Its October, so it's fitting to go sketching at a cemetery. Urban Sketchers at St. John's Anglican Church in Arva. This cute little yellow brick church was built in 1875. The first sketch was of the cemetery at the back of the property, a unique heart shaped head stone caught my attention. It was a little windy and cool back there, so moved to the front of the church. Went across the street to sketch an elevation view of the church, warmer with no wind. Micron Pen and water brush filled with india ink/distilled water mixture for gray tones... I spent about 45 minutes on each sketch.
This AM the Urban Sketchers London had it's first event as an official chapter of Urban Sketchers International. Met downtown, the artists went where they wanted to and them met up at a coffee shop for the throw down. Some sketchers from Waterloo Region US made the trip. Probably our largest gathering of sketchers to date.
I have drawn/illustrated the (former) Kingsmill's Department Store building a couple of times before, but always from photographs. Now it's home to Fanshawe College: School of Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts. And this time it's a sketch completed on location. I would not say the building was "saved", but at least we still have the original facade for the Dundas streetscape. I think, when you only keep the front wall, and completely rebuild the rest, you loose spirit of the building and have not really saved it. But this is better than loosing it completely!
New sketchbook started August 1 and this time a little bigger. First 2 were 6 x 6 inches, this one is 10 x 8 inches. Still working on sketching everyday.... still only missed one day since April 8.
A recent article by Bryan Bicknell, CTV News London called "Buildings on the Brink" prompted me to revisit my "Save Me Series" from 2017. This illustration is based on my belief that old building have a soul. I combined my figure drawing, my love of architecture, my photo and an old photo I found on Toronto Public Library Archive site. If you look closely in the windows you will see "Save Me". I truly hope this building is repurposed and saved somehow. See more illustrations from the Save me Series.
Couple of process images
Sometimes an illustration gets in a pile of artwork and gets overlooked for awhile. This one "Camden Terrace (Front Elevation) was overlooked for a few years! Cleaning up studio and came across it this weekend. Illustration is from 2016 and in November of that year, the building was demolished. The building was located at 479-489 Talbot Street, and was built 1876-77.Second image is based on the architecture of Camden Terrace, in the window, it says "save me - you did not". The history of the architecture and the city is worth saving. Once it is gone, its gone forever.
This is (was) an example of "Terrace Housing". A 19th-century term for row housing, terrace housing refers to identical or mirror-image houses sharing side walls. Such terraces were a traditional British form of domestic architecture generally only found in the larger urban areas of Ontario. London has several examples. (Source: Jennifer grainger.blogspot.com)
Some notes from Architectural Conservancy Ontario, London Branch about its unique design:
This prominent building in the downtown of St. Marys (175 Queen Street East), was constructed in 1891 of local limestone with dichromatic red sandstone accents. Its close proximity to the St. Marys Public Library, another heritage building constructed with similar materials, contribute to the strong heritage identity of the downtown area.
St Marys Town Hall, Ink and watercolour, 6" x 6" ©2020
I am excited and honoured to have my Dundas Streetscape (Clarence to Wellington) officially hanging at the new location of the London Arts Council. They just moved to their new office at 267 Dundas Street, London, ON, corner of Dundas and Wellington. This organization truly enhances the quality of life and creative vitality in London, through their various programs, services and incredible staff members. I appreciate their support over the years.
This illustration was started in 2012, when I took the photo reference. I put all the images together in Photoshop, to figure out how big to draw each buildings, in order to have the streetscape fit on a sheet of watercolour paper. I completed the ink drawing in 2012, but then got busy doing two books: Barhopping into History, London Ontario (2013) and Hopping into History, London's Old East Village (2015). Both of these books were supported by the London Arts Council. Finally in 2018, I got back to the illustrations and completed them. My original plan was to draw every building from Museum London (I worked at the Art Rental shop) to the London Clay Art Centre (I still work here). To date, I have only finished 3 blocks. Maybe its time to continue with this series...