Sketching in front of SAIT Heritage Building

Hello!  So nice to be writing this post again.  14, yes FOURTEEN, sketchers took in the day.  And what a day, we found a window between the rain, and even the sun embraced us for a while.  The grounds at SAIT were showing off, all the trees were in full bloom.  The building, very grand, oh my gosh,  was a challenge.  Soooo many little nuances.  It never ceases to amaze me how our sketchers can take on such a difficult subject, and create these amazing sketches in just 2 hours.  My sketch ended up in little eraser bits on the grass.  LOL 🙂

It is my intention to go back June 20 or 21 and try again.  I will post on our Facebook page & here if I go.  This will be an informal gathering.

As you can see by the images below, social distancing rules were respected.  These are not just landscape shots, but shots showing how spread out we were, in case that is a deciding factor on whether you attend or not.  For the image of all the sketches, sketchers were asked to put their book on the steps only if they were comfortable.  Each took a turn putting their book on the step.

Announcement:  I will be booking only 3 formally organized outings per month during July, Aug, Sept, Oct.  During the winter months I will book only 2 formally organized outings per month.  If you want to fill in the open weeks you are welcome to post here and/or on our Facebook page like Pam has in the past.

Next week:  Saturday, June 13 (11am-1pm):  The Ranche House, in Fish Creek Park, 15979 Bow Bottom Tr SE.  There are many things to sketch from the outside of the house, to the various other buildings, and neighbouring sculptures and gardens. I have heard from a couple of members it will be a great spot to sketch.  When you arrive, spread out from other sketchers and start sketching.  A bit of history: The Queen Anne style house was erected in 1896 by William Roper Hull, one of Calgary’s most prominent citizens. The house and 1,400 acres of the ranch now form part of Fish Creek Provincial Park. The Foreman’s House was restored and rehabilitated as Annie’s Cafe.  At 1 pm we will meet at Annie’s Cafe.  Maybe have an ice cream and photo op.  Social distancing will always be top of mind.  If raining, the event will be reschedule to June 27.

Note: You need to open the Event on Facebook to see who is all going, otherwise it may only show 1 person going, you 🙂

Stay well and safe, and see you next Saturday!



Three Churches

St. Stephens Anglican Church is uniquely clad in concrete block but has the traditional form and details of a British Norman style structure.

The Cathedral Church of the Redeemer Anglican, occupies a quiet piece of downtown and has cruder sandstone finish.

Knox United Church has a refined sandstone with elaborate detailing in the tower. It was once the tallest structure in Calgary.

See you soon!


Sketch SAIT Heritage Building – Outside

Saturday, June 6 – 11:00 to 13:00

Our first adventure out since March.  It will be nice to sketch as a group again 🙂

Arrival: When you arrive find a spot that is 2 meters (approx length of a bicycle) from another sketcher and start sketching.

Inclement weather: Event will be cancelled and rescheduled on June 20.  Website and Facebook will be updated.

Please stay home if you feel unwell, uncomfortable or are exhibiting any symptoms.

1921 Jan 18 construction began.  Heritage Hall was unique in its design for Calgary in the early 1920’s.  Its classic Collegiate Gothic look, featuring twin towers with parapets, gothic arches, and gargoyle stoneworkings, was distinctive.


Tentative Return

We are planning to take advantage of the Alberta government’s updated regulations on outdoor activities to host a tentative return to sketching in June. Our first meetup would be a week from today, and is entirely weather-dependent as outdoor venues are all that we’re considering for obvious reasons. For now we will not be posting an extended calendar of dates, and will take things in small steps, with two meetups planned initially for the upcoming Saturdays, June 6th and 13th.

Some considerations from the regulations to note are as follows:

  • Above all else, please stay home if you feel unwell, uncomfortable or are exhibiting any symptoms
  • We are limited to no more than 50 people, which we likely not surpass, but all the same, please RSVP if you can on the Facebook group so that we can gauge ahead of time how many people to expect.
  • Maintain a physical distance of 2 metres at all times and please do not share equipment. Given that we will be all sitting in place for an extended period, please spread out as much as possible.

Obviously this means we will not be having group sketch photos or coffee afterwards, but either way it will be a marked improvement from nothing!

Please check the events and the Facebook pages to stay apprised of any changes, and stay safe!

Recent Sketches

Last month, at the peak of the stayhome era, I went through our travel photos, nostalgically, and found some scenes to re-create as well as to do some watercolour practice.

Anna in that beautiful village!


Ah Vicenza!!!! With more time I might have sketched this scene.stale_thumb_6e54UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_6e55

Kyoto had so much beauty!


This was my favourite,  a Sunday morning in Tokyo!



April was a bit cool but I managed to sneak in two Calgary sketches.



We shall meet together again….soon!



Admittedly not directly relevant to urban sketching, but just in case self-isolating is starting to get a little monotonous, there is a free Strathmore workshop starting on May 4. It is called “Drawing portraits” and can be found at

The actual site address begins with “https://” but WordPress didn’t add the “s” and you can ignore the “&#8221”

Signing up is optional, but is required if you want to post your work to their site as you follow along.

There is another workshop called “Creative watercoloring” coming up in September, but hopefully we’ll be back to normal by then.

Memories of Italy

Looking back six months ago, it is catastrophic how much the world has changed and how much we took for granted.

These are my sketches in and around Venice.


Sitting anywhere but the cafés was not permitted so I sketched quickly and coloured up later.


Vicenza is a small city full of Palladian Architecture, and a delightful square where you can sit and sip Spritzers while you sketch!


Every house in Murano ( a traditional fishing town near Venice ) is washed in a distinctive colour. A watercolourist’s delight.


It was a wonderful view and an enduring memory.


Ontario sketches

Last October we visited Ontario and I was able to sketch three buildings, one in Toronto, a second in Waterloo and a third in Kitchener, my home town.


The Gooderham building is an iconic flatiron landmark inToronto.


The post office building is seen duplicated throughout the small cities and towns of southern Ontario clad in stone or brick or as here in combinations of both.

The Market Square building sits on the site of the old Farmer’s Market where as a kid my family would shop for fresh produce and summer sausage from the Amish farmers and their horse and buggy wagons.

Sketching at Home

Hi All,

Like most of us I have been socially distant and staying at home. This time of confinement can be an opportunity to practise skills or just have some sketching fun.

I started sketching commuters from photos taken a couple of weeks ago to meet the oneweek100people2020 sketching challenge. I did nowhere near 100 people but got me into a daily routine of drawing people.


After using up my commuter photos I made up people.


Mechanical pencil, HB and 4B on watercolour paper.

Stay home, wash your hands but have a little fun!