Light rail

On recent ventures into the West Island I’ve noticed with interest the construction of a elevated light rail, the REM. The progress of this innovative engineering project has been documented by master urban sketcher Shari Blaukopf on her blog. I had the distinct pleasure of joining Shari this week to sketch at the REM site. Here is my take on a section of the project.

Refreshments in Mexico

Turns out, I love tostadas. These were made fresh, to order, on a charcoal-fired grill, with fresh lime to squeeze on. Delicious!

One of the three brewpubs in Mazatlán is called Tres Islas referring to the three islands just off the city’s coastline. The only view from this small brewpub was of a busy road and a chicken and rooster who seemed tempted to cross it. Thankfully we were able to discourage them.

Another day in Mazatlán

It was very hot and humid during our stay, not my favourite weather. But I had to get used to it, or spend all day indoors. So, I took a slow walk through the community where we were staying, all the way to the opposite entrance where, thanks to google maps, I had discovered a bakery that just might have great bread. They were all out of their famed sour dough, but I did stay for a coffee “con leche” and a Pan Dia de los muertos. I had already taken a few bites when I thought, “I should sketch this!” I found it hard to make the half eaten bread (a bit like a donut in texture) look like anything and the wee milk jug got a bit wonky. But, in doing the sketch, it prompted a lovely exchange with the young man working there.

On the walk back to our condo I set up my stool in the shade to sketch this scene. Nearby, iguanas roamed nibbling on the grass and cormorants dove in and out of the pond.

Dia de los muertos – Mazatlán

There were many interesting spots to sketch but not always a good place to stand or sit on the narrow sidewalks. And there was also the heat and sun to try and avoid. One of the main squares provided a spot to sit in the shade for a quick sketch.

One of the many huge skull decorations.

A small part of a long facade on the square.

And, as usual on our trips, we sought out the local brewpub which had a very hip interior – part open air courtyard with a devilish mural – and the vintage black and white Disney cartoon, Hell’s Bells on the TV screen over the bar.

Mazatlán – Day one, on the beach

Hot, sunny and sandy on the Pacific Ocean at the the El Cid Resort. Such friendly, warm people.

I haven’t been painting regularly, so I was definitely rusty. But happy to be drawing and painting. I couldn’t resist a quick sketch of my drink before it melted.

Another benefit of sketching in public, meeting people who are curious as to what I was up to. I was definitely the only person sketching on the beach.

Reflecting on reflections

Our local sketching group headed to The Grotto last Saturday. This is a local landmark and green space with a narrow waterway around the perimeter. I was attracted by the water and the reflections, but underestimated the difficulty in capturing it. Regardless, it was a beautiful day in the delightful company of enthusiastic sketchers.


On a recent getaway to a southern Ontario campground there was plenty of subject matter to sketch. But, in the end I was drawn to this, the remnants after the pickles had all been eaten.