Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Commerce Place

The distinctive form of Commerce Place looms in the distance in this view from 108 Street. The downtown fire station in the foreground -- a late flourish of PoMo classicism -- was built at about the same time (early 1990s), according to the inscription in its EIFS pediment.

Monday, May 30, 2011

movie set

... a movie is being shot inside a local drinking establishment; an instant city (with its own "culture") pops up at the site, with specialized trailers and loads of equipment in cube vans.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

118 Avenue commercial buildings

Some new businesses are popping up along the 118 Avenue strip; a sure sign of revitalization efforts. Many are African restaurants and food stores, adding a delightful flavour to this area that is making a wonderful community-led comeback.

This building, now a bit dilapidated, could be restored to its former dignity with a bit of work... I'd hate to see it demolished, as hints of its formerly elegant street presence are still there.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

in motion...

a gesture sketch of my son, in motion... not quite walking yet, but very close.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

sleeping (woodless pencil)

... just trying out the woodless pencils I bought in Calgary last weekend... they feel nice and heavy, and smooth.

My son sleeps after a trip to the mall.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

double mirror, double portrait

Now that our son is in a regular toddler car seat (still rear-facing though...), it's hard to take him out when he falls asleep in the car.
So, I'm stuck waiting for him to get up... enough time for a double-portrait through the rear view mirror and the child back seat mirror...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Mini-Tribute to my father... PART 9 (conlusion)

(continued from Part 8.)

During my father's last moments in the early hours of New Year's Day, I "prayed" Psalm 23, reciting it over and over at his bedside. Never has the wonderful imagery of Grace presented in its verses leaped off the pages so vividly. 

I recall many times that my father sketched me as a child; but now, the last sketch I did of my father was hours after his passing-- his “death mask". It was a cathartic, peaceful, and necessary ritual to honour the father I loved.

It continued to snow that morning -- rare in Nagasaki-- and we felt a gentle calmness that could only be from God. 

My father was 71 years old. 

(This ends this series.)

Kensington Road, Calgary

 A sketch from a tea shop that looks down Kensington Road, and another sketch while sitting outside at a little eatery on 10th St NW...

We would normally be too busy to hang out like this at home, but only because we're in Calgary on this beautiful weekend...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

taking out the fly forms

After lots of banging (and yelling back and forth), the fly form is finally "slid" out by the crane. 

The last of this series... for now.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

First Baptist Church

My daily walk to this site continues...

Now that I think about it, this construction site is where there used to be a funeral home, which got converted into a night club...actually, several night clubs... there was never a business that could hang on after the building seized to function as it was originally built. How quickly urban memories fade away.

The Baptist Church, once prominent along this gateway location into the downtown, will now be dwarfed by two large structures.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

ready for the pour

This construction site is becoming a bit of a series...

There's a new stack of scaffolding and frames at the site, and the uppermost floor looks like it's ready for the concrete columns to be poured.

Monday, May 16, 2011

fly forms

A crane lifts (what I presume is) some concrete wall formwork into place... fly form frames are still visible under the new slab... it still amazes me how much human and material resources are coordinated for a building to go up.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Scaffolding, rebar, plywood sheets, and an assortment of other miscellaneous material at a construction site...

asleep on the couch...

A rather awkward angle for a quick portrait sketch...

My 10 month old son has had a fever for two days... today he is better. He takes a nap on the couch.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

watching Ampanman on Youtube

Four loose sketches of my daughter occupying herself on the study computer watching one of her most  favourite cartoons...

Friday, May 6, 2011

my (short) week...

Just two quick sketches at lunch this work week... it's been a busy week.

Monday: a downtown car repair garage

Tuesday: by the abandoned downtown Ford dealership

A Mini-Tribute to my father... PART 8

(continued from Part 7; images are my father's work.)

By my father's childhood home ,  c.2008

I admired my father’s sketches… and in my adult life, he enthusiastically appreciated mine. But there was still the desire to hear my father’s approval whenever I showed him what I had accomplished at the end of a day sketching. 

As my father battled cancer, I visited him from Canada three times. With each visit, my impulse to sketch the city of Nagasaki – my father’s home town—intensified as the desire to know more about my father grew with the reality of his impending death. I sketched as much as I could on my trips, and delighted in showing the results the next day by his hospital bed, discussing the exact location and other experiences, encounters, and details. Often, these led him to reminisce about his own memories in the city. 

His fondest memories were about the home in the now-historic Minamiyamate neighbourhood of Nagasaki where he grew up, and the adjacent narrow stone-paved lane that frames a wonderful vista towards Nagasaki Bay. This was the last place he visited. 

By my fourth and last trip, my father would no longer be around to discuss my walks around town and his own intimate memories... I miss these conversations, and still have momentary impulses to scan and e-mail sketches to him after a good sketching day.

I left photocopies of all my sketches with my father at each visit. After the funeral, I learned that (true to his deskwork-centred managerial career) while he was still lucid, he catalogued all my Nagasaki sketches in hand written lists, complete with the date of execution, size, medium, and location (which he had remembered). I was touched.

(to be continued...)

The same scene in 1972, with my mother.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

waiting for the concert...

 Pre-concert at the Winspear Centre... waiting to hear Rachmaninov's second piano concerto with Tsujii Nobuyuki as soloist, and Shostakovich's 5th Symphony. If only we had more access to babysitting... we would be doing this as regularly as we used to!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Mini-Tribute to my father... PART 7

(continued from Part 6; images are my father's work.)

I received my one and only drawing lesson from my father when I was in grade three or four. Inspired by the way he drew so non-chalantly, I asked him to teach me; he obliged with the challenge of both a difficult subject matter and medium (sticks of charcoal). We both drew the same doll and took a photo of the occasion. I still remember the sense of respect and awe at seeing how different our drawings were… but also a bond that I now understand must be akin to what his retirement-aged painting peers held in common. Along with the weekly ritual of playing catch in my elementary school years, that lone sketching session is one of the most powerful memories I have that speaks to the notion of fatherhood.

A sketch from the same period...(1983)

(to be continued…)

to Peace River, Alberta

Took a day trip to Grande Prairie and Peace River, Alberta yesterday...

Grande Prairie had a surprisingly bustling Main Street, while the 2.5 hour drive to the little town of Peace River (population 6600) was quite beautiful. The town itself is nestled in a wonderful landscape by the bottom of the valley...
...crossing a great-looking bridge...
The Peace River

Approaching the town of Peace River
A little portion of Main Street
and finally, on the plane ride home to Edmonton...on a tiny 10 seat plane-- the smallest I've been on to date.