Today it was miserable cold in Quebec City and the last few days have made getting my walking exercise done without turning to ice very difficult. My Arizona cowboy blood doesn’t help the matter.
Today I walked to the library to sketch people with Claudette. With the wind chill, the temperature was -40F and by the time I got there I was on the verge of turning to ice and what I found was Claudette, standing outside the library which was closed due to holiday schedule.
We went to a nearby cafe to sketch instead but, truthfully, I was too cold to sketch. I never did remove my coat and my fingers never did warm up sufficiently that my pen-driving turned to normal.
Lots of people say “it’s cold” and because the word is a relative term, everyone believes they understand what’s being said. In my experience, though, people who believe that ‘freezing’ (32F) is cold don’t understand Canada cold and what it means.
When I came home from my experience with ‘cold’ today, an email I received was timely. It came from Alan Norsworthy, a resident of Ontario and someone experienced with Canadian cold. Here’s his story about sketching in Canadian cold:I had read about how you stopped sketching outdoors as the winter approached and on New Years morning a friend and I were standing in the freezing cold waiting for a sunrise that never came. It is part of my ‘First light’ challenge for photographers (but that’s another story) As we waited and slowly froze I decided to sketch the scene I was about to photograph. I opened my bag pulled out my sketchbook and fumbled for a pencil. As my fingers numbed I grabbed my TWSBI fountain pen and began sketching in the lines…. Six lines later my pen stopped, the ink frozen ! My friend laughed as I put it all away and my thoughts turned to you (editor’s note: he’s talking about me here) … “no wonder he heads to an indoor spot” I thought … And smiled Later in the warmth of a local cafe we laughed about it and I opened my bag to let my pens thaw out. Then I finished the sketch witb a new toy, a Pentel Pen Brush that i had received from the same friend, he said I need to expand my vision.
There are some who sketch in the cold, but when ‘cold’ means your ink and watercolor water freezes, you don’t. So we go indoors but I cancelled a sketching session tomorrow simply because it’s so cold right now that I don’t even want to walk to that indoor venue. It’s supposed to ‘warm up’ on Saturday, with the highs predicted to be -20F so maybe….
Here’s Alan’s sketch, deftly drawn with his Pentel Brush Pen. I’m still trying to figure out how to control this great sketching tool. Thanks to Alan for sending me his story.