Friday, November 22, 2013

TOUSK Meetup #4 : Art Gallery of Ontario

A couple of us met at the AGO for a little bit of urban sketching the other night. We hung out in the basement where a lot of boat models are displayed. The level of details of these boats is really impressive. I found a nice comfortable spot in front of a large display case of British boat models from the early 1900s. The room was a little dark but it worked out alright. Time flew by, it's the only drawing I managed to complete but I would love to come back to visit the place and sketch other areas. What's interesting about this museum is that there are a lot of comfortable seats scattered around, and even portable stools, which makes it very convenient for urban sketchers :)

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Things have been busy lately and I've really been missing time for urban sketching.  I have, however, observed three new Aroma Espresso Bars opening up around my neighbourhood over the past month.  It reminds me of this drawing I did years ago, when there was only one Aroma in the Annex.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Dentist Office

I had a few minutes to sketch yesterday, before my dental appointment. A couple walked in just as I was finishing the long wall behind the reception desk, which was filled (from the floor to almost ceiling height) with hundreds of patient files.Glad it's not my job to keep them organized!

When I am working on a quick drawing, I like Ultra-Fine Sharpie on 7" x 10" Demco, Which is super easy to carry around. Sharpies bleed, so I tuck some paper between sketchbook pages, otherwise I will get weird dots on previous drawings.

Monday, November 18, 2013

35th Annual National Business for the Arts Partnerships Awards

I had the opportunity to attend the Annual National Business for the Arts Partnership Awards. Each year, Business for the Arts (BFA) organizes this event to recognize, celebrate and thank the business and art leaders for their support of the arts across Canada. It's a very inspiring organization who is "dedicated to the proposition that any nation lives by its creative minds, and that such creativity has to be carefully nurtured.” 

The event this year consisted of the gala and a 1920s-themed after party. It took place at The Carlu, also known as Eaton's Seventh Floor and the best example of Art Moderne style in Toronto. It was designed by famed French architect and designer Jacques Carlu. The interior is stunning.

Upon arrival,  there was a photographer taking pictures of guests on a red carpet. It was great to see the various outfits of attendants. It was a black tie event, so most men were wearing black suits, while most women were wearing very creative attire inspired by the 1920s flapper girl era. 
I started to sketch right away during the cocktail hour. A pianist playing in the background created a great ambience for everyone.  There was so much I wanted to capture and managed to make three sketches during that time. It really was a feast for the eyes. I didn't really see time go by. 

After a little while, guests were then invited to the dining area for the gala for the presentation of the awards and some entertainment. The gala was hosted by Canadian Juno Award-winning Molly Johnson who also sang. I also had a great time meeting and chatting with some of the guests at my table. The food was good. We had a nice 3 course meal.  I was also able to do a quick sketch during dinner, between courses. There was a lot of glasses on the tables :) 

During the event, we had the opportunity to hear from the recipients of the various awards presented that night, which was very inspiring, especially the ones won by Gary Slaight, President & CEO of Slaight Communications Inc. and Slaight Music Inc., and Steven Delany, Senior Associate in Corporate Finance at Paradigm Capital Inc.  It was great to get to hear from them what inspires them to contributes to the art community and also to hear from others about how their contribution has help the community.

After the gala, I headed over the The Arnold party in the round room, for more music and entertainment from various artists, including Saidah Baba Talibah, who had a really neat musical style. I managed to capture her and her band on stage in my sketches. The band and DJ were good too, people were dancing and having a blast. Part of the entertainment also included a live art show, where an artist was painting a mural that would light up as her work progress. That was really neat. 
I also had fun drawing some of the 1920's inspired outfits I managed to capture. The attention to detail was really inspiring, from the haircut, to the hair accessories, and outfits. I wish I would have been able to do more, but people move a lot at a party! 

I really like this venue and took the time before leaving to do a quick sketch of the waiting area near the washrooms. I would love to come back and do more detailed architecture drawings of the space. It would be a great place to do some urban sketching with the Toronto Urban Sketchers group

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The St. Lawrence Market

It's been a while since I've been to the St. Lawrence market, so I thought it'd be a perfect day for it. It was super busy but I managed to find a table in the midst of all the action.
On a side note, the only good thing about smart phones when used in public is the fact that it makes their users planted in one spot, motionless. Recipe for a good model.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Artists at The Only Cafe

Toronto has tons of choices of activities to do for artists. There seem to be something for everyone. A couple weeks ago I joined a group called Sketching Around the City and the other day, I met up with members of the group to sketch and hang out at The Only Cafe. It's a cozy little coffee shop and bar. The place has an eclectic style with tons of frames on the wall, stained glass, disco ball and a mix style of furniture. 

We essentially took over their little lounge area to sketch and talk. It was nice to meet more fellow artists from various backgrounds and exchange ideas, tips, information and aspirations. The place was interesting to sketch. There was a good flow of people on the coffee shop side. I wish I had a little more time but I managed to draw the space and partially draw some of the other sketchers (in the foreground). After our drawing session we went to eat in a restaurant in the Kensington Market area. It was a great night. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

TOUSK Meetup #3 : Toronto Reference Library

For our third sketching meeting, we went to the Toronto Reference Library. The place is huge. It is currently undergoing some renovations in various portions of the building, so there is an interesting mix of old and new. The interior structure of the building is fascinating. It has a large atrium in the centre, giving a beautiful view of the space from various locations. At one end, there are two round exposed elevators, reminiscent futuristic style of The Jetson.

The reference library seems to have many functionalities. There are various types of furniture arrangement to accommodate all kinds of need. There is event a stage where some people can sit on the floor to read a book or use their laptop, while the stage is not being used. We used it as our starting point to do some sketches.

I noticed an interesting space with several television screens showing various programs. There were two men sitting right in front of them and not moving for several minutes, as if they were in a trance. I felt compelled to draw them. The large translucent pendant lights above them were really interesting as well. 

From the third floor looking down, I noticed that some of the new furniture weren't even completely unwrapped, like the short wall on one of these custom circular desks. I assume they were created for people working in group. The way they were arranged looked like a nice giant piece of abstract art. 

We sketched from opening to closing, and I feel like I barely scratched the surface of what can be drawn at the library. There were so many great subjects. It's definitely a place I'd like to go back to again to do more sketches. Above is a sample of our combined work that day.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Village Annual Halloween Block Party

I couldn't pass the opportunity to go sketch some amazing halloween costumes at the Village Halloween Block Party. It was my first time attending this party and it was very inspiring to see all kinds of characters walking down the closed street. We lucked out with the weather. Despite the bits of rain here and there, it was fairly warm and we managed to get a great spot with a table and chairs outside under a little roof at a Starbucks.

We had a bit of time before the street were closed,  so I drew the store right in front of us. It had a cute little halloween window display. Soon after that all kinds of characters started to walk up and down Church streets, to the beat of the music playing from the next door commerce by a DJ disguised as Superman.

The types characters parading on Church street were very diverse. The sketches I managed to complete are a very little portion of the range costumes I saw while we were there. This is a collection of the most completed sketches for the night. There was a pregnant Kim Kardashian in a catsuit version of her famous flower dress, a giant lego character, a fun lady in a mask dancing to the beat of "DJ Superman", a really well put together Robin, Batman' sidekick, some sort of Sasquatch angel, and a cute little boy in a spiderweb cape, also dancing to the DJ's tunes. There were very simple costumes and very elaborate costumes. The attention to details of some of these costume was unreal. At one point, a guy in a very believable zombie costume, came to our table to fix his contact lens and complete his outfit with fake blood oozing out of his mouth with fake maggots. It was very creepy. Some of the fake blood he used to complete his character feel on the ground and most people passing by it after were freaking out and wondering if it was real before it slowly got washed away by the rain.

The overall ambiance was great. Many people were there to have fun and embody their character. We had zombie Captain America growling at us a couple times while passing by our table and met a team of volleyball guys in tight white t-shirts and short red shorts inviting us to take pictures of themselves because they were awesome. Hilarious.  Lot of people were also taking pictures of themselves with various characters (creepy zombies, sexy nurses, sexy cops, ghosts, beautiful drag queens, cartoon characters, etc).  I wish I would have been able to stay longer as more and more new characters kept showing up, but it was getting a little too cold for me.  

Our next sketching event will take place at the Toronto Reference Library. If you would like to participate join our group on Facebook (Toronto Urban Sketchers)  to get the latest updates.