Halloween In Sketches

Every year, during this last week in October, the sketching community posts a flood of great sketches of pumpkins, witches and ghouls of all sorts.  It’s not happening this year because we’re all sitting inside, looking out on a world that has cancelled Halloween.

But you know, we all say that our sketching provides memories, that we’re documenting our world, and we HAVE done exactly that for many Halloweens in the past.  Soo…what I’m going to do is post a couple of my old Halloween/Thanksgiving sketches each day until Halloween.  Thanksgiving in Canada is in the same month as Halloween so pumpkin displays sort of merge together.  That’s why I’m going to include some of those sketches.

To start things off I’ve gone way back.  These are the first pumpkin sketches I ever did.  The first one was done on a very rainy, cold day and I remember sitting under the eave of our farmer’s market as I sketched it.  Mostly I remember the cold.

We always claim that each sketch we do conjours up personal memories of the day we did it.  I’m afraid this one does not.  I have no idea and I suspect that’s because I set up the still life in our kitchen or some such.  Note the dates here…October 2012

More tomorrow.  I encourage others to do the same.  Let’s not let these holidays pass uncelebrated just because of a pesky little virus.

Pointy Devices Do Weird Things Sometimes

As a street sketcher I feel more than a little lost in our modern COVID world.  Our plein air group had to cancel its season of outings and the portrait group has moved to Zoom (my French isn’t good enough for that), and cancelled their outdoor sessions as well.  I try, very hard, to get excited about drawing at home but I guess I’m just not built for it.  Mostly I’m dabbling with watercolor, gouache and even oils, trying to learn something about paint while largely not producing anything of significance.

The portrait group decided to do monthly prompts just to get us doing something and this week the prompt was “chair.”  Most of the time, when one of my pointy devices gets near paper, I draw something that is in front of me.  Somehow, this time, this dripped from my pen.  Maybe it was because I was using my Kaweco Lilliput that has a high cute factor.  This was a lot more fun than I thought it would be so maybe I should do more of it.

Hahnemuehle Cappuccino sketchbook, Platinum 3776, DeAtramentis Document Black

Drawing Leaves In The Park

I had fun at the park this week.  I sat down to enjoy the fresh air and all the greenery and noted that in spite of the end of September date, our leaves have ignored the day length changes and had not started to change colors yet.  It has, indeed, been an odd weather year.  It was 25C as I sat in the sunshine.

But I noticed a couple red leaves on the ground.  There must have been blown there because I couldn’t see where it came from.  It gave me a leaf to draw so I put it on the bench next to me and quickly sketched and painted it.  This motivated me to look for more and while I did find a couple more red leaves on the ground, what caught my eye was a tiny little maple tree, sticking out of a garden area.  I decided to sketch a few of its leaves and add a splash of red to them as well.  If I were a real nature journalist I’d write stuff on this spread.  I guess I am not a nature journalist (grin).

I’m becoming quite fond of the Hahnemuhle Cappuccino sketchbook.  It’s definitely not a watercolor sketchbook but it’s a dream to draw on with pen and as long as I don’t get carried away with the water, adding watercolor works pretty well.  I suspect I’ll buy another when this one is full.

lHahnemuehle Cappuccino sketchbook, Platinum 3776, DeAtramentis Document Black

I’m A COVID Victim… Sort Of.

Today is Sep 22nd.  I’m supposed to be in an operating room, getting my bum knee overhauled.  It’s not happening.  The reason it’s not happening is that some Quebecers felt that having Karaoke night at a bar while others were having large group parties was more important than keeping the COVID case numbers low in Quebec.  We even had a bunch of anti-masker idiots protesting in Montreal just to add some spice.

The result?  We’ve got a couple hundred cases a day of COVID in a province that had successfully suppressed COVID transmission (lockdowns, slow_openings, and mask mandates were doing the job) to almost nothing.  We were having day after day of zero deaths…and then the parties began.

How does this affect me?  Well, I was supposed to have surgery in the spring, but COVID came along and the province shut down all elective surgeries.  That was understandable – they needed the bed space.  But we “flattened the curve” as the media are fond of saying and, just a while ago the surgery troops started working again.  My operation was scheduled, until it wasn’t.  The province has shut down surgeries again and thus I will continue to hobble my way through life.  I take some solace in the fact that those who believe that masks are too much of a bother and cancelling a party is hard on their libido have now given me nowhere to go either.  What is wrong with humans?

But it was apple-picking time here in Quebec and Chantal and Jodie like to pick apples every year so we went last week to pick some.  I confess that I find it a bit odd that you pay a premium to pick your own apples, but they tell me it’s fun and so I go along.  I don’t pick apples, however, I draw them.

A Visit To Baie St. Paul

Shari Blaukopf recently spent several days in the Baie St. Paul area painting up a storm.  As I read her blog posts I thought of times when Chantal and I had visited the area and how much fun it was.  While we couldn’t go for several days, we decided to do a day trip there and back.  That meant a two hour drive in each direction so we wouldn’t have much time there but heck, it would satisfy our wanderlust.

The drive was enjoyable.  Just getting out and driving through forest and field was a treat.  When we got there we hunted down the place Shari mentioned that made 100% cotton paper.  It was nice, but I found the papers too thin (seemed mostly for writing) and too expensive.  So, we walked across the street to the Maritime Museum of Charlevoix, another of Shari’s stops.  It’s an interesting place, a place where cargo ships were stored during winters.  Since the display ships are all out of the water and sitting at an odd angle, I didn’t draw any of them (excepting a small, quick sketch of the tugboat that showed up in a previous blog post).

Instead I was thrilled to find tractors and stationary steam engines on display.  These provided power to move the ships around.  And so I drew one of the steam engines.  The sketch isn’t my best.  I found the subject more complex than I thought it would be and didn’t devote enough time to blocking in its proportions and relationships.  Oh well.  We had a great time anyway.

I’m both fascinated and frustrated by the effects the COVID scourge has had on my feelings and decision-making.  One of the really fun things to do in Baie St. Paul is walk down Main St. (don’t think it’s called that), visiting the high-end boutiques and art galleries.  Of course we had to do that – or did we really.  As we were wandering I felt that I shouldn’t be there.  The very notion of being in a store “just to look” has left me and all I wanted to do was get out of there.  Chantal felt the same way.

Ultimately we had our first meal in a restaurant since February and I had to chuckle over the fact that our choice of restaurant had little or nothing to do with what they were serving and everything to do with how few people were in the restaurant.  Such is life these days.  Hope COVID is treating you well.