Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Robert Library - University of Toronto

On October 30, TOUSK met at the University of Toronto Library called Robarts Library. We hoped to sketch outside since the building has a very interesting architectural structure. It is shaped like a turkey, or maybe a peacock, or is it a turtle... ; ) We all seemed to hear and see different things...
Nonetheless, the cold weather drove many of us inside where there was lots to sketch. 
Here are my 5x7" sketches, done in 6B pencil on 90lb watercolour paper. 
I didn't bring watercolour paint with me since I wasn't sure the library would be cool with it... so, I added paint to this one once I got home.
The students were so busy studying, they didn't notice me drawing them.  Also, I don't believe there is enough of a likeness to anyone to cause offence. 
 I liked the composition of this one below, so I left it alone.
 Practising a bit more perspective on this one. 
There were lots of new member there last week. Great to see so many more Urban Sketching Enthusiasts out there!! See you all next time.
My Etsy Page - https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/WatercoloursbyNora

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Day at the Harbourfront

A DAY AT THE HARBOURFRONT 

I spent the day down at Toronto's Harbourfront sketching on Hot Pressed Watercolour Paper (Fluid Brand) with my Micron 03 pen. 

       
I tried to get a foreground, a mid-ground and a background in. Here's the finished result, with watercolour added. : )
There was a woman relaxing in the park, so I quickly drew her too. I tried to keep my lines spontaneous and relaxed in order to capture her mood. 
And here's the finished result with watercolour. I added splatters of paint to match my pen lines.















Happy Painting Everyone

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Old City Hall view from Toronto City Hall Green Roof

I didn't know there is such a nice place on the 2nd floor at The City Hall. You can walk around and see different views around The City Hall. Lots of high rises there. I picked The Old City Hall to sketch. It is the only old building in the middle of the high rises and seems that the time has frozen there no matter how the surroundings change. It was really hot today, but we found shades and stayed there for sketching. There were not many visitors and was very tranquil. If you have found the ground was too noisy and crowded, the green roof definitely is a nice and quiet place to visit.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

McMichael Plein Air Painting Competition



I always want to paint at McMichael and didn't think that the first time I painted here was in a competition. We were about 50-60 artists painting on location during the weekend. We had a sunny but not very warm day, unless you stayed under the sun without shades.

The arrangement was simple and easy to follow. McMichael staff and volunteers provided the artists fruits, coffee and water twice a day, one by one! We scattered around McMichael and Kleinburg area, it was not easy for them to find us. Thank you!

The first day I painted the gallery building because I wanted to paint this building. I loved the sunlight behind the cloud and put more trees behind the gallery. I had not enough sleep the night before and planned to work faster so that I could go home and sleep. However, I was very tired and worked very very slowly. When I got home around 4 pm, I threw myself on the couch and slept right away.

On Sunday, I went to Kleinburg, a beautiful town, to paint one of the beautiful houses made of logs and this painting was selected to be the 3rd place in the group 11" x 14"

Some of my artist friends won too. Congratulations to Hasibush Shaheed and Dougal Haggart from our group, and Karin from my art club, amazing works. I met many talented artists there and saw their wonderful works, same locations, different styles, definitely very inspiring. It is always amazing to see different approaches, styles while everyone is painting at the same places and similar scenes.





Monday, July 4, 2016

My Travel Watercolour Palette









Flower pots in front of Sony Centre on Front street.




    


Some people keep asking me about what kind of travel watercolour set I am using/  what do they consist of. I have to say I am an amateur painter who is still finding the colours that suit my style best. I have yet to try all of the different watercolour brands or art supplies out there.

A few years back I wanted to sketch on location, I started off with Winsor&Newton Cotman Watercolour Set for my first travel watercolour palette. The reason I bought this set was because of its small size, convenience and the colour quality is good enough to paint on my tiny sketchbooks. Later I realized some of the colours were not bright enough for my style. I personally love vibrant colours, so I purchased some artist grade watercolour paint to try out. 
Here are the colours I am using in  my travel watercolour palette - Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Yellow Hue, Winsor Red, Cadmium Orange, Purple Lake, Lamp Black, Sap Green, Viridian Hue, Cerulean Blue, French Ultramarine, Indigo, Burnt Umber and a couple of tiny colours I put on the top are Cobalt Blue Hue and Permanent Rose.

I would love to hear what travel watercolour set are you using. Want to share? Comment below.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Oakville – Plein Air June event – “Paint the Town Extraordinaire” 160626


I travelled to the historic downtown Oakville for the last day of “Paint The Town Extraordinaire”.  It was a plein air event put on by the Oakville BIA and Oakville Art Society. The Town of Oakville, home to over 180,000 people, is located 30 kilometers west of downtown Toronto along the shore of Lake Ontario.  I was hoping to meet some local Oakville artists and socialize, but it seemed that I was the only one painting that day.   I felt like a foreigner from out of town who would be painting alone on the main commercial street. But I set my heart on challenging myself.


I was pleasantly surprised by the volume of people up and about mid morning – eating breakfast, jogging, walking their dogs, biking…engaging in life.  It seemed like a very active and vital community.  Many people stopped and said hello and were very curious about what I was doing on the street painting.  My first painting was at a place called The Goldstar Café.  It is one of many cafes on the main street teeming with people while manifesting a rich street life.







After painting on the main street in the mid-day heat, I moved to the waterfront.  It was much cooler and the view from Lakeside Park was spectacular. The many large historical homes that I walked by are a painter’s/sketcher’s dream.   

I painted at the OAKVILLE Museum gardens that sit at a high point along the waterfront and my painting captures a view over a pier that has a lighthouse at the end.  There was a naturally sculpted pine tree in the foreground and the gardens poetically framed the view.  In general, the harbour is wonderfully picturesque.


I was delighted to discover that the Post Office and Thomas House at the museum was also open for visitors.  What a treat to explore.   I toured the old historic buildings and learned a bit about the history of Oakville.  I sat and sketched these two historic buildings that had been relocated and now overlook the lake.


What a lovely day I had. It was a truly an experience “Extraordinaire”.
Thanks for the invitation.
I will visit again soon!


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Riverdale Farm

 A few of us headed over the Riverdale Farm to do some urban sketching. There are lots of farm animals, including pigs!
I found this hidden door, out of the sun and away from the crowds and thought it had lots of potential. Good contrasts. 
I used my paintbox, which opens like a pizza box, and holds a 6x8" watercolour pad (bulldog clip to hold it on) and my Cotman Watercolour Travel palette. A paint box is great to work from. I was sitting on a stool (from a camping shop) and it balances nicely on my lap. I recommend it if an easel is too much to carry and if you want to try watercolours on site. : ) You just need a box that opens like a pizza box....
I enjoy painting rocks. They are good chunky shapes. Also, I tried to keep the bricks quiet with light colours to contrast the interesting door. 
Happy Sketching Everyone.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

"travelling along" - at Toronto Botanical Gardens

I spent the day painting with the Don Valley Art Club at the Toronto Botanical Gardens, also known as Edwards Gardens. If you haven't been, it's a fantastic place to sketch. Lots of greenery, flowers, little buildings, people walking around, sitting at the cafe, and of course, this waterfall. It sounds more 'nature' than 'urban' but it's definitely 'TOUSK friendly'.

Here is my step by step process...
Here's the drawing in 6B pencil on my 6x8" hot pressed watercolour paper.
I painted the waterfall while working from my trusty little paintbox. It's got my Cotman Travel Watercolour Palette in it. I used up the pan paint that it came with, then replenished it with artist quality tube paints, mostly Holbein brand. 
Half way there... I like to add darks early, so I can determine the values right from the beginning. Artists often do watercolour from light to dark however, when I do that it never seems to get dark enough...
All done. You can see the pink bulldog clip on the right of the box holding a rag in place. There's also a few paper towels, a compact mirror (to look at the piece in reverse while painting) and I always bring an 8x10"mat to make sure the composition will fit nicely into a store bought frame when finished. 
See more at my Etsy Shop HERE.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

My Victoria Day!


We didn't go anywhere for the long weekend.  I planned to go to The Distillery District to complete my unfinished painting. However, the booths blocked most of my view. Went back to the car, I felt at least I needed to do something before I left. I saw a senior crossing the road with a walker. I put her on my sketchbook, adding the background for her as well.


One of my favorite ramen restaurants is Kinton. We always go there whenever we come to the downtown area. I love to sit at the bar table and watch the staff preparing the ramen, using a fire gun to cook. 


Before going back home, we went to St Lawrence Market. I have found a good spot under the shade. It was not much traffic. People were walking the dogs, buying lunch. Everyone seemed to enjoy a relaxing afternoon.







Friday, April 22, 2016

Sketching at St. Jacob's Market, Waterloo

I became a member of KWUrbanSketchers group that organizes several events around Waterloo region over the year. On their recent event, at St.Jacobs Farmers' Market I was overwhelmed with beautiful weather.    It was a two hour long trip from Toronto to this wonderful rural location, where entrance of the market is ornamented with a Horse drawn wagon station. The sunny outside inspired me to do a watercolor sketch of the wagon placed beside a store. However, I was rushing at the end of this sketching, as an unexpected frozen rain pushed people to get inside the market. The interior space was packed with crowds. When you running short of time you can try a quick sketch on a toned paper. In the picture on the right, an effective technique was tried. Specially, when there are multiple sources of lighting, a toned surface helps us to set the mid-tone and local color.  I tried to capture the interior light. Overall, it was a wonderful experience with few other artists from Waterloo.