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

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Daily Sketch

On my daily walks with my yellow labrador retriever Lexie, we pass by a LOT of windows where pets are staring out at the passersbys on the sidewalk, but there is no sadder face in Centretown than this beautiful Burmese mountain dog who watches us walk by most mornings. I had to snap a quick photo and sketch it over morning coffee.

"Behind Bars"
My art journal - ink and watercolour

Friday, November 6, 2015

Sketching Mellos - Part II

Below is a photo of my art journal with some sketches that I did at at our "Sketching Mellos" event earlier this week.

My art journal
Urban sketches of Mellos restaurant, Dalhousie, Ottawa
I finally got around to scanning and here are my two favourite sketches from the day.

"Mellos Restaurant" (watercolour and ink)
by Cindi Moynahan-Foreman
"Mellos on Dalhousie" (ink and graphite wash)
by Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

I really enjoyed this sketch outing and I am hoping for a positive outcome for Mellos restaurant and the great workers there.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Daily Sketch

Another One Bites The Dust on Nepean St.
Close-up of two-page sketch (see below)

My tweet
My tweet today (above) about a building located in Centretown and record temperatures for Ottawa ( warmest November day since 1971!) resulted in a quick one-hour sketch session with artist Colin White on the Nepean St. sidewalks.

Recently boarded up, this Nepean St building will soon be demolished along with several others on the same block.

When you get a 21.2℃ day in Ottawa in November you have to seize the day "carpe diem" - even if only for an hour!

One hour urban sketch "Another One Bites The Dust - Nepean St."
Art journal two-page sketch (watercolour and ink)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Monday, November 2, 2015

Ottawa Art School Fair - Print Addiction With Golden Acrylics

Art School Fair (ASF) was held October 31 to November 1, 2015, in Ottawa.

ASF is eastern Canada's first and only ART MATERIAL TRADE FAIR + ART CLASSES. Organizers brought together the biggest and best names and brands in the industry. Attendees were able to see, buy and try the latest products, take a workshop, demo or lecture.

This is the last of four reports on the demonstrations, lectures and workshops that I attended. On Sunday, November 1st (12:30 pm-2:30 pm), I attended the demonstration: Print Addiction with Golden Acrylics by Andrea Warren of Golden Paints

Our Instructor: Andrea Warren
I had met Andrea Warren previously at the Davis Art School (see my blog post: "A Golden Night Exploring Golden Acrylics")

Andrea is an Ottawa-based artist. Her website is:

Her  About Page" says,
"Andrea Warren is an acrylic painter and mixed media artist based out of her hometown of Ottawa, Ontario. Since 2008, she has been the Ottawa Working Artist for Golden Artist Colors, giving lectures and hands-on workshops at universities, colleges, galleries and art associations across central and eastern Canada. Andrea received her degree in visual arts and philosophy from Trinity Western University, in Langley, BC, and has been exhibiting her work in both solo and group shows for the last 10 years. She has also been involved in the field of arts and healthcare for the last five years, and currently works with Artswell, a non-profit group which provides therapeutic arts programs for marginalized communities."
Below are some of the samples Andres brought of her monoprints on rice paper. Incredibly beautiful and inspiring to see at the beginning of our class.

Samples of Andrea Warren's monoprints on rice paper

Our hands-on workshop was about mono printing using Gelli Plates and Golden acrylics and a variety of other materials (i.e. palette knives and painting tools, homemade stencils, string, and more.)

Prior to class we were asked to bring three items:

Golden supplied all of the other materials that we required. (More on that later.)

Here are my art supplies all set up and ready to go at the workshop
For our mono printing workshop, we used Golden OPEN acrylic paints. Why OPEN acrylics?

  •  OPEN Acrylics are a slow-drying paint with a slightly softer consistency than Golden Heavy Body paints. 
  •  The slow-drying capability of OPEN Acrylics also makes the suitable for some printmaking techniques. 
  • Because OPEN Acrylics dry slowly, painters who cover their palettes or use sealed containers have been able to use the same colors for weeks, reducing the amount of paint wasted and preserving color mixtures for future use.
  •  Thick applications can dry extremely slowly, so Golden recommends artists only use OPEN Colors thinly (< 1 mm). 
  • Drying time can also be accelerated by mixing OPEN with faster-drying acrylics like our Fluid and Heavy Body colors.
Click here for detailed product information, click here for pigment information and download the Color Material Safety Data Sheet for health and safety information.

Golden OPEN acrylic paints
What we learned from Andrea Warren - the workshop basics:

Why is it called "monoprinting"? A monoprint is essentially a ONE of a kind print.
"Also known as the most painterly method among the printmaking techniques , a monoprint is essentially a printed painting. The characteristic of this method is that no two prints are alike; although images can be similar, editioning is not possible." (Source:
Subtractive or Additive monoprinting

Source: Opus Art Supplies: Introduction to Monoprinting

What is a gelliplate? 

Gel Printing Plate ( looks and feels like gelatin, but is durable, reusable and stores at room temperature. It's easy to clean and always ready for printing. (FYI for vegans - There is no gelatin in a Gelli plate.) (Andrea's tips: hold on to the case it comes in for storage; store flat with nothing on top; clean with baby wipes)

What about Paper?

We used Strathmore Printmaking paper, (see: but Andrea also uses rice paper for her printmaking (see:
(Andrea's tips: she also like using Rives BFK and Arches 88)

Note that Canson has an excellent resource "Printmaking Chose Your Paper" which can be found at:

Andrea demonstrating setting up your register

For our workshop we did subtractive monoprinting:
Step 1: Lay your gelliplate on a piece of palette paper and mark it
Step 2: Register your paper by taping one piece to each side of your gelli plate
Step 3: Apply colour using brayers or q tips and be very aware of transparent vs opaque colours
Step 4: Using stencils, scrapers, string, etc texturize the plate
Step 5: "Pull" your print: apply the paper rubbing with your hand and lift

Get 3 prints? But I thought monoprinting meant 1 print?
"As their names imply, monotypes and monoprints (the words are often used interchangeably but shouldn’t be) are prints that have an edition of one, though sometimes a second, weaker impression can be taken from the matrix.  A monotype is made by drawing a design in printing ink on any smooth surface, then covering that matrix with a sheet of paper and passing it through a press.  The resulting image will be an exact reverse of the original drawing, but relatively flatter because of the pressure of the press." (Source:

My VERY FIRST monoprint- I LOVED the colours!

The workshop promised that we would "Learn the basics, experiment with different techniques and materials, make a pile of fun prints, and go home with all the tools you need to start printmaking at home!" and it did indeed. Within an hour, the tables were filling with prints to dry.

One of the many areas where workshop participants piled placed their prints to dry while starting another one
Andrea highly recommended the following two books for folks who wanted to experiment and get inspiration:
Two books recommended by Andrea

I am really excited about this new technique and while I was in the class I wondered about using the monoprints to create other things - like using the print as a background and drawing or painting on top it or tearing up or cutting the prints for use in collages.....or acrylic, collage, drawing, assemblage on wood ?! The possibilities are endless!

Combination of techniques
The monotype is a technique used by many artists only as a transition for other work, such as Degas used to do. He first printed a monotype, then developed the image by drawing and painting over it with pastels, pencils, oil paint, watercolors or printing ink. When an image printed too heavily, Degas made a second impression of that same print by placing a new sheet of dampened paper over the just printed monotype. This would take away some of the color and a second lighter impression was the result which was also used to work on with inks, pastels or oils.

Collaging Monoprints
Andrea suggested for collage artists to use soft gel gloss for the glue because it's archival (goes on white but dries clear)

This was an incredibly brief summary of some interesting points that I took away from Andrea Warren's excellent presentation yesterday. I am thankful for this opportunity today at the Art School Fair.
More Links to Explore

Altogether, I made 9 prints at the workshop. Here are few of my favourites:

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Ottawa Art School Fair - Daniel Smith Watercolors

Art School Fair (ASF) was held October 31 to November 1, 2015, in Ottawa.

ASF is eastern Canada's first and only ART MATERIAL TRADE FAIR + ART CLASSES. Organizers brought together the biggest and best names and brands in the industry. Attendees were able to see, buy and try the latest products, take a workshop, demo or lecture.

This is the third of four reports on the demonstrations, lectures and workshops that I attended. On Saturday, October 31st (3:00 pm-4:30 pm), I attended the demonstration: Daniel Smith Watercolours- An intimate conversation with John Cogley (owner). (Website:

The Daniel Smith Watercolour booth at the Art School Fair

The Daniel Smith booth at the Art School Fair
showing pigment with natural source
Owner John Cogley was unexpectedly ill at the last moment so Katherine Taylor gave the presentation in his place. Katherine Taylor travels around the world introducing artists to Daniel Smith product. Her enthusiasm was contagious and she was very gracious with her time at the booth. She said when the demo started at 3:00, that she felt as though she had already spoken to everyone in the room and she had certainly taken the time to speak to the majority of us.

Katherine Taylor explaining the Daniel Smith colour charts
Most of this blog post will be to share the amazing watercolour samples and sources. It was amazing to see the watercolours up close and to also see and learn about the sources for the pigment.

Here are some other interesting points:

  • Daniel Smith was a printmaker
  • Daniel Smith uses ONLY gum arabic
  • Daniel Smith was the first to bring the world Quinacridone Gold -  Everyone's favorite! (Replaces Raw Sienna and adds versatility with its glazing and mixing capabilities)
  • Daniel Smith's 13 Quinacridones are transparent and excellent for glazing and mixing
  • Daniel Smith was the first to use color dots
  • Daniel Smith discontinued all of their cadmiums
  • Daniel Smiths Lunar colours are the most granulating
  • All of Daniel Smith's pigment particles are the same size ("particle size" being the only difference between ultramarine blue and french ultramarine blue)

This was an incredibly brief summary of some interesting points that I took away from Katherine Taylor's excellent presentation yesterday. I am thankful for this opportunity today at the Art School Fair.

My Daniel Smith purchases

I purchased two Daniel Smith items from the Art Fair School 
  • 238 Color Dot sampler
  • Daniel Smith 4 + 1 + 1 Watercolor set (4 select 15 ml tubes of paint + 15 ml tube of Jadeite + Serpentine Genuine watercolor stick)
and we were given three samples:
  • 2 Dot cards: PRIMATEK watercolors sampler and ALVARO CASTAGNET palette sampler
  • Daniel Smith Watercolor ground (30 ml)
  • Daniel Smith extra fine watercolor stick - french ultramarine blue
The Daniel Smith free samples