Early in 2018, I was asked by a Sturgeon Country representative to participate in an event that would commemorate the 100 Anniversary of Sturgeon County’s incorporation. She asked if I would be willing to display my area inspired artwork at this outdoor party. There was no charge and it sounded good to me because I already had a decent amount of inventory prepared. This was long before I was drawn to sketch in the way described below.
A Novel Idea
At the county’s main office, I came across posters encouraging residents to take on certain challenges to celebrate the milestone. Ideas ranging from reading 100 books to taking 100 photos were suggested. That was a novel idea. What could I do that wasn’t already on the list?
The idea came quickly. 100 sketches was right up my alley and would be cool to do! But I was a bit apprehensive about it because of concerns about time constraints. Still, I was drawn to sketch local!
Have you ever had the experience before you make the decision to take on a project when your mind says.. “It shouldn’t really take that much time…”? Plus, I could learn something and enhance my skills all at once. The thought had frequently occurred to me that I should do more drawing as it was. Before telling anyone what had begun brewing in my brain, I looked carefully at the responsibilities that needed to be taken care of during the year. I decided to just go for it; not that big a deal.A
Can we really plan for life’s anomalies, the agendas of others and how everything might affect our time and energy in the future? In March I really felt that it would be no problem to complete 100 sketches of Sturgeon County before the main centennial celebration event on September 8. And so, I began the project with a couple of drawings from photos already residing in my huge stash of references. Soon after, I began sharing my project with others which solidified my commitment to the project.
Finding a Few Moments
I stole away down the road in my little old van as often as possible searching for interesting places that I was drawn to sketch on the spot or gather photos to use whenever life drawing from life was not going to be possible.
Spring and summer was extra busy with a lot of farm projects and other family concerns. As a result, only 40 pages out of 100 were completed by September 8. A little disappointed, but determined, I kept at it and declared December 31 as the new deadline. Periods of intense focus on the project made it happen! Time and undivided attention always seems to get the job done.
Realizing the Logistics of an Old Idea
Even though I had lived in this area for 40 years, the thought of actively exploring the county itself, never occurred to me. On the other hand, I have regularly gone on reference gathering missions through out the years. For quite some time, I thought that it would be wonderful to scout out many of the back roads of Alberta. Now I understand just a little more clearly the magnitude of such an undertaking! Sturgeon County, a small part of Alberta, is actually huge when you drive the grid at a stop and go pace, taking copious photos! The idea of seeing Alberta this way is still intriguing so we’ll see where the road of life takes me.
I was impressed by the diversity in industry, flora and fauna, landscapes from flat to almost mountainous hills, rivers, valleys and dusty hilltops. Heavily mined acres (which were totally uninspiring to me) and heavily treed areas that I never wanted to leave; it was amazing to experience all of that variety in a confined area. Among all of this, ruins and relics of various flavors were quite common, which I found drew me in many ways. I wanted to hear all of their stories. There were also a surprising number of mansion style residences with fancy gates and gardens and tiny farmhouses, still sheltering active farm families.
I was disappointed that I left the north eastern part of the County unexplored and unrepresented in the book. It would take another year for me to tour all of it. Through this little journey, I have come to appreciate the beauty of where I live even more. I would urge everyone to explore the areas near to where they live and develop a deeper love and appreciation for what is right in front of them. Flying to exotic locations is a wonderful thing to do, but it is equally enriching to get intimate with one’s own surroundings. I plan to do more of this.
Online Sketchbook Sharing
Here is a link to a three minute video showcasing all 100 of the sketches that commemorate Sturgeon County’s Centennial year.
Talking and thinking about this for almost a year, I almost can’t believe 100 drawings were completed!. Since the book was not ready for the September main event, I wondered if there was a way to share all of the work and the results of this project. Why not an online, flip through the book video?
That way, you can all get a close up look and I can more easily share it with a wider audience. (video editing thanks to Devin Schafers)
My Drawn to Sketch Top 8
It was a lot of fun to do this project and through this process, my drawing skills were improved upon. As I moved closer to the 100th mark, it felt like it was high time to get it completed.
There you have it! Here is a link to my newsletter that contains more photos and a video about this project. If any of these sketch locations seem familiar, let me know! I would love to hear from you.