Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Alberta Legislature

I had more than a lunch hour to spare yesterday, as I waited for my wife for a date, so I strolled into the legislature grounds for an extended sketch. The dome is still under renovations and is shrouded with scaffolding and shiny white shrink wrap (now torn and weathered no doubt by some recent hail storms), making it look almost like the ice-capped Rockies on a sunny winter day. Though temporary, I quite like the juxtaposition of new and old, ephemeral and sturdy, light and solid, ordered and haphazard...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

loader, front view

Another 3 or 4 minutes would have benefited this sketch, but the operator of this vehicle was called to his site to move some steel plates on the road. I am happy to have been able to spend some time with this rare frontal view, as this loader was temporarily parked on a nearby street.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

scaffolding at a restoration site

There is scaffolding along a face of a large downtown apartment complex, where the brick masonry cladding is undergoing remediation work. Recently, a bright blue shroud has enveloped the work area.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

at Norquest College (southeast view)

My sixth lunch hour at Norquest College... this time, a rather nondescript view towards the southeast.

Incidentally, there is a lively ESL class that seems to be in session during the lunch hour, and it is hard not to overhear the instructor through the open classroom door. He seems to be teaching relatively new immigrants, but I have been very impressed (inspired, even) by his level of engagement and care shown towards his students. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013


A Saturday afternoon at K-Days (formerly known as Capital-Ex, which used to be Klondike Days, which used to be the Edmonton Exhibition put on by the local agricultural society).

K-Days in my mind coincides with the hottest week of the season, and signals the beginning of the end of the summer...

Saturday, July 20, 2013

paving stones

Some more sketches of road construction along 108 Street... stacks of paving stones await installation north of Jasper Avenue. Usually, the yearly K-Days parade would wind through this area of the city on this day before the beginning of the festival, but not this year.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


 I've been trying to make sure that early Sunday morning is a time to sketch with my daughter. This past week's subject was some violet Bellflowers from our yard.

These are pretty to look at, and have survived our neglectful care of the back yard, but I have since learned that this particular species is called the Creeping Bellflower owing to their extreme, almost weed-like persistence, and are quite invasive, easily overwhelming a garden. It's no wonder they have survived.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

waiting for our arrivals

a little sketch as I wait for some important friends to arrive from the eastern United States...

There is such drama at airport arrival gates (obviously, a different one from departure gates), and today we too took centre stage for a moment as we experienced the anticipation, suspense, joy, and gratitude, welcoming a dear family to this city.

Monday, July 15, 2013

at Norquest College (north view)

Today's view north from the Norquest College building includes the soon to be decommissioned downtown airport and its associated buildings, NAIT, Kingsway Mall, and MacEwan University in the foreground.

Friday, July 12, 2013

at Norquest College (south view)

Today's view is from the seventh floor of Norquest College, looking directly south towards some mid-rise office buildings housing provincial government and healthcare administration office. 

at Norquest College (northeast view)

This is the second sketch from the eighth floor of Norquest College's downtown campus building, a newly discovered, lunch-time accessible vantage point of the city. Today's view (on a rainy day) includes some loft conversions of older warehouses, a solitary condominium tower surrounded by other downtown apartment buildings, and Commonwealth Stadium in the distance. There is a surprising amount of greenery towards the horizon, and I am struck by how lush this city can be in the summer. (But what about all those gravel parking lots in the downtown which we see here?)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

at Norquest College (northwest view)

I discovered that the hallways at the eight-storey Norquest College building all terminate at large windows, and that this could occupy me for several days. This sketch was done over the span of two days, and captures the view northwest of downtown. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

modified trucks

 Two sketches of small trucks in an industrial area.

Monday, July 8, 2013

flowers from a great friend

Spurred on by my high school art teacher with whom I have happily reconnected through modern technology, I tried a hand at mixing it up a little. I'm not sure how happy I am with the results, but I am certainly delighted by these flowers that were sent to my wife from her best friend living in Japan, to celebrate my wife's successful completion of her masters degree.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

baseball gloves

 I have a soft spot for baseball gloves.

I try them on at sports stores for no reason but to relive a younger phase in my life. I especially have trouble resisting old gloves, and have begun a bit of a collection buying them on occasion whenever I have come across interesting ones at antiques stores. It now includes an ancient pancake shaped Reach catcher's mitt (in need of much repair) and a youth-sized first baseman's mitt.

Baseball gloves symbolize fatherhood for me. Playing catch with my father is (along with fishing and sketching) one of the most cherished and meaningful childhood memories I had with him. It was an important means of communication, of learning, of admiration.

My own favourite glove is a somewhat rare Adidas infielder glove that my father entrusted to me when I was around grade 4. He originally bought it for himself at a cost of 20,000 Yen, a small fortune at that time. I witnessed how he broke it in patiently with glove oil and regular use, and I've used it ever since. It saddens me that one cannot readily find a store that sells glove grease or leather laces to keep these treasures functional.

I am now trying to teach my kids how to play catch. They have a ways to go still, but like all "languages", it will take time to learn, and hopefully they will enjoy the process. As it turns out, my 3 year old son is left handed, which means that he will likely not follow in the footsteps of two generations of catchers.

Our only glove for lefties in the house is a my son's kid-sized plastic Rawlings, drawn in the first sketch in pink. The second shows two of the three gloves from my childhood (the Adidas on the left, and an ancient, now disintegrating glove that existed way before we were born), along with my Cooper catcher's mitt used throughout high school.

Friday, July 5, 2013

El Mirador apartments 2

 More sketches of El Mirador apartments, with a glimpse of the annex to the right.

Prairie Gardens Adventure Farm, Bon Accord, Alberta

a goat with kids
an alpaca
A visit to Prairie Gardens Adventure Farm in Bon Accord on Canada Day (July 1st). 

Monday, July 1, 2013

early morning in the River Valley

 For the first time in over 12 years, I am able to ride my mountain bike again, thanks to my wife who had it tuned up for me as a Father's Day gift. On this beautiful Canada Day morning, I took it out for a spin on some trails in Edmonton's River Valley, allowing me to discover some new things about the city I've lived in for just over ten years.