Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Public Transportation to Markham

I decided to use public transportation to go to Markham. It was my first time going there and I didn't want to deal with traffic from downtown and the risk of arriving late to my destination : The Markham Theater. Going there looked simple online, but finding the right bus was a bit of a hurdle. Let's just say it would have helped to have a couple signages indicating where the various buses were located. Fortunately I found my way after a little while and didn't have to wait too long in the bitter cold to get on the bus. The drive was a little long, so I used some of the time to sketch the bus driver. On my way back, I was fortunate to get a lift to a bus stop linked to the TTC and didn't have to wait too long for the bus. This time I sketched a friend of the bus driver who was discussing various topics, including Mohammed Al

Monday, January 27, 2014

Dark Horse Espresso Bar

We had a another great turnout for our sketching event at the Dark Horse Espresso Bar on Saturday. Our group essentially took over half of the mezzanine and had a great view of the place. It's a nice coffee shop with large tables on the main floor and a cozy lounge on the mezzanine behind the counter. The large windows immediately caught my eye. They make the space look nice and bright. 

The coffee shop was full. It seems like it's a popular spot. The staff seemed to be going non stop.  It's a great place to hang out. I would definitely go back there again. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sketching at the Brain Freeze Battle Zone

Last Sunday I attended the Brain Freeze Battle Zone dance competition which took place in the basement of the Filipino Centre Toronto. During the event, I sketched a couple of the participants and judges. It was great to see all these people expressing themselves through music and coming up with clever ways to move their body, essentially materializing the music by painting a temporary picture with their gestures. It was fun to be able to witness this and to see how the dancers entertained the viewers, taunt their opponents and showed clever tricks and dance moves that made the viewers reacts with a lot of "oooohs" and "aaaahs". There's a lot of talented dancers out there from all walks of life and all ages. 

As usual, there was a great atmosphere of camaraderie, fun, love of music and support for one another. It's great to see events like this in the city.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

TOUSK Meetup #7 : Toronto Eaton Centre

We had a great turnout for the first meeting of the year at the Eaton Centre (almost 20 people!) I was really fixated on drawing the birds and perspective for some reason, so I ended up sketching a rather challenging portion of the building but it turned out better than I thought it would. And it was fun to tackle. I had to keep reminding myself to keep going despite the little things I wasn't too happy about. It's a constant challenge to silence the voice that says "it's not that good", "do something easier", "start over again", etc. But I find that when you keep going and keep doing the best you can with what you have, it somehow turns out much better and you learn in the process. Again, I'll have to come back and draw there again. There's so much great subjects to sketch! Just look at the variety of subject selected from the group in the picture below. You can also see more photos from the event here.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A page from my Sketchbook Project sketchbook - Aloe Vera plant

When I signed up for the Sketchbook Project back in October 2013, I didn't read the details closely and chose the NorthEast tour which includes stops at Brooklyn, NYC, Philadelphia, Portland, and Toronto for my sketchbook.  I was anticipating I will have the full year to finish and submit it for the tour.

Fast forward to mid December 2013, I got a reminder email from the Sketchbook Project, so I decided to read more into the details, and was surprised to find out that if I have signed for a tour, then the deadline to finish is January 14th, 2014!  So during the Christmas holidays, I quickly came up with a theme for my sketchbook and everyone/everything within sight that fits the theme became my sketch target.

Here's a page of my Aloe Vera plant sketched last night.  I am trying to sketch everything first before adding any description, so keep a close eye out for my future post on the finished sketchbook with the stories behind every sketch!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Toronto Subway Musicians Project

I was contemplating new themes for a urban sketchbook and came up with "Toronto Subway Musicians". I've seen and heard a couple of them and find they are such a great asset to the city and to people's daily commute. My goal is to draw all of them this year while they are performing in the subway. This should be fun.  

I did a little bit of research and found out that the musicians are professionals, selected every three year by TTC to perform in various subway stations. I'm currently looking for the list of selected musicians and their location so that I can sketch them all. Unfortunately, I could not find that information on the TTC website. It's too bad because I imagine this would also be beneficial to the musicians. Something like the Music Under New York (MUNY) website would be nice. Anyway, I sent out in a request and I hope to hear from them soon. 

In the mean time, I started with these two guys at Eglinton Station, one was playing the electric guitar and the other one was playing the cello. They were really good and created a really nice atmosphere. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Closing a Sketchbook...

One of the to do's on my Creative List was to complete a urban sketchbook in Toronto. At the time I wrote that goal, I was still living in Ottawa. A couple months later, not only have I completed this task, I'm actually living there AND I met a bunch of great sketchers to share this passion with. 

Sketchbook No 2 is already underway. I learned from other sketchers that it is always good to have two sketchbooks at hands when using watercolors as a medium so that one can dry as you're working on the next sketch. This is the type of little trick you learn while hanging around other sketchers. I hope to fill the next one before the end of the summer.  

Saturday, January 4, 2014

last night with Ames

Ames is, without a doubt, the cuddliest dog I have ever met.  He was adopted by a big and lovely family today.  Here he is nestled between us two humans on our last night together as a foster family.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

Happy New Year to all. 2013 has been a fun year with the launch of Toronto Urban Sketchers. Discovering sketchers in the city has been a blast and very inspiring. I'm very thankful for their participation to the various events and our growing group. Looking forward to a new year with more sketching and fun collaboration projects. Being able to interact with other sketchers brought great ideas to the table. I'm looking forward to be able to implement them this year. Happy sketching!