Tag Archives: Venezia sketchbook

Interiors, Exteriors

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 15th century Byzantine iconWhere to go to find a sanctuary in a foreign place? In Guayabitos the Catholic Church is open to the public on extended hours, no admission fees, beautiful and comfortable. I go there to sketch and remember my loved ones with a lighted candle. It not the simple act of lighting a candle and giving a donation. You need to cross the street and buy your candle at one of the local depanneurs or 7-11 stores. There is a good selection of votive candles; hot pink, red or lime green or religious icons for about 30 pesos. The offering box is near the main alter. You give what you want. The church is named, The Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The icon of Mary and Child associated with this church harks back to the Byzantine era of the 15th century.

interior of Guayabitos Church

Linda Denis, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, watercolour, Venezia Sketchbook, 2015

There are other places of tranquility but not of the same quality. Beyond the maleçon in La Peñita the fishermen beach their boats when not out in the bay.

Another Beached Boats, La Peñita

Linda Denis, Parked until the next Sea Journey, watercolour, Venezia Sketchbook, 2015

Beached Boat, La Peñita

Linda Denis, Beached Fishing Boat, La Peñita, watercolour, Venezia Sketchbook, 2015

I return to the building site on the maleçon for my final look at progress.

Construction workers, La Peñita

Linda Denis, Progress on the Construction Site, La Peñita, watercolour, Venezia Sketchbook, 2015

Then, I take out my sketchbook to do a watercolour of suburbia Guyabitos. Here quiet persists except for the barking guard dogs and a few pedestrians out for a leisurely walk or a quick walk to the swing bridge to look at the crocodiles.


balcony view

Linda Denis, Storm maybe Today, watercolour, Venezia Sketchbook, 2015



Sketches of construction workers

I continue to sketch daily in my Venezia Sketchbook. The construction workers in La Peñita are exceptional models: very reliable, quick to change a pose or disappear. They do not care who is watching, photographing or sketching them. You cannot ask for more. Lagom är bäst.

Worker finishing tile window ledge

Linda Denis, Worker finishing tile window ledge, watercolour

Men at work

Linda Denis, Finishing touches to cement ledge, watercolour

Workers applying their skills

Linda Denis, Workers applying their skills, watercolour

Another day with a shady spot to work

Linda Denis, Another day with a shady spot to work, watercolour

People to sketch

Another hot day still much work

Another hot day in La Peñita

Finding people who do not mind being sketched is my purpose, these days. For myself, I have noticed people who work in public place are an excellent choice. They are not going to walk away and usually are at ease with people looking at them. If they give you a smile, a thumbs up or show off a bit …it is a good sign.  If they are selling food buy something, playing instruments put money in the hat, sometimes an appreciated smile or show your sketch is enough. Then there are times when you pack up very quickly and move on.

Hot day on the roof

Roof work in La Peñita

Work and more work

Adding window ledge


Dia de la Candelaria, Feb. 02

In Mexico, Febuary 2nd is a festive holiday. It is a mixture of past pre-Hispanic and present Catholic beliefs. One of twelve festive holidays, it falls forty days after Christmas. The action for this celebration starts on January 6th, King’s Day. A sweet bread, Rosca de Reyes is filled with small figurines of baby Jesus. If you bite into one of these figurines, you must share in the preparation of tamales and atole for Dia da la Candelaria. In Pre-Hispanic tradition, villagers brought corn to the church to receive the blessing for the corn seed planted and the hope of a plentiful harvest. Here in this village, Guayabitos, we attend mass and picnic on the beach. Others are more attentive putting a figurine of baby Jesus in a special niche after taking him to mass. If you chose to keep the baby Jesus at your house be prepared for visitors and to share your food. This commitment is for a year.

Pagans celebrate this day as a midpoint between winter solstice and spring equinox. We celebrate it as Groundhog day. This morning the groundhog cast his shadows: three out of five times seeing its shadow. So we will have 6 more weeks of winter in Canada. Anything new there?

Back to sketching in my Venezia by Fabrino.

Passage via Jacqueline Hotel

Passage via Jacqueline Hotel

Water fountain, town square

Water fountain, town square

Waiting for a ale

Waiting for a sale



Summer 2014

My sketchbook is a place to draw, experiment and enjoy. It a place where ideas germinate. Last year I sketched at the Cuckoo Trattoria garden in Coombs, BC and in Montréal, St.Louis Square.

Cuckoo Trattoria, Vancouver Island

Cuckoo Trattoria, Vancouver Island

The Cuckoo garden is intimate with buddha statues, lots of greenery, potted Japanese maples. A water fountain descends softly into an elongated pond. Time passes endlessly for me. But other visitors pause and leave quickly to have lunch, buy a plant or a garden ornament.

St Louis Square, Montréal

St Louis Square, Montréal

St. Louis Square (1876) is surrounded on 3 sides by Rue Du Square-Saint-Louis and the busy, Rue St. Denis. It is tranquil but has an air of excitement with colourful Victorian row houses, commercial shops, busts of  Octave Crémazie  and  Émile Nelligan. Here children play, put their feet in the fountain while adults, dream, gossip or sleep on near by benches.

This spring, using my sketch book as reference I painted scenes from Cuckoo Trattoria garden. When I transfer my memories and watercolour sketches to canvas, I laboured over colour, proportions, representation. My sketchbook liberates these inhibitions, you are happy the weather is dry, happy the people relax and stay, happy the pencil and paint flow with easy.

Water is the current theme of an exhibition of paintings at The White Flag Gallery,  from July 11-August 16, 2014. The below painting is my part of the gallery exhibition. If you are in or near Brockville,(Ontario) please visit, you will be warmly welcomed.

Linda Denis, Water Garden, Monday

Linda Denis, Water Garden/Monday, acrylic on canvas, 12×12 inches, 2014