Urban Sketcher

Documenting urban life in Vancouver and beyond.

Navigation Menu

Goodbye to a cat

Posted on Aug 7, 2014 in Vancouver | 0 comments

We had to put our cat Raisin to sleep today. About two years ago, I did a series of drawings of her with the “Paper” app on my iPad. She was an odd, sweet, tiny tortoiseshell cat that we adopted as a 1 year old from a shelter when we lived in Pennsylvania. She had a healthy, happy life and made it to almost 18 years old. Rest in peace, little Raisin.

Our cat Raisin drawn with the "Paper" app 7

Our cat Raisin drawn with the "Paper" app 1

Our cat Raisin drawn with the "Paper" app 2

Our cat Raisin drawn with the "Paper" app 3

Our cat Raisin drawn with the "Paper" app 4

Our cat Raisin drawn with the "Paper" app 5

Our cat Raisin drawn with the "Paper" app 6

Read More

How drawing is like making music, except less damaging

Posted on Mar 20, 2014 in Vancouver | 1 comment

I’ve rediscovered my piano this winter. It’s been neglected. I had lessons as a child and teenager and made it almost all the way up the 10 grade levels. But as I graduated high school and moved away to go to university, the piano stayed with my parents. I finally had it shipped to Vancouver some time after Jeff and I bought our first place.

For many years, I would only sit down to play once a month for an hour or two. But for a long time I had thought about taking piano lessons again, “one day when I’m older”. Well, I recently decided that I am older. I asked around for recommendations and by January I had found myself a teacher, Jade, whom I visit half an hour a week. I am bringing some old pieces that I played as a teenager and want to relearn, and I found some new pieces that I need to learn from scratch. It’s been so much fun; for the last three months my piano has gotten its biggest workout in three decades!

Jade says that I have preserved my full mobility and could tackle pretty much any piece I feel like playing. I think she might be wrong about that, but I like her positive outlook. And my hands feel stronger and less strained than they have in a few years; piano playing must be good for them.

I am learning to go at the pieces with more confidence and attitude than I ever did as a timid teenager, and that striking a key with panache helps. It also makes small insects scurry and my husband hide in his den. I may be a bit overenthusiastic with pent-up piano-playing, and my newfound love for sifflet satanique as requested by Rossini at about 2:06 in the fun piece above that I am learning. I play mostly during the day, usually at the exact time when small children in my neighbourhood should be napping. With all that hammering on the keyboard, I have somehow thrown the piano out of tune, some keys are getting a bit stuck, and something must be possibly loosening in there because there’s a new tinny sound.

It doesn’t sound all that great, does it? But my point is that going at something with confidence, whether it’s making a mark on paper, or striking a piano key, feels good, even though one may feel hesitant on the inside at first. The confidence starts to follow. Of course, to play the piano with confidence, one should hit the right keys, otherwise it’s pretty obviously misplaced confidence. But so what if there’s a few missed notes?

And when drawing, it’s even easier because nobody can tell you that “this is where your line should have gone”. You are the creator of the drawing, not the interpreter of someone else’s composition.

Read More

Vancouver International Airport observation level

Posted on Mar 15, 2014 in Vancouver | 0 comments

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) observation level

On March 1, eight of us met in the domestic terminal of the Vancouver Airport. There is an observation level where you can see the airfield with its runways. There are informational screens and telescopes where you can watch planes take off and land. There is a food fair just below with sketching fuel such as coffee and donuts and hamburgers. I had never come out to the airport just for drawing, but it was great. When I’m catching a flight, I am usually tired because I am going on a vacation and have stayed up all night to finish work and pack.

Read More

Our Town Cafe, East Vancouver

Posted on Mar 14, 2014 in Vancouver | 0 comments

Sketching at Our Town Cafe, Vancouver

The Vancouver Urban Sketchers meetup group got together on a sleety February 22 to sketch at a cafe in an old (for Vancouver) building with a sharp corner, not shown here. I was hoping to loop my view around even more to see said corner, but didn’t make it. I will just have to go back for that!

I’d be happy to come back here often, like Rick Tulka does in Paris, to sketch people or whatever I can see. Maybe I am just romanticizing my idea of the Viennese coffee house culture, where thinkers sat around philosophizing for hours without having to look at the clock, and artists could sketch and scribble in a similar fashion.

And that is my Flickr friend, ColourPixie , on the far right of the drawing! We have been following each other on Flickr for several years, and recently we finally met. Check out her great photography stream.

Read More

Vancouver Convention Centre

Posted on Mar 13, 2014 in Vancouver | 0 comments

Sketchers as far as the eye can see

On February 15, we met at the Vancouver Convention Centre East to draw. A chilly, rainy day, but good times with nice people. We sat in a coffee shop looking over at the new Convention Centre West building. That grey blob on the far right is Stanley park in the background.

Read More

At Lonsdale Quay Public Market, North Vancouver

Posted on Mar 12, 2014 in Vancouver | 0 comments

At Lonsdale Quay Public Market, North Vancouver, BC

We had a Vancouver Urban Sketchers meetup here on February 8. I am not sure whether this drawing qualifies as a horizontal or vertical panorama, since I pretty much put the horizon line on a 45 degree angle. It could go either way.

I finally got around to adding some colour back into my sketches. Still, most of my January and February drawings remained black and white.

Read More

Dr. Sketchy Vancouver on February 2

Posted on Mar 11, 2014 in Vancouver | 0 comments

Dr. Sketchy Vancouver, February 2, 2014

This was another great model, except the noisy soundtrack of some kind of Pulp Fiction type movie drove me crazy.

While I was focusing on getting her body drawn correctly, the chair back turned out weird. Drawing is like one big, vague puzzle. When you’re done, you hope it all fits properly, but it often doesn’t. It seems that you have to keep an eye on everything at once. That’s why quick gesture and proportion drawings are good. I could also try using a pencil first, but I don’t want to give myself the option of being tentative. With a pencil and an eraser, I would allow myself way too many “undos”. Question your drawing less = draw more.

My favourite part of this sketch are her hands.

Read More

Granville Island coffee shop in the Net Loft

Posted on Mar 8, 2014 in Vancouver | 2 comments

A Vancouver Urban Sketchers meetup on Granville Island

On January 18, about 20 of us urban sketchers met at the Granville Island Public Market and spread out to draw on Granville Island. About 7 or 8 of us walked over to the Net Loft and took over yet another unsuspecting coffee shop.

I can’t seem to get around to adding colour these days, either I am too slow or chatting too much.

Afterwards, we had fun showing each other our drawings outside behind the market.

Read More

Sketching the Vancouver Convention Centre

Posted on Mar 7, 2014 in Vancouver | 0 comments

Pan Pacific Hotel lobby in the Vancouver Convention Centre East

Lobby of the Pan Pacific Hotel

Vancouver Convention Centre East

Lobby of the Convention Centre East

The challenge in setting up sketching sessions in the winter months for my meetup group is to find sheltered, heated public locations with bathrooms, accessible by public transit, and something interesting to draw. Museums are great, but they’re not free. So I try to vary it.

Still, this time my plan looked like a wash; the Convention Centre West, where I wanted to draw on January 11, was closed for a private function. But we walked over to Canada Place, which now houses the Convention Centre East, and drew there. It’s best to stay flexible when you’re a sketcher. If you can’t draw the thing you planned on, you can always draw something else.

After going through all the seasons in one full year with the Vancouver Urban Sketchers, we now have a good library of sketching locations at our fingertips.

Read More