Just east of Quebec City, in the St. Lawrence River, there is a huge island that is filled with farms, vineyards, and about a gazillion apple trees. We go there in early summer to pick strawberries. Mostly though, we go there to sketch because the small towns that run around its perimeter are full of sketchable subjects and because it’s “out in the country.”
At one of our gatherings Miram Blair came to sketch with us and she offered for us to come to her summer cottage on the island and since there aren’t many outdoor sketching days left in our year, I decided to contact her and arrange for us to descend upon her like sketchbook-carrying locusts. She graciously agreed to host us.
As it turned out, only three of us could go but go we did, arriving about 10AM on a cold, blustery day. As it turned out, Miriam doesn’t just have a cottage. She has a huge barn and a bunch of land associated with her cottage and her cottage has a huge room that serves as kitchen, dining room, and studio. It’s also a little slice of heaven. No wonder Miriam is always in a good mood.
We decided to sketch outdoors first, in spite of the wind and the threat of rain. We figured we could sketch until we got too cold and then head indoors to sketch the amazing stuff Miriam has hanging on her walls, sitting in window frames, and on cabinets in the large room.
I, being the consummate sissy, decided that I couldn’t sit in the wind so I took up a position just inside the door of the barn and drew this scene. I’d taken a large folding chair with me because my back was still barking at me and, as it turned out, I was really comfortable and thoroughly enjoyed it. I never really finished the sketch. I just stopped when everyone went inside.
The brave folks, the ones who sat in the wind and drew the barn, were cold so we made our way into the house and for the rest of our time with Miriam, that’s where we stayed. It was soooooooo much fun.
I spent a lot of time just looking at all the stuff Miriam has collected, mostly during local walks from the looks of the bird nests, shells, driftwood, etc. that graced her room. She has two long tables, set end to end and a dozen beautiful wooden chairs lining their sides. We used a few of them as we ate lunch, flipped through art books, and talked.
Eventually, though, we got back to drawing and I chose this scene. When I started I wasn’t sure how successful I could be with it but I sure had fun doing it. It’s a very different kind of drawing than my typical building sketches as I had to do a bunch of visual planning to get the bottles in the right places. In the end, though, I was really happy with it as it captured the spirit that is Miriam’s place.
Miriam has a small dog named Nicki. He and I became friends and he sat with me while I did my first sketch and because I gave him a bite of my sandwich 🙂 But as we were packing up to leave, Nicki was laying on the floor and in spite of three sketchers who were all around him as we packed up our gear, he wouldn’t budge. I grabbed my small sketchbook and did this quick sketch of him. It was a great end to a perfect day.