Thursday, March 9, 2017

Sketching At Ottawa's NEW Art House Cafe

The Ottawa urban sketchers held a sketching event at Ottawa's newest art venue, the Art House Cafe at 555 Somerset St West (at Bay) in Centretown.

The welcoming front porch of the Art House Cafe
Sketch of  Art House Cafe entrance (by Cindi Foreman)
Owner Josiah ("Jo") Beaton was an incredibly welcoming host for the Ottawa Urban Sketchers. Not only was he most gracious in welcoming all of the Ottawa urban sketchers and answering all of our questions, he was our skilled barista and cook extraordinaire throughout the evening!

The Art House Cafe is a special art space that Jo had dreamed of creating for Ottawa artists and you can tell that a LOT of thought has been put into so many of the details.

Art House Cafe owner Josiah Beaton serving up lots of great food and beverages.

Art House Cafe Art Director/Co-owner Geneviève Bétournay, chatting with Ottawa urban sketchers
Art Director/Co-owner Geneviève Bétournay, (Gen, who is also the director of the Studio La Mouche art collective) spoke with us about the process of filling this space with all of the incredible that surrounded us while we sketched.

"Gen’s role as Art Director will have her in charge of keeping the space alive with art: she’ll be looking to local artists to stock the on-site Gift Shop with Ottawa-centric goods (the second floor of the building will be run separately as short-term vacation rentals), managing exhibits, and overseeing equipment, resources, and services for artists such as silkscreening and printing.  Joe will be focused on the operation of the cozy front-room cafe and overseeing the Art House Cafe as a whole.  There will be spaces to rent for workshops, events, and performances, a gorgeous patio to enjoy, and great hopes from the new business partners that their venture will be a space for artists and non-artists alike to learn, connect, and be inspired."
Wow! What an inspiring space with so much potential for the future!

Ottawa urban sketching events are free, and open to sketchers of all ages and all levels and, lucky for us, the Art House Cafe is a child-friendly venue. We were so happy to have the two young sketchers below join us for part of the evening!

The Art House Cafe is a child-friendly creative environment

The seating throughout the Cafe is comfortable and every wall is filled with art. Such an inspiring place for artists to sit!

So many great spots to sketch at the Art House Cafe
All of the urban sketchers in attendance were encouraged to sit and draw whatever they liked and we asked that they share their sketches to our online facebook event page if the wished (this is entirely voluntary)
A sketch of me sketching (by Marisol)
All you need to participate in any of our events is something to draw with and something to draw on! For this event, sketchers were using pen, pencils, pastels, conte, watercoloursand even iPads to sketch on.

There were lots of tables to sketch on throughout the space.
The seating and tables in the Art House Cafe make it a perfect spot to sit and sketch. They also have spaces that would be perfect for hosting future sketching workshops as well.

These sketchers are all from thee U.K.! How wonderful that they dropped in to join us!
Our sketching events are open to anyone in the Ottawa area including visitors like our friends from the U.K. in the photo above. Anyone in Ottawa including visitors from out of town are welcomed to join us!

This urban sketcher on the left did a great sketch of the Art House Cafe owner Josiah Beaton!
There are sketchers at our events that have been coming since the beginning, like artist Laurie below. We also have new sketchers show up at every event we have organized and that is always exciting!

Long time Ottawa urban sketcher Laurie working on the sketch featured below.

Laurie's ink & watercolour sketch (size 11.5" x 16.5", in Moleskine sketchbook),

Sketchers are welcomed to attend our events, arriving in the time block at whatever time works for them and staying as long as they like - an hour or for the duration.

Ottawa urban sketcher administrator Kristina chatting with Toronto artist Matti - his first time with Ottawa Urban Sketchers
Often folks who are NOT part of our Facebook group and/or Facebook page hear about our events though friends. If you are not on Facebook, it might help to sign up for our emails on our Ottawa Urban Sketcher blog (add your email to space on right that says "Follow Us By Email") if you wish to be alerted about future events.

Trish Woolaver's sketch  of the Art House Cafe 

More sketchers were seated in an area that we may hold future workshops.
Most of the sketchers took advantage of the fact that this art space was also a cafe. The selection of coffees and teas were great and some of the Ottawa urban sketchers had rave reviews for the empanadas and gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches that were being served up. There are some incredible sweets available as well!

Coffee, sketching and FREE WiFi - a perfect spot for artists!
This sketch of the night by Evan Buchanan
This sketch of the night was by Ed Aguilar

This room at the back of the Art House Cafe was really full at one point!
It was daylight when we arrived and each room was filled with natural light. Later in the evening, each room was wonderfully lit for art-making as you can see from the pictures above and below.

More artists seated at tables that are found in every room.
Each room had paper and pencils out on the tables. The urban sketchers brought their own, but if you found yourself in the neighbourhood without your sketchbook, rest assured you will find some supplies to go with your coffee.

Near the end of the night many sketchers were still going strong.
Loved this sketch of the night by artist Neal Shannocappo

Some sketchers arrived as late as 8 pm (we finished at 9 pm)
It was a terrific night at a terrific venue. We will have to do this again in the future.

In the meantime, drop by the Art House Cafe if ever you have a chance


  1. What a concept! Congrats to all involved. I look forward to spending time there.