Sunday, March 29, 2015

arena construction

From the high vantage point of the MacEwan Nursing School building, I counted 14 cranes operating at various sites along the skyline; there are many more hidden from view. In particular, the amount of construction along the 104 Avenue corridor is staggering, and now that I am cycling to work more regularly, the new downtown arena site is a viable option for sketchable lunchtime sites for this spring and summer.

The steel framing is being erected in a hurry, and the bowl can now be readily visualized.

Friday, March 27, 2015

more daffodils... and a portrait

Some more daffodils, on the gestural side of things...

But this post is more about my daughter, who, after drawing her version of the bouquet, offered to sketch a portrait of me drawing the flowers. Significantly, that image seems to me to be the first "true" portrait of someone drawn from observation -- a real-life sketch rather than a caricature or drawing from the imagination. It shows in the ways she has been attentive to posture, angles, and details, even my upward glance towards the petals that were above my eye level, in an attempt to draw what she sees, and not what she thinks she sees.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Bright yellow daffodils, bought at the local grocery...

Daffodils remind me of the trip we took to England last March, where they were in bloom throughout coutryside church yards. I will always now associate daffodils with English springtime and that worship service in Exeter Cathedral where freshly cut stems were distributed in celebration of motherhood. But lodged deeper in my past, it recalls a brand of margarine with a TV ad we grew up with in Australia, and whose catchy tune has stubbornly remained in my brain for around 30 years. Drawing these flowers brings me back to some childhood moments as I search for that commercial on Youtube... !

Monday, March 9, 2015

the casino

A quick sketch from a late night shift as a volunteer at a casino to raise funds for a school... done under pressure, after being informed that security may take issue with sketching on site (because photography on site is prohibited... say what?!).

Alberta adopts a "charitable gaming" policy, in which eligible charitable organizations technically "host" all of the "gaming events" and share in the revenue as a way to raise funds. It's a strange concept, in which teams of volunteers from a charitable organization "run" the place with the assistance of a hired third party advisor to conduct the event (i.e. the casino).

Saturday, March 7, 2015

winter trees

Some trees from the Strathcona Wilderness Centre, where we enjoyed our annual cross-country skiing outing with friends.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

main floor slab

The site that was a hole in the ground a month ago now has a main floor slab, and more columns are being poured. It's relatively quiet during the three lunch hours I sketched this week, but even still there are teams of concrete workers and form work carpenters swarming over the site... there's a nice buzz of busy-ness. With at least two major construction sites within easy walking distance from the office, the summer lunchtime sketching routine looks very promising. Now just waiting for the weather...

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

red roof

A glimpse of our neighbour's house on a sunny weekend day. The day's are getting much longer and brighter...

Sunday, March 1, 2015

red lines

Two quick doodles from a series of gestural sketches of my daughter, in which some interesting things occurred... the first, a rather calligraphy-like flow and composition which coincides with a recent, passing fascination with ancient script, originating from my current re-reading of one of my favourite novels (Inoue Yasushi's "Tonko", or "Tun-huang"), and the second, a curious resemblance of my mother in her younger years as we approach another birthday since her passing 3 years ago.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Missionsfest Alberta 2015

A scene from an assembly at Missionsfest 2015, held at the Shaw Conference Centre, during a time of worship.

Monday, February 16, 2015

a creative morning

It's Family Day in Alberta, and the kids create some collages with images from their current favourite "worlds"... those of Star Wars and My Little Pony. All I did was collect digital pictures and print them off. Unlike my own tendency to endlessly ruminate and deliberate and plan and agonize, the kids knew exactly what they wanted to do with the images and simply ran with their visions to create their spaceship story book and an Equestria Girls journal. I can't help but wonder how I can recover this uncluttered creative process again as an adult... 

Sunday, February 15, 2015


Bookshelves filled with picture books at an elementary school library...

Sunday, February 1, 2015

A weekend at Break Forth 2015

This year's Break Forth Conference took place at a new venue: the Northlands Expo Centre. This also meant a new format, in which there were no break-out classes, and all sessions took place in the same large hall, presenting plenty of opportunities for soaking in the worshipful atmosphere by sketching the crowds (and on a different level, to take on the challenge of drawing in dim lighting conditions).

Thursday, January 29, 2015

excavation: week 2

The second week of sketches of the excavation/construction site at MacEwan University...

Friday, January 23, 2015


The sketch-friendly temperatures have continued this week. Two views of the excavation at the MacEwan arts building site... 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

fly forms

It's an unseasonably warm week... warm enough to entice me to sketch during the lunch hour. A short walk takes me to a new construction site (and potentially regular, ever-changing subject matter) at MacEwan University -- the new Centre for the Arts. Some sketches of fly forms stored at staging areas at the edge of the giant site in preparation for some concrete slabs begin what I hope is a series this week.