|Community garden at sunset, watercolor|
Well. it's been a good five months already since I arrived in beautiful British Columbia. Yet another country to where our constant search for work has led us. No use pretending, it wasn't easy. Facebook might show us as 'jet setters' and moving about with ease but we've cropped a lot of grief away from those Facebook posts.
|Kitsilano Beach sunset. watercolor sketch|
Vancouver is a city that has grown and is still growing at a breakneck pace. Real estate is pricey and construction is pervasive. Foreign and local investment are frantic. I like to compare it to a "mining town on hormones", still provincial in many aspects but bursting with technology, film and food ventures. People that have lived here for a while have a totally different perception of it than newcomers. Surrounded by a truly beautiful landscape but close to commodities like oil, timber and minerals, add its sensible (albeit bland) metal-and-teal-glass urban newness, layer some decidedly favorable lip service towards "First nations", animal welfare , gays and pot and you get quite an attractive place to retreat in a middle class bubble ...if you have the means and the marketable skills necessary. You'll get bored to hear it was "voted the city with best quality of life" x years in a row and so on. That might be but that "vote" comes from biased sources so caution to navigators.
|Granville Bridge, Watercolor sketch|
Here are some of the problems I've found as I started painting:
|"Capilano Fishermen" 9"x12"|
b) A high tolerance for alternative lifestyles means most of the 'tolerating' will be done by you, not the politicians, as you try to avoid the masses of panhandlers and addicts in the downtown area permanently engulfed in a cannabis fog and shouting matches while you paint.
|Jericho beach 8"x10"|
d) Not much of an art scene. Curiously, however, I found a lot of urban sketchers and graffiti artists, some life drawing studios that are quite nice and a few plein air artists. And by any standards there IS a lot of art done in Vancouver, it is just done inside film studios. Commercial art galleries are a better bet than museums. South Granville has a few interesting galleries. My favorites so far have to be Pousette (Francophone artists) and Heffel (group of seven, classic canadiana).
|Mt Pleasant, watercolor sketch|
f) Art supplies. Two main chains with brick and mortar stores, Opus and De Serres. Not enough inventory of quality stuff. No linen canvases for example. No quality ready-made frames. Limited spectrum of brands in general. Mostly oriented towards the crafts market.
P.S. Not that I care much for peoples comments but "Nice day to be painting outside" is the most common by a looong stretch. I don't know why. I rarely bump into another painter. Its innocuous enough and sweet to hear. May be someone said it once during a school trip and now that's what you say. Am I reading too much into this?
|"Wreck beach" sold|
-Canada's great landscapes are awe inspiring even if they are hard to get to without a car or means of transportation. I must try a bit harder. Rain and weather pose a problem but they DO create plenty of subject matter. The colours of summer flowers, or the flaming reds of autumn are simply fantastic so you can expect changes and shifts aplenty.The sky is everything.
|Monet's Heart Attack, vanDusen gardens.|
-The same way that London forced my hand and I added Emerald Green and Black -or Payne Grey- to my palette, I find myself squeezing a lot more Cobalt blue and mixing alizarin in more places (always use permanent) . A definite cooling of the palette. Raw umber seems to be more appropriate that brown oxide for deep shadows here. It has that oily color of dirty moss. Indian yellow bright spark has given way to lemon yellow.
|Snug Cove, Bowen Island|
I have quite enjoyed using "Meetup" to gather with urban sketchers and discovering new places to draw inspiration from. I also enjoy attending life drawing sessions at Basic Inquiry. So I haven't lost hope that eventually, one day, may be soon, we can settle somewhere and really have a go at this thing called art. In the meantime, may be I should just buy a laptop and get serious about digital art. This place might be the right place for that (as the 28th day of uninterrupted rain draws to close outside my window)