Local Produ

I was relieved to see the local farm stand open recently. I feel fortunate to have this nearby, just down the road from my auto repair place. When I had to wait for my car recently I had time to sketch this. I’m not sure what happened to the “ce” on their sign.

As I was trying to sketch this I was wishing I had completed Shari Blaukopf’s course on light, colour and shadow. Next shadow attempt will be better.

Arrival of Spring – done!

Today is the Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere, specifically at 5:44pm when the sun reaches its highest and northernmost point in the sky, marking the start of summer for this part of the globe. And this is the last sketch in this series (and last page of the sketchbook devoted to it). This sketching theme has been a good focus during these recent exceptional months in our human existence. What lies ahead is uncertain, but hopefully, as Sam Cooke sang many years ago, “a change is gonna come” — on many fronts.

Happy Solstice greetings from my home to yours.

Arrival of Spring – late June

The variety of greens growing in my raised beds are doing very well. And soon the Scarlett Runner Beans will be climbing the cedar obelisk. As I was sketching, a gorgeous bird landed on the top of the obelisk – but the top was not in my sketch. This lovely Waxwing stayed long enough for me to observe it’s most distinctive features (Batman-like mask and tuft of head feathers) to include on the page.

Arrival of Spring – mid-June

Although technically it is still Spring, it does feel like summer this week. The Summer Solstice is just days away. So this sketching project is drawing to a close. Good thing, because the sketchbook I started for this is almost full.

I have several rhubarb plants growing along one side of the back deck. I let it go to flower and the result is rather dramatic with the plumes of alien looking flower tops reaching high above the masses of enormous leaves.

Arrival of Spring – early June

Porch life

I love my front porch – from Spring through Autumn. So does my cat Harrley. The chair is a vintage garbage find from decades ago. It makes for a fun and challenging object to draw. It is a remarkably comfortable seat.

Arrival of Spring – June 6


At last! I have successfully grown radishes. Specifically this French Breakfast radish, an heirloom variety that I first tasted at the home of Deborah Madison (that’s another story!) in 2013.

These small radish are delicious, even the leaves! And so sketchable!

Arrival of Spring – June 3 & 4


The cooler temperatures of late have meant that the lilac blooms have stayed fresh and smelling wonderful. A great flower to bring indoors.

Also in bloom are the alliums. They look particularity comical next to this wood sculpture in the garden bed. Is it an eagle? A penguin? We’re not sure.

Arrival of Spring – May 30


There is a virtual wall of lilac in bloom next to the front porch and the scent is heavenly! The recent heat wave caused the lilacs to burst into bloom quickly, then the cold swept in, so the flowers (and scent) may last a while yet.

Remarkably, after being too hot to sketch outdoors a few days ago, yesterday evening it got too cold to finish the sketch outside. Spring’s arrival has indeed been odd this year.

Arrival of Spring – May 26


The tulips were in full splendour when I first sketched these on May 16 (first sketch below). The current heat wave has seen them quickly whither, unfortunately. They continued to whither even as I sketched their current state yesterday. Between the heat and the short downpour yesterday, this clump of daffodils looked like yellow rags on sticks.

This sketch is dedicated to my long-time Ottawa friend with whom I have visited the tulip festival in recent years. Sadly, we could not go this year.

Arrival of Spring – late May


Inspired by the guests on #usktalks Mike Daikubara (author of Sketch now, think later) and Rita Sabler (reportage sketcher) and this week’s challenge to record change, I grabbed my fude nib pen and a brown paper sketchbook, headed down the road a bit and started quickly recording the change in the landscape next door. I have avoided confronting it, until now.

I stood and sketched (spoke with a neighbour also disturbed by the change) then sat on my back deck, with a view of the action, to add colour. All the while, a ceaseless, tiring soundtrack of metal on rock and grinding engines filled my ears. I chose not to block it out with ear buds.

This is but a small moment in the grand scale of industrial agriculture (often financed by distant investors) where regard for the long term health of the land is secondary to cash crop profit.

It was a powerful experience to document this. I would never have done it if not for the #usktalkschallenge to document change.

(Usk is Urban Sketchers. Check out urbansketchers.org)

The rocks and boulders were all almost all dumped is a big pile at the edge of the land. Perhaps some will end up in a front yard landscape design.