Friday, 31 July 2015

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Postcards from Canada: 8

A quick pen drawing of our hosts' sitting room

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Postcards from Canada: 7

Southwood Green townhouses, Winnipeg Manitoba

Monday, 27 July 2015

Postcards from Canada: 6

The unifying theme for this trip seems to be lakes. Yesterday our new hosts in Winnipeg took us up to their boat at Gimli for a sail on Lake Winnipeg. I'm no sailor so I was clear that I was just acting as ballast during our short voyage but I did manage to do a couple of sketches while on board.

I tried to depict a man on a skido who whizzed past us but he looks more like a hobbit in the sketch on the left hand page. I quite like the yacht I drew on the right hand page.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Postcards from Canada: 5

The chairs that we've spent a good deal of time lazing on
We're leaving Orillia today and heading for Winnipeg. The weather has been glorious while we've been here but thunder is forecast for later on today.

Yesterday we had lunch at a small restaurant in Washago called R Cottage which only opened very recently and on our way home had a brief drive round Fern Resort. It reminded me of an old fashioned version of Butlins and it opened back in 1895/6.

My final quick sketch yesterday was a pen drawing of the dining room seen from the sitting room. Then we helped our friend hang some artwork which proved to much more complex than we bargained for but we were all happy with results.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Postcards from Canada: 4

We had a brief period of respite yesterday between lunch and returning to our temporary home so I knocked off this sketch without thinking about it too much. It was on the property of the Leacock Museum and very close to the gracious boathouse which overlooks Old Brewery Bay on Couchiching Lake, Orillia. This had been the home of Stephen Leacock who was both an economist and a humorist and became famous for his books 'Sunshine sketches of a Little Town' and 'Arcadian Adventures with the Idle Rich' while his textbook 'Elements of Political Science' sold well for many years.

Museums back home in the UK tend to have barriers beyond which visitors must not stray. 'Do not touch' notices are everywhere along with scowling room warders. Here, we were able to stroll in and around without being herded along in a group. We were able to get a sense of what it was like to live in the house with its extensive rooms. There were framed photos of Mr Leacock in different locations and he seemed an affable sort of chap. The house felt very much the domain of a bachelor who liked to have his friends around. Although he had been married I didn't feel the presence of the lady of household although there was a portrait of a lady in the hallway who could have been his wife.

The museum also has a restaurant in a separate building where we were informed that this attraction "is Orillia's best kept secret". This was hard to believe given the number of people queuing for a table. We found ourselves sharing a table with two retired couples who were old friends. There was Barb and Dennis and Norman with his wife Helen who we were told is part witch (you'd never know it to look at her). We spent the better part of two hours in their genial company listening to what's important in their lives and them laughing at our English accents. By the time we parted company I was convinced that I'm not anywhere near ready for retirement.
I was using watercolour paint for this sketch but have realised it's the wrong
type of paper for this medium 

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Postcards from Canada: 3

We visited Lakehead University yesterday and while my companions were in a meeting I took the opportunity to sketch this tree. The university is in a rural area and is surrounded by farms and this tree was surrounded by a community garden. Community gardens are flourishing across Canada and in this one they are growing corn, squash and beans following the tradition established by the First Nation farmers.

Postcards from Canada: 2

My sketch of the church during the recital
We enjoyed a Noon-Hour organ recital today at St James' Anglican Church in Orillia. We were entertained with half an hour of organ music based on folk tunes from 'Clog Dance' by H Hanson to 'In the hall of the Mountain King' by E Grieg played by Marilyn Reesor who was most accomplished.

Before that we went to the church's Wednesday Loonie's lunch of homemade soup with bread and if you were very lucky some conversation. Sadly though my neighbour wasn't in the mood for chatting. The good ladies of the church had laboured away all morning to give us a choice of chicken noodle soup or Italian Wedding soup or Butternut squash. This was the first time I'd had Italian Wedding soup and for those who don't know it has meatballs and pasta in it. I think if I make this sometime I'll go big on the meat and pasta but it was very tasty.

Postcards from Canada: 1

This is a view of Couchiching Lake from the bottom of our host's garden and my watercolour version of it.