Saturday, May 2, 2015

Urban Sketchers Symposium - Singapore 2015

Little note from the organizers of the upcoming urban sketchers symposium. 

Urban Sketchers Symposium - Singapore 2015 

Registration is still open for the International Urban Sketchers Symposium in Singapore July 22-25
Join the amazing faculty for top-notch programming open to sketchers of all levels, experience, and backgrounds!
Workshop passes and Sketching passes are still available – standard registration is open through May 31.

For more information about the Symposium including schedule and registration information, please visit

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Sketching at 401 Richmond

401 Richmond is a restored heritage building right in the city and home to several artists, cultural producers, microentreprises, galleries, festivals and shops. Fortunately it's also open to the public, so a couple of us sketchers recently met there to sketch the many beautiful and eclectic vignettes throughout the building. We had a great turnout of over 20 sketchers, each capturing beautiful details of the building through their sketches. If you're in the area, it's a great place to visit. 

Check out some of the sketches below and head over to our facebook page for more. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

a Sunday in April

Today I did an urban sketch of 850 Yonge Street in Yorkville, Toronto. The building was the well known 'the cookbook store' for over 30 years. Sadly, this lovely old building is soon to be a condo. 
In 1885, the building was owned by Charles J. Frogley who ran it as a confectionery and bakery. His name still appears up top! Here is a LINK with some info about the building. 
Also, here is a pic of my sketch box (about the size of a lunchbox) which holds my travel watercolour kit and up to 8x10" watercolour paper. The lid remains propped up as it balances on a table or my lap. I was sitting in the cafe across the street. : )
Thanks and Happy Urban Sketching Everyone.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Canada Blooms

It's always challenging to find interesting places for the group to sketch in the winter in Toronto, fortunately there's a lot of things to do in the city in the winter and one of them is to check out Canada Blooms, an annual flower and garden festival. It's a great way to shake off the winter blues and start experiencing Spring time. Despite the cold temperature, a couple of us headed over to the Direct Energy Centre to sketch some of the floral arrangements, an full scale landscape design displays. It was very impressive, especially the one with a tree house perched a couple feet above ground and completed with a commercial spiral slide. It must have been quite a bit a work to put all of this together. The aroma of the flowers were very enticing. It definitely felt like spring in the building. There was plenty of great colourful subjects to sketch, and we had a great time.

The Gardiner Museum

Earlier this month we visited the Gardiner Museum for a sketching session. It's a cute little museum focusing on ceramics. They even offer classes on how to work clay and had a little demo table at the entrance the day we visited. About 20 of us made our way to the museum to sketch interesting sculptures, vases and plates from around the world. Some were as big as 3 feet tall, other as small as a couple inches tall. It's a great place to sketch when it's cold outside. We had a great set of sketches at the end of the session and quite a few subjects as you can see in the photos. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Toronto Urban Sketchers Exhibiting in the Subway

A couple months ago, I posted about the Sketching the line contest organized by PATTISON Onestop, encouraging sketchers to apply. The purpose of this project is to feature the works of established and emerging artists, as well as those who enjoy drawing as a hobby, on digital screens of Toronto’s TTC subway stations and Edmonton’s LRT stations. Sharon Switzer, National Arts Programmer and Curator for PATTISON Onestop, states that “This exhibition explores the medium of drawing as well as the social context that the artists worked in, and the influences that affect their practice. Sketching in public is not only a useful tool for observation, it is a raw and immediate expression of the artists’ unique vision."

I am please to announce that  3 of the selected 10 sketchers this year are from Toronto! So if you find yourself using the subways in Toronto or the LRT in Edmonton, be sure to check the digital screen to see sketches of the commuters by Marek, Wil and myself, as well as sketchers from Richmond (BC), Newton (MA, USA), Berlin (Germany), Edmonton (AB), London (UK) and Brooklyn (NY, USA). 

For more details on the selected sketcher, be sure to check out the Sketching the Line web page. Also, feel free to tweet @arttransit using the hashtag #sketchingtheline if you snap a shot of the screen too. It's a great way to promote and encourage more artistic projects like these.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sketching in the Subway on a Cold Winter Day

Despite the extreme cold temperature warning in the city, a couple of urban sketchers left their warm cozy home to go sketch people in the subway. We had a great turnout and a lot of great sketches of people riding the subway on a frigid Sunday afternoon. Torontonians don't usually get temperatures below -20 degrees C, so it was interesting to capture the various ways they bundled up to protect themselves from the cold. Tuques, caps, hooddies, puffy jackets and lots of layers were popular today. An interesting fact that we discussed while observing passengers, is that most people wear black or grey coats. There's not a lot of bright colours for outerwears in the city other than the occasional red Canada Goose Jackets. I wonder if wearing bright colours in winter would bring a bit more smile on people's faces. As you can see in the photos below, many riders seemed rather miserable. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Sketching at Bampot

A couple of us went back to Bampot for another session of sketching while sipping tea since everyone had a great time the first time we sketched there. It was the perfect day to sketch indoors. This time the place was packed, but it turned out great and we ended up having great conversations during our time there. The resulting sketches, as shown here, were very impressive.  It's always a pleasure to see such great talent. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sketching at the AGO

Toronto Urban Sketchers, TOUSK, AGO, Art Gallery of Ontario

A couple of us went to the AGO to sketch some of the art on display from one of their permanent collections. There's quite a lot to see at the AGO, so we mostly focused on the artwork in the Henry Moore Sculpture centre and the "African room". For some reason, there's no name associated with this room on the map but it looks like most were donated by Dr. Murray Frum. 

The results from this little sketching session are quite fabulous. Most stayed in the area and created great renditions of the what you see inside and outside the AGO's second floor. Some also ventured into other floors and discovered great little gems throughout the gallery. 

Toronto Urban Sketchers, TOUSK, AGO, Art Gallery of Ontario Toronto Urban Sketchers, TOUSK, AGO, Art Gallery of Ontario Toronto Urban Sketchers, TOUSK, AGO, Art Gallery of Ontario Toronto Urban Sketchers, TOUSK, AGO, Art Gallery of Ontario Toronto Urban Sketchers, TOUSK, AGO, Art Gallery of Ontario Toronto Urban Sketchers, TOUSK, AGO, Art Gallery of Ontario Toronto Urban Sketchers, TOUSK, AGO, Art Gallery of Ontario

I decided to stay in the African room and drew three of the sculptures and masks exhibited. Since we're not allowed to use watercolour in most room, I used an Derwent Inktense pencil (introduced to my by a fellow sketcher not too long ago) and added colour later on at home. I love using this pencil. They are water-soluble and lately far I've been using a black ones to created the shaded area almost like an under painting, and added watercolour after that on top of it. There wasn't a lot of information on the sculptures and the masks other than the material they were made out of, where it came from and what it was. I guess I've been spoiled touring some of the museums and galleries in DC, but it would be great to know what was their purpose was and what they represented at the time the were made. 
Toronto Urban Sketchers, TOUSK, AGO, Art Gallery of Ontario, African Sculpture Toronto Urban Sketchers, TOUSK, AGO, Art Gallery of Ontario, African Sculpture