Downtown Sketch Crawl – East End Sculptures, June 22nd

This Saturday, rain or shine, is a first for our Urban Sketchers group, but follows a different format than our usual: it’s a sketch crawl! The general idea is that everyone spreads out along a roughly predetermined route, and meets up at the end to share their series of sketches from the crawl. The emphasis is on trying quicker sketches of multiple subjects over the allotted time.

In this case, we’re going to be showcasing the public art and sculptures around the east side of downtown. Using resources like the Downtown Art Walk brochure, and the City of Calgary public art map, choose a few different subjects east of 2nd Street and plan your route; anything goes! Aim to start at 10am, and a good plan would be to try to rotate locations every half hour, or whatever you’re comfortable with.

By 1pm, everyone will convene in Olympic Plaza at the Famous Five Women are Persons! statue (plan to arrive before that if you wish to sketch it). Likely we’ll head over to a nearby coffee shop to compare sketches afterwards.

Given the forecast, you may want to pack an umbrella, but keep in mind how much of this art is sketchable from sheltered vantages and have fun exploring our city! Stay tuned at the end of July when we’ll tackle the West end sculptures!

Image result for women are persons statue calgary

May & June Schedule

Thanks largely to Belinda’s monumental help, we’ve finalized the schedule for the next two months. In the comments, please share your thoughts on our new format of different days and times, and hopefully there is something that fits into everyone’s schedules. Please check back on the events page as some of the dates and times may be subject to changes as we get closer to the date. See you soon!

Sunday, April 28 (2-4pm) – cSpace King Edward, 1721 29th Ave SW, Suite 130.
Saturday, May 4 (11am-1pm) – Peace Bridge, south end. In case of inclement weather, meet at the Eau Clair Market food court.
Monday May 13 (6-8pm) – Tom Campbell’s Hill, 25 St. George’s Dr NE. In case of inclement weather, event cancelled.
Saturday, May 18 (11am-1pm) – Celebration Square, 7 Ave SE & 4 St SE. In case of inclement weather, meet at Luke’s in Central Library, 2nd floor, at 1pm AFTER sketching.
Sunday, May 26 (10:30am-12:30pm) – Barb Scott Park, 1211 9 St SW. Meet at the Chinook Arc sculpture; Dr. Carl Safron Centre is great to sketch too. In case of inclement weather, meet at Memorial Park Library.
Tuesday, June 4 (6:30-8:30pm) – Crescent Heights Lookout, Crescent Rd & 2 St NW. Meet at the top of stairs. In case of inclement weather, event cancelled.
Saturday, June 15 (10am-1pm) – Downtown Sculpture Sketch Crawl – more details forthcoming, but we will send out downtown art maps for people to visit and sketch throughout the morning, and then we will meet up at 1pm at the Famous Five sculpture at Olympic Plaza to share.
Saturday, June 22 (10am-12pm) – Connaught Park, 14 Ave & 11 St SW. In case of inclement weather, meet at the Good Earth Cafe on 11th St.
Thursday, June 27th (6:30-8:30pm) – Chicken on the Way, 14 ST & Kensignton Rd NW. In case of inclement weather, event cancelled.

Golden Acre

What better way to seek refuge from the bitter cold we’ve experienced the last several months, than at a garden centre. Golden Acre was kind enough to host us last Saturday, and although I couldn’t attend, lots of other sketchers did! As one of them put it, the warmth of the sun thru the greenhouse roof, the smell of dirt, and palette of various greens and vibrant flowers made you forget you were in Calgary. So hopefully it’s a nice option to keep in mind in case spring is delayed in arriving!


March – April sketching calendar

We’re trying out a new format for our sketching schedule, where we’ll post a full list of planned events in advance so that people can pick what works for them. Some of the events will be subject to change due to inclement weather and or pending permissions/coordination with venues, but we’ll try to keep to these dates set so that people can firm up their calendars. Check back closer to the dates for any updates!

Saturday, March 9 (10am-12pm) – Golden Acre Home & Garden, 620 Goddard Ave NE

Friday, March 15 (5:30-7:30pm) – Bowness Park Lagoon, ​8900 48 Ave NW; weather-dependent; sketching skaters on the lagoon by the fire.

Sunday, March  24 (10-11:30am) – Amato Gelato, 2104 Kensington Rd NW

Thursday, April 4 (5pm-7pm) – Glenbow Museum, 130 9 Ave SE; free admission for their “first Thursday” promotion; dry media only. Meet in the lobby at 5pm to practice 20min sketches as a group throughout the museum, otherwise we will meet back at the bottom of the stairs at 7pm.

Saturday, April 13 (10am-12pm) – To be confirmed (Suncor Energy Centre, 150 6 Ave SW)

Tuesday, April 23 (5:30-7:30pm) – To be confirmed (Courthouse Park/Harley Hotchkiss Gardens; meet at either Watermark Tower or the 8th Avenue Place +15)

Winter Sketching Refuges

We’ve had some great luck with our indoor venues as of late, although the winter has been mild enough to likely make the occasional outdoor sketch feasible. But with no shortage of vibrant new spaces to explore, we haven’t had any lack of heated options.

I love this goldfish mural at the Central Library, because it’s constructed as a mosaic out of multicoloured book spines! It’s also heartwarming to see so many people of differing ages and backgrounds sharing and appreciating these public spaces together. It’s an easy place to lose track of time in too!


Another fun Saturday morning was spent at Brookfield Place in the heart of downtown. Because it’s connected to the +15 walkway system that links many downtown buildings and high-rises, there was a steady flow of foot traffic in spite of the various vendors and cafes being closed for the weekend. The architecture makes use of a lot of glass and open vertical space; one entire eating area is planted with full-size trees to add to the expansive feeling. It also made for a lot of fun with light and reflection!


A Season of Sketching

Throughout the winter months, we were longing for the weather to warm so we could sketch outdoors, but once spring hit, it seems that weekend plans quickly blossomed along with the flowers. In spite of conflicting schedules, the courageous sketchers have met up on every Saturday throughout the summer. And we’ve amassed a growing number of us in the process! Such fantastic momentum! Rain or shine (and recently, smoke as evident below) have not hampered turnouts and enthusiasm.

Our ever-growing Calgary chapter on Tom Campbell’s Hill, on a smoky August 11th

This post is long, long overdue, but better late than never. Here are some of the highlights from our meetups throughout the season:

I’ve been taking a perspective drawing class at ACAD to try to improve something I’ve always felt was a weak point; I clearly need to keep practicing on location, so this is great homework!

Looking west down Stephen Avenue
Coffee and treats out of the rain in Cafe Rosso on August 4th

Can’t wait to see everyone again this weekend!

Hidden In Plain Sight

I have often found Calgary to be a city which is very underestimated in its beauty. Living at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, it’s easy for it to be overshadowed by the majestic natural vistas that abound just an hour away from the bustling city. But if you’re willing to take the time and explore, there are countless beautiful urban scenery and details to be discovered right in our own backyard. I wanted to share some of my favourite sketches of my home from the past few years.

The first is the view from my old desk at work towards the Bow Valley Square buildings, downtown. Each of the four highrises in the building are situated on a corner of one city block, so from my vantage from the 12th floor across the street, it always seemed like looking out through a tunnel.


I confess that this next one was done from a photo, but it was such a chilly day! I caught this shot over lunch in Chinatown, with everyone rushing to get indoors.

Calgary - Chinatown

Winter sketching outdoors is actually enabled every few weeks when the warm chinook winds blow in! This was finished over couple days during a particularly warm January.

Calgary - Downtown