Monday, September 30, 2013


Newton was channelling the phantom of the opera with his blanket earlier this week. He just moved his head back, grabbed his blanket over his head like this. He's quite the personality! Luckily I had my phone ready to get a quick snapshot :) 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

ANIMAL CONNECTION 024 : Justin and Mally

For this animal series drawing, I was inspired by the work of a newly discovered artist for me: the late Ozz Franca. I love the way his portrait series of native people blend into the background. I used a similar technique for this portrait of Justin Bieber and his former capuchin monkey named Mally, using watercolor and watercolor pencils. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

getting familiar with watercolors (part 2)

These are the two latest paintings I did using watercolor and watercolor pencils. I like how I can create any color I want by mixing the colors that I have. It makes it easier to create shades. I'm really happy with your her shoes turned out. I started both pieces with a pencil first, but then for the drawing on the left, I used a red Sharpie pen to do the line work. It gives an interesting effect.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Public transportation

I find myself riding the subways, bus and streetcars more and more now that we're in Toronto. It's so practical. Last week, coming from another life drawing session, I spent some time drawing people in the subway. There's a guy who plays the cello in one of the stations on Sunday nights. It's the second time I see him there so I did a quick sketch of him while I was waiting. He's good. 

The streetcar is a new concept for me. I had never taken one before moving to Toronto. On my way back from the Art Battle, I sketched a couple people as well. I don't always get to draw the entire person but I do get interesting samples of fashion like the bright pink sandals, the large opal ring, the studded shirt, etc. 

life drawing : paris (2)

I went to another life drawing session at Epique Lounge last Sunday and did a good amount of sketches. Paris had some great poses that started to give me some ideas for various drawing and painting projects I can start in the near future. Being surrounded by artists really makes me want to get into painting as well and produce a lot more artwork, which is great. 

For some of the longer poses, I was able to really study the correct way of drawing various positions, like the one above and look for joints, like the knees, the elbows, the shoulder, etc. 

One of the sketchers gave me darker paper and conté to practice with and I can see the evolution of my rendering of the same pose as I started to get a little more comfortable with it. I find it's better to work in large scale when using conté. 

Toronto Art Battle # 66

Yesterday I went to check out the 66th Toronto Art Battle in a beautiful place called the Great Hall. It's a live competitive painting event where artists compete by creating a painting in 20 minutes using provided acrylic paint. The competition is organized in three rounds and the public gets to vote for their favourite artwork at the end of each round. It was my first time attending this event, which takes place in various cities across Canada. It was quite something to witness and see how different artists create in such a short period of time and what comes out of it. There was a great atmosphere, with a live camera enabling everyone to see the artwork being created and a DJ playing a mix of music on a stage at one end. The winner gets a prize and the artwork goes up for auction and can be purchased by the public. I'm very tempted to try this next time. It sounds fun.

Here's a little video of what the event is all about: 

Monday, September 23, 2013

TGIM sketchnote 25

I can attest to ET's message on this week's TGIM about the importance of reading. It makes a huge difference! I wasn't much of a reader after finishing school and recently decided to start reading a couple books about things that are of interest to me and help me improve and it really expanded my mind and improved my environment. And the more you read, the more you want to read. Now I even keep a list of the books I read and want to read (or listen to).


Newton stayed at a pet boarding place overnight for the first time this week and did great. Looks like he made a great impression on the staff and had an awesome time while he was there. He was really happy to see us the next day and had a huge smile on his face. He didn't seem scared or wanting to leave the premises asap, which is a good sign. I think this might be a great thing for his development and socialization. I love the picture they took of him there. He's all grown up :)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Barcelona Details

Spain Barcelona Travel Photos One of my favorite things to do while traveling is noticing details, especially when it comes to art and design. And I can't help but take pictures of these little things I see that capture my interest, like these really detailed carvings on the building above with the curved modern windows. It's not something I see everyday in Canada. I love how a lot of the building are modernized while keeping their historical style at the same time. The building above is a perfect example.

Below is a collection of photos I took because something capture my attention and inspired me to take a picture.      
Spain Barcelona Travel Photos
Colorful panels and beautiful mountain views (top left), matching modern outdoor blinds on a historical looking building (top middle), giant functioning thermometer (top right), black and yellow taxis and cool sculptures  (middle left),  carving (bottom left), narrow streets (bottom centre), gravesite inside mountains (bottom right)
Spain Barcelona Travel Photos
(First column top to bottom) Neat wood carved door, door handle detail, modern door detail. (Second column top to bottom) Wedding photo session, water fountains and flower arrangement in the middle of the city, fountain details. (Third column top to bottom) More fountain detail, random graffiti. (Fourth column top to bottom) Clever graffiti fooled me on the first look, bit graffiti hidden in plain sight, neat sculpture downtown).  
Spain Barcelona Travel Photos It was really neat to see Bixi bikes in Barcelona. This concept was first implemented in Montreal back in 2008 and spread like wild fire in big cities all over the world. 

Spain Barcelona Travel Photos  
I loved walking in all these little streets because I kept discovering new architectural details, new squares, hidden gardens and fountains. It's a very vibrant city with many people, many cultures, hot beautiful sunny days and great food. It was mind opening to see people from so many cultural backgrounds able to speak at least three languages with ease and being able to switch from one to the other with ease. It definitely inspire me to keep learning Spanish so I can be more fluent and do even better the next time I get to visit this great city. 

getting familiar with watercolors

Ever since I came back from the symposium, I've been playing around with watercolors more and more and decided to use the book I made while I was there to practice a couple fashion drawings. I love the colors on that one but the orange came out a little strong at the bottom of the dress where I used a watercolor marker instead. I used a mix of watercolor paint, watercolor pencils and watercolor brush pens. I'm not sure which one I like best yet. I'll have to use them more and see in time.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

TGIM sketchnote 24

This week's TGIM is a continuation from the previous week where ET talks about the importance of persistence in order to get where you need to be : Keep doing what you need to do. I can relate to the part about constantly looking at the "scoreboard". That's often me. Mind you I keep going, but I imagine it slows me down a little and it's something that can be overdone.

It's better to keep working as opposed to keep looking back at the things that were accomplished in the past or looking for praises. It easy to get discouraged when you don't see the results, especially after putting a lot more effort that you expected to put out, still waiting for the results you want. You may even start questioning your actions altogether. At the same time, if you keep questioning your actions and changing directions all the time, it will be harder and will take longer to get to that goal. So I guess it's better to stick with it and make it part of your routine. That's something I can definitely work on a little more.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

unlucky grumpy cat available at Cafe Press

Unlucky Grumpy Cat is officially my first design sale on Cafe Press! I had this illustration for a contest a couple months ago. I was really happy with it and wanted to make it available on various products. Cafe Press was the ideal place for it. They added the design to all sorts of products. My favourites are the mug, apron and T-shirts. 

Click here to view all the items available with this design.


What a difference 6 months makes. :)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

ANIMAL CONNECTION 023 : Audrey Hepburn Had a Fawn

I found out that Audrey Hepburn had a fawn as a pet name Pippin.  Kind of reminds me of Newton for some reason, perhaps it's the long legs. I mostly used watercolor pencils for this one. They are fun to play with and I slowly getting the hang of them. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sunday night ride

On my short ride back from a life drawing session sunday night, I drew some of the people in the subway. Most look really tired. It's interesting how drawing people in the subway teachers you to draw faster. The colours were added as soon as I got back home.

TGIM Sketchnote 23

The TGIM this week is a two-parter. We're getting closer to the 4th quarter so it's time to give it all we've got to make sure we get the results we're looking for. Part one is about perspective, keeping the vision alive no matter what comes at us and staying focus in our action. It's easy to give up when things don't seem to go our way, but it's important to fight that Resistance (as Steven Pressfield called it) and keep working because "Resistance is most powerful at the finish line". So, all we have to do is keep our eyes on the prize to be able to get to that "I did" moment and enjoy the fruits of our labor. 

Part two (next episode) will be is about persistence.

Monday, September 09, 2013

life drawing : paris

I found a great little group of artists in Toronto who have regular life drawing sessions at a lounge in Yorkville called Epique Lounge. It's a neat cozy little venue with neat modern style with a touch of baroque. It was neat to see various styles of art going on at the same time : drawing, painting and sculpture. Some were practicing and others were creating finished pieces. 

Our model was Paris, who look like he came straight out of the cover of a romance novel. He was really nice and was making sure everyone had the position they needed to complete their piece. The lounge even had artwork from some of the artists on their wall. 

I even "sneak in" a little urban sketching while I was there and met great artists. I'll definitely do this again.


This is what happens after a long walk around the neighbourhood. Knocked out for a couple hours. :)

Newton has a new facebook page
Hope you "like" it. 

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Beyond the Arc of Triomf

Bacelona Arc of Triomf

We only had one day to play tourists in Barcelona, so we decided to check out the Arc of Triomf, which was built in 1888 for the Exposición Univeral de Barcelona. It was a nice walk from our hotel and enabled us to get a better feel for the city on the way there.

Bacelona Arc of Triomf
Bacelona Arc of TriomfBacelona Arc of Triomf

Behind it, there is a beautiful large area for people to walk, bike or sit around and enjoy the sun.

Bacelona Arc of Triomf

To keep the area free of cars there's an underground parking lot which enables many visitors to come and enjoy this space if they cannot or do not want to use public transportation. I love the modern elevator made out of glass and leading people right in the main area. I wonder if the green tint on the glass was intentional, to better blend in with the surrounding trees. We decided to keep walking towards the zoo and discovered a park : Parque de la Ciudadela.

Bacelona Arc of Triomf
Bacelona Arc of Triomf

The Arc of Triomf is nice, but what you really need to check out if you're in the area is the Parque de la Ciudadela. It a gigantic natural oasis right in the city, with lakes and fountains, and trees, play area for kids, play area for dogs, colorful birds, interesting architecture, etc.. It was a great find so we spend a large portion of that day just exploring the park. It such a great asset in the city. It was nice to see people enjoying the space having a picnic, taking pictures, celebrating birthdays, grabbing a bite to eat. I took many picture while we were there. If I had more time I would have done some urban sketching as there was a lot of interesting subjects to draw.

Parque de la Ciudadela
Parque de la Ciudadela
Parque de la Ciudadela
Parque de la Ciudadela
Parque de la Ciudadela
Parque de la Ciudadela
Parque de la Ciudadela
Parque de la Ciudadela
Parque de la Ciudadela
Parque de la Ciudadela
Parque de la Ciudadela
Parque de la Ciudadela
Parque de la Ciudadela
Parque de la Ciudadela
Parque de la Ciudadela
Parque de la Ciudadela
Parque de la Ciudadela
Parque de la Ciudadela

One of the things I really like about Barcelona is that the more you walked around, the more you discovered nice little tucked away plaza and parks in unexpected places. This was by far the biggest discovery during our stay and we glad we got a chance to experience it.

I hope to be able to go back to Barcelona and spend a little more time exploring this city because it seems like there is a lot to see and experience and we barely scratched the surface.