again on another day to buy some roast pork. Don’t go too early as it doesn’t come on sale until closer to lunchtime. Not as good as in Singapore but good enough, at least my spouse got his fix. 

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Toffee Apples and Cinnamon Buns

After I asked nicely, the man making toffee apples let me sketch him. He was scraping out an old lot of toffee from the copper kettle before he put a new batch in. 

The toffee apples are something else! 

The Cinnzeo (cinnamon bun shop) baker was too fast to sketch. 

Southgate Mall, Edmonton.  Who said there was nothing to sketch in a mall.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Century Park Market

I took my sketchbook with me to Century Park Market this past Sunday. It’s a little Sunday market (open from June to Sept). In it’s third year, it’s still pretty small (about 15 stalls) but slowly growing. This year I've seen a bicycle repair stall, very handy.

The Lamb Lady seemed quite passionate about the meat and wool products from her own farm outside Red Deer. She sells at 6 markets per week!

These bug shaped shoes for kids were a blast!

And great fruit.

Perhaps I’ll go again next Sunday!

For more info, check out the website at: Century Park Market

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Edmonton International Street Performers Festival

Perfect conditions and an entertaining venue for the Edmonton Urban Sketchers July Sketchcrawl. Our small group went to the Edmonton International Street Performers Festival in the main square in the city (Churchill Square).
This annual event lasts 10 days with lots of juggling and other weird and wonderful acts. 

One performer from the USA was called Peter Panic, I got his autograph on my sketch. 

My favourite was a lady wearing chaps with a giraffe skin print. She had really tiny feet at the end of her stilts. I wondered how she kept her balance.