Niagara Falls sketches

Horseshoe Falls at sunset.
Horseshoe Falls at sunset

We spent this year’s vacation at Niagara Falls, New York. Completely touristy destination, but neither of us had ever been.  We had a lot of fun, and went to some interesting places aside from the falls, including the Herschell Carrousel Museum and the Erie Canal.

I was able to get in a little bit of sketching, made more interesting by having to work around crowds. Even in the off-season, everywhere was pretty busy. It’s tricky to find  a good viewpoint that isn’t constantly blocked by people. It’s also quite difficult to draw in public without attracting attention. I don’t necessarily mind the interest, but it can be hard to hold a conversation while working, or concentrate while people are hovering behind you, just outside your line of sight. Add a language barrier for extra fun. I’m going to try to learn some basic phrases in several languages to help with this, and I will start with “I have no clue what you’re saying.”

Bridal Veil and Horseshoe Falls from Prospect Point
Bridal Veil and Horseshoe Falls from Prospect Point

This was a very quick sketch done with rapidly fading light. There was also a very active milling crowd in front of me. I was going to try to indicate that, but it just got too dark too quickly to work.

We were at Prospect Point in order to see the Falls illuminated.  That didn’t quite work out, as it was extremely crowded and difficult to see around all the people.  As an aside, we strongly suggest that you try to view the Falls illumination from somewhere on Goat Island. You can see all of the Falls from there, and the ground slopes in such a way that you can see it without being right on the rail. It’s also much less crowded. The downside is that you may have to walk back across the pedestrian bridge as the trolley doesn’t run late at night.


Old Power Plant
One of the old power plants, I believe this was the Toronto Power Company.

For this painting I had a bit more time, but I redrew it twice. I had a bit of difficulty because while Three Sisters Island was less crowded, there was still a pretty good flow of people back and forth. And, of course, everyone wanted to stand right in my view. (Not that I blame them, since it was a nice view, but it did make things much more difficult.) I also found myself missing my pochade setup, as it’s difficult to get proportions on a building right working in your lap.  I think I might try to do another painting from some of the reference photos I took.


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