Monday, October 31, 2011

El Mirador apartments

There is an old, quaint, but somehow stately apartment building nestled amongst the hustle and bustle of downtown: El Mirador Apartments.This sketch is at the lane, with one of the wooden exterior stairs. The front, along 108 Street, is composed of simple but handsomely proportioned, Spanish colonial facades, and incorporates an intimately scaled courtyard which I hope to get to some time. An old Rover completes this picture.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

more buildings that learn...

I needed to kill some time again while my son slept in the car... and came across this colourful house in a mature residential neighbourhood. This home and the one left of it were probably the same when initially built, but their paths have diverged considerably since. They both retain the enclosed front porch and outline of the large gable roof, but the colourful sibling has fresh siding and windows, a red metal roof, and a much more flamboyant personality. There's also a substantial second floor addition that perhaps became feasible when zoning regulations allowed taller houses at some point...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Earlier in the month, we took care of a rather large dog... making for an exciting week for our kids (we are usually not pet people...). Choco was a very well behaved, gentle and friendly guest. Despite our fumbling around in familiarizing ourselves to life with a pet around the house (and thanks to some help from our dog-loving neighbours who must have sensed our clumsiness), I think she fared quite well. I was grateful for the experience.

My son does a sketch...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

light industrial residential

I stumbled upon this lane by a rail yard and a light industrial area that has some small old stucco warehouses and other utilitarian structures, auto-related businesses, metal works and yards, and other smaller scale industrial buildings. One of these buildings, I think, is home to a lone young family in an otherwise grungy semi-industrial neighbourhood... a hint of this can be glimpsed in the curtains in the windows and the tree in the yard, which is screened behind a tall fence (accessible through this old wooden doorway.) It's a great example of a response to an environment hostile to the notion of home...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

an autumn day potpourri

the trees in the yard are a fuller and uniform yellow...
 An assortment of unrelated sketches from a full autumn weekend day...

at the local coffee shop/used book store...

scenes from a swimming class...

the University of Alberta perched atop the river valley.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Patisserie Sadaharu Aoki chocolates

I became reacquainted with an old friend with whom I went to school almost 15 years ago, and who now lives in France... she brought, among other sweet and delicate goodies, this box of beautifully presented, colourfully designed chocolates from a Japanese-Parisian chocolatier... and given my recent foray into watercolour wash sketches, I needed to draw them before defiling their elegant arrangement by eating them.
Drawn with much gratitude...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

road construction, part 2

Some more machinery... two excavators and a skid loader, at a road construction site.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

road construction

There is road construction everywhere throughout the city... it seems more than other years, and generally longer at each site, prolonging the inconveniences wherever we go.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Our daughter insisted we carve the "pun'kin" today, but I insisted we wait until I get a sketch or two in first...
in so doing, I discovered that the pumpkin stem is actually more interesting than the fruit itself. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Autumn River Valley

A partial view of the Edmonton downtown skyline from across the river, considerably brown since the last sketch here...there was frost this morning in our back yard and we await the inevitable arrival of the first snow fall.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

columnar poplars

The row of columnar poplars (aspens) in our yard is turning yellow in a hurry. They've grown substantially since last year although it seems they are  changing colour a little later this autumn season. It's another beautiful sunny day.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

gourds...part 2

...some more gourds... I am enjoying the variety of shapes and colours, and hope to have more soon.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Parasaurolophus in the late autumn woods

Today is the last day that Jurassic Forest (the local attraction that put Gibbons, AB on the map for Edmontonians) is open for the season. It's a little expensive, but the fall weather was beautiful on this Thanksgiving Monday and we'd not be able to go until next spring, so we made the short trip 30 minutes north of Edmonton with the kids.

What I enjoy about this theme park is the way that the full size dinosaur replicas are placed in our natural Albertan woodland setting, giving a better sense of what it might have been like to encounter these animals in the wild. I especially like the group of Parasaurolophus specimens (including a baby) nestled among the tall trees... I'm not sure whether red and yellow deciduous plants were common 75 million years ago, but it was a beautiful walk in the woods nonetheless.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


happy thanksgiving day...!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

104 Street Farmers Market: the saxophone quartet

It's been years since going to the downtown market that takes place Saturdays on 104 Street (where the old Birks Building is undergoing some renovations)...

This Thanksgiving weekend Saturday is a beautiful sunny day and the market is packed... the young women of this wonderful saxophone quartet dressed warmly for the occasion, and were obviously enjoying the occasion, as were we.

Friday, October 7, 2011

story time...

 story time at the Friday evening preschool class...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

sunflowers: take 2

... still going strong, these flowers ...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

ballet class

scenes from a pre-school ballet class...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

last blast of summer

These sunflowers, bought last Saturday at the local supermarket, are the last remnants of the summer season, adding a blast of sunshine and colour to the days that are getting increasingly darker, shorter, drearier, and colder.

Incidentally, I learned that staring at these flowers "face to face" is a hypnotizing, quasi-religious experience that can positively agitate the soul...