On Friday after having lunch with one of Olwen’s friends, Cheryl, we dropped by Paintlounge in Markham which was owned by another friend of Olwen’s, Norris.  Olwen thought it would be good for me to try out some traditional painting before we met up with another friend that evening.  When I started out, I had no idea what I was supposed to paint.  I started with a recollection of Olwen playing with Caitlyn in her mini-jungle gym in Jeremy and Olga’s newly turfed yard amongst a backdrop of trees.  Eventually, those details proved to be precise given the the brushes I had so the painting ended up having a life of its own.  In the end, I think I was happy with the result.  There’s just something about the experience of using traditional media that you can’t quite duplicate with digital; the lack of an undo button, the mess, and the smell of the paint seem to enrich the experience since the final product is a lot more tangible than a bunch of pixels.  Alright, enough of the romantics, moving on…

Saturday was wedding number THREE starring our friends Apple and Darrin who live in Hong Kong but celebrating their wedding in Toronto with friends and family.  For their reception, they had a costume party along with photographers.  I thought I was the only one who had a full-sized bear costume for his own wedding…

Sadly, our trip was just about over.  We did get a nice surprise in the morning when we were awoken by a squealing mini-batgirl.  I’m gonna miss that terrible two-year old…

On Wednesday, Olwen and I met up with a couple friends who became recent baby mama’s.  Later that evening, we went over to Olwen’s uncle and aunt’s, Dai-Bak-Yeh, and Dai-Bak-Leung, house for some hotpot. Also there was Ah-Ma, Low-Dao, Olwen’s eldest aunt, Goo-Ma, Olwen’s cousin Rosa, and her son Justin.  Justin was working last-minute on his French homework and was getting frustrated.  Surprisingly, I was able to help him a little bit with what I knew from English and Spanish.  Of course he had to translate his homework for me, but still…  I helped a Canadian cousin with his French homework, and I DON’T SPEAK A LICK OF FRENCH. ‘Murica.

Thursday was a pretty chill day helping out Jeremy with installing some turf in the backyard.  After grabbing some gelato with Jeremy & Olga after dinner, we met with more friends for more dessert.  While we were chatting, I was trying to draw Phil, but for reason, I couldn’t seem to get his likeness even though I know he has some prominent features.  I drew a couple more frustrating pages with no success.  Maybe I was tired or it was late, but I was getting a bit irritated not getting the sketch down right.  Eventually, I was like, “I don’t get how I can’t seem to draw you!”  to which Olwen replied, “That’s ’cause you haven’t given him a big nose!”  So I drew a big nose, and… well it worked.

Sunday afternoon, I tried to catch the Toronto Subway Sketch Group that meets on Sunday afternoons at Union Station.  Unfortunately, the website didn’t specify which end of the station we were supposed to meet at.  Granted, I was a couple minutes late, but I tried to find by dashing in and out of the cars in between stops.  In the end, I gave up and went about my own sketching endeavors.  I did find a nice bowl of ramen over at Santuoka Ramen.

Tuesday morning, I went to do some work downtown at a cafe before we were to meet up with Olwen’s friends for dinner.  After I rendezvoused with Olwen for lunch, we stopped by Sugar Beach near the George Brown campus.  It’s an artificial beach constructed adjacent to a sugar refinery, hence the name.  While there, I had a nice chat with a student named Rose.

In the evening we arrived at Sushi Inn on Cumberland.  I made the following sketches during our conversations. Overall a fun and enjoyable night for all.

 

Lots to update on, so I’m going to split this up into separate posts.  Just got back from a week in Toronto visiting friends and family.

This is my fifth time visiting, but this was the first time that I was bringing a sketchbook.  There was a moment when my mother-in-law, I call her “Ah-Ma”, asked me why I sketched all the time.  At the time, I told her that I was doing it for practice, and trying to get better at my craft, but for some reason, that answer didn’t feel quite accurate to me.  When I later reflected on that conversation, I realized that the real reason was because it helped me to have a new outlook at what was before me.  I never thought about how sketching forces me to be more observant about the things in front of me, how it causes me to sift through the vast amount of visual information in front of me to get to what Walt Stanchfield calls the “first impression”.  And it helps me to see the story that’s behind every seemingly insignificant gesture or moment whether it be someone stirring their coffee, a couple having a conversation, or a weathered shipping yard; there’s always an individual backstory to everything and everyone.

So here were some of the moments that I managed to capture, some accurately, some not so great.  Regardless, what I would’ve expected to be a routine family visit turned out to be rich with enjoyable moments and little surprises.