Sketchbook Selection – May 2018

The Pearce Park is just up the road from where I live and it affords a limited access (the area is a bit unstable because of erosion) to the bluffs along the Lake Erie shoreline. The first sketch below was done last autumn and depicts the view from the outlook path over the cliffs. I was looking at the sketch a couple of days ago and in hindsight found it a little “flat” so I added some colour. The second drawing is a rendering of crown imperials that are growing in the garden at the side of my house. Crown imperials bloom around the same time as trilliums so it’s usually a solid sign that spring (thankfully) has definitely arrived.


Sketchbook Selections

Here are several selections of recent sketches from my travel sketchbook. I’ve had a number of sketchbooks but this is my old go to comfort one. I’ve been carrying it around in my purse for years. It’s become quite battered with dented corners and dirty edges. These sketches are from the very last pages as the book is finally filled up. I feel a little sad that I won’t be bringing it along with me anymore.








Trail Sketching

Last week I headed 600 km north to spend 5 days in Killarney Provincial Park. It’s a great time of year to camp up north as there aren’t a lot of bugs out, there aren’t as many people around as in summer, and the fall colours are incredible. With days full of hiking, canoeing, and trying to keep warm (plus the early autumn sunsets), there wasn’t much time for art but I did manage to do some rough, super quick, pen and water colour sketches.

Killarney quick sketch autumn birch

Killarney quick sketch plants


Killarney quick sketch George Lake

Cedar Waxwing

As I mentioned in prior posts I carry a sketchbook with me pretty much everywhere I go. It’s not always possible to work from life as sometimes I’ll find myself in less than idea locations to source material. I  try to anticipate this by tucking things into the back of my sketchbook (a photo or magazine clipping for example) to base drawings on when I have the time but am faced with things like sterile office walls etcetera. Unfortunately I don’t always remember to do so and sometimes I have to work from memory. I received a call late at night to attend to a family matter and just had time to grab my bag and head out the door. I ended up being out for the entire night and during that time I started this sketch. Upon review several days later I discovered my “memory” had been a bit faulty and my bird was looking a little more chickadee than waxwing. The image is rendered in ink pigment so it was a good thing I hadn’t gone too far. I took the opportunity to bring it closer to form once I was able to get a look at the real thing.

Cedar Waxwing



I live in a rural area where road kill is a gruesome common sight. Oddly enough a number of these animals don’t look dead at first glance with the trauma from the accident being hidden from a distance. Rather they seem to be in a state of rest. Such was the case with a deer I spotted last week at the side of the road. I think it must have been hit on the far side of a curve, made it off the road, and  fallen dead in front of an abandoned farm house. The tree it was lying under sported an odd sort of decorative item. It wasn’t exactly a sculpture or a mobile but an item made from what seemed to be found items that resembled a cross between both. The juxtaposition of the dead deer “reclining” at the base of the tree, underneath the metal construction, struck me as something noteworthy and storied. So much so that I ended up recreating the scene in a drawing (I know it’s a bit creepy). I’m not sure of a clearer way to describe it other than to say that I perceived a visual weight created through the pose, the tree,  and the swinging metal above. Sometimes it’s hard not to read a mythos into the countryside and the shadows that line the lane ways.



Killarney Trees

I just returned from a trip to Killarney Provincial Park. It’s really lovely there this time of year. This was my second trip to the park and I wanted to do as much hiking as I could. I managed to complete 5 trails in 3 days. I tried to take as many pictures as I could whilst there to work from later. I haven’t started working with any from this trip but I’ve up loaded a scan of a drawing I completed from a photo I took the last time I was there. I’m currently painting a street-scape as well as a portrait but as soon as I’m finished with those I’m looking forward to sourcing the pictures from both of my trips.   This drawing was made using pigment ink liners on a heavy cold press water colour paper. The pigment ink and texture of the paper create an effect that’s reminiscent of an etched print. Killarney Trees

Sketch Book Selections


Almost everywhere that I go I carry a small or medium sized sketchbook, pencils, sharpener and an eraser with me. When I find myself with a bit of time to kill, say at the doctor’s office or on a plane, I pass the time by sketching. I have a number of sketchbooks that I use but I have one in particular that I’ve been returning to, on and off, since 1997. It’s almost full and looking pretty battered. The edges of the pages have gotten dirty and bent from the book being carried around. It didn’t start out that way, as you’ll see, but for some reason it eventually became the book I drew birds in. The sketches  range from quick studies to more developed explorations.  90% of the drawings are finished with pigment or ink pens. There’s something about working with ink that I find very satisfying. I’ve included drawings from the beginning, middle and “almost” end of the book.  The subject matter for the sketches includes real life, photos I have taken or print pictures (one sketch is based on a painting I completed that was inspired by a print photo I liked). I have included a picture of a sketch I’m currently working on. I saw a beautiful bird at the New Orleans Zoo and whilst on the plane ride home I passed the time by drawing a picture of the bird in my sketchbook.