Monday, July 23, 2018

Weekend Sketching . . .

Good Monday morning!

We're in the middle of what constitutes a heat wave here in normally rainy Vancouver -- no rain for a week or so and there's none forecast for the next week, with daily high temperatures of 25 today, moving to 27 by the end of the week. . . Mostly pleasant enough, I know, except that our condo exterior walls are mainly glass, and we face directly west. Plus if you know condo life, you know there are never enough windows to get a really good breeze through the bedroom. . . And so far, we don't have air-conditioning.  So. I might be cranky before this little run of sunshine is over. . . Trying not to dwell too much on that beach I used to dip in three or four times a summer day when we lived on the island. . .

Today, we're heading off to visit our daughter and her family at a campsite ninety minutes outside the city. I'm not so keen on the drive (the car's not air-conditioned), but I'm looking forward to big trees and lake swimming and watching the Littles play outdoors.

But before I go, I'm sharing this little sketch and journal page from another trip to some green space, a space much nearer, right here in the city -- the VanDusen Botanical Garden, scene of our weekly date, arranged by Pater.

I'll transcribe for you:
On the top left: Rose hips in the shade, VanDusen Garden, July 22nd, 2018
We pedaled our bikes here -- it's all uphill and there's one killer along 37th, that I grumbled fiercely about when we did this last year. But Paul had Google-calendared me an "invitation" to a bike-and-lunch date and that did seem a decent use to make of a sunny July day.
Got the loaves of bread in and out of the oven by 10:15 -- poor planning, really, to bake in this heat when it's already tough to cool the condo. 
Still, got those baked, had a slice each with soft-boiled egg, and we were on our bikes by 10:40, at the garden 11:10, walking and making notes on candidates for our own garden shortly after.
Pleasant lunch in the restaurant there, although the demographic holds up an uncomfortable mirror. . . 
Reading Ursula LeGuin's No Time To Spare though and agree with her that denial of our incipient old age is foolish. . . 

I sketched this in pencil, standing and crouching on the path in the shade beside the rose bush. At home, I used pencil crayons to colour the sketch -- they're watercolour pencil crayons, and I painted some water lightly over the painted areas, but this paper doesn't tolerate much moisture. As well, the pencils aren't the quality I'd like now, now that I know a bit better. I bought them five or six years ago in a first burst of excitement and enthusiasm at crashing down the "not artistic" barrier that had always kept art materials out of my purview.  Now I'm determined to use them up so that I can buy better!

And before I throw my swimsuit and towel in a bag and head out the door (Pater's already in the shower, so momentum is now in the direction of departure. . . ) . . . I've posted my End-of-June Halfway-through-the-year 2018 Reading List over on my book blog -- I've linked some books to posts where I wrote about them and added brief comments for those that didn't get their own posts -- If you're looking for a book to tuck in that beach bag (or if, like me, you'd just as soon read in shade in the garden, even indoors), you might find a few good possibilities there. (As I mention in that book-blog post, you'll also find some great suggestions at Sue's.

Okay, gotta run -- there's a lake waiting for my splashes, some Littles to play hide-and-seek with. . . Comments always welcome, thank you!


  1. Good Monday Evening!
    How fascinating-I've never seen (or heard about) watercolour pencils (but have just finished a You Tube tutorial-one with the apples :-))
    Sooo interesting
    Hope you are enjoying your visit,playing with the kids,swimming in the lake...reading near the lake....:-)
    I've seen the beautiful hats on your Instagram-aren't they beautiful? The name of the shop (and owner and designer )is Kobali
    If you change your mind....:-)
    I love to wear hats (but hat,it is basically mostly on the beach) and have some of her summer straw (not for the beach-too expensive) and winter hats
    We have rain and high temperatures,humid weather....very tiring
    But everything is perfect in Dalmatia (I hope so)!

    1. It was so good to get out in the woods, although we were only there long enough for a walk, some chat, and a quick swim.
      Oh, I'd hoped you would recognize that hat shop and share the name -- Thank you! And I should have known you would have some of these beauties. . . as for myself, I might plan better for next Zagreb visit -- more shopping time needed!
      I hope your Dalmatia weather -- everything! -- is perfect -- you deserve it!

  2. Love how these illustrated journals have developed. You awe me, always. I'll be off to check out the books. Spending time with the littles sounds wonderful.

    1. Thanks! I'm pleased to see the way they've developed as well -- such a surprise to me, as you know.

  3. I enjoy your journal illustrations! Have a wonderful time with the grandbabies :)

  4. LeGuin has some wonderfully pointed essays, doesn't she?

    Do you have a brand of watercolour pencils you are hoping to buy? As always, love your journaling.

    Hope you got some relief from the heat at the lake. Our region is currently under a very tropical pattern--more than 250mm of rain in the last couple of days and at least two more days of downpours to come. No desire to go outside, but luckily I have air conditioning...and plenty of books to read. Thanks for the book recommendations/links.

    1. Oh, those essays are so good! And so many are laugh-out-loud funny all the way through.
      I bought a small set (12 pencils in a tin box) of Faber-Castell watercolour pencils which I hope to try out this afternoon -- The Pentalic that I bought a few years ago broke and broke and broke when sharpening -- so frustrating!

      Books and A/C? You're set then!! Enjoy!

  5. I always enjoy your journal entries...would like to hear more of your thoughts on 'the demographic holds up an uncomfortable mirror'.

    Have added sourdough and boiled egg to the menu for later this week (bread from Thursday market). Yum.

    1. Georgia, I just mean that pleasant as the restaurant is, the guests tend to be our age or older, generally fairly well dressed with a comfortable, if not particularly adventurous, air. Class and age, rather than ethnicity, would be the markers of the demographic. The menu reflects that in price, range, and quality -- so that the food is quite good, with some contemporary and international influences but nothing very spicy (It was brunch so Paul ordered French toast and I had Tuna poké, which was made with quinoa rather than rice -- quite good).
      The view, overlooking the garden, is lovely and the service attentive, but once or twice a year is enough for me (they have a cafeteria which I go to more often).
      Does that description clarify?

  6. We've been having a heat wave here for about two months. Only two days of rain in all this time. Yesterday I had to go into town to water my little backyard. (It was wonderful to come back here to the quiet and a cool breeze in the evening.) We seem to be reaching a peak, today's temperatures are above 30 degrees. I am considering a dip into the lake, but the water level has fallen so low that one has to be careful not to grate one's knees while swimming.
    I admire your sketch. I brought a sketchbook but as yet I have limited myself to stitching...

    1. We had an extended drought like that last summer -- I find it terrifying, and it's devastating for returning salmon, etc.
      Stitching, sketching, you're very creative in whichever medium (I've seen some very cool work on Instagram which combines stitching and sketching in various ways)

  7. I know exactly the demographic of which you speak. We went to the previous incarnation of the Van Dusen restaurant in 1998 after my grandma's burial and we took Brian's mum for her last restaurant outing there. I have water colour pencils that I have never used probably purchased around the same time as I took a sketching workshop. Botanic sketches have always appealed to me. Sort of Edwardian Ladyish..
    The heat is getting tiresome as I am hauling so much water every day just to keep the parking lot gardens alive. They're in full sun and dry out quickly. I keep the blinds drawn in the bedroom but air circulation is poor. Are you finding your linen sheets cool? Were you at Allouette Lake? It looked vaguely familiar but I haven't visited local lakes since my daughter was little.

    1. Ha! Yes! Anyone who's been to the restaurant probably knows that demographic -- unless, perhaps, one is more firmly ensconced in the Class part of it than the Age. . .
      Sounds as if you succumb to that same Early Enthusiasm Purchasing Urge as I do -- I'm trying to resist now, to wait until I'm more clear on what I need.

      How far are the gardens from the nearest water? Do other residents ever pitch in?
      We were up at Alice Lake, north of Squamish -- such a nice break from the city, but the trip has to be timed carefully so as not to be stuck in that bridge traffic.


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