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, 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. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Another food sketching @ Balzac's Coffee Roasters

Yesterday I stopped by Balzac's coffee roasters (Market St. location) before doing grocery shopping at St. Lawrence Market. I grabbed a seat near the entrance door and thought it would be a perfect spot for sketching. The interior of the coffee shop looks very cozy and rustic. 

I indulged in a decaf coffee and a lemon tart and started a quick sketch. It was challenging by painting watercolour without the outlines. The result was not bad at all. For the counter angle, I sketched like I always do with the pen lines and watercolours. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Old Curiosity Tea Shop

Located at Markham Road, Main Street, an English-style restaurant is one of my favourite places to visit. Their signature house tea is worth to try! The restaurant is decorated with different kinds of tea pots. The plates and tea cups are very pretty. You would think you are already in England. Sorry! I couldn't sketch the food this time. Booking in advance is a must because there is almost impossible to get any seat by walk-in.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Sketching at Neo Coffee Bar

Sketching food is one of my favourite things to do. Today I went to Neo Coffee Bar which is a new Japanese-style coffee shop on King St. East. I wanted to try J-desert and coffee. This time I got a "Rose and Berry" roll cake with a blueberry, rasberry and a blackberry on top. I thought I would like to use my bright watercolours painting berries. I wanted to try a latte but I ended up getting a cold brew coffee instead. I loved the aroma of the coffee while I was sketching food at the coffeshop. It took 30 minutes to sketch, but less than a minute to finish my roll. That was my reward!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Dim Sum Day

Almost every Chinese loves dim sum, especially in weekends. Families and friends get together, ordering different kinds of dim sums and sharing them. It is very mysterious that you cannot hear what other people said at other tables even you found they talk very loud. The tables are pretty close to each other too. This one has western style in the hall. Large traditional western-style paintings are hanging on the walls. It's a bit weird to me, the styles don't match simply. However, the dim sums taste good, love the pu-er tea which is good for digestion. Going to a Chinese restaurant for dim sums is called "Yum Cha" in Chinese.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

"Orange Dancing Daylilies"

Thank you for accepting me as an Urban Sketcher Correspondent! - for my first blog posting I thought I would start with a subject that I have been playing with for the past month.  The orange daylilies (Hemerocallis fulva) in my garden which arrived in bloom a month ago.  My first sketch is titled “new arrivals”.  The container in the sketch is a new reclaimed pot ready to be filled with plants and the tall daylilies are the backdrop.

I tried to capture the dancing graceful ever- changing shadows on the neighbourhood sidewalk.  I thought about how each pedestrian interacts differently with the moving patterns and wondered if anyone notices the beauty of this connection? 

Sketching and painting the orange daylilies helped me to slow down and appreciate what was happening in my daily life.  Each flower lasts for only ONE day!
Now there are only a few blooms left.  I am sure they have certainly naturalized ( s p r e a d ) in my garden for next year’s colourful arrival!!!  In the mean time I will delight in the arrival of the shadows of the tall dried up dancing stocks on the snow to come.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sketching Toronto's Disappearing Landmarks : Honest Ed's and the Cookbook Store

Our latest group sketching session involved some of Toronto's disappearing landmarks. Toward the end of July, a couple of us visited Honest Ed's to sketch immortalize this unique and "loud" building with pens, pencils and watercolors.  I never realized how much puns there are until I took the time to sketch some of them. It was a beautiful sunny day and lots of sketchers created amazing artwork that day. It was interesting to hear some of the stories from people who remember the time where they sold fur coats for $1 and gave free turkey on holidays.

A couple weeks later, we headed over to sketch the now closed cookbook store. The entire block has been purchased by a developer who plans to keep the 1860's 3-storey buildings and add a 55-storey condominium above it. It will be interesting to see how this pans out. It already looks different then when Nora sketched it a couple months ago.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church +BB Café

I have found a café opposite to the church that I would like to sketch. Very nice interior and music, it was very relaxing in the Sunday afternoon. The pot and tea cup are very stylish (Traditional). I couldn't help to draw it down before I sketched the church. The appetizers we ordered are tasted good, prices are reasonable. For sure will come again!

We ordered a traditional tea, mocha and some snacks.
The church was founded in 1817! A very old church. I was sitting inside the café by the windows and still feeling the heat outside. The big tree has blocked the view and I think I have a reason to come to the cafe in winter for a better view.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sketching Trip to Niagara Falls

A couple of us went to Niagara Falls to sketch part of the city for a day. We took the Go train from Union Station, and two hours later, we were in Niagara Falls. It's an easy and stress-free way to get there.

When we got there, we met up with a local sketcher and went for a bite to eat in Clifton Hill before looking for some inspiration in the area.  We stayed a little bit in Clifton Hill for our first sketching session. This touristy area of town reminds me a bit of Las Vegas but geared towards families. There's a lot of visual stimulants. Then we took the WEGO bus to go see the Falls before heading to Niagara Whirlpool for our second sketching session.

There's a lot of things to sketch in Niagara Falls, we barely scratched the surface. There might be another trip to Niagara Falls in the future to explore more area. All in all, it was a fun experience on a perfect summer day.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Few Doors...

I found this lovely sundial at the University of Toronto campus near Victoria College. I meant for the painting to be about the sundial however as I painted it, the door became just as interesting. Still using my little eyeshadow kit that I converted to the world's most discreet watercolour paint kit.

This is from Riverdale Farm. This time I meant to paint the door. : ) I liked the dark recess of the interior of the barn. I switched the light direction so that the shaded side of the barn would be the right side, not the door side... just for contrast. 
Nora MacPhail