Wednesday, December 31, 2014

the hospital stay: part 3

Sketches from the hospital, around Christmas day...

By this time, the nauseousness had subsided but my daughter's appetite had not recovered, and some more IV lines were attached to the pump. Her pain still persisted. In fact, the most memorable moment of Christmas would be the experience of witnessing my daughter, usually stoic in the face of pain, writhing in agony for 3 hours after midnight in the dark hospital bed. The morphine had not helped. Tears streamed down her cheeks, legs kicked about, her body contorted as she repeated the words, "it hurts... it hurts... owe-ee! owe-ee!" And I will never forget the feeling of utter helplessness as my eyes met hers, her gaze desperately begging me to take the pain away. Without hesitation I would have, but all I could do was hold her hand and cry with her. Yet at the height of her misery she would plead, "daddy, pray for me!" She would be the one reminding me of the One who was journeying with us... and whose presence we were to be celebrating on Christmas day.

the hospital stay: part 2

Some of the sketches from our time leading up to Christmas day at the hospital... mostly a time of sleeping (thanks to morphine) interrupted by bouts of pain and nausea...

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

the hospital stay: part 1

What began as (what I thought would be) a 2 or 3 hour visit to the hospital’s emergency care department for my daughter’s intense stomach pain ended up being an 11 day ordeal for us… a case of appendicitis that had deteriorated into a ruptured appendix. We are relieved that she was finally discharged from the hospital this morning, and is now sleeping in her own bed with no IV lines and beeping equipment, no medication, and no pain.

The hospital allowed a parent to stay with their child, and I ended up sleeping on a cot beside my daughter for nine nights (my wife took mainly the day shifts with my son). I sketched my daughter regularly, as a way to fill the hours, deal with my own anxiety, attempt to connect with my somewhat stoic daughter in some fashion, and (I think, in hindsight) pray for healing and offer thanks… I ended up with over 60 drawings of her, in addition to other miscellaneous scenes from the hospital.

Despite the circumstances of a child in agony, Christmas (and most of the holidays) spent in a hospital room, lack of sleep, and general stresses placed upon us, as parents we have come out of the situation with a deep sense of gratitude… for my daughter’s bravery,  resilience, and the chance to witness her strength of character in a new light; for the nursing care and medical attention we received; for the wonderful, warm support lavished upon us by friends, family, and community of faith; for the many anonymous donors and volunteers that helped put a smile on our children’s faces through their philanthropic work; for the opportunity for our family to be united in prayer and slow down at a busy time; for
the memory of a unique Christmas to be remembered by us for decades to come; and the opportunity given to me by my daughter to share with her so intimately this journey of pain and healing. Rather than missing out on something this Christmas, we were enriched in ways not possible in any other way.

Friday, December 26, 2014


Twelve views of my son, watching videos... these were drawn over 2 nights just over a week ago, each not entirely capturing his full resemblance. A series of sketches of my daughter would follow immediately after under rather unexpected circumstances... to be posted soon!

Friday, December 12, 2014

story time

at my son's community play school...

Sunday, December 7, 2014

a short trip to Lethbridge

Lethbridge in the morning... from a hotel room
 I had the opportunity to take a short, one night trip to Lethbridge, Alberta -- my second visit to this wonderful town in southern Alberta, and the first in the winter. The stark, dramatic river valley carved out by the Oldman River is white and gold and beautiful as ever. I had the added treat of being in the passenger seat for the long drive back to Edmonton, allowing me to sketch some highway scenes from Lethbridge through Fort McLeod, Nanton all the way to Calgary.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

gakugeikai (2014)

Scenes from this year's community school Gakugeikai...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

the box

 My son sets up a sleeping spot inside the huge box our new IKEA sofa came in, and insists he sleep in it for the night. There's something profound about this desire, or instinct -- the beginning of architecture! It also reminds me of The Boxtrolls, which we all watched a few weeks ago...

Sunday, November 23, 2014

River of Ice, day 2

The sky cleared up and it was a glorious winter morning... another visit to yesterday's discovery, where slabs of ice have naturally piled on top of one another along the banks of the North Saskatchewan River. It was a much colder day, but I decided to make a point of applying washes on site, only to see my paintbrush (and paint) freeze during the process. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

River of Ice

Large chunks of icy snow kept blowing into my eyes and I could hardly see at times, making this morning's bike ride a source of valuable insight into the varied winter conditions one can expect in the coming months. It was well worth it as I discovered slabs of ice piled all along the North Saskatchewan River's shores... I was struck by the thought of the river's immensity, and was reminded of a Romantic era painting I encountered in art history class decades ago... Again, I fought the snow falling and melting on the page as I attempted to sketch the frigid river. I lost the struggle, and attempted to salvage the images by applying washes later at home.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

winter at last...

 It has been a very fast transition from a relatively long autumn to the frosty winter, with a snowfall this weekend that will likely stay till spring. Highs well below minus 10 forecast all week this week... sketches of a dreary snowy day and night from our house today. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

more coloured markers

a few more sketches using an assortment of colour markers...

Sunday, November 2, 2014

new coloured markers

 Some sketches using a set of 16 Paper Mate coloured markers bought at Staples last week. It will take some time settling into some comfortable colour combinations and strategies... having to change pens constantly disrupts the general flow of the drawing process I find, and my daughter has turned into the Hulk.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

FIFA match at Commonwealth Stadium

I attended this FIFA Women's match between Japan and Canada thinking that the event would be a bit of a gold mine for sketching opportunities, but it turned out to be way colder than I anticipated and hence only one rushed sketch during halftime. 

downtown in the fall

a week's worth of spreads, vertical and
horizontal, of the downtown in the fall...

Monday, October 20, 2014

withered sunflowers

The sunflowers we bought during the Thanksgiving weekend have quickly withered, but they do not lose their beauty or appeal... today is like having a drink with some old friends.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

River Valley cycling

Another morning cycling around the River Valley... a sketch from the footbridge across the North Saskatchewan River facing north towards the CN Rail and Yellowhead bridges. The warm autumn season continues...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Astotin Lake, Elk Island National Park

Sketches from a short trip to Elk Island National Park on Thanksgiving Day; another beautiful autumn day with some golden yellow still remaining. I have only visited in the winter when Astotin Lake, shown here, was solid ice, so it was a wonderful opportunity to experience the landscape (and a few herds of bison) in a completely different light. We are so fortunate to have this park so close by.

Monday, September 29, 2014

12 inch bike

A new 12 inch bicycle, which we are using to wean our daughter off training wheels, and which will be handed down soon thereafter to her little brother so he can graduate from his tricycle.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Jasper Avenue views 2

Two more views from a warm and sunny Jasper Avenue this week.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

tomatoes from a garden

 Every year we are blessed by being given many kinds of tomatoes from various friends. This year's include these ones which appear to have strayed most from the perfectly shaped and coloured varieties found in grocery stores.

autumn in the river valley

Edmonton boasts the highest amount of park land per capita among Canadian cities, due in large part to its river valley which becomes its most spectacular during the short autumn season. There are layers and layers of bright greens, reds, oranges, and yellows under a soft but clear blue sky at this time of year, and sketches on little Moleskine sketchbooks can never do it justice. I've especially come to appreciate this magnificent urban asset since beginning to cycle again.