Thursday, December 24, 2015

Just Heard The News - R.I.P. Mellos

Just heard the news: The Mellos restaurant in the market is no more.

On Monday, December 21st, Mellos served its last meal on Dalhousie St. after 73 years in Ottawa.
"Mellos, the longtime greasy spoon diner turned gastro supper spot, served its last meals and cocktails to a full house Monday night at the intimate spot on Dalhousie Street where it has dished out food since 1942." (Source: CBC)
Since Monday, the iconic Mellos sign went missing ( and then a news reporter located it It would be awesome if it has been placed in storage until Mellos can open elsewhere again!

I liked the ghost like look of this quick sketch that I did and thought it was fitting for my final post about Mellos. R.I.P..

R.I.P. Mellos
(ink and graphite wash)
by Cindi Moynahan-Foreman
My previous posts on Sketching Mellos

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Pets in Windows Etc.

"Pets in Windows" are part of my "daily sketches" created from photographs.

I see a lot of  pets looking out windows and watching me and my labrador Lexie while we are on our daily walks around Centretown and Lowertown, Ottawa. It always makes me smile and I always snap a picture to sketch later when we get home.

Some pets seem curious. Some seem sad (like they are hoping for their owner to return?). Some seem to be just relaxing and enjoying the warmth of the window sill and the view. They all pose politely for me and Lexie.

They seem so happy to be noticed.

I thought it would be fun to just keep all of my Ottawa Centretown "pets in windows" sketches in one place on my blog.

Pets In Windows #1
Inktober No.13 " I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat
Taken from my art journal

Pets In Windows #2
"Behind Bars"
Taken from my art journal - ink and watercolour

Pets in Windows #3
"Golden Triangle Kitty"
Taken from my art journal

Pets in Windows #4
"Cool" Cooper St. Cat
Taken from my Moleskin art journal

Pets in Windows #5
"Locked Out"
Taken from my Strathmore art journal - mixed media

Pets in Windows #6
"Sitting Pretty on Somerset West"
Taken from my Strathmore art journal - ink
Pets in Windows #6
"Chillin' and Relaxin' on Bank St."
March 2016: Strathmore art journal -watercolour

Pets in Windows on Balconies #7
"Cooper St. Cats"
June 2016: Moleskine art journal -watercolour, gouache, and ink

Pets in Widows #8
"How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?" (Elgin St., Ottawa)
June 2016: Strathmore art journal -watercolour, gouache, and ink
Pets in Widows #9
"August 8 is International Cat Day!" (Cooper St., Ottawa)
Strathmore art journal -watercolour, gouache, and ink
Pets in Widows #10
"Pooch On A Pillow" (Cooper & Bank, Ottawa)
August 23, 2016: Strathmore art journal -watercolour, gouache, and ink
Pets in Windows #12
Cats at Hi Jinx  (Kent and Cooper)
August 2018;  Strathmore art journal ink and watercolour)
Pets In Windows #14
Being Watched on Cooper St
India Ink on Bristol (for Inktober 2018)
Pets In Windows #15
The Benmore Cat
Acrylic on Strathmore Canvas Paper 400 Series

Friday, December 18, 2015

Monet and Sketching at the National Gallery of Canada

The Ottawa urban sketchers met at the National Gallery Thursday night, but I headed over an hour early to sneak in a visit of the Monet Exhibit: "A Bridge To Modernity" and loved it!

The paintings were familiar to me but there's nothing like seeing them up close! I found the Argenteuil palette sombre and interesting. What I love most are his landscapes with yellows and blues.

There were interesting activities to do such as a room with a large screen and a film running of a bridge with running water that you could sit and paint on an iPad (provided). Another activity was a photo area where you could dress up and use props to appear on a postcard of the bridge that Monet painted. I couldn't resist and took this fun little picture of myself:

Monet: A Bridge to Modernity exhibit: photo area
It was really challenging to sketch at the museum under the rules of "pencils only" and "NO erasers", but I managed to get four sketches done in just over two hours: a  Laliberté statue (below), Reid's piano, a chapel statue, and the giant Christmas tree in the grand hall.

My coloured pencil sketch of sculpture "Jeunes indiens chassant "
by Alfred Laliberté (19 May 1878 - 13 January 1953) 
He was a Canadian sculptor and painter based in Montreal.
His output includes more than 900 sculptures

Many fellow urban sketchers sent their regrets by text or on social media - it's a busy time of year - we understand. We still had wonderful attendance despite the seasonal challenges with some great familiar faces and some new folks too! I love that!

Ottawa Urban Sketchers

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

On The First Day Of Christmas....

My Centretown Gave To Me".....

I walk the sidewalks in Centretown, Ottawa a couple times of day with my yellow labrador retriever Lexington ("Lexie") and I always see things that I want to sketch!

I carry a camera so that I can take a quick photo of things that catch my eye and, time permitting, I will do a quick sketch (1 to 2 hours) when I get home. I call these my daily sketches and I post them on twitter using the twitter hashtag #dailysketch.

My #dailysketches are very different from my #urbansketches or my #pleinair paintings which are always done on location.

I thought it would be a fun December challenge to sketch the twelve days of Christmas in Centretown. I am already at Day 8, but I am anxious and a wee bit worried about finding material for Days 9-12!

When the daily sketch is finished, I will tweet it and add it here. I hope you enjoy! Best of the season to you and your loved ones.

"Wooden Snowman", Cooper St."
Cindi Foreman-Moynahan's art journal sketch
(ink and watercolour)
On the First Day of Christmas, My Centretown Gave To Me..
A Snowman Carved From A Tree

"Two Shefford Urns", Cooper St.
Cindi Foreman-Moynahan's art journal sketch
(ink and watercolour)
On the Second Day of Christmas, My Centretown Gave To Me..
Two Shefford Urns,
and a Snowman Carved From A Tree

"Three (O'Connor) Door Wreaths", O'Connor St.
Cindi Foreman-Moynahan's art journal sketch
(mixed media)
On the Third Day of Christmas, My Centretown Gave To Me..
Three Door Wreaths
Two Shefford Urns
and a Snowman Carved From A Tree

"Four Candy Canes", Bank St.
Cindi Foreman-Moynahan's art journal sketch
(mixed media)
On the Fourth Day of Christmas, My Centretown Gave To Me..
Four Candy Canes, 
Three Door Wreaths,
Two Shefford Urns,
and a Snowman Carved From A Tree

"Five for Fifty Sale"", Aziz & Company, Bank St.
Cindi Foreman-Moynahan's art journal sketch
(mixed media)
On the Fifth Day of Christmas, My Centretown Gave To Me..
Five for Fifty Sale,
Four Candy Canes, 
Three Door Wreaths,
Two Shefford Urns,
and a Snowman Carved From A Tree

"Six Skaters Skating", Ottawa City Hall
Cindi Foreman-Moynahan's art journal sketch

On the Sixth Day of Christmas, My Centretown Gave To Me
Six Skaters Skating, 
Five for Fifty Sale, 
Four Candy Canes, 
Three Door Wreaths, 
Two Shefford Urns, 
and a Snowman Carved From A Tree

"Seven 'Franks A Grilling", Bank & Laurier,
Cindi Foreman-Moynahan's art journal sketch

On the Seventh Day of Christmas, My Centretown Gave To Me
Seven 'Franks' A Grilling
Six Skaters Skating, 
Five for Fifty Sale, 
Four Candy Canes, 
Three Door Wreaths, 
Two Shefford Urns, 
and a Snowman Carved From A Tree

Monday, December 14, 2015

Forgotten Spaces - The Documentary

One of the highlights for me in 2015 was sketching 'forgotten spaces' once a week with a group of amazingly talented Ottawa artists. Each week we would explore a new alleyway in Ottawa. At the end of summer, we had a show and our work was featured at Chinatown Remixed (appropriately, in a special alleyway).

I am looking forward to a 2016 summertime return to Ottawa's alleyways.

Here's the documentary "Forgotten Spaces" by filmmaker Justin Nalepa. (You can find Justin at Jackpine)

My sketch of our outdoor art show "Forgotten Spaces"
Our alley leader, Colin White, sketching in the bottom frame

Photos of the Chinatown Remix Art Show
"Forgotten Spaces"

My last sketch of an Ottawa alley (summer 2015)
Chinatown Remixed - September 19, 2015


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Daily Sketch: The Sunburst Building

My Instagram photo of my lunchtime sketch 
of the Sunburst Building at Bank & Slater
I stopped for sushi at the Miso restaurant on Bank St in Ottawa and did this quick sketch while I ate a great bowl of miso soup and a platter of their vegetarian sushi.

I noticed the "Sunburst Building" sign for the very first time!

That is the best part about urban sketching. You always see things that you would never see until you pause to do a sketch.

I wondered why it was called the "Sunburst Building" and when I got home I did a quick google search which landed me on the urbsite page: There is LOTS of information on this building at the urbsite blog.

The "Sunburst Building" in the 1940s
Source: City of Ottawa Archives (Dave Sproul Collection)
via the Urbsite blog
From the urbsite blog:
"The building at 129-131 Bank Street appears to have been built ca.1910 for the Matthews-Laird Co., meat suppliers, with two floors of offices and workshops to rent above. By the 1940s the storefront was divided into two for L.J. Fraser Ltd., haberdashers and a shoe repair shop. 
The building's ground floor exterior was given a not unsympathetic renovation in the 1980s which was then cluttered up by a cheerful mess of signs. The original store height is now divided into two cramped levels."
Why is it called the "Sunburst Building"? I still don't know. The urbsite - an incredible source for everything historical in Ottawa - ended their post with "For some reason, it is now called the Sunburst Building"

If you have any idea why or how it received this name, please let me know in the comment section below.

Here is the palette that I used for the sketch - a QOR watercolor sampler that I received and used today for the first time. These watercolors were quite lovely to use in my art journal (Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media, 100% cotton paper).

Golden's new QOR (pronounced "core") watercolor line uses a unique binder called Aquazol® instead of the usual watercolor binder - gum arabic. The name "QOR" comes from a technical acronym meaning "Quality of Results."

The colors in my sketch dried quite vivid and strong and didn't lighten with drying. This is one of the main selling features of the Aquazol® binder. I would like to definitely try some more paintings with this sampler in the future.

QOR watercolor sampler
QOR watercolor sampler

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Daily Sketch: The Silver Rose

I love this little building at 196 O'Connor and I have been itching to sketch it in my art journal. It is always polished and beautiful every time I walk past but at Christmas time it is most lovely.

The house is now a flower shop called The Silver Rose

The history on the door says Jon B. Lewis built this house in 1873.

By 1996, the house had only changed owners three times in 120 years!! When florist Gerald R. Arial purchased it, it was in serious disrepair and he chose to lovingly restore it back to life maintaining its original victorian charm. He completed his work in 2007. What a beauty it is!

Initial sketch

I sketched the house in graphite first and then I used watercolour (6 colours: Winsor red (PR 254) and Winsor blue, Winsor lemon (PY175), DS burgundy yellow ochre, (PY43) Payne's Gray and Viridian Green (PG 7)), ink and a white gel pen.

My initial sketch included the large side gate, but I cropped it out (above) because I am not sure it helps the sketch? Here it is in full below.

Final sketch

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Daily Sketch: Maple Almond Butter Cookies

The last part of November and the first week of December were busy with medical appointments and Christmas preparations. I still try to squeeze in some time each and every day to sketch.

Below is my #DailySketch of the ingredients for a new cookie recipe that I was trying. In between batches I sketched the ingredients on the kitchen counter. FYI - these cookies are delicious!

The Ingredients

The Cookie!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Sketching At The War Museum

The Ottawa urban sketchers group has moved indoors for the months of November and December and we are taking advantage of the Ottawa museum's free Thursday evenings.

Tonight we were sketching at Canada's War Museum from 4 to 8 pm. and I managed to do four sketches.

I was completely distracted by the fantastic World War Women exhibit. It showcased how the First and Second World Wars brought enormous changes to Canadian women’s lives. We actually rushed this exhibit to get to the LeBreton gallery where half the group wanted to start sketching.

George A. Reid's painting "Women Operators" was in the womenès exhibit and I got to see it up close!! I had just blogged about George A. Reid recently so this was a lovely surprise! (Link to my George A. Reid post

Painting "Women Operators" by George A. Reid 
There were folks sitting and knitting at a big table. We were able to see the knitting patterns, touch replica samples of the finished product and there was space at the table for anyone to try their hand at spool knitting. This was to showcase the "knitting for the war" effort that women participated in with the Red Cross.
"Knitting garments for soldiers, sailors and airmen was one important way for women to contribute to the Second World War. Knitting helped women at home stay connected to those who had gone off to fight — it was a tangible means of being involved.....After the war, the Red Cross estimated that some 750,000 women produced more than 50 million garments. " (Source: War Museum)
Knitting for the War
There were many stories about mothers and the sons they lost. Nellie McClung's son's war diaries were there too .....I never knew this about Nellie McClung! Quite sad.
Nellie's son - Jack McClung
The radio was playing 1940's news and music in this spot. I would have loved to have sat in the other chair and sketched this gentleman while he listened.

The marketing of the war
There was so much more at the World War Women exhibit, but we were there to sketch so we had to cut it off short and head to another gallery.

The LeBreton Gallery

When we made our way to the Lebreton Gallery, I managed to sketch the Harley Davidson, a field ambulance and a Ford half-truck that was acquired by the Royal Canadian Artillery as part of the process of replacing the horse in war.

My first sketch of a Harley Davidson
My final sketch took place in the WW II gallery. There was so much to sketch but I settled down on a very comfy bench across from the grocers ~ épicerie‎ .

My last sketch: Food rationing at the grocers/épicerie‎ during WW II
Some familiar faces showed up tonight to sketch and there were some new faces which is always really great.

The time period 4-8 pm was pretty challenging for most folks because of work schedules. (I was worried about that). Finding some time for eating is an additional challenge but everyone managed okay.

I am looking forward to December's event at the National Art Gallery and hope the group continues to grow!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Sketching at the Royal Winter Fair

On November 12th, 2015 I sketched at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair (RAWF) in Toronto. It was a blissful day!
My Sketch of the Royal Champion Pig
(Art journal: watercolour and ink)
"Ninety-five years ago, a cattle farmer from Brooklin, Ont., had an idea to establish the first national agricultural exhibition, showcasing the best in Canadian farming and livestock". (Source: CBC It's More Than Just Animals)
On Nov. 22, 1922, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair opened for the first time and remains the premier agricultural fair in Canada.  
"Back in 1922 when the Royal started, rail cars came from both sides of Canada into this very place to show cattle against one another. It was a unifying factor back in the 1920s," said Peter Hohenadel, the fair's director of agriculture and food.  (Source: CBC It's More Than Just Animals)

The last time I attended the Royal Winter Fair was over twenty years ago when my children were toddlers and we had a chance to say goodbye to Ian Millar's Big Ben on his 1994 Retirement tour.

The last time I attended the Royal Winter Fair was 1994
Big Ben's Retirement Tour: A picture of me holding my daughter Meagan with Big Ben

(Note on full circle moment of sorts: I was able to see Ian Millar again on this visit. I witnessed his horse having a bad refusal in the show jumping ring and then I watched Ian working things out in the practice ring later)

I grew up attending the Royal Winter Fair. As a student in the GTA/Mississauga areas, we attended the RAWF every year with our schools to learn about agriculture; as an art student, we went to spend the day sketching.

The Royal Winter Fair still forms part of the official curriculum for a number of high schools and art schools in Ontario.

Toronto District School Board - Rosedale Heights School of the Arts

It's no surprise that sketching at the RAWF is part of Sheridan's animation course curriculum (Source: Sheridan course outlines). A lot of the links at the bottom of this page take you to blogs and tumblrs of animation student's sketches at the RAWF.

Following my school years, I continued to attend the RAWF because of my life-long passion for horses (and all things equestrian) and my love of sketching.

The RAWF is the largest agricultural fair in the world and it takes place in the heart of a major metropolis!! Such a wonderful place for artists!

On the day that I was there, there were folks sketching everywhere!  It was wonderful!

A Great Place for Artists

Some results from googling "sketching at the Royal Winter Fair"
This year, over five thousand animals were housed over ten days in the Coliseum buildings of the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto, Ontario.

I spent seven hours at the RAWF sketching and I barely covered it all. Due to my last minute scheduling of this quick trip, I missed the chickens and geese, the beef cows, the goats and the rabbits (see below)........I could have easily gone for another day and I will plan better for next year!

What I saw:

What I missed seeing:

No Poultry, Waterfowl and Pigeon For Me

Source: Globe and Mail 2012
Jungho Chan,a first-year animation student Sheridan College does some sketching in the poultry, waterfowl and pigeon display at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto on Nov 7, 2012. The fair celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2012

I was quite sad to have missed the poultry, waterfowl and pigeon. It was one of the areas that I was most excited to sketch this year. The Royal welcomed over 800 chickens, geese, turkeys, pigeons and many more, but they had been restricted to two days only (Nov 10 & 11) at the Royal Winter Fair and I had missed them by one day. I wondered  whether the Royal Winter Fair and other large shows are cutting poultry exhibitions from their roster for the year due to concerns over avian influenza contamination?

Some of My Sketches

Here are a few of my sketches that I did on site at the Royal Winter Fair on November 12, 2015. 

I took lots of photos as well and plan to use them as references for future sketches that I will blog about in a separate post.

My first cow sketch of the day
I could have spent the entire day sketching cows. I love them so much!
These two watched me the entire time that I was sketching.
It was awesome.
Tequila and Cheerio - these two beautiful Holsteins stared at each other the whole time that I sketched them
I didn't know it at the time - but these two are prize-winning Holsteins!
"Bud" the Belgian - one of the first horses that I sketched
Bud preferred to eat his hay rather than pose for me despite my many attention-seeking noises
I watched the Junior Jumper #113 on November 12
I sketched the Ricoh Coliseum while I watched

Couldn't resist sketching the sweet sheep with hoods on!
(The hoods are put on to keep them clean in between showings.)


If you have never been to the RAWF, here are some videos to give you a visual "taste" of all there is to see.

I'll definitely be going again in 2016 and next time, I will make sure that I am there when the chickens, geese, turkeys, pigeons are!!!

Royal Agricultural Winter Fair: 2011 Preview

Royal Agricultural Winter Fair: 2014 Preview

Royal Agricultural Winter Fair: 2015 Preview