Sketches from a Baltic Cruise

Hi Everyone!  I am back home in Calgary after a wonderful time in Europe including a cruise to the Baltic cities of Skagen, Tallinn, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Stockholm and Copenhagen. The old town centres are wonderfully rich in history and architecture and became my sketching destination in each port..

Skaagen is a small town on the northern most tip of Denmark where the waves of  Baltic and the North Sea meet and intersect.. The traditional house has red brick, white trim and tile roof.


Tallinn in Estonia has a delightful market square full of stalls, crowds and music. The 700 year old town hall with its soaring tower caught my eye and became the subject of my sketch.AC4C11B7-3724-4B83-8805-426267AAA876

The railway station in Helsinki had an enormous pair of guardians flanking the entrance. 3DF2C59E-AF55-4F50-9D19-24EB7F0D6A07

Coffee, pastry and a sketchbook go well together anywhere in the world.D5C69535-5519-4EBF-879F-52D3E88FDE0D

We walked our feet off in Copenhagen. This sketch was taken from a bench on the canal, not with a Carlsberg but instead a very good coffee from the local 7/11.290B2EE3-E2E0-416A-92E1-3E6C2432119C

Looking forward to seeing you soon!


UskAmsterdam Symposium

Imagine being in the company of hundreds of urban sketchers from around the world!  Just being here was fun enough with the sketchwalks in this beautiful city but I also took part in 3 workshops, a drink and draw, some demos and got a grab bag of product samples.


Each of the workshops challenged my sketching habits and my preconceptions about what a sketch is trying say.

For example, Rita Sabler, in her workshop, emphasized the story aspect of your sketch including the acivity of your main characters such as the vendor at a market stall by drawing him or her in various poses in a kind of timelapse recording.

Stephanie Bower in her workshop, suggested sketching in pencil only and use a straight edge because it saves time. I typically rough out my sketches in pencil and then go over the pencil in ink, effectively drawing them twice.  She also gave great hints on the geometry of difficult shapes such as towers.

Karen Jiyun Sung, in her workshop, led us in starting with a core element and then adding additional sheets of paper as necessary to complete the composition, literally drawing outside the box!


Amsterdam is uniquely in combining historic buildings with  beautiful canals, an urban sketcher’s treat.


Next year’s Symposium will be held in April, in Hong Kong!

Attending this year’s Symposium left me in awe of the comraderie, focus and talent of Urban Sketchers from so many places on our planet,




Statues and Memories

Two sunny Saturday’s in a row was good luck! Sketching from Connaught Park on that Saturday was ideal!68ECF5FF-AEFC-4B8C-8886-963D25469922

There is so much public art downtown that we can do it again!


I think I maybe over coloured these ladies but it was a fun exercise.


I was a bit heart broken by all the turmoil in Hong Kong because I had a wonderful time there, sketching and socializing! These were done two years ago in an old fishing village.


I took a sketch break during our visit to the Stampede grounds and learned a little bit about the iconography of tipi paintings.


Can you tell that this sketch was done during Stampede week? It was done in two sittings and I enjoyed talking to our international visitors starting with their peeking over my shoulder.


I shall be attending the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Amsterdam in two weeks and will be happy to post photos of the event!

Thanks to Jim G. for collecting the mounted sketches and for connecting with the library.

Happy Sketching everyone!!!  Rod

Three More Sketches

It was a cold day in May when we came downtown.I found a great spot on the plus 15, warm and dry, to capture these beauties. They are curved steel wind baffles to mitigate the wind tunnel effect of the large plus 15 bridge.

And they were so complicated that I spent my 90 minutes struggling with the line work and coloured it up at home!


At Barb Scot park I was drawn to the Carl Safran building, the stone work is amazing!!!


Another sand stone building that fascinates me is the McDougall Building. I did this one in two sittings, weeks apart.


Happy sketching!

I shall follow up with the logo soon……


3 Recent Sketches

cSpace is a building that breathes visual art. I ended up sketching the sketchers! I think we should someday revisit the building.


On a cold day in May we sketched indoors in the now half empty Eau Claire Market.


It was a good weather day to sketch the Peace Bridge! I added the geese later because they are so much a part of the river’s banks….and to have a little fun!


Keep Sketching!


Ideas for a LOGO?

Hi Sketchers!

In July we can exhibit our work at the Public Library where a logo and contacts sign would identify us.

These are sample USK logos from the groups in other cities.

It would be nice if we had one too! The logo could go on a business card, could be a rubber stamp on sketches, for sure on our website or even on a banner for our group photos.

There is so much talent in our members so I am making an informal call for submissions: ideas and sketches.

Thank you all,