Sunday, August 26, 2012

Camping at the Westin Grand

 The ganas to sketch, which has been eluding me lately, finally struck while we're away from home without any art toys at hand.  A quick stroll down the street to buy a sketchbook and some pencil crayons, and here I am, perched in the window of the Westin Grand, catching the last rays of daylight hitting the roof of the Hotel Vancouver.  
We're staying here courtesy of the production company filming a TV commercial on our front porch at the moment.   They've been there for a few days prepping. They built a very cool facade of character homes like ours, laid down some grass and a faux sidewalk, strung up a traffic light, and voila!  Our 4 way stop is now a T-intersection.  Total transformation.  Cool things will happen to that facade, but I believe at the moment we're supposed to keep a lid on the details.  More to come later.
It's been a busy household here this summer.  We've had non-stop house-guests since mid-April, and still do.  Mostly family moving back from Mexico one at a time.  It's been good fun; getting them settled, exploring Vancouver, feasting, biking, playing tennis and having a few side-trips and adventures along the way.  Soon they'll all be tucked into their lovely new digs in Whistler, and we can start spending ALL those hosting credits we've been building up all spring/summer!  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pigtailed Cuties and Storage Blues

 These portraits of my nieces had been buried in storage for years.  Lauren remembered them, and asked if she could have hers for her apartment.  I had no idea where they were, but stumbled on them in one of the storage lockers the other day.  The girls are both still just as cute, but Lauren is thriving in the business world and Sarah is half way to becoming Doctor Sarah.  No more pigtails.  "Turn around and they're two, turn around and they're four...".  You know the rest.

I was glad I found the portraits, but overall a day slugging through storage lockers sure makes you look at your stuff differently.  We accumulate all these 'must have' possessions, pay to house them, sometimes for years, and then, what?  Between 3 storage lockers and the garage at our ski place I waded through an ocean of stuff and ended up bringing only what fit in the back of my car down to the new house.  The rest of it I could really probably not see again for the rest of my life without being adversely affected.  I suppose that's how it goes.  People house it so they don't have to deal with it.  We eventually die, and then some poor relative (I've been this relative) has to feel bad about throwing all our treasures away.  Or eBaying them.  Or they end up on some version of Garage Picker Storage Wars.  Note to self: use all the stuff you have to the best of your ability before buying more.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

EDiM Hold Still... I'm Drawing You

It's May!  Time for the Every Day in May Challenge.  The challenge is to do a sketch each day, taking subject cues from a pre-chosen portion of the 'Everyday Matters' list.  You'll find this year's  list later in this post.

The sketch here is from the second item on the new list.  "Draw something that represents a New Year's resolution of yours".  You might think the resolution was to sketch more, but not.  My resolution this year was to get out of my little bubble, become more involved in the community around me.  This sketch is from a life drawing session I went to yesterday here in the hood.  I found out about it on a Vancouver Meet-Up group.  There were six of us tucked into this very cool art studio (thank you Sarah) a few blocks from my house.  It's a shared space, with all kinds of cool artwork/workspaces set up in most corners and the sound of musicians rehearsing in the background.We had no model, so we took turns doing 5 minute sketches of each other.  Had to be quick.  Most of the colour on this one was added later at home.

Here's the whole EDiM list for this month:

1. Draw or paint a landscape
2. Draw something that represents a new year’s resolution of yours
3. Free choice. Draw anything you like.
4. Draw a present you have received. Why is it special?
5. Draw something sweet
6. Draw a holiday card
7. Draw a spoon and journal a little about it
8. Draw an egg carton, with or without eggs in it.
9. Draw a brown paper bag
10. Draw an apple
11. Draw something with wings
12. Draw a button or buttons
13. Draw something breezy - something that blows in the wind - a flag, leaves, your choice.
14. Draw your lunch and journal about it.
15. Draw a traffic sign (stop, yield, crossing, directional, arrows, etc.)
16. Draw a store in your neighbourhood.
17. Draw some bread and write about it if you like.
18. Draw a nearby body of water - ocean, lake, pond, river
19. Draw your artspace - drawing board, desk, studio, table - draw where you create.
20. Draw a streetlight
21. Draw something that makes you happy, and write about it, too.
22. Draw an ear, or two or three or more
23. Draw a souvenir of a place you’ve been. Write a bit about your memories of the place.
24. Draw something cold or cool. Chill, people.
25. Draw some flowers (or colourful showy foliage if you’re in the S. hemisphere and don’t find flowers in bloom.)
26. Draw the ingredients and/or process of a favourite recipe - and journal about it.
27. Draw some clouds and write about them
28. Draw a mailbox and write about the most important piece of real world mail you’ve ever received(not email - snail mail.)
29. Draw somewhere new. Go somewhere new to you and draw what you find. Write about it, too.
30. Draw something representing your favourite sport.
31. Draw what you’re afraid of. Write about it, if you dare.

  If you're a sketcher, or think you'd like to be, give it a go!  It's honestly the best thing I ever did as far as tuning up the drawing skills goes.  The last time I did it, I ended up doing the whole month's worth of drawings with a box of  kids crayons.  I love flipping through that sketchbook; it tells a story.  And, I'm proud of myself for sticking with it the whole way through. I feels good just to finish something.  The sketches from the first year I did it are all on this blog.  Here's day one, just in case you're curious. :-)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Pink Bikes, Sunshine and Little Chicks

It's Spring, full on.  We rode our bikes to Main Street and had breakfast sitting in the sunshine at an outdoor table.  That's a first for the season.  I've got the pink cruiser bike on the road.  It belonged to my 83 yr old Mom, who just last year decided she wasn't going to use it any more and let me take it home to live out its days at our house.  I've always coveted the pink bike, possibly not so subtly.  Thanks Mom.  I'll make sure I put it to good use.

The address tiles on the front of the house came from the market in Bucerias.  We were there a few weeks ago; a sneak trip to surprise my brother Mike who lives there.  It was his 50th birthday, and one by one, the three of us siblings who don't live there showed up to surprise him.  We had a rocking party in his back yard, lots of music, old friends from our first arrival in Vallarta, and from our time living in Puerto Penasco.  One of his friends brought him some young chicks for his birthday.  No need to eyeroll at my use of the word, they're the kind of chicks that grow up to lay eggs.  When we first moved to Vallarta 10 years ago (oh my god, is it really that long ago?!  Yup.) we used to describe certain neighbourhoods as 'chicken-dog land'.  Now we are one ;-).  

Day one the bets began.  To understand, my brother's yard is rife with perils; a golden doodle, a swimming pool, a lovely but incredibly feisty (and occasionally naughty) 5 year old.  The odds were not with the chickens making it to egg laying age.  My brother was adamant.  "I'll be eating an omelet from these chicken, even if it has to be a chicken omelet".  

Day two - chickens found a foot under water in the pool. "I just wanted to see if they could swim" insists Maddi

Day three - chickens found out on the street.  They apparently are smaller than the openings in the chicken wire.  How they got through the solid concrete walls surrounding the property I don't know.  

Day four - We leave.  I don't hear what happens to the chicks after this point, but I hear that they're gone and new ones are dropped off at the house.  

Good luck, little chickens!  Here's hoping that next time we visit we're offered an omelet; a veggie omelet.  

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Let there be light

Let there be light by sketchalina
Let there be light, a photo by sketchalina on Flickr.
Another peek at the house.  We're having a home day today; Greg watching sports on the tube, me sketching between bouts of hula hooping in the backyard (my new workout fave) and Yogi nestling into the carpet, happy to have everyone home.

After months of nesting, we actually went out last night.  Dinner at Luke's on Granville Street, then off to the Stanley Theatre for a production of Oscar Wilde's "The Importance Of Being Ernest".  The theatre there itself is reason enough to go, and the play didn't dissapoint.  I'm always wowed by how performers absorb SO much dialogue, and then deliver it as if it was completely fresh night after night. Great job.  I love live theatre.  Must do more of that.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The House Tour Continues...

A little peek into the kitchen. I did a mad rush cleaning job throughout the house today. I was out walking Yogi this morning when I got a phone call. A location scout wanted to come by and photograph the house. He thought it might be a perfect fit for a tv pilot they're shooting later this month. How cool is that!? I did this sketch tonight, after a night at the movies with the store crew
It's fun for me to see what details land in a sketch view. In this one we see a painting of the Miranda Lamp I did during the 'every day in may' sketchathon a couple of years ago. Next to that is my all-time favourite photo. It's a circa 1969 snapshot of my brother Mike and I on my first day of school. Our old Plymouth Fury is in the background, and I'm wearing white knee socks and an acid green flower power dress. Groovy, no? Hard to believe he's turning 50 in two weeks. The pic in the third frame on the ubiquitous Ikea storage unit is of Austin, age 4, perched on a rock, threading his fingers through the seawater at Gibsons Landing . The funky wood furniture piece is from my old 'Eclectic Castle' store, as is the iron sconce hanging above it. There's a photo of Yogi hanging below the candles. It appeared in our house magically one day. I came home from work and there it was, staring up at me, floppy ears, big brown eyes, pink tongue hanging out, a little prezzy from our dog walker. You can't see it very well here. Our trophy we won at the last Chatters conference (highest same store sales increase nation wide!) is sitting in front of it. The chandelier painting was left here by the previous owners. It's covering the not so attractive alarm key pad. On top of the kichen cabs you get a peek at the bowl I haggled hard for at the Mercado at Rio Cuale in PV a few months ago. Happy memories. I sat and sketched that market a few years ago. It's such a cool spot. All little bits and pieces of memories. That's been one of the best parts about having this house. We're finally able to settle in somewhere; unfold all the goodies we've been gathering up and lugging around along the way.
I'm still so totally in love with this house. Yay.
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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year, New TV?

New Year, New TV? by sketchalina
New Year, New TV?, a photo by sketchalina on Flickr.
Every relationship involves a little give and take. There's ours in the text on the tv screen (see below). The painting on the left is of Rufus Wainright. We bought it at an auction at a PAG fundraiser a few years ago. I still love it.

Text says: What happens when your man agrees to buy a house he's never stepped foot in, based only on you telling him you love it?  I now know. You find yourself standing in an endless lineup at Best Buy on Boxing Day, despite your aversion to TVs in the living room, cheering him on as he drags over the largest screen imaginable, complete with blue ray surround sound. Five minutes into watching BBC's 'Planet Earth' on our new setpup, I too wondered how we ever got along without it.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year, New Home

New Year, New Home by sketchalina
New Year, New Home, a photo by sketchalina on Flickr.
We rang in the new year last night in the dining room of our beautiful new home. We've lived here just over a week, and by sheer force of will (my specialty) we're all settled in. This dining room is one of the features I first fell in love with. Last night, with it full of good friends, good food and a glow of candle light, all the stress and strain of making this happen seemed suddenly worth it. Yogi is settling in nicely. He virtually disappears when he lays down on these 'Yogi' coloured shag rugs. All our furniture, including this big ol' pine table I've lugged around for over a decade, fit like a glove. As does this new chandelier we got at Briers. Yep, getting tucked in here just in time for Christmas is about the best Christmas present a girl could ask for. The house is full of cool little details; enough to fill at least one sketchbook. More to come!