Monday, May 2, 2016

"Sakura Hanami" Sketch Day

UPDATE: "Sakura Hanami" Sketch Day 
Now scheduled for Saturday May 21, 2016
Between 10:00 am and 2 pm 

Thanks to our Ottawa urban sketcher friends who have sent messages that the Lincoln Fields are ready for sketching, we have now scheduled to meet at Lincoln Field Saturday May 21, 2016 between 10 am and 2 pm.

This timing allows plenty of time to sketch and also participate in the Memorial Bike Run for our friend and fellow Ottawa urban sketcher Mathieu Trudel (known to friends as Mawt Trood.)

 And by scheduling on Saturday, sketchers can take advantage of Sunday May 22, 2016 being FREE museum day at the National Gallery of Canada.


UPDATE: Date delayed - New May date to be determined
Screen Capture: Traffic Cam: Lincoln Fields:
May 4 - Trees NOT ready to blossom
There are two colorful spring events in May that would be great fun to sketch and paint in Ottawa!

Canadian Tulip Festival

There is the Canadian Tulip Festival ( held in Ottawa and Gatineau, 12-23 May/Mai 2016 (Visit the website for more details)

The Tulip Festival is a perfect place to sketch spring colours in Ottawa
"Cherry Blossoms" at Lincoln Fields

And there are the  "Cherry Blossoms" at Lincoln Fields.

After watching the 2010 video below, we thought it would be great idea to organize a sketching event when the blossoms are at their peak again in Ottawa.

The last time that we checked the Lincoln Fields on the traffic cam there was no evidence of any cherry blossoms.

The High Park Nature Centre (Toronto, Ontario) website currently has a cherry blossom watch in effect and they are reporting (on April 22) that, 

"A few buds are just starting to burst!......We are currently predicting peak bloom will begin May 7/8"

Let's Have a  
"Sakura Hanami" Sketch Day 
on May 8, 2016

I first became aware of term "Sakura Hanami" from reading the High Park Nature Centre  website.

Sakura is the Japanese name for flowering cherry trees and their flowers – often referred to as cherry blossoms and, in modern-day Japan, hanami mostly consists of having an outdoor party beneath the sakura during daytime or at night.

2013 Flickr Art Journal Page by Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

 Are The Lincoln Fields Full of Cherry Trees?
(or crabapples?)

According to The Canada - Japan Society of Ottawa (CJSO), "While cherry trees do not do well in Ottawa, the colourful red, white and pink blossoms of crab apple trees provide a good alternative to cherry blossom viewing.  Crab apple trees are usually in full bloom by mid-May"

We were concerned that the Lincoln Fields trees were in fact crab apple trees and NOT cherry blossoms so we contacted Ottawa tree expert Owen Clarkin. Although Owen was unfamiliar with the Lincoln Fields trees that I was asking about, he replied,

"..... there are plenty of Crabapples and Cherries
to be found flowering in springtime in Ottawa."
Regardless of what kind of trees these are at Lincoln Fields, it would be fun to take some time to sketch them. We are predicting that (like the High Park Toronto cherry blossom trees) the Lincoln Fields trees will be in full bloom for Sunday May 8, 2016.  (If you live near Lincoln Fields and you can track for us please help us in the comment section below.)


  • What: Sketch the Cherry Blossoms at Lincoln Fields.
  • Where: Lincoln Fields
  • When: Delayed - Date To be announced
  • How To Get There: The BEST way to get there is by bus or bike. A bike path runs directly through the orchard

Google Maps
  • Above: Routes going to OC Transpo Lincoln Fields (Stop ID: 3014)
  • Below: Ottawa Bike Route Map - Lincoln Field: There are many bike paths that will take you to this spot. You can view the Official Cycling Map for Ottawa-Gatineau and the Outaouais Region online, download the [ PDF – 18.555 MB ]

FYI: The New York City urban sketchers organized a similar sketching event at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens in April! (There are some sketches here: and here

Sketching the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra Open Dress Rehearsal

On Sunday May 1st, Ottawa urban sketchers met at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa to sketch an open dress rehearsal of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra.

Ottawa urban sketchers meet and line-up to enter Southam Hall

Principal Guest Conductor, Alain Trudel, briefly addressed the audience and explained how he runs his rehearsals and he also talked about the musical piece that was being rehearsed.

Conductor Trudel was incredibly generous with information on how he became a conductor and the rehearsal process. His humour and passion for the music were contagious.

The members of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra are amazing and when you sketch them while they play, you really witness their passion, precision and devotion to their instrument.

Sketch of Conductor Trudel by artist Joanne L.

The music piece that the orchestra practiced was Berlioz - Symphonie fantastique (which I later learned online was featured in the films The Shining, The Witches, and Sleeping with the Enemy)

Sketch by artist Diane D.

First movement: "Rêveries – Passions" (Reveries – Passions)
The Ottawa urban sketchers would like to express our heartfelt thanks to the NAC staff. From our earliest inquiries through the box office manager Mary O’Shea to the amazing ushers who were so helpful when we were getting seated (referring to us as the "Ottawa sketchers" and assisting us with our wheelchair accessibility needs.)

The house lights were kept on during the rehearsal and the artists in attendance used a wide variety of materials to sketch the orchestra. Time really flew. The open rehearsal was scheduled from 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM and when it ended we all could not believe that an hour and a half had passed and that  the rehearsal was actually finished!

Below is a small sampling of some of the sketches posted online. To see all of our sketches, please visit our Urban Sketchers Ottawa facebook group page (

Sketch by Laurie F

Sketch by artist Suvitha R.

Sketch by artist Cindi F.
Sketch by Cynthia M.
Sketch by artist Gillian H

Sketchers sharing their sketches at the end of the "show and tell" session
This sketching event was incredibly fun and one that we hope we can repeat in the future.

More Ottawa Sketching Events?

We try to organize sketching events in Ottawa at least once per month.
Winters are challenging but now that the weather is finally warming,
there will be an increasing number of opportunities to gather and sketch being offered.

If you would like to join us, be sure to join our facebook group and/or look for the #urbansketchers hashtag on twitter (also #USkYOW) and/or sign up to follow this blog by email (add your email in the space provided on the right)

Chicago Symphony
 Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique 
(complete performance)