Canada is one beautiful country. So are its people...
Once again, I was invited to draw at events surrounding the Calgary Stampede, which went on this year with renewed pride---the city had faced devastating flooding just two weeks before its biggest festivities of the year. Unbelievably, the entire Stampede grounds were under water; determined Calgarians pumped it out and cleaned out tons of mud and debris even as the Stampede guests arrived. And residents on the Bow and Elbow rivers, whose homes were flooded, weren't forgotten either. Help came from friends and strangers alike. At some of the gigs I did, collections were taken for the caricatures to help flood victims. I drew quite a few evacuated people, who all reiterated, "property can be replaced...people can't." They were ready to have some fun! So, I feel like I did a very small part in keeping spirits up...for some of the NICEST people in the world. :-)
So, in no particular order, here are some of the many faces and sights I saw on my trip to Southern Alberta.
This motto wasn't heard half as much as "Calgary Stampede...come HELL or HIGH WATER".
Left: the first people I drew, at the first event. Right: this mother and daughter told me that I drew them last year as well. Yay, I can still draw cowboy hats!
Above: what a company picnic looks like on a beautiful day on the outskirts of the city.
Below: these two told me they were brother and sister---so I knew NOT to draw hearts on it!
Above, my caricature colleague Kelly Gannon is hard at work----at the same event as my sibling subjects above. Beyond him, the band was setting up. I heard LOTS of live music on this trip.
Below: leaving a venue at 10:30 pm! the sun isn't quite down yet!
Below: Sometimes, we were in some swanky surroundings...with bedazzled cows!
...or great city views...
The lady on the left told me he was her "work husband" !! The lady on the right was too pretty to mess up...
Above: This character was at several of the events, still don't know if he has a name---but he is popular.
Kelly and I drew at a couple of events with local caricaturist Ismail:
It's great to work with other artists who know what we're about!
One morning, I drew at a historic house whose doors had once seen The Prince of Wales walk through them in 1919. Its garden saw three caricaturists drawing for a company picnic in 2013...
A traditional Calgary breakfast was served here, and we did get to eat at this gig:
Breakfast was served at many of our events. Most days started for us at 5:00 am, in order to be ready to draw at 7:00 am! (The day we had a 9:00 am call, I thought sleeping until 7:00 was a LUXURY!)
Below right, "Jack" got a drawing from myself AND Kelly. I started drawing arrows through hats (on kids) too. :-)
On another day, we found ourselves in a popular restaurant...which I liked, as Calgary mornings are BRISK. They're like late September here at home.
Below: Two gentlemen who braved my pen.
Other outdoor fun included:
Milking cow udders made out of plastic gloves into Coke bottles (!)
Square dancing in the street...
and Native Americans dancing in the park for the enjoyment of everyone.
Another morning, another company breakfast outdoors:
However, it wasn't all eventing, all the time.
This Calgary artist, who found time to meet us for breakfast on my only free day, is Vance Rodewalt, editorial cartoonist for the Calgary Herald for almost thirty years. He was nice enough to sign his book for me, and while I told him I wasn't up on Canadian politics---I know a good Wayne Gretzky caricature when I see one!
Another day, we had lunch with Keith Sandulak, an artist-of-all-trades who does caricatures--but is also known for his Sandulak Bear sculptures. He told dazzling tales of art and entrepreneurship, to his captive audience (Kelly and myself).
Back to the grind (not!): One of our later venues was all about equestriennes...Spruce Meadows.
This was my view out that big window:
A big tournament was going on...
.. while I drew kids and Kelly's daughter Cara did airbrush tattoos...
This place had another Royal connection: Queen Elizabeth II, a well-known horse-lover, visited in 1990. Her visit was commemorated by a mere wall plaque....next to the ladies' washroom. Whoa!!
Below: This venue was glitzy! Another live band (actually a duo) serenaded the guests...
...while I drew my fingers off and was extended by the client for more time. :-)
Below: this bank held their 'Grand Opening' during Stampede week...even though they've been open for eight months! The staff wanted group caricatures, and I obliged. We held the last half hour of my time specifically for them,.
The last gig was the most brutal of all...a 6:30 am start time, which meant getting up at 4 am....yikes! This is some early morning sun on my easel...
and my subjects!
Here, I have to stop and thank some special people, who have welcomed me to their home and Calgary for the second year. It wouldn't be the same wonderful experience for me without them. Thank you, Gannon family, especially Kelly for doing all the mundane things necessary to JUST GO DRAW!