Sunday, August 25, 2013

more summer skylines

Two more lunchtime sketches of long views from Norquest College looking southeast and east, towards downtown Edmonton.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

downtown parking lots

Four views of downtown surface parking lots... actually, these are more about the buildings framed by the lots, and less about the parking areas themselves.

It's hard to avoid parking areas in sketching urban spaces; Edmonton still has a surprising amount of surface parking in the downtown area, but, as it turns out, also a decent amount of greenery.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sunnyside Camp 2013, part 4: The God of small things

I again had the wonderful privilege of running a sketching class this year at Sunnyside Camp. In planning some exercises, I did a few preparatory sketches that forced me to limit my scope and focus on a small, "generic" area, 1 square metre. As children, we are so aware of how much life and diversity exists even at the foot of a tree, but most of us (myself included) no longer take the time to appreciate this. As I sketched, the words of this hymn from my childhood came back to me:
"All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all."
Perhaps at some point in my life, the act of sketching will become too tedious -- a distraction and an encumbrance -- to the simple process of discovering and admiring God's presence and giving Him glory... but for the time being, it's a gift that gets me on the right track towards "seeing".

As the last verse goes:

"He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell,
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well."


 I bought a medium sized kabocha at the local Asian food store, as I craved a certain dish from my childhood.

Seeing them reminded me of the illustrations in one of my favourite children's books; its renditions of a kabocha as it grows (the subject of the entire book) remain among the most memorable images from all the books I've read with my kids over the past 3 or 4 years.

These 3 sketches are the result of some experimenting... with new dip pens, new paints, new paper...

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sunnyside Camp 2013, part 3: Specialty Hour quiz show!

The crowd gathers in the main dining hall after dinner, to cheer on the eager, studious, and youthful  contestants of the Bible quiz showdown between the six teams, on day 5 of Sunnyside Camp.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Sunnyside Camp 2013, part 2: Sylvan Lake

For our two kids, one of the highlights of the week-long camp was the time each afternoon spent at the small stretch of beach sand by the lake, during which time I sketched what turned out to be a challenging but interesting subject. But for me, I would have to say that the baptisms that took place were the climax of our stay, as four young women made public their declaration of faith through baptism. "Being dunked" in a real body of water makes it rather dramatic, and our unshaven pastor began to resemble John the Baptist... if you look closely, it's almost as if you can see a dove descending from heaven amongst the clouds closing in.

"If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9 (NIV)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

HBC trapper's capote, Rocky Mountain House

A sketch showing a trapper's capote coat on display at the interpretive centre at the Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site, just outside Rocky Mountain House, Alberta.

I was familiar with the Hudson's Bay Company blankets that one often sees in stores (at $300-$500, they are not cheap, and I only thought they were rather garish...), but was unaware of just how historically significant and iconic these wool blankets were until I saw this old trapper's coat, which don those immediately recognizable colours. The blankets have been in production (in England) since the 1780s (the familiar red green yellow on white ones since 1800), and were used to trade with the Natives for beaver pelts.

We took the opportunity to travel west for a day trip to Nordegg and beyond up to Abraham Lake, to take in some of the Rockies at the end of the David Thompson Highway.
a view from the David Thompson Resort

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sunnyside Camp 2013, part 1: "The Tabernacle"

We had the privilege again of attending Sunnyside Camp near Sylvan Lake, Alberta, a week-long family Bible camp organized by volunteers under Canadian Japanese Ministries. This was the 3rd time I have attended for the whole 7 days, but it is the 61st camp overall -- an exceptional testimony to the faithfulness and energy that goes into keeping this annual event running each year. It is where many have encountered Christ, deepened their faith journeys, and connected with the larger Body in life-changing ways... including four young women who were baptised at the lake.

The "Tabernacle" (affectionately nicknamed "the Tab", I noticed this year) functions as the main sanctuary of the complex of structures that forms the camp grounds. I have sketched the interior of this building at least ten times over the years, each time providing a moment to reflect on how aspects of the story and character of Christ are embodied by (or parallel) certain characteristics of the structure itself... the humble birth of Christ, his ministry among the common people of a particular time and place, the clarity and complexity and depth of the message, the suggestion of a heavenly realm (or canopy sheltering God's people),  the creation of a community of worship, healing, love... this year I noted the Tabernacle as "vernacular" architecture akin to the qualities of Jesus' parables, both addressing the Kingdom of God. "The Tab" is a beautiful structure.

"One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.  For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.  Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD" 
Psalm 27:4-6 (NIV)