Fishing In The Dark

As a kid I remember fishing from a dock in front of a motel we stayed at on a lake in Michigan.  This was great excitement for a little six or seven year old kid.  Stars above, lily pads and the occasional plop of a fish jumping.  Those were the days, when catching a small catfish meant the world to me.

Now I’m fishing in the dark again, at the Musée de la civilisation in Quebec City.  There, we wander through dark rooms, filled with horribly lit exhibits, forever wondering what idiot decided that museum-goers wanted to experience a haunted house atmosphere while trying to see the displays.

But on a day in December, there I was, with a couple of my sketching buddies, sitting in the dark with book lights on our sketchbooks, trying to draw the few objects that were lighted well enough that we could kinda-sorta see them.

I was drawing an extinct sea bass that must have been 12-15 feet long.  It was massive.  It was less than eight feet away from me and yet I couldn’t see it.  Repeatedly I had to get up, walk over to the fish and look hard to find where the belly of the fish was and to find the pectoral fin.  And, of course, the most pressing question of all required another walk – what did the tail look like?  After all, it was only three feet tall so how could I expect to be able to see it from eight feet away (grin)

I tell you all this because I’m going to show you my sketch of this giant fish but I can’t vouch for accuracy whatsoever.  But I did capture a fish, in the dark, on that December day.

Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10), DeAtramentis Document Black, Wing Sung 3008

Artistes Dans Les Parcs In A Park Building

The Artistes dans les parcs organization is, as their name suggests, a plein air group that gather in parks to paint.  But at the last event of the year, Yvan lobbied for them to continue into winter, holding indoor events much as we sketchers hold events.

This is a somewhat harder task for a larger group that typically work on easels with oils and acrylics but, somehow, Denise Bujold, the miracle-worker leader of the group, pulled it off.  She found a great room in a town west of us and we all headed there on a Sunday.

It was truly a social gathering because sketching subjects were limited and most of the people had brought photos along and they were painting from them.  But it was also a wonderful day because we got to experience the work of others. I learned some things about oils and got to see someone using pastels for the first time.  Likewise, with several sketchers nearby, these painters got to see what we do, which led to discussions of our sketchbooks.

Denise had set up several objects for us to draw.  One of them was a small teddy bear in Christmas garb and he proved popular with those of us sketching.  Here’s my attempt.

I’m a curious guy and with so many different activities going on I didn’t get any more sketching done that day.  I was too busy watching the other artists.  We also had an extended lunch period where I mostly sat listening, trying to follow several simultaneous French conversations.  I always find this quite impossible.  Still, somehow it’s fun.