Calgary Urban Sketching Workshops

For the last 4 Saturdays I have participated in an Urban Sketching Workshop facilitated by Mark Vazques-Mackay and his wife Carmen.  Each day starts with a quick lesson from Mark, followed by plenty of individual instruction and attention throughout the day.

Here is a sampling of some of my sketches.

Week 1 – Sketching in a back alley in Kensington
Lougheed House
Week 2 – Inside Lougheed House



Week 2 – Outside Lougheed House
Week 3 – View from Bell Studio – Container Park
Week 3 – People Sketching at Bell Studio
Week 4 – From Plus 15 overlooking 1 ST SE

The next 4 lessons are Deep Skylines and Cityscapes in Bridgeland, Quick Capturing of Urban Organic Structures in West Village, Historic Buildings of Inglewood with Texture and Tone, and finally Mark Making in Industrial Ramsey.   It has been a blast, and I have learned so much.  If you wish to join us you can contact Mark thru his website Studio Vazquez-Mackay.


Inglewood Bridge

A year ago I was fascinated by the confluence of the CPR main line with the Sculpture Garden and the ironworks of the Inglewood bridge and did this sketch.


The rusted rivets and beams of the bridge evoke in me the  pre world war one era of optimistic industrialization and progress.

It is slated for demolition and replacement so I look forward to sketching and recording a piece of Calgary’s history.

Our recent sketchwalks visited other structures of that prosperous era.

The First Baptist Church in the Beltline is a 1912 Gothic revival with a rich mix of brick, sandstone and timber.93E466AB-9168-44BA-B6CC-F66033A5272E

The Colonel James Walker house was built in 1910.2B5750F7-17F8-481D-8596-FF8F69B69E00

Built in 1912/1913 St. Matthew’s Lutheran church has its own unique details of brick and stone. There is history of the structure on this link:

Looking forward to our SketchWalk at the Inglewood Bridge.

Out and About – FYI


Here is some information I should have passed along. This crumpled announcement lists a number of weeks of urban sketching classes going on in Calgary. At least one of our group is attending all of them. I don’t know the instructor so have no comment on him, but I believe he is an accomplished artist.  I also think that individual places in sessions are still available if you are interested. The website to check it out is shown on the bottom of the crumpled sheet. Looks like a worthwhile endeavour.

Inglewood Bird Sanctuary


We had a beautiful afternoon to sketch the Colonel James Walker home on the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary grounds. As it turns out, Colonel Walker called his beautiful home, ‘Inglewood’ and that is where the community derives its name. Who knew?

We were six in total, including Simone, our youngest member, a lovely nine year old who loves to sketch and accompanied her Dad, Matteo, who is also a recent addition to our ranks. Welcome to you both. oh, and thanks, Jeff, for holding my work so that I could hold the camera.


Heritage Heaven


After three years living and working in the Calgary area, I finally discovered Heritage Village Park in the city’s south end. I jumped in with both feet and took an annual pass to avoid having to pay parking and lining up every time I want to visit. I am so glad I did. This is a sketcher’s dream. Classic old houses and business from years past, old style costumes and vehicles all over town, and this train that runs a circuit all day, affording the opportunity to jump bac\k and forth on this 100+ acre treasure of a site.

The train doesn’t spend too long sitting still, but that’s alright. If you don’t finish your sketch, grab a coffee and’ relax in the shade. You can pick it up when it returns to exactly the same spot in 35 minutes.