Hand Drawn Vancouver

June 23, 2020


In a Summer where we’re being encouraged to stay close to home, how wonderful to have a new guidebook of sorts to help us explore our nearby neighbourhoods. If you’ve become too comfortable being housebound, this might be just the inspiration you need to get out there and investigate.

Illustrator and writer, Emma Fitzgerald has imaginatively captured scenes of little pockets around the city of Vancouver and included conversations with those she’s encountered or overheard. Her work has been described as “part sketchbook, part journal” by the Globe and  Mail and we like both. We’re also big on “Whimsical” and “Charming” here at BTB and this promises each in abundance.  I’m particularly fond of the storefronts and streetscapes captured in Emma’s drawings as we know, all too well, that the city is changing and these may be the nostalgic views we’ll treasure most in the future.

This little story explains the source of Emma’s inspiration: “My daily commute to school, an hour each way in the backseat of the car, was an education in the geography of the city. We passed through Dundarave and Ambleside, stalled in traffic at Park Royal, went over the Capilano River Reserve while crossing the Lions Gate Bridge, and then were momentarily surrounded by trees in Stanley Park. It was often a quick drive through the West End and Downtown, seemingly before anyone else was awake, then over the Burrard or sometimes Granville Bridge, through Kitsilano, all the way to Dunbar—only to do it all in reverse at the end of the day. Looking out of the window, I discovered that each neighbourhood had its own unique architecture and population, and they became endlessly interesting to me.” 

While Emma mostly grew up in Vancouver, she also spent some time studying and living in Halifax. She successfully captured that city in Hand Drawn Halifax. Rumour has it that she’s now in Victoria and exploring that city for its own Hand Drawn edition. We’ll have to stay tuned!






Somewhere in my travels through the world wide web, I came upon an image of a painting by Karin Jurick.  I was smitten. Her use of such vivid colour and the ability to capture moments of pure relaxation delighted me. As I explored more of Karin’s work, I noted a commitment to featuring readers. She does it so well, I simply had to share with you. Learn more about Karin here on her Bio page. Karin also writes a daily blog, A Painting Today – the Results of the Life of a Paintaholic. Tune in and enjoy her prolific talents. Meanwhile, I do hope you are savouring moments like those featured in Karin’s work.

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A Brush with Books & Reading

November 3, 2011

Do you share my delight in artwork that captures the enjoyment of reading? I discovered the work of these three artists in recent weeks and knew I had to share their masterpieces with you. I hope you think they are as fun as I do! As usual, clicking on the images will link you to more information.

John Gannam (1907 – 1965) This talented illustrator’s watercolours were a prominent presence in the world of mid-twentieth century advertising. The  images above appeared in ads for Pacific Sheets company. Comparisons are frequently drawn between his work and that of his peers Norman Rockwell, Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper. Gannam, however, seemed content with commercial pursuits and didn’t cross over into the world of fine art with the same gusto. His reclusive personality may have factored into his decision. This cute little anecdote below gives us a glimpse.

“Some years ago I chaired the Society’s lecture series. I had Johnny scheduled one evening and he hated it. He claimed he had nothing to say. His only courage was a tumbler of straight whiskey kept just out of sight in the wings offstage. Frequently he politely excused himself, to supposedly clear his throat. His naturally quiet voice was difficult to hear in the rear; it became totally inaudible when he strayed. I finally forced him to hold onto the stand of the microphone even when he walked around. He began to lean on it, and since it was telescopic, it slowly began to get shorter with Johnny following it down, still talking. He ended up bent way down with his head about on the level with his knees and the student audience howling with glee. What his pearly words were at that time remain known only to his knees.” 
-Kenneth W. Thompson

Janet Hill –  These alluring vignettes are scrumptious (Insert a deep sigh here) and evoke a vintage feel with nostalgic and sometimes sassy sentiments. I have encountered this Canadian artist’s work in several different settings recently and have been thoroughly charmed each time. In an interview in Matchbook magazine’s October 2011 issue, Janet comes across as your favourite bright and quirky chum. Turn to page 61, “Free Spirit” and chuckle over her first date story while learning more about her approach to living creatively. Her work is fun, affordable, and easily accessible on her Etsy website. I’ve been trolling the site with Christmas gifts in mind. (And nooo, not just for myself!)

Paul Beliveau – Another Canadian treasure, Paul Beliveau paints with incredible realism. His collection of serigraphs features cleverly combined book spines as colourful cultural statements. This multiple award winner’s art is featured in a wide variety of significant personal and corporate collections. Superbe!

And don’t forget earlier “artistic” posts: Jane Mount   and Sophie Blackall  and Alanna Cavanagh.  

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