Friday, February 26, 2016

Sketching the Roy Thomson Hall

Roy Thomson Hall Toronto Urban Sketchers Watercolor Sketch

I've been fascinated by the Roy Thomson Hall for a while. Located on the corner of King St. W and Simcoe St, it is hard to miss this unique building in the shape of a cone with its top cut off : a conical frustum (I just learned that word). Mostly composed of glass windows arranged in a beautiful geometrical pattern, the hall opened its doors in 1982, thanks to the Roy Thomson's family who generously donated $4.5 million to help with the the fundraising efforts to complete its construction.

Roy Thomson Hall is connected to the Toronto PATH, which is an underground pedestrian walkway connecting several buildings and subway stations in the downtown core. This feature is particularly useful in the winter months when it's too cold to sketch outside. Along the PATH, there's a nice view of the Hall from across a pond. The pond is drained in the winter. Apparently, the original plan of the architect Arthur Erickson, was for the pond to be an ice skating rink in the winter. But I don't think it's ever been used for that, which is a shame and a missed opportunity. Having people skating there would bring the space to life and make better use of it. Instead, it lies empty for a couple months every year. Still it's a great sight for sketchers in the winter and most of us set up camp in the hall facing the ponds to sketch the view from indoors. I will have to come back there in the summer as suggested by a passerby who told me that"it's much nicer in the summer."   

Roy Thomson Hall Toronto Urban Sketchers Watercolor Sketch
Roy Thomson Hall Toronto Urban Sketchers Watercolor Sketch

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Royal Bank Building

I kept thinking about sketching the old building on Yonge ang King Streets when I came to Starbucks nearby. I love the huge scaled Corinthian columns and the details above the windows of the building. Today was my chance! I picked a spot near a big window facing the old building across the street.

The Royal Bank Building on the northeast corner of Yonge and King Streets was built in 1915. It is one of the heritage buildings in downtown Toronto.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Union Station Under Construction

Toronto Urban Sketchers at Union Station art and construction

Earlier this month a couple of us went to sketch in the Great Hall at Union Station, which is said to be the busiest transportation facility in Canada. Fortunately, it wasn't too busy over the weekend and we had plenty of space to sit and sketch.  I was surprised to see the large windows covered up behind a matrix of scaffolding and giant orange tarp covering half of the both  along one side of the space. The tarp is what gave the orange glow on the photos above. 

The station is currently undergoing a major revitalization but most of us didn't expect the Great Hall to be part of it. One of the sketchers joked that she can't remember a time when there wasn't any kind of construction at Union Station. That's the reality of a growing city : lots of constructions everywhere! We still managed to find great subjects to sketch. Since the obvious features of the space were hidden, we had to look for the less obvious features and pay attention to some of the details like the columns marking the entrance to the train waiting area, the views from the window a little further and the people passing by. 

Toronto Urban Sketchers Union Station Pilot coffee watercolor art

What caught my attention was a new coffee shop booth called pilot, right in the middle of the space. The booth has a unique shape is reminiscent of a paper airplane. I wonder if the name was the inspiration behind the design of the booth. Not that coffee has much to do with a plane, other than perhaps the fact that it's imported and may have travelled by plane. I couldn't find any information about the story behind the name on their website. Maybe the concept of the plane was the idea of the architect, Williamson Chong, or maybe it's pure coincidence. But the shape of the booth definitely got my attention. There is not a lot of space for the baristas. There were 1-2 at a time on rotation while we were sketching. Speaking of baristas, I've been wondering why this "new" term is being used for the staff working behind the counter in coffee shops. Turns out it's an Italian word for bartender. Now you know :) 

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.