People

I’m a big fan of Barbara Streisand, huge. However, I think she got it all wrong with her song “People”, when it says People who need people are the luckiest people in the world. I’d actually change it to People who can draw people are the luckiest people in the world. I mean, it’s HARD!

A few weeks ago I met up with my brother Domingo in New York for 24 hours (which ended up being 48, although that’s another story on its own). We had a fantastic time together, walking from Broadway to the Battery and taking in everything the city has to offer – including dinner at The Modern. Mmmmm… When I came back to Toronto I was full of NY inspiration, which slowly dissipated unfortunately… until TODAY.

I did not draw buildings, I drew people. The first dozen sketches were so hopeless I almost gave up; 9-year-old Araceli would’ve done a far better job. But suddenly they started turning out a bit better and after drawing another dozen New Yorkers from the 60s I’m actually quite proud of the following 4 who made it to this post.

Time

Today is my birthday and I’ve been thinking a lot lately about time, how quickly it goes by and how much can be achieved in a little snippet. So, to begin with, look at this lovely view:

It’s my village, lost in the mountains in the north of Spain, where I spent my summer holidays. My friends and I had a fun afternoon drawing it. But not your average landscapes, no, we wanted to see what happened if we drew it for 1, 2 and 4 minutes. The pictures below are chronologically placed, and I must say, one certainly got better as time progressed!

Then we decided to do something even more daring – not look at the paper nor lift the pen while drawing and this Miro-like beauty came out:

And last but not least, yours truly busy at work.

Cabbagetown

I once attended a lecture where they stated that the west ends of cities had the most beautiful architecture as it was where the wealthy lived – apparently it has something to do with the wind. However, in the proper east end of Toronto is Cabbagetown.

Referred to by the New York Times as the highest concentration of Victorian houses in North America, Cabbagetown is simply magnificent. I have not been near a pencil, marker pen or brush for a week and a half and the quality of my sketch is rather poor I’m afraid, but I hope the pictures below show a glimpse of this beautiful neighbourhood in Toronto.

Perspective

How to create perspective when I don’t use a ruler and can’t draw a straight line for the life of me? Practice! This view of the borderline between the Old Montreal and the city’s financial district was perfect for such an exercise. Not too convinced about the results though, I think all this perspective diminishes the whimsicalness of my drawings somewhat…

Weekend in sketches

Good weather makes weekends seem just like paradise. I had some friends over for dinner on Saturday night. The menu consisted of Jamie Oliver’s delicious baked mushrooms stuffed with ricotta (I used basil leaves instead of oregano, so good), with some rucola with a lemon dressing and Northern Spain paella (plenty of meat and no seafood). From a neighbourhood perspective, I was stuck in Parkdale:

Yesterday was glorious, and in order to make the most of the weather, my friends went to the Islands to spend the day:

I pottered around, watched Nadal beat Federer, and after having brunch at the waterfront, I spent part of the afternoon at Trinity Bellwoods. It’s a lovely park on Queen West:

These are the new sketches of Toronto neighbourhoods that I’ve been working on. Obviously still sketches – I mean, TRINIYT?! I was obviously VERY distracted when I was working on my lettering…! I still have to work on the composition, select which buildings/houses are more representative of each neighbourhood and obviously, TRY to make it as centered and straight as possible – particularly the lettering. But it’s a project I’m really enjoying as it makes me get on my bike, explore some wonderful areas of this city and then, once at home,  draw them out rather quickly with my big fat marker pen on the biggest sketch pad known to man.

I heart Montreal

When I first moved to Toronto, I didn’t quite warm up to it as I had expected (massive euphemism for “hated its guts”). Each time I visited another North American city, I’d wonder why on earth I hadn’t tried moving there instead… Montreal, however, just captivated me from the get go: its elegant architecture, delicious food, attractive people roaming the streets, etc. made me seriously consider retaking French lessons in the hope of moving there one day.

The second time I visited Montreal, I was already head over heels in love with Toronto and saw the city from a different perspective. Whilst I still felt very much at home there because of its European architecture,  it no longer tantalised me and I was able to appreciate its beauty without diminishing that of its rival city Toronto. This is my double take of a lovely building in the Old Montreal, it inspired me so that I couldn’t decide if I wanted to sketch it or watercolour – so I did both!

Day trip to the Islands

One of Toronto’s gems is, without a doubt, the Islands. A mere 10 minute ferry ride from downtown, the Islands are located on lake Ontario and sit happily directly across the city. Cars seem out of place in such a paradise and naturally, there are only a handful of them throughout the Islands. This makes cycling the preferred way of transport and as I love my bike it makes the place EVEN more appealing if possible.

So a couple of days ago I got on my bike – her name is Janet by the way – packed up a picnic, sketchbook and pens, and book and headed towards the Islands for a full day of sunshine and fresh air. There’s nothing like stretching under the sun with a sweet breeze, listening to the waves and reading a book. I thought I’d be unable to move from there until dusk but a spider the size of my thumb (huge by my standards) started pestering me and no matter how many times I flicked her away, she’d come back. So I got up, packed my stuff and cycled towards Ward’s Island. An entire creative community lives there, and their houses are gorgeous. I did a few sketches  and turned around and did a quick drawing of the Toronto skyline. By the time my stomach was telling me it was time to head home, one of the locals was kind to point out I had just about enough time to cycle and get on the next ferry. Perfect timing. Perfect place. Perfect day!