Sunday, December 29, 2013


 A series of sketches, mostly of the kids with their cousins from out of town, spending quality time on grandma's iPad.

Friday, December 27, 2013

animals at the Royal Alberta Museum

After over a decade living in Alberta, today marked the first time visiting the Royal Alberta Museum, which is located right in Edmonton. There are rich opportunities for sketching in every museum, but with our kids (only mildly interested) in tow, I only got a few minutes for some quick doodles of a selection of the stuffed animals that were showcased in remarkably well-executed dioramas.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


This is what happens to kids after an afternoon of tobogganing and snowshoeing. 
Sleep tight. Tomorrow we open presents.

Monday, December 23, 2013

giant shrinkwrap, Alberta Legislature Building

An early end on this final workday of this year allows for an hour or so at the Alberta Legislature again. This has become a bit of an annual ritual, and fortunately the temperatures are just warm enough to sketch outdoors. The dome is still shrink-wrapped around some scaffolding, and as it just catches the low winter sunlight the white plastic glows orange like the jagged snowpacked peaks of the Rockies.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

wrapped presents

An assortment of most of the Christmas presents that I wrapped today.

Pre-Christmas can quickly degenerate into the busiest and emptiest time of year, and the temptation to let the culture of gift-buying and gift-giving take top priority does not help. There is nothing wrong, of course, with presenting one another with gifts, but I am reminded this year that the greatest gift we must give is the one to the baby Jesus. 

"When the Magi saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh." Matthew 2:10,11 (NIV)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

spiral stair

The spiral staircase at MacEwan University.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Two cameras... the mirrorless which has accompanied us on many trips and outings for the last two years,  and my new Christmas present (for myself) that I plan to take on much more minor outings.

Friday, December 13, 2013

vista to the "Ledge"

A snowy vista down 108 Street towards the Legislature, whose dome is still covered up due to renovations.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

pool viewing area, MacEwan University

It is exam time at MacEwan University, and the pool-viewing area that overlooks the swimming pool is full of students studying. There's hardly anyone swimming, but the water does have a calming effect.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

River Valley, winter

The morning started at a brutal minus 30 degrees C but "warmed up" to around minus 19 by the time this sketch was made in the early afternoon. The river itself is frozen over, but there are some subtle and intricate hues of brown and deep green drawn out by the hazy sunlight and pristine snow, which I was able to appreciate from the comfort of an idling car.

The Waterpark at West Edmonton Mall

I visited the West Edmonton Mall Waterpark for the first time. It is a place I have looked down upon with disdain ever since arriving in Edmonton a decade ago, but I was surprisingly charmed by the whole experience. I regret not riding any of the (extreme) slides; that will have to wait till my next trip.

Friday, December 6, 2013

December skyline

A piece of the downtown skyline on a sunny but hazy, snow-covered minus 20C kind of day.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

gakugeikai (2013)

Sketches of parents and relatives at this year's Gakugeikai (学芸会) at the community school.  I was only able to stay for half of the program, but underneath all the cuteness and humour, this year's short plays included some tearjerkers that alluded to lofty themes. It's powerful stuff when kindergarten and lower elementary school kids are putting on shows that speak to fundamental aspects of our humanity, like a parent's love, the treasure that is friendship, the wonderful uniqueness of each person's existence on this earth...

Monday, November 25, 2013

after the storm

 My daughter finally sleeps calmly after an evening of hysterical crying (and some minor panic on our part) due to a splitting headache and nausea. At times of illness like this it seems natural to wish I could take her place, and am reminded that through the events of Christmas and Easter and beyond, that in a sense that is what happened for each of us.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

"the thing"

Our home has now been infiltrated by a tablet, and though it was a present for my wife, my daughter has laid claims on it. She is somewhat familiar with the iPad interface through relatives and family friends, but it did not take our 6-year-old much time before figuring out how to maneuver in Android to take photos and videos, and draw. Later that evening, my wife took it away from her because it was causing social detachment and strife, resulting further in a minor tantrum, tears, and overall bad feelings. The situation reminded me of the first 20 minutes of the film "The Gods Must Be Crazy".

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Barb and Ernie's Old Country Inn

Brunch (great eggs Benedict) at a quaint family owned restaurant along 99 Street.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

November skyline

Yesterday's sketch of the downtown area, one day before today's big snowfall-- the beginning of another Edmonton winter, and a bit of a contrast to the last sketch of this view.

Friday, November 1, 2013

upright piano

We have been blessed with a beautiful, gently-used Yamaha upright piano, which was delivered to our home a few days ago. My wife has started playing again after a couple of decades. I am unable to play, but now that we have one in the house, I've quickly come to appreciate the intricacy and technical beauty of its inner workings -- a wonderful object to behold, let alone the music it is capable of producing.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

men's breakfast, missions conference

 Hearing some of the missionaries at a men's breakfast gathering during a missions conference week, including a couple who have been very dear to our own church. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

the kitchen nook

Our kitchen leads to an eating nook, which was a smart extension added to our 1949 house by the original owner. It is the brightest part of the house, and is the site of many sunny weekend breakfasts and evening sketches.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


As my own kids grow, the more I appreciate what my parents endured and rejoiced in during our childhood. I only wish that I could give thanks to them again today, but that must wait until I see them again in heaven. Ironically, it is in their absence that my heart grows even more grateful, giving further depth to the recurring Biblical command to be thankful...always.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

kabocha in pastels

A try at some very soft and chalky pastels I found around the house... a completely different approach to the subject than what I am used to because I can no longer rely on texture, details and line, but on layers of colour, mass, and light.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Lord bless you and keep you...

It has been a few weeks since drawing the kids while they sleep. I am reminded of this verse, which I pray while sketching... and realize they are often part of the answer to that prayer in my own life.

“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you; 
 the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.” 
Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


 A series of drawings of kabocha squash... a large store-bought kabocha that I later stewed (two views), a large kabocha from a friend's acreage with a store-bought orange Hokkaido squash (also called a Kuri squash), and some more squash from the acreage.