At the outset of the pandemic last year, Della vanDokkumburg used the added downtime to further her newfound interest in sketching, recording scenes around her home in Conestogo. That eventually led to the publication of a collection of her watercolour images.
As the downtime continued, she ventured down the road a little, this time sketching the stories and views of West Montrose. Her new book, ‘More Than A Covered Bridge: Sketches of West Montrose,’ features 30 sketches, 28 points of interest, two maps and a cycling tour of the area.
The local artist and historian last year became involved with the Kissing Bridge Studio Tour, where she first painted the landmark for which West Montrose is well known.
“I was invited to join them on an arts assignment day back in June, where we met at the covered bridge, and we each used our own medium to create art by the bridge. So, I sketched the covered bridge,” she said of the project that was used as part of the modified studio tour.
When she was out that June day, she had realized there was more beauty in the spot than she had previously noticed.
“While I was there sketching, I started looking around and thought, ‘you know, there’s a lot of interesting places here that I can [capture].’ So, after that initial day of sketching, I started sketching more of the buildings in West Montrose. Eventually, I had enough material there to make a second book,” explained vanDokkumburg of the follow-up to last year’s Staying Home in 2020: Sketches of Conestogo.
“When I sketch, I typically make one sketch. It takes me anywhere from three to six hours to create a sketch.”
For vanDokkumburg, the process begins with water-soluble brush pens to liners, and then she moves on to watercolours before finishing details using both of the materials.
“It’s kind of a fluid movement back and forth between brush pens, and watercolors and just layering them on,” she said.
For the release of this book, vanDokkumburg has decided a portion of the sales of the $30 collection will go to supporting the BridgeKeepers organization, which looks to protect the heritage value of the old bridge and surrounding vista. Her last release helped Ray of Hope, the Kitchener-based community support organization.
“[The BridgeKeepers] have been a very important part of the West Montrose community there – they’ve been involved in many aspects of the life of that village. And I wanted to provide funds to help the BridgeKeepers in their work in maintaining the trail… that benefits the local community and the community further abroad.”
During her time in West Montrose, vanDokkumburg discovered some new points of interest that captivated her. Among her favourites are two barns which used to store wool and wool blankets for the mill in the 1800s, former schools, fieldstone houses, and then a specific black and white house near the general store that caught her eye.
Now with an art studio set-up in St. Jacobs and her second edition in print, vanDokkumburg has plans of taking on the village of St. Jacobs as the next step in the series. To order a copy of the book, email vanDokkumburg at firstname.lastname@example.org.