Friday, February 5, 2016

TOUSK Meetup #53 Union Station - Perspective 101

Our next meetup will take place at the Union Station. This time our talented sketcher and correspondent, Hasibush, will run a small workshop in parallel, on perspective for beginners. Space for the workshop is limited to 10 people and it's already full. If you didn't get a chance to reserve your spot for the workshop, don't worry. We'll probably do another one in the near future.  In the mean time, you can join the rest of the group to sketch the various areas of the train station, which is full of interesting subjects to draw. For more details on the schedule for the day, please see out our meetup page.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Urban Sketching Disappearing Landmarks in Toronto

Urban Sketching Disappearing Landmarks in Toronto Book on Amazon Urban Sketchers

Toronto is said to be one of Canada’s fastest growing cities. Consequently, you’ll see a lot of construction year round in the city. Old small buildings are being replaced by new tall buildings in every corners of the city. I’ve only been living in Toronto for a little over two years, and already many areas don’t look the same as they did only two years ago. This growth often comes at the expense of the architectural history of the city often to the sadness of long time residents who have a history with some of these buildings. This gave  the Toronto Urban Sketchers the idea of creating a book capturing some of the landmarks of the city before they disappear, as a way to commemorate them in a creative way. So over the past couple months, we gathered around places like Honest Ed’s, the Cookbook Store, Captain John’s Restaurant Boat and more, to capture their portrait while we still had time.

21 sketchers collaborated in putting together our first book : Urban Sketching Disappearing Landmarks in Toronto. We self published the book. Towards the end of 2015, I got invited by CBC Radio to talk about the book. The interview inspired me to create a little video montage of our journey thus far.  It’s a great little memento that you can see below. 

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, it is currently available on Amazon. I’m looking into the possibility of having the book available in local bookstores and libraries. It’s a first for me so we’ll see how that goes. But it was a great experience for myself and for the group and we’ll probably try to create another one this year.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A long line at Starbucks

We had a meeting at Yorkdale shopping mall yesterday. It's always hard to find a parking spot there. And it's also not easy to find a sketching spot because there were so many things happening in the mall.

We walked around and finally we decided to sit at Starbucks. I went to buy a coffee and it was a long line. I felt so tired after I got one and started sketching. 

I looked at Starbucks and the line was still very long. Then I have found that I forgot to bring my pen, so I used a pencil instead and painted with watercolor. Back home, I put the black lines and the wordings on the page. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Sketching at the Museum of Inuit Art

Toronto Urban Sketchers at the Museum of Inuit Art

It's always a bit of a challenge to find an new and interesting place to host an urban sketching event in the winter, specially as the group keeps growing. I tend to spend hours online searching for new places and planning the day around it. Fortunately I came across the Museum of Inuit Art and despite its relatively small size, it looked like there were quite a few interesting sculptures for everyone to sketch, so it was chosen as the first destination for 2016.

I've always been curious to find out more about the culture and history natives, as I find it's not a topic that is readily available to non-natives, so the fact that this museum exist definitely got my attention. What an awesome place!! I love the modern minimalist design of the space which is a great backdrop for the intricate artwork in the museum. It is meant to evoke the ice flows, snow drifts and wind swept tundra of the Canadian Arctic, so that Inuit art can be appreciated with some sense of the environment in which it was created. 

As the organizer, I ofter only have time for one good sketch, so after greeting the participants and taking pictures and videos of the space, I chose to sketch a piece from master sculptor Abraham Anghik Ruben called Beowolf, made out of Brazilian soapstone. It just captured my attention right at the entrance of the museum. The receptionist was amazed that I could stand there for an hour or so, just fixated on the sculpture. 

Toronto Urban Sketchers at the Museum of Inuit Art Marie-Judith Jean-Louis

There's something interesting that happens when you start sketching something like this, at least for me. I get in some sort of trance where only me, my thoughts and the object I'm sketching exists and I start discovering all kinds of things I wouldn't have if it wasn't for essentially interacting with that subject. In the case of Beowolf, I was intrigued  by all its intricate parts and how the openings create intense contrasts. And then I noticed all the little creatures embedded in the sculpture like a mix between a rabbit and a chameleon on top of his head, a pig nestle on his side, a dolphin and a bird closer to the front, and other animals I probably missed on the other side.

Toronto Urban Sketchers at the Museum of Inuit Art Marie-Judith Jean-Louis watercolor
I worked a little more of the contrasts and the details of my sketch, carefully noting where the darkest area were so that I could complete it later on at home, as I knew I wouldn't have enough time that day. Later on, I went over my drawing with an Inktense pencil that's water soluble. Using a water brush, I then increased the contrast of the sketch and added a green and blue wash over it.

We had a great turnout. A little over 20 sketchers took part in this event and many, including myself, plan to go back again in the near future. I also was made aware of two other places where we can see more native art in the city : the TD Gallery of Inuit Art and the Bay of Spirit Gallery. 

Toronto Urban Sketchers meetup

The next sketching event will take place at the Yorkdale Mall. For more information, you can visit our meetup group here

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Night Sketching - holiday challenge

What a great 2015 year for Toronto Urban Sketchers! 
I am very happy to be part of such a wonderful group of sketchers!!!!  

I just wanted to share my final challenge for the year.  I challenged myself to a night sketch (in the cold)!  It was at one of my favourite places to sketch – Evergreen Brick Works – with the music and sounds of their evening play called “Tails from the City”.

I tried to capture the string of seasonal lights that was decorating the entrance plaza.  One of the hardest things was that I could not see the colours that I was applying to my sketch because it was to dark.  I therefore took some time at home to fix up my values.  I will have to find a place with more light or bring a flashlight with me the next time. 



Here are some of my favourite Christmas ornaments decorating our family tree this year.

I always wanted to try out the watercolour iridescent medium….I found the right place to add and play with it on the gingerbread house.

All the best in the New Year…

Cheers and happy sketching in 2016!!!!

Friday, December 18, 2015

on holiday

Today I went to a cafe to do a quick bit of people sketching. I like the way these two figures, from my perspective, had their hands, shoe and legs cross each other. It was like a game of Twister! I drew with 6B pencil first.
Then I added some darks, trying to 'spot' the darks as they say. I used a Micron Brush Pen. By this time, the main featured fellow had put on a scarf, which I happily added.
At home, I added watercolour. I took lots of liberties with their clothes. I wanted the featured man to be wearing red. Lots of fun and I'm happy with the unique perspective. Happy Urban Sketching Everyone!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The real Toronto sketch

I really like those modern gadjets you always have on you novadays! Sonme elastic band to hold pens... some thin metal clip to have sketchbook papers always open when sketching... some mobile camera, wich allow add some cool filters so the sketching place look slick... The only thing not invented yet is portable beer bottle to sip upon sketching. Wait! I have a nice hockey bottle - that might help!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Fall foliage at Evergreen Brickworks

It's been awhile since I joined TOUSK on a sketching event, but am I glad to be present at the beautiful Evergreen Brickworks today!

Fall foliage at the Evergreen Brickworks was in its early stage, but there were plenty of colours to look at. It was difficult to choose one scene to sketch, but I was captivated by the location of the meetup - right at the Weston Quarry Garden location.

After 2 hours of sketching / painting, the group gathered around to admire each other's work of art.

The artworks even attracted a pair of dragonflies :)

There were a few of us that stayed for the second half, and I got my chance to finish my own watercolour painting.

Here's my final painting of the Fall foliage at Evergreen Brickworks:

Thanks for organizing the event Oliver! It was great to meet everyone in person :)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Market Day

Spent the day in Kensington Market today for the last Pedestrian Sunday of the year. No cars allowed, although I did choose to put this parked car in the foreground. I tried to gain some perspective with different sized people, while painting the wonderful iconic fruit market situated right in the heart of the Market.
Drawn loosely with 6B pencil and lots of watercolour added on 90lb watercolour paper.
Favourite part of this was painting the fruit and veggies!
Tons of subject matter in Kensington! I absolutely recommend it for those looking to be inspired by new subjects, shapes, colours and shops!!

The First Tim Hortons

It is located in Hamilton was opened on May 17, 1964. Tim Hortons was a hockey player who played 17 full seasons and 3 partial seasons for the Toronto Maple leafs. He realized his hockey career couldn't last forever, so he opened the first franchise restaurant "Tim Hortons". By the time he died at 44, there were 40 Tim Hortons. He was a gem in Hockey world and Tim Hortons restaurant has become part of the Canadian culture.
Today the first Tim Hortons restaurant has been renovated. The second floor is a museum of Tim Hortons and Hamilton history.