The painting process has many steps. A step that most often takes the longest but I never seem to include in the scope of work is location scouting. I am currently working on two painting commissions this month, one of which I have spent three full days visiting the painting scene waiting for good lighting. When the commission painting is of a scene I am unfamiliar with and I am not given a photo – I spend significant time figuring out the composition as well as what is important to the client.

I never seem to allow myself the same luxury of scouting for my personal artwork. However most landscapes and city views I paint are of scenes I just happen on when the lighting is just right. So the scenes I paint are curated based on luck: a serendipitous moment when I am at a location and the scene inspires me. This year I am focused on series of painting compositions that work together, so my process of collecting scenes to paint is becoming more thoughtful and taking longer.

When I found out “Doors Open Vancouver” was happening this past Saturday I decided to devote a full day to wander downtown Vancouver, scouting vantage points I do not normally get to see. I even tried out the Vancouver bike sharing system: Mobi. Here are a few scenes and sketches from this past weekend.

Downtown Vancouver, looking along Cordova Street towards Gastown


The Marine Building on Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver. The building was once the tallest in the British Empire. The ceilings in the lobby are stunning.


Alley Oop! The pink alley way in Downtown Vancouver created by More Awesome Now. This alleyway has an uncanny ability to draw you in. I loved the fact the man walking beside me just happened to be wearing pink!


The Orpheum signs say no photos… but during Doors open Vancouver – the cameras were out in full force.


Taking a break from the +33 C temperatures in Vancouver (Canadians are not used to that type of heat) I sat and sketched on the balcony in the Orpheum.


I did a quick wander of the opening day of Monet’s Secret Garden at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The show was packed so I will have to go back later this summer. The value of having a Gallery Membership. In the meantime I sketched the entrance way.


I grabbed a Mobi Bike (Vancouver’s bike share program) in the afternoon and wandered more around Vancouver

Now to review the photos and ideas and get back to painting. And if you dig the pink laneway in my photos – check out More Awesome Now’s latest laneway project on Kickstarter (I’ve already invested!)

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