Category Archives: Urban Sketches

Illustration Friday: “Tribute”

It’s been a while since I’ve participated in Illustration Friday. It’s kind of a challenging prompt “Tribute”. Yesterday I was working outdoors and was thinking, it would be a nice “tribute” to spring to sketch a leaf. We are FINALLY seeing spring in these parts. With a series of 70-plus degree temperatures, spring has been just busting out all over!

When you sketch a leaf or flower, you notice things you wouldn’t when you admire it from afar, and the bulk of leaves on a tree. So I was appreciating how this leaf and the flower near it was constructed, the number of blades, the structure of the veins, the number of petals and pistols. I noticed, too, that I started impatiently to draw it, but quickly settled down to enjoy the process.  And I’m so used to drawing on the computer, once I had the line drawing, I wanted to preserve that and make multiple copies to colorize, always having the original line drawing. Funny how that is. Oh, and what kind of tree is this…? I’m not sure, but the leaf looks like it might be a Maple of some sort.

Maybe this will encourage me to start sketching again. It’s been a long time.


Sketches: Roughing It In St. Donat, QC

I spent a little time this past week with friends in St. Donat, Quebec (on Lac Archambault), courtesy of a good friend and her daughter & son-in-law (Thanks, guys!) . Yeah, as you can see from the looks of the place, we were really roughing it (rolls eyes). Hee! This is a view from the dock, looking back at the house. I went a little “I’m still young, man!” on a trampoline (tried to do flips; whip-lashed my neck; consumed Motrin for a few days). But the half-hour in the jacuzzi took my mind off off the pain. The best part was the conversations we all had: rich, deep, spiritual talks about who and where we are in our lives. I’m still amazed at coming together with people I’ve never met and walking away with how awesome people are as we traverse life.

Aren’t I the reflective one!

Speaking of reflective (That’s a segway to the water, there: water…reflection. I know you got it on your own. Sorry. : ), here’s a sketch looking the other way from the dock…across the lake. Hopefully this will kick-start me into doing more sketching. I have been too far removed from art, sketching, etc. for so long. Come back, art muse…Come back..!

Hallelua! It’s National Raisin Bran Cereal Day!

Something silly to draw about. : ) I do have a favorite Raisin Bran cereal, when I do buy the product: Skinners. They tout themselves to be the FIRST raisin bran. I prefer the brand because they don’t sugar-coat the raisins. Which I don’t understand in the first place. Why all the sugar all over the already sweet-enough raisin, Kelloggs, Post, etc.? What’s up with that..?  But really (as you can see in my cartoon on the matter), just combining raisins with your favorite bran or plain cereal is much better for you. And that’s what I pretty much do.

I had myself come up with a quickie cartoon. The results….

Urban Sketches: Coffee Break

I’m a bit under the weather today so will do a minimalist post. These are some sketches I did yesterday afternoon. These are about the actual size of the sketches.

I also drew a few things that were within my line of sight.

Urban Sketches: A Corner in St. Anne

I hope you had a pleasant Labor Day weekend. I know I did. : ) I’m posting a few sketches I did the last few weeks, just so they see the light of day. Below is from a moment I sat in front of a depanneur (convenience store) in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue and drew the adjacent corner.

The photo below shows the sketch and corner:

I included a photo (below) of my art supplies. That paint set is probably several decades old at least. It came to me from my grandmother after she passed in the early 90’s. And I remember seeing them in a drawer at her home for many years before that. I like the sentimental aspect of using them. I can remember her fondly while I paint. I carry the set and water in a backpack, which I drag around with me when I go on outings. I also have books and other stuff in there, just in case I want to simply sit and read instead.

If you would like to see my sketchers and sketchblogs, check out the Urban Sketchers site. There are lists of people from all over the world who are being sketchers of their environments.

Urban Sketches: A Late Lunch at Herb’s Restaurant

I wanted to post some sketches I did a weekend or so ago before too much time passes!

I see no date on this sketch, but I think this was on August 22. I had taken a sketching excursion that ended out in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. By the time I got out there it was 3 p.m. and I was hankering for some grub. So I tried this little place called “Cafe Herb’s”. That was the day that was overcast but it didn’t rain until after sunset. So there were people getting in their outdoor activities–like these three. They were in bicycling gear and enjoying lunch when I sat down. I pulled out my sketchpad, pen and watercolors to give the scene a go, below:

Below: A photo to document the scene and completed sketch. I hate that old watercolor set!

Below: And it wouldn’t do to not post a post a pic of my lunch: a tomato and (Swiss?) cheese sandwich with some sort of lemony herb-seasoned pasta salad. And water. It filled the hole. : )

Urban Sketches: Celtic Music in the Park

Yesterday evening, I bicycled over to Beaconsfield to sketch and listen to the last of the summer concerts in the park, featuring a Montreal-based Celtic band called Celtic Mindwarp. At a picnic table near the water, I set out my pens and watercolors and sketched.

Below: Initially, I had a lot of lights and shadows as the sun was setting. But I quickly lost all of that as it dropped behind clouds and trees. I was rapidly losing my light! I felt I had to work really fast, or completely lose the moment. I’m still working out what watercolors to bring with me. I tried a new set up, but, again, the paper is absorbent and not made to take water. That was a little frustrating. Then I realized that I didn’t have a black. When I was making my watercolor paint box, I had tons of tubes of color, but no black. I had placed a block of what I THOUGHT was black in the box, but it turned out to be an indigo blue. Frustration again. Oh. But the music! Fan-tastico!

Below: Accompanying photo showing sketch. The colors are really that saturated. But I can’t pull that off with the materials I have.

Below: Then I turned and faced the water and sketched. I also couldn’t simulate the pale blues, oranges, yellows, & pink hues in the sky. Even the camera failed to pick it up.

Below: Accompanying photo.

And some video. Such a talented bunch, these guys!

I’m getting a backlog of these now. I still have sketches from Sunday that I want to post. I hope to get those up at some point.

And I encourage you to get out there and enjoy the summer before it’s gone. Go sketching yourself…or take a book, music, food, a drink (or just yourself!)–whatever helps you relax–and enjoy the last of August!

Urban Sketches: Centennial Park in August

I went on a sketch outing this past Sunday afternoon, and this time I took watercolors and colored pencils with me so I could colorize my ink drawings on the spot. I wasn’t sure how it would go, as I’m not used to using washes or pencils when out sketching, the watercolors are an ancient set, but (sort of) usable, and I’m not using a sketchbook with paper suitable for watercolor. Despite that, I went…And had a pretty good time at it! I also took photos of the sketch and object of my sketching. So below is the first sketch from Sunday.

First, Centennial Park in Beaconsfield, QC. I’ve done a lot of sketching here in the past, and even some using watercolor. It was an over-cast day and looked like it wanted to rain almost all day but held off until the evening.  I think that kept most parks and the usually crowded outdoor places devoid of people, as there were only a few other people in the park. I was feeling particularly impatient drawing, evidenced by not caring to get details accurate (blocks under bench, bench legs right, etc.). I discuss that with myself in my sketchbook notes. I speculate it was due to too much coffee from my late morning breakfast. Four cups, was it…? Then I decided to try and draw the folks at a nearby table setting up for a picnic. I picked a photo that was taken prior to my finishing the page as this photo was the best of the batch. I added the third man (seen in white) as well as leaves on the first guy. And I thought I’d add this photo since I found it humorous. You get’m, Squirrel-Boy! More sketches to come. Stay tuned. : P

August Break: August 10th

Today was a nice day, over all. One of the nicest things I did today was something simple: picnicking outside by the water for lunch. I also took a book with me and read a little (Bob Spitz’s tome, The Beatles), which was still in my backpack when I took the pic and drew the sketch. There was  a guy on the water nearby doing a little kite boarding, and it was just so lovely to sit in the shade and spend a little time with the sun and breeze. I am going to try and do this every day until it’s too cold to be outside. I will miss summer.

Sketch of my view, albeit more of a panorama. I, uhm, reiterate my lunch menu. Sorry about that!

Sketches: A Sainte Anne & Senneville Outing

I’m posting some sketches from some quieter moments during a busy as well as relaxing, enjoyable, weekend.

The first is from an early dinner I had Sunday at a restaurant called Dundees on the boardwalk in Sainte Anne de Bellevue. The meal? Eh. I had a fish plate but it’s probably best to just get a burger and fries at a place like this. It’s not enjoyable eating food that’s sub-par but at least I had a nice place to contemplate that. I sketched this before the food came out.

After dinner, I drove through Senneville and stopped at a park on the water to do more sketching. I believe this is the first time I’ve sketched from here. It was so peaceful and serene.  I should come here more often.

Oh. I almost forgot about this. Earlier on Sunday morning, I was bicycling around the area and saw this fellow setting up to paint. It looked like he was going to paint the small, brick out-building there, but surely he was going to paint sailboats at the yacht club (Pointe Claire). I did come back about 2 hours later to see if I could see the results, but he was just pulling out in his car when I returned. Ah well. It shall forever remain a mystery.

Sketches: After The Fajitas Are Gone

Mmm-mmm! There’s nothing like a hot, sizzling plate of fajitas to warm your warm belly on a warm summer evening!  And afterward, I sipped on coffee and tea as I relaxed and sketched the scene before me. When I finished, the gentleman at a nearby table asked me if I was sketching. Yes, I said. Do you sketch, too? It turned out the man was Helmut Langeder, a local Montreal artist and retired commercial illustrator. I bowed to him and said, “I’m not worthy!” (Oh, yeah…I pretty much did do and say that!) But despite my bufoonery, he invited me to sit down and I joined he and his wife, and we talked a bit about art and life in general. It turns out I had met him before. A few years ago, I had stopped at a yard sale once that turned out to be his. I bought up a couple of Illustration Quebec directories from him and we chatted briefly. He also had given me a promo postcard of his. I remember looking him up on the internet and realizing, hey…this guy is pretty darn good! Anyway, I love how a day can sometimes unfold and you find yourself doing things, or meeting up with people you hadn’t planned on. ALL of yesterday was like that! Oh, how I love you, summer! Keep it coming!

And a “sizzling” video to make you gag:

I Should Be Working…

…But instead I’m drawing nonsense.

I’ll just consider these warm-up drawings. I’ve been sitting outside working for a while but now it’s time to pack it up and do some lunch!

Sketches: Blues in the Park

I bicycled to another concert last night, this one being fairly close by. The Kevin Mark Blues Band played outside on the grounds at Stewart Hall in Pointe Claire, Quebec. I did some sketching, but not of the band. I struggled a lot, trying to like what was coming out on the paper, but unsuccessfully so. That’s how it goes sometimes.The music was great though. This is one of (many) things I like about summer.

Below: Video sample of The Kevin Mark Blues Band playing yesterday evening.

Sketches: Big Band in the Park

It’s concerts-in-the-park time here on the West Island! And, finally, one is actually IN the park!

I pedaled down to Beaconsfield’s Centennial Park last night to check out the music of The Centennial Band (put together for just this occasion). They played a string of 30’s and early 40’s hits of the Big Band era–String of Pearls, Sing! Sing! Sing!, In The Mood, etc. A 15-piece combo of local musicians who did a fantastic job on these songs. Well done, Beaconsfield!

Below: Me and my sketchbook. I was just getting started.

Below: The actual sketch. I was getting frustrated as things just wouldn’t translate as I wanted them to on the paper. Bah!

Below: A brief video to share. They sound good, hmmm? As you can see, it was a hot evening, what with the fans.

So I hope this encourages you to get out and enjoy the summer days/evenings! Do some sketching, picture taking–whatever helps you to document the moment!

Sketches: A July Fourth Evening in Canada