Sketches of public art in SW Calgary downtown

Yesterday was a beautiful and hot day for urban sketching. Five of us were out for the session, although I only met up with Pam at the end. The others had had enough of the heat by then. Below are the three sketches I was able to do before having to stop for lunch and a cool beverage.

Bird of Spring – Connaught Park: I used watercolour pencils to save time. The colour of the bird is a little too bright, but it was the best I had in my WC pencil set.

Bird of Spring

World War I Memorial – in front of Central Memorial Library: I did the pencil sketch and then the ink on site, and coloured it at home. The actual background trees are a frightfully dull gray-green, so I added some lighter greens to help the statue stand out.

World War I Memorial

Ascension – Just south of the Louise Bridge: I drew the foreground sculpture on site and added the background one (barely visible) this morning to complete the picture. Don’t worry, we aren’t being invaded by spiders from Mars. These guys only have three legs each.


Hope you like,



New Central Library – Calgary Urban Sketchers

Back on March 5 of this year, Rod posted a note about an upcoming opportunity for the Calgary Urban Sketchers group to display our sketches of this great city. Our opportunity is quickly approaching – August we will get to display our sketches on the “Calgary’s Story” wall on the top floor of the library.

I am posting this note to solicit sketches of Calgary from the members of the Calgary Urban Sketchers group. We are looking for contributions from all members of the group, as long as they are urban sketches of Calgary.

Original sketches can be taken to the print shop at any Calgary Staples store (or a similar business if you have another preference), and they will scan your sketch or sketches, then crop and enlarge as you wish, and print on foamcore (also known as foamboard) in the size you specify. Letter size is the most popular so far, but there is also room for 11″ x 17″ inch if you so desire. Landscape or Portrait format as appropriate. Typical processing time is 2 to 4 days and the cost is quite reasonable. You keep your original sketches.

One to four sketches per member, mounted on foamcore, is what I’m looking for. Please sign your prints so you receive credit for your work.

I REALLY want to avoid a last minute scramble to get the prints, so please review your sketches in the next week or two, and give me the copies by Saturday July 20. The easiest way to find me is to show up at one of the upcoming group sketching sessions. Also email me at to let me know you have some sketches to contribute and when you will be bringing them. The July schedule should be posted on the “Events” tab shortly.

Please let me know if you have one or two”most favorites” in case we get too many sketches for the wall space available and have to prune.

When August is over, we will take the prints down and return them to you. Unfortunately, there is always the possibility of damage after a month of being on public display. That is why we want prints of your work, not your originals.

I am also looking for as many volunteers as possible to help mount the sketches on the wall. There’s an old adage about “many hands make for light work,” meaning the more volunteers the lighter the work for each of us. I expect we will be mounting the sketches on Thursday August 1 but will confirm once we have a firm date from the library.

This is our time! Let’s make it an event to remember.




A house at Crescent Heights

Crescent Heights has a wonderful overview of downtown Calgary from across the Bow River.

I thought I would draw a wonderful vista of the downtown on Tuesday night, but when I got there I was somewhat overwhelmed by what I saw. I settled for a sketch of a beautiful brick and frame house at the end of the block. It took about 30 minutes to rough in the pencil sketch, then another 30 to ink in most of the lines, and then I had to stop for the night. As an instructor once told me, “the mind can’t absorb what the butt can’t endure.” I finished the lines this morning and then the watercolour washes later today.

This was in a 5-1/2″ by 8″ sketchbook.

House at Crescent Heights

Calgary Marathon on Sunday May 26

Just realized the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon is happening on Sunday May 26. It starts and ends at the Stampede grounds and goes out to Bowness. The marathon will cross the Bow using the Zoo bridge to Inglewood, Centre Street, and 14th St W, will use Memorial Drive and will pass through the Beltline along 11th Ave S. This may make it difficult for some to reach Barb Scott park (our next sketching location) on Sunday morning.

More informationĀ  can be found by searching on “Scotiabank Calgary Marathon.”


From a snowy day in February

This is the Alexandra Centre in Inglewood, drawn on Feb 16 but only coloured with watercolour washes a few days ago. I struggled a lot with the colour of the shadows, and scrubbed off at least two versions before getting this cool gray on. On the right hand side, you can see where the “waterproof” ink was starting to give up as I scrubbed off the previous wash. The day was cloudy with a lot of snow falling, so the shadows were pretty weak.

Alexandra Centre cmprsd


From the new Brookfield building

From Saturday Jan 19: I sketched the Central United Church in downtown Calgary from the second floor of the Brookfield building. Trying to get the proportions correct, I spent almost the whole time measuring with my 2H pencil and scratching in some construction lines on my sketchbook page.

I inkedĀ  the lines the next day at home, and added watercolours yesterday. I tried adding shadows by adding the complement of the sandstone yellow.


central united church 2019-01-19 cmprsd

ATCO Park Dec 8 2018

Finally got through the seasonal chaos and found some time to finish washing in colour on this sketch. This is from a new building here in Calgary – the ATCO Park facility in the southwest. It’s quite a nice set of three buildings, interesting shapes and an inviting lounge/restaurant area in the main building.

The pencil sketch was done on site in about one and a half hours. So many lines and angles, I didn’t even try to ink in any of the lines while I was there. Hope you like,


ATCO Park 2018-12-08