by Alan Li
Carol McConnell is a retired Information Technology professional who makes art, collects art, and rides horses! She lives out by the Scarborough Bluffs and considers herself a chronic doodler.
What do you most enjoy about sketching outdoors?
I really enjoy looking at the world from a different perspective. It’s seeing all the shapes of things with the space around them, and even the colours are much different. I haven’t sketched outdoors very much till recently, but now I just love it.
LUNA artists have been exploring the ravine since late January. What’s been the most memorable experience so far for you?
I think it has to be our walks during the winter months. The atmosphere created by the light snow fall made it feel so much different than when it’s dense with green. The ravine was so much quieter too.
Do you have any sketching tips for an absolute beginner?
Don’t try to be perfect. Sometimes you’re so intent on getting down the details and making it look so real, that you lose the moment, and the sketch no longer feels fresh and alive.
Toronto’s urban wilderness is vast. Where’s your favourite green space in the city?
I would have said the Scarborough Bluffs - taking the dog and going on a walk - but since I started visiting Toronto Botanical Garden last year for Nature Sketch classes, I would say the ravine is now my favourite spot!
Which artists do you most admire?
There are many, but I have a few creative friends who’ve influenced me, particularly Tamara Williamson. She’s a musician and songwriter that also paints in oils. She’s a phenomenal artist. Her pictures are very imaginative, and can sway between abstraction and realism. I really admire her series of crow paintings.
Oh, and Vincent too! I’ve always been a fan of Van Gogh and his work just amazes me.
Artists find inspiration in many places. What inspires you?
Nature inspires me! Whether it’s a stormy sky, trees, or drawing animals, everything I create has some element of nature in it.
I see you’ve just completed a still life drawing of a fallen section of a Paper Birch tree. Can you tell us about this piece?
During one of our LUNA walks through the ravine, I spotted this broken piece of tree next to a snag we were all looking at. It’s such an interesting-looking piece of wood with swirly little bumps protruding out of it; however, it’s proven to be quite a challenge to draw! The piece of fungus I’ve drawn is called a Birch Polypore and I think it adds an extra dimension to the picture. I worked entirely with colour pencil on hot pressed Arches watercolour paper.
Thank you for sharing Carol. This textures in this drawing looks fantastic and I can’t wait to see what you create next!