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New Urban Sketching Workshop: Oxford England, July 9-12, 2014

April 15, 2014


The Classic Street Sketch and Other Philosophy

April 11, 2014


This unassuming sketch is a perfect example of why I’m hooked on Urban Sketching.

I’m waiting on the street corner, meeting people before a show. I’m there a few minutes early, and they’re a few minutes late. It ends up being 25 minutes I’m sitting there waiting.

But this was actually perfect! I could pull out my book and sketch the building on the corner of Sherbrooke and Guy – which happens to be a favorite of mine. (Though locals will see I took considerable artistic license). I’ve heard these red stone hulks are called railway style? Remnants of the lost empire of Canada’s rail barons. There’s a good one of these on the map for our Griffintown sketchcrawl on the upcoming 4th Sunday.

So we got up to the theater, and the damn show is sold out. Since when is a show at the MFA sold out? But this is actually even better! Because we can go get something to eat and I can take out my half pans and add some color.

My point is – isn’t that the classic urban sketch? Something you can do in any spare moment. A slice of life, as you find it. Time waiting isn’t lost – it’s turned into something creative.

I haven’t been carrying a book at all times lately  (because winter) – but I was inspired in Savannah when I saw Gabi Campanario make an entire drawing in the time it took the rest of us to find a restaurant on Google maps.

So that’s my self-refresher on what’s so awesome about carrying a sketchbook 24/7.


So, about the ‘Other Philosophy’ part -  you might be interested in a short interview with myself, conducted by Julie Prescesky over at Design Inkarnation on the topic of urban sketching and living as an artist. She asked some thought provoking questions!


USK:MTL Sunday Sketching: Griffintown: April 27, 10am to 4pm

April 8, 2014


Every fourth Sunday USK:MTL meets for our open sketching. Everyone is welcome, all skill levels, all materials, whatever you feel like carrying around for the day. I’ll be packing light with a small sketchbook and travel kit of watercolor pans.

This Sunday outing will be a walking sketch tour of Griffintown. I’ve made an interactive google map with a few likely drawing spots, but of course, we’ll all find our own subjects along the way. It’s not necessary to keep up with the group – just wander as you will and we can find each other at the map markers.


Starting Meetup: 9:30-10Am Metro Lionel-Groulx. Meet at the front entrance, say hello, then head out sketching. We can look for the spots on the map – or strike out on your own and find something cool to show us.

Lunch: 1pm, Le Boucan.1886 Notre-Dame St W. No reservations, we’ll take our chances. This is just a suggestion. If they’re full I’m sure there’s lots of options nearby.

Ending Meetup: 4pm Metro Lucien L’Allier. Meet at the front entrance, and we’ll hang our a bit, show and tell what we got for sketches today.


Check out the list of future Sunday Sketching events [here].

Vertical Slice

April 4, 2014


I’ve never tried flipping a landscape format book this way. It seemed to suit the vertical subject. But it certainly makes an awkward sketch. I’m not sure I like the effect all that much, but you have to try things out :)

This is Morrice Hall, formerly the Presbyterian College, on the downtown McGill campus. The view is looking out from the second floor cafeteria windows across the street.  Washable fountain pen ink and watercolor, Handbook watercolor sketchbook.

You can see the snow is still hanging around here – but it’s down to one and a half coats weather.

Registration open: Urban Sketching Symposium Paraty Brazil, Aug 27-30, 2014

March 30, 2014



On Monday, March 31 you can register to attend the 5th International Urban Sketching Symposium taking place in Paraty, Brazil, August 27-30, 2014. Registration opens at 4:00 PM GMT.

This year we will accommodate more sketchers than ever by providing several passes for different levels of participation. More information about the passes can be found on the Symposium website, along with the full Symposium schedule.

For more information, contact

USK:MTL Sunday Sketching

March 23, 2014

Just back from our monthly USK:MTL sketching outing – our annual Dimsum lunch.

Always fun chatting with sketchers and snacking on Chinese delicacies. Among the people at our table were a med student (pathology), a person trained in biology and museum science and someone who’d recently retired from the CBC (our national broadcaster). Seems like every time we go out you meet a new interesting person. The pastime of sketching seems to attract fascinating people :)


The main sketching course was a whole Tilapia with it’s guts stuffed with cilantro and shallots. Yummy, and interesting to sketch. I hear Tilapia is not supposed to be the healthiest fish, but I couldn’t complain. Good eating!


Pics or it didn’t happen:



Recent Demos

March 11, 2014

We’re over the mid point of the watercolor night class I’m teaching at Syn Studio - so that means we’re doing the fun stuff now! We started with fruit and still-life, did some work with a gesture model, so now we’ll start some larger, more challenging subjects.

The other week we did some ‘speed drills’ painting heads from photo reference, and then last night applied what we’d practiced to a three hour pose with a costumed model.  It’s a lot of fun to see the students getting more confident with the water media.

Here’s my in-class demos:





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