Sunday, June 25, 2017

Tracing Indigenous Roots in the Downtown East / Jane's Walk 2017

Urban sketches from Jane's Walk in Toronto, Ontario

"exploring the intersection between art, culture, innovation plus enterprise and what it means for Indigeneity, reconciliation and city building."

 (sketch and note taking by Barbara Eguchi, 2017)

Map of the walk / Starting point was Good Earth Coffee House, Toronto, Ontario

Here are a few sketches from some of the stop's along the walk.  The first one is of the British Home for Children / The Fegan Home
Historical plaque of 'Dr. Oronhyatekha'
Allan Garden's 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Sketching Cherry Blossoms at High park

I have been to High Park several times, but this was my first time to sketch cherry blossoms during peak season in May. 

Did you know? The first Japanese Somei - Yoshino Cherry tree was sent as a gift from the citizens of Tokyo in 1959. Later, the trees were donated under the "Sakura Project" to High Park and other locations such as Exibition Place and University of Toronto. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Uncovering Saskatchewan's historical faux pas from sketching the Devonian Pond

Yesterday, the Toronto Urban Sketchers headed over to the Devonian Square, near the Ryerson Image Centre, to sketch the Devonian Pond, also known as Lake Devo. I was hoping to get a nice picturesque pond with the surrounded buildings and boulders reflected on the water, but there was no water. Just a couple puddles here and there, probably from the rain earlier that day and some discarded coffee cups. There was also large images of a lady wrapped in a bright red fabric standing on a rock pasted onto a couple boulders . Not what I was expecting, but then again, Toronto is always full of surprises. 

It turns out that the images are part of a temporary art installation by artist Lori Blondeau regarding Indigenous identity. It was a bit shocking a first to see this but not nearly as shocking as it must have been for the Crees and Assiniboin who saw their 400-tons sacred gathering rock blown up by the government in 1966 to make way for the man-made Lake Diefenbaker, named after the John G. Diefenbaker, former Prime Minister of Canada. Knowing a little bit more of the story behind the installation, it makes a little more sense. I can see the parallel between the sacred rock in the 1960s that was destroyed to make way for a man-made lake vs an empty man-made pond using imported boulder from the Canadian Shield plastered, almost like a graffiti on a natural stone, with the image of a Cree artist defiantly and ironically standing on a rock in pristine nature wearing a red cloth. 

From what I understand, this installation brings more awareness so that we can hopefully make better decisions.  It's great to be aware of these stories to get a better understanding of the complexities of our history. But, where do we go from there? What's the next step to make things better? Apparently the site it still considered sacred despite being 60 ft under water. Steven Thair, a diver in Saskatchewan discovered the remains of the rock and is looking to make a documentary about it. He's also looking for experienced Cree divers who would be able to work with him. 

You never know what you're going to find out when you take the time to sketch the city. We had a great turn out. About 20 sketchers showed up to sketch the empty pond and surrounding areas. You can see more images on Facebook and Instagram

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Can you imagine that you really sketch the real warplanes?

It was an extraordinary experience to me to sketch the warplanes in the museum. Thank you Urban Sketchers Waterloo Region for organizing a sketching event at The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.
The staff are very knowledgable! They know everything about the planes. You can sit in the pilot seat for some planes. The museum is not very large but it has a lot of information and history about the war and these planes. I learnt a lot from this visit. You also can book a flight to let these planes take you up to sky. Most of these planes still works very well.

Thank you Nick for telling us so many things about these planes.

I always want to draw the real planes and I am so happy that I did it!!

Monday, March 6, 2017

My 2017 completed sketchbook

This was my most hardworking sketchbook. I completed it finally and with all circumstances it
took 3 years for some reason. So I shot video instead of scanning pages.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Sketching in Tokyo!

Japan is a special country. People are very polite. The streets are very clean. "Simple and caring" is my impression of Japan. We stopped over in Tokyo for few days on the way to Toronto. I met some Tokyo sketchers there and had a fun afternoon. It was a bit chilly but nothing affects a Torontonian, really. We met at Omotesando Station then we decided to stay in the Spiral building where is quite and neat. There are glass walls in the building with chairs facing the glasses. We sat there and looked outside. People were rushing on the streets, coming in and out from the restaurants and shops. 
The buildings on Aoyama Dori opposite to the Spiral Building
We sat there and looked outside

Thank you Kumi and everyone!

Our sketches from Spiral Building

Then we went to a shopping area near Harajuku (原宿). I used a water-soluble pen to draw the line and then fill with watercolour. I touched some lines to make them bleed. It was quite interesting. We were supposed to spend an hour on the street OUTSIDE. However, it became quite cold and we decided to find a coffee shop to stay after about half an hour staying.

Our works on the street outside! 
Look at us! With the hot drink in our hand, we chatted and shared our works. Yumi and Atsuko sketched us when we were talking. We shared everything! Edgar is a talented artist who uses red wine to paint. I enjoyed very much the whole afternoon. The weather was cold but the sketchers in Tokyo were so welcoming and warm! Thank you!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

12 Trees @ Gardiner Museum

It is a 12 trees show in Gardiner Museum. The Toronto urban sketches group has an event here. I picked up the one piled up with books. When you get closer to the tree, it will speak. And other trees was made of men's shirts, The pattern is quite interesting. The trees are designed by different artists in different styles, very creative! 
The museum is located in a very convenient location near the subway. It's a small museum but very cozy and informative. You went to the second floor where they have different ceramics from different periods and different countries. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Robarts Library - University of Toronto

On October 30, TOUSK met at the University of Toronto Library called Robarts Library. We hoped to sketch outside since the building has a very interesting architectural structure. It is shaped like a turkey, or maybe a peacock, or is it a turtle... ; ) We all seemed to hear and see different things...
Nonetheless, the cold weather drove many of us inside where there was lots to sketch. 
Here are my 5x7" sketches, done in 6B pencil on 90lb watercolour paper. 
I didn't bring watercolour paint with me since I wasn't sure the library would be cool with it... so, I added paint to this one once I got home.
The students were so busy studying, they didn't notice me drawing them.  Also, I don't believe there is enough of a likeness to anyone to cause offence. 
 I liked the composition of this one below, so I left it alone.
 Practising a bit more perspective on this one. 
There were lots of new member there last week. Great to see so many more Urban Sketching Enthusiasts out there!! See you all next time.
My Etsy Page -

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Day at the Harbourfront


I spent the day down at Toronto's Harbourfront sketching on Hot Pressed Watercolour Paper (Fluid Brand) with my Micron 03 pen. 

I tried to get a foreground, a mid-ground and a background in. Here's the finished result, with watercolour added. : )
There was a woman relaxing in the park, so I quickly drew her too. I tried to keep my lines spontaneous and relaxed in order to capture her mood. 
And here's the finished result with watercolour. I added splatters of paint to match my pen lines.

Happy Painting Everyone

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Old City Hall view from Toronto City Hall Green Roof

I didn't know there is such a nice place on the 2nd floor at The City Hall. You can walk around and see different views around The City Hall. Lots of high rises there. I picked The Old City Hall to sketch. It is the only old building in the middle of the high rises and seems that the time has frozen there no matter how the surroundings change. It was really hot today, but we found shades and stayed there for sketching. There were not many visitors and was very tranquil. If you have found the ground was too noisy and crowded, the green roof definitely is a nice and quiet place to visit.