Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Drawing A Day

I have been trying to get a drawing done each day. Luckily, most days I have to take the kids somewhere and end up just waiting for them. I've tried to use this as an opportunity to draw - it's too easy to get wrapped up in things at home - time needs to be staked out. I haven't managed to draw EVERY day - Fridays and Saturdays are the worst as we don't go anywhere on Fridays and on Saturdays I just drop Finnegan off at Persephone Theatre and do a loop of Downtown to hit the library and up to Broadway to hit Steep Hill Food Co-op - but I'm getting better.

Here's a few of the drawings I've done over the last week or so...

It'd been a while since I drew a pile of boots...

Of course sometimes I just draw what I see in my head...

I've been trying to draw more people. People are hard. They move and stuff.

Little People are worse as they don't stay still at all!

I almost always sit in the same chair in the Men's Change Room after my Irish Dance Class - while waiting for the kids to do theirs - and draw the chair opposite... This week I decided to change things up and draw the coat rack in the other corner.

I was thinking it would be rad if Keira's Tap Dance class did their year end recital performance to "Walking on Broken Glass". Some of the classes have already started working on their routine for the (school) year end recital (in May!)

Usually at the dentist I sit at one of their third floor windows and draw the street scape at the top of the Broadway Bridge. This morning it was very busy in there and I was sitting in a chair facing the exit. I hate dentist offices, the smell alone makes me want to projectile vomit.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Amanda Feeds Unicorns

It's a comic. I do those sometimes

(True Story, by the way)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Last Clay Class

For the last 8 weeks or so the kids have been taking a clay hand-building class run by the Saskatoon Potter's Guild for homeschoolers. It's an hour and a half long, during which I mostly sat in the park adjoining the Albert Community Centre and drew pictures (there are some here and here and here...). 

I'd really (REALLY) hoped we'd get by without snow at least until this class ended... 

No such luck... 

This last week the kids were just picking up all their stuff - and got to try their hand(s) at the potters wheel!

Keira having a go at it - while she was still smiling... 

Finnegan had a bit more success with his - not that they got to keep these. At the end of the class all the bowls and plates and lumps that the made on the wheel were thrown back into the bag.

As it was considerably colder I sat in the hall for most of the class and drew some of the bewildering array of pipes and conduit running about the ceilings... It kind of reminds me of the guts of the buildings in the movie Brazil... well, not quite.. 

Last week was the last week I could sit outside - it was hovering around freezing and I drew this tree. most of my pens had run out of ink so I had to do it with one of the thicker rapidographs... 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dance Studio

Last week was "Friends and Family Week" at the University of Saskatchewan School of Dance - where the kids take a few classes. Monday evening I got to sit in on Keira's Jazz class and Finnegan's Musical Theatre class - which were back to back in the same studio. Usually I am waiting outside - in the hall or outside the building (when it's been warmer) - and draw out there. This week I got to draw in the studio.

Of course there were a pile of kids occupying this space... but... well... people are hard... especially when they move around so much! So they kind of got left out...

I did some gesture drawings in some of the other classes I got to sit in on, but nothing I really feel the urge to share... 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Weekend of Painting

It was a long weekend here in Saskatchewan (and most of Canada) this past weekend and I spent most of it painting… Unfortunately it’s not the sort of painting I usually post about on this blog.  No, dear friends, I was house painting.

I may have mentioned we've been renovating... We has talked to a couple of younger fellows about a year about about taking on the project and they were not only willing to do it, they seemed rather keen to take on this sort of project – which is in sharp contrast to the attitude of most builders in this town who would all tell us to tear down our house and build a new one… They originally said they would like to start as early as they could. May, perhaps April if the snow was gone…

Well, things got held up… and they didn’t end up STARTING until the end of July – when they’d originally told us they’d be DONE! (which would have given me most of August to do the few things I was going to do on my own – painting, flooring, some finish work…). When they started in July they told us they’d be done and gone in 6 weeks. It’s now mid October and there’s still a LOT of work to be done – and this is causing me some anxiety as they still need to finish getting the exterior insulation up, roofing, and stucco done and winter is fast approaching – it is dropping well below 0°C at night which is going to make stuccoing a bit of a challenge!

Anyway, here’s some pics of what’s been going on…

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version):

This is what our house looked like at the end of July.

Three pics of the upstairs all cleared out ready to go – keep an eye on that stairwell and the low ceiling and chimney beside it (that any adult would have to duck and walk hunched over past to get into our room upstairs).

Here’s what the house is currently looking like from the outside.

Essentially we needed a new roof and some insulation. The existing walls are brick with wood-chips inbetween – completely inadequate for a region that gets to -40°C (and below!) in winter. While we were at it we figured it might be nice to build a dormer upstairs and replace all the ancient windows that had long since been painted shut.

It turned out easier to just tear the whole roof off than cut holes for some dormers and so we’ve essentially gotten a whole second story where there was previously just a half-story-loft-like room…

So this weekend we packed the kids off to their grandparents and Amanda and I have been painting the walls upstairs all day for the last few days….

That’s me way up there perched precariously over the stairwell cutting the white for the ceiling. This is one of those time where being an artist has really come to bite me in the ass. Amanda reasoned that because I have such a steady hand and keen eye that I should do all of the cutting. I tried to point out that I don’t often paint or draw pictures while perched on a rickety ladder and have to reach so far with my brushes and pens… This was even less fun the next day when I had to paint a straight line around those fiddley bits between the wall and ceiling…

Amanda rolling the ceiling.

By Sunday we were on to the walls.

Amanda rolling the first coat of purple.

First coat on the walls done.

Me again, cutting the second coat of purple on the walls.

Sunday night, starting the red in the bathroom.

By Monday we were just finishing  up the red in the bathroom and dark purple in the little alcove-like-area in the front dormer…

We'll need to do a  third coat on the bathroom yet and then I get to put down some tile in there (fun times...). We also have some work to do on that unfinished wall, which, believe it or not, is going to be a climbing wall?! but things are getting there...

Still More Sketching

A few sketches from a week or so back. This past week has been really bad for not getting out the sketchbook - so much crap going on... renovation hell... ugh...

These are some of the new university residences out behind the Williams building where the kids take a few of their dance classes. I've been trying to sit outside and draw while the kids are in classes... but the temperature is dropping. 

Haven't made it out to the skate/bike park much lately. This one day we made it there I was too sick to ride so I brought along the sketchbook.

I have been obsessing lately over the work of Mattias Adlofsson so I have to admit this doodle was probably somewhat inspired by some of his drawings... maybe there's a bit of Heavy Metal in there...

Friday, October 4, 2013

Noses Are Hard

I was discussing drawing with my daughter the other day. She is seven. She told me the hardest thing about drawing people was noses. "Noses are hard" she said. I couldn't agree more - as evidenced by these first two drawings from my sketchbook over the last week or so... 

Tried to draw Finnegan explaining his birthday card for my sister. Messed up her nose - it's not nearly so huge! (Sorry Margie!)

True story about the singing.

Tried to draw Amanda meditating while waiting for the kids Irisih Dance classes to finish up. she was sitting so still... yet I still messed up the nose... ugh... (Sorry Amanda!)

We've been reading to each other. Last week we were finishing up Roald Dahl's Matilda for Book Club. One read while the other two drew.

My parent's will be leaving this apartment they've lived in for a couple years now. It has quite the view from the 6th floor along the riverbank. I've often thought I should go for a visiti with the kids some time and do some drawings of the views... I better get on that!

Another crack at the Albert Community Centre - this time with less colour... It's getting cold I'm not sure if I'll be able to sit outside and draw the building for too many more weeks...

Thursday, October 3, 2013


We're renovating our house and need to pick out some paints. Standing in an all white room upstairs holding paint chips up in the semi darkness (as there are no lights up there yet) just wasn't working for me and I'm not sure Amanda really had her head around what she was suggesting. 

So... I whipped up a couple line drawings (based on some photos I'd taken) and tried to add in some of our furniture and then scanned the and open them in photoshop and try to colour them to see what the room might look like....

Here's one of the photos (the one I used for the drawing above).

Now I have to admit I'm not Photoshop wizard... so these are rather amateurish... but it was something new i did and kind of fun.

I would have liked to do them in watercolour, but I wanted to have the option to mess around and try different colours.

I actually tried scanning some of the paint chips... but that didn't work out so well... none of the colours on screen looked like the chips did... I like the colours on my screen. I tried printing that out, but the print out looked like something altogether different!?

At one point Amanda had had the idea to do the entire east half of the room in a DARK purple... this picture above cured her of that notion.

As you can see in the other pictures the dark purple remains in teh alcove-y thing along the east wall and was considered at one point for the doors...

I couldn't be bothered to colour all the furniture, but tried to do some of the larger items to get an idea of what the space will look like when it's done.

I know architects probably have programs that do all this much quicker and easier...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sketching at the Symphony (and elsewhere)

I've been doing not-so-bad with my "draw a page a day" for the last little bit... On the weekend we attended the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra's "Evening at the Opera" (part of the Master's Series concerts which we bought a subscription to this year). I brought my sketchbook along....

We've got seats up nice and close so I can see everything. There will probably be lots of pictures of cellists and bass players on the days we go as we're off to that side... and I think we have the same seats for the entire series.

The kids also brought their sketchbooks. They didn't draw anything they saw there. They just drew super heroes and whatnot... Ah well... they at least LISTENED to live music while they drew.

Another (somewhat rushed!) sketch of the Albert Community Centre. Just like last week I had some time to kill while the kids did their clay hand-building class (put on by the Saskatoon Potter's Guild for homeschoolers) and it was a beautifully warm September day, so.... This is the other side of the building - and in COLOUR! I didn't get out and do nearly as much watercolour sketching as I'd hoped this summer. I suppose it's better than previous years when I did NONE!

I sat in the grass this time, which was slightly less painful on my bum but I kept getting visited by Ladybugs. At least a dozen crawled over my legs of the hour and a bit. Or maybe it was one rather tenacious Lady Bug determined to claim me as his/her own?!

Here's one on my bag:

until next time...

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sketching Again

I haven't done nearly as much drawing as I would have liked to through the summer... Too many distractions... With the coming of September and return to regularly scheduled activities I've found myself with ample idle time (waiting for kids who are in said "regularly scheduled activities") and it's been beautifully warm enough to sit outside and draw. I've found time to draw every day this week so far. Here's a few of the not-so-bad doodles I did this week...

outside the Albert Community Centre where the kids both take a pottery class. It's not-so-much "pottery" as it is "clay hand building". Very few pots are manufactured. Many Frogs and dinosaurs are. 

Outside the University of Saskatchewan Physical Activity Complex.

I haven't been so bold as to bust out the watercolours just yet. But if this weather continues I just might!

I need to carry a cushion or something. After half an hour sitting on a park bench and mu butt is aching... 

Thursday, July 4, 2013


I've started a new sketch book the past week. I am determined to fill at least one page per day with some sort of drawing (or painting!) So far I've missed one day....

I also recently picked up a portable watercolour set. I've painted a lot with acrylic. I've done a lot of drawing with pen and ink. but despite loving the look of some of the pen and ink drawings with watercolour I've been checking out over the last year or so (like stuff by Danny Gregory or all the fabulously talented people that post on the Everyday Matters Facebook Group...). It's taken me a long time to get around to having a go at it...

Here are a couple of the first two attempts...

Yesterday I took the kids over to my friend Simone's to play with her kids and while I was there I tried a drawing (painting?) of her kids little house and part of her beautiful garden. (I am so jealous of her garden...)

Then this afternoon I took the kids down to the spray park at River Landing. 

People are hard. Crowds of people are harder. Crowds of children in constant motion just about drove me to distraction. 

When I imagined all the difficulties and challenges that could arise from a trip to the spray park - I never imagined that getting the kids to stay a bit longer so I could finish my drawing would be one of them. They were very patient and waited... 

This if fun. But it takes me a long time.