Last weekend Chantal and I headed for Ottawa. It was a holiday weekend and we went to visit our daughter who is in school there, but as I write this I realize that it was more than that. Because of a lot of good stuff that happened, our daughter wasn’t going to come home for the summer as she normally would so the trip was at least as much an attempt to deal with that disappointment as anything else.
That’s a simple way of explaining that this wasn’t a sketching trip. In spite of that, I did a bunch of quick sketches throughout the visit and I thought I’d present some of them as an indication of how easy it is to fit urban sketching into a trip that is otherwise occupied with things that make most people say “I was too busy to sketch.”
We arrived on Friday and our daughter was still at school so we got some lunch, went to an art store (more of a crafts store as so many have become) and then headed to one of the parks. As we walked around I saw this scene and decided that I’d do a very quick, thumbnail-style sketch just to capture the major masses. I didn’t worry much about proper perspective or drawing accurate lines and the initial sketch took only a few minutes. Then my daughter called and said she would be there shortly so we stayed put. I decided to add some more lines to the drawing and, ultimately, I slopped some color on the sketch.
I was sitting under a flowering crab apple tree (I think) and I decided to sketch of some of the flowers in my red Field Notes “Sweet Tooth” notebook and I thought it came out pretty well for a 3-4 minutes I spent doing it. I was rewarded by my daughter showing up with an “hic c’est beau.”
We spent the rest of the evening hanging out as a family, eating in market area, buying candy and listening to street musicians.
The next morning, however, was laundry day. We gathered up ever stitch of clothing, bedding, and towels and hauled them to a laundromat where we commenced to feed an obscene number of dollar coins into the machines. We drank coffee, ate muffins, and I drew this little scene in the tiny coffee shop associated with the laundromat. Not much but it was fun to do and made the time pass more quickly.
Then it was off to the grocery store where we bought one of everything and two of some things. My biggest fear was that there wouldn’t be room for it all in my daughter’s apartment. Parents do get carried away some times. And we did, of course.
Once we shoehorned all the groceries into their proper places, we headed off on a quest for shoes. Understand, this was two women and an old guy. We went EVERYWHERE looking at shoes. I knew my life would end while looking for size 9 flats.
But surprise, surprise, we tracked down the illusive ideal shoe, bought two of them then went to a park where geese lived and they had lots of baby goslings running around. They were fun to watch and I should have sketched them but I was worn out from the shoe chase. Eventually we got hungry and headed for my daughter’s favorite Korean restaurant.
After dinner we walked to Major Hill Park, a park where the towers around Parliament poke up above the trees. We drank bubble tea and enjoyed the changing sky as sunset was near. I did a couple quick sketches in the failing light and probably should have settled for just a silhouette.
We did a bunch of park hopping the next day, mostly because we just wanted to be out in the sun. We sat for a long time in Andrew Haydon Park, looking out at the boats having fun in the Ottawa River. There wasn’t much close to me to draw so I drew some rocks. I love drawing rocks, though I’m not particularly good at it.
As it got hotter, though, the desire for shade took hold and we ended up in a park along the Rideau River. Another place to practice my sloth, I was getting quite good at it, particularly because there were a group of guys in a drum circle providing entertainment. I did break out the sketchbook to do this quick capture of a few of the players. It’s not very detailed but it’s the best I can do in a few minutes.
I did several really quick (< 1-min) sketches of people as they wandered by where we were sitting and I’ll share only this one of a small boy who stopped to admire the river. We had a delightful dinner at the apartment and then headed out to wander some more, ultimately ended up back at Major Hill Park. It was pretty dark when we got there so sketching anything other than the proverbial black cat in a dark room there were no real sketching opportunities.
That was a last thing on my mind anyway as we had our mitts full of frozen yogourt. It was the best there is, or so sayeth my daughter. I think its the first time I’ve ever had any that didn’t come out of a carton. We’d stopped at Menchies to get it and that was a fun experience unto its own because of the way you put together what you want and then pay by the weight of your concoction. I drew the spoon in honor of the place.