Friday, July 31, 2015

Ottawa Alley Project Recap

Artist/illustrator Colin White conceptualized an Ottawa "Alley Project" after leading an Ottawa Jane's Walk  called "Illustrating Change on Bank St." with Liam Mooney.

In early summer, Colin organized group sketching sessions that were both supportive and social. These sessions have become, for me, a welcomed weekly sketching evening in the company of some incredibly talented Ottawa artists.  

The Week 1 Alley sketchers

Below is a brief recap of some of the places we have sketched, some of the tweets we shared and some scans of sketches in my art journal.

Alley Project - Week 6 - Glebe

Beautiful laneway with majestic pine and interesting garage in the Glebe
(My art journal - mixed media - 100% cotton paper )
Interior of burnt out building on Bank at 5th Ave
(My art journal - mixed media - 100% cotton paper )
Roof detail of burnt building
(My art journal - mixed media - 100% cotton paper )

Alley Project - Week 5 - Vanier

Horse cart and trailer in Vanier laneway
(My art journal - graphite wash and watercolour - 100% cotton paper )
Bike Tune-up shop in Vanier
(My art journal - mixed media - 100% cotton paper )

Alley Project - Week 4 - Chinatown

Alley Project - Week 3  - Hintonburg

Alley Project - Week 2 - James St

Alleyway west of Bank
(My art journal - ink/watercolour - 100% cotton paper )

Alley detail - behind Buzz restaurant
(My art journal - ink/watercolour - 100% cotton paper )

Alley Project - Week 1 - Jack Purcell

Alley west of Elgin (near Jack Purcell)
(My art journal - ink/watercolour - 100% cotton paper )

Alley west of Elgin (near Jack Purcell)
(My art journal - ink/watercolour - 100% cotton paper )

Cecil The Lion

Sometimes art can be a way to process things you don't understand.

Art journal sketch
(Mixed media on 100% cotton paper)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Calls For Artists

This summer I have been taking note of several artist calls. My fun sketches below were created in my art journal after I had tweeted (@cindiforeman) about the Atomic Rooster artist call for their annual Cock Show 2015. I read the artist call and wondered "Should I enter the show?" and "What rooster would I create?"

My art journal: Rooster sketches

I thought it would be great to collect artist calls on one page to share with other artists. If you know of any that are not included here, please add them in the comment section below.

Artist Calls 

(Deadline date order)

Artist Opportunities Portals

Sunday, July 26, 2015

48th WW Sketchcrawl - Ottawa Report

The weather forecast looked grim for the afternoon
and so we adjusted our itinerary to include some rain check-in points. 

The good news is that the rain held off until two hours after the sketchcrawl ended!

The Rideau Canal and the Bytown Museum
Seven sketchers participated in the 48th WW sketchcrawl meeting at "Maman"
which is the spider sculpture located in front of the National Art Gallery 
created by Louise Bourgeois (who I have blogged about previously in June 2014).

We sketched at the National Art Gallery location until noon.

Sarah did a sketch of me sketching!
Laurie sketched "Maman"
Michel also sketched "Maman"
Diane sketched the Notre Dame Basilica

At noon, three of us wandered over to the Bytown museum 
to meet up with John and to sketch the canal until 1:00.

Michael sketched the locks
We all met together at the Byward market having 

Lunch at the Byward market
(L to R: Diane, Laurie, John, Michel and Michael)
After lunch, a few folks needed to head home. 
The rest of us went to sketch at the beautiful and historic Courtyard in the Market.

The Courtyard with Diane, Michel and Laurie sketching on the benches

It was a wonderful day. 

Folks seemed keen to have regular sketchcrawls in Ottawa 
so we will try to arrange a regular schedule and post it online.

fourth Sunday of every month. Perhaps that would be a good start for an 
Ottawa Urban Sketchers group

Stay Tuned!

John "Sketch Journal" Ottawa Sketchcrawl links:

Other WW Sketchcrawl in Ottawa links:

International Urban Sketching Symposiums

"Maman" art journal sketch
(mixed media on 100% cotton paper)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Styrofoam Relief Printmaking - Ottawa Alleys

Today I finally made some proof runs of an Ottawa alley (off Bank) that I had imagined as a styrofoam relief print.

Ottawa Alley
(The image had been flipped horizontally)

Proof #1
I used Scratch-Foam Board that is generally used for teaching children relief printmaking because no sharp tools are required. I liked the idea that styrofoam could be used to interpret an alley way. Its that piece of material that we generally discard when we unwrap whatever it had been protecting.

Scratch-Foam Board
I have also done prints using the styrofoam that butchers use in grocery stores to wrap meat. In the styrofoam relief below (a print of my daughter holding a camera) I used a piece of styrofoam that was discarded from the chicken we had purchased for dinner.

Styrofoam relief made from common butcher's styrofoam
I used a number of different tools on this first practice run: a scratch etch stylus and clay modelling tools but the best tool of all was an old discarded chopstick (top).


Carved styrofoam on the right (after inking)
In my original carving, I had used the chopstick to indicate bricks. When I ran a couple of prints, I found it much too busy and when I added watercolour later, it became a bit of a muddy mess.

I used Speedball water soluble printing ink: black (3400).

This is one of the original runs
showing the brick effect
The bricks were easy to eliminate just by smoothing out the styrofoam with the chopstick until the "bricks" were gone. Below is a proof without bricks.

This is one of the original runs
without the brick effect
Below is my first proof with watercolour added. I plan to experiment with more colours (the more intense the better) and with different papers. 

I used Subi (white) block printing paper this time but I wonder what effects could be achieved using other papers?

That will have to wait for the next time I play.

Proof #1

Inspiration Notes

I love sketching and I love printmaking and I wondered if there wasn't a way that I could do both?

I was inspired when I came across this styrofoam jigsaw block print at 
Brian Holden's "Printmaking Journey" blog:

Source: Brian Holden's blog post:
"demo relief print made from Styrofoam - jigsaw block technique"

It seemed to me that styrofoam was well suited for this type of project - it is a commonly discarded material; it is fast to carve on location (unlike linoleum) and it's lightweight and easy to  pack.

I revisited my Pinterest "Linocut" board for some more ideas and inspiration.

I think this concept can work. I will continue to look in alleys for a subject matter
that lends itself as beautifully as Brian Holden's crow in the garbage does.

The Sketch

Art journal sketch from photograph
(mixed media on 100% cotton paper)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Summer Plein Air 6/6 - Pinhey's Point Historic Site

Our summer landscape painting group

Tuesday was the last day of our six session summer landscape painting with famous Canadian artist David W. Jones. I am going to miss David and this great group of landscape artists.

David chose Pinhey's Point for our last painting session and I realized that I had accidentally ended up in that general area last fall. I had blogged about a fall road trip in October 2014 where we had attended an estate sale that was located next to a graveyard and old abandoned church.

Pinhey's Point is 30 minutes west of Ottawa

 I later researched the location and discovered that this was St. Mary's Church and Cemetery (N45.439722, W75.953056) erected in 1828 by Hamnett Kirkes Pinhey.

Blog Post: "Art Journal Pages", Oct 2014
I was excited about this last session. I was curious about what the area would look like in the summer.

Pinhey's Point Historic Plaque
Pinhey's Point, located on the Ottawa river, is exceptionally beautiful from every angle. 

Sketch from "Kite Arial Photograph" (KAP)
(see link at bottom of page)

The cumulus clouds were incredibly robust and plentiful. I could have easily passed the day just sketching the clouds as they rolled by.

Sailboats taking shelter in the bay at Pinhey's Point
Pinhey's Point provides a pretty little bay which serves as a very popular day anchorage, and a convenient overnight anchorage for sailboats. There were five sailboats anchored there when we visited on Tuesday.

Sketch of view from the bottom of the hill

View from the bottom of the hill

I made several small quick sketches as I explored Pinhey's Point. 

The sailboats anchored in the bay

The pines on the Point

I sketched the five pines midway down the Point. I liked the reflection of the pines in the water of the little bay.

Pinheyès Point reflection

I learned from David that access to the Point was closed to the public sometime ago. This is because it was found that the large number of visitors was endangering the ecology of this small strip of land.

Because it was our last session, we arranged a potluck picnic which was enjoyed by all while we were regaled with David's stories of his interesting encounters with jazz musicians. What a lovely way to spend our last day together.

The picnic lunch

Celebration of summer painting

The artists: 'The Group of Ten' (one person was missing unfortunately)
and our wonderful teacher David W. Jones
Although I painted eight landscape paintings, not one of them was ever entirely finished when it came time to leave the location. This is partially explained by the fact that I get carried away with sketching while I am exploring the location and generally didn't start painting until after lunch. This left me only two hours!

But I did learn something about painting, something about the landscape and something about myself at every single session.

Below is the painting I started after lunch on our final day. I loved the colours!

My easel with my two hour acrylic painting

Many Thanks David W. Jones!

I am reposting the video I posted earlier about our wonderful summer landscape teacher David W. Jones. He has been teaching art courses for a LOT of years and plans to continue doing so. If you have enjoyed these posts and are thinking of trying one of David's courses, check with the Ottawa District School Board.

If you are reading this on email, follow this link:

The Kite Aerial Photographs of Pinhey's Point are here:
Pinhey's Point, Ottawa River - Kite Aerial Photography 2012-7