Monday, August 31, 2015

The Tree Project Takes a Turn

Vancouver experienced an intense windstorm on Saturday; this is my sketchbook entry documenting a split spruce tree in a nearby park. Vancouver Parks Board estimates that they lost 500 trees.

A few photographs also help tell the story:

the same spruce from the other side, showing the split trunk

thankfully, not my front yard

 the ground is so dry, smaller trees were pulled out by the roots

streets were blocked by trees (a few still are)

The tree project is on hold while we get some much needed rain.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Breaking In a New Sketchbook

Acrylic Ink
Fabriano Sketchbook, 8.5" x 11"

I had the absurd(?) idea that I want to work a little bigger, so I bought an 8.5" x 11" sketchbook.  Whenever I get a new book, I test out some materials on the first page.  This allows me to see how the paper reacts to various media:

I like the paper, but the jury is still out on the new size.  It certainly is nice to have options, though!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Drawing on Book Pages

Black Eyed Susans
Artist Trading Card
Uni-ball Pen and Prismacolor Pencils

I had the urge to draw on book pages.  I keep handy a stack of various kinds of card stock cut to ATC size, and this was what was handiest.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Garry Oak and the Trembling Aspen

Handmade Journal
5.5" x 8.5"

I didn't know that the Garry Oak is now a bit rare in Vancouver.  (Of course I'd never heard of the Garry Oak a month ago LOL).  I found one at Queen Elizabeth Park, and UBC Botanical Garden now has a "Garry Oak Meadow" of newly planted trees.

By the pond in the native garden at UBC, I heard a beautiful whisper and looked up to see leaves rustling in the wind.  I had found a trembling aspen by sound - a magical moment.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Drawing and Seeing

I doubt that I would have noticed the odd trunk formations on the maple trees around me if I hadn't sat down to draw them.  Drawing has definitely improved my seeing skills! 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Alice in Wonderland

Stamps by Silver Crow and Fiskars
Alphabet Stamps by My Sentiments Exactly

One of the themes this month at the Vancouver Artist Trading Card swap is 'Alice in Wonderland'. I don't usually follow the optional themes; in fact most months I forget to look at them.  I was midway through another bunch of ATC's this week when I glanced up at my bulletin board and saw the list. Immediately I shifted gears and got out this stamp - when else would I use it?? (Yes, I bought a lot of stamps that I loved even though I had no idea how I might use them).

Friday, August 14, 2015

Identifying Native Trees - Update

Handmade Journal
8.5" x 5.5"
Pencil Crayons

I returned to Queen Elizabeth Park to try and identify a Western Hemlock.  I found a couple that might be WH but neither were labelled.

Slowly I am learning the differences between the various evergreen trees in our rainforest.  As I walk the park and neighbourhood streets I stop and look at trees and try to identify at least this much.  Progress, I guess!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Identifying Native Trees - Two New Species

Handmade Journal
5.5" x 8.5"
Uni-ball Pen and Pencil Crayon

I think I have identified two more tree species up at Queen Elizabeth Park:  the Black Cottonwood and the Paper Birch.  They aren't labelled, though, and as they would best be identified in the spring, I can't be sure.

Vancouver is located in the "Coastal Western Hemlock" biogeoclamatic zone.  The Western Hemlock is the most commonly found tree.  Maybe I should look for that next!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Identify Native Vancouver Trees - Project Update

The research continues.  I haven't done a research project like this since I left school and I'm enjoying it!

By cross referencing the "Tree Book - Learning to Recognize Trees of British Columbia" and "A Field Guide to Trees of the Pacific Northwest", I have determined that there are 24 trees native to our area.  (The Field Guide is also available through, the online British Columbia Encyclopedia.)

A tree specialist at the City of Vancouver has promised to help me out and I'm continuing visits to Queen Elizabeth Park.  Not bad progress for a week!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Western Red Cedar

Handmade Journal
5.5" x 8.5"
Uni-ball Pen and Pencil Crayon

Back to Queen Elizabeth Park.  How fitting that my first sighting should be British Columbia's provincial tree!

On a neighbourhood walk the next day, I picked up a pine cone and learned from Trees of Vancouver that it is likely from a Douglas-Fir.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Identifying Native Trees

Handmade Journal
5.5" x 8.5"
Uni-ball Pen and Pencil Crayon

I have begun a project to learn about the trees native to the Vancouver area, where I live.  I live within biking distance of Queen Elizabeth Park, which has an arboretum, so I thought I would start there.
"The arboretum was started with a grant from the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association (CPPA) in 1949. The first plantings were done on the north slopes of the park by a group of Junior Forest Wardens. They began by planting blocks of timber species such as ponderosa pine, subalpine spruce, and Douglas fir. Annual donations of $5,000 (the equivalent of $50,000 today) were made by the CPPA until the mid-1950s to continue the development and planting of the arboretum. Most of the larger trees in the park are now about 60 years old.
The objective of the arboretum was to grow examples of every Canadian tree species, with emphasis on those of commercial importance. However, this narrow focus on Canadian species was soon expanded to include exotic trees from around the world because it was found that many boreal forest species did not grow well in Vancouver’s mild climate.
Planting continues to this day to further the legacy of what has been called  “Canada’s first Civic Arboretum". There are now about 1,500 trees." (source:  Vancouver City website. Click this link to read lots more interesting history of the park.)

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Drawing From Memory

Handmade Journal, 5.5" x 8.5"
Pencil Crayon

I'm reading Cathy Johnson's "Sketching and Drawing" book.  One of the good lessons is about drawing from memory, which can be useful for drawing birds, people, and other things that move quickly.  The key here is to use the limited time you have with your subject to really look at it.

On the left is a drawing of a wrench I did from memory - after looking at the wrench for a couple of minutes.  Not easy.  On the right I drew it by looking at it.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Just a Kid at Heart

I tried a few of Carla Sonheim's Kids Art Week projects this week.  Here is a cubist dog she showed us.

I couldn't stop at one, so I tried out a face: