May Sketchcrawl Down Limoilou Allies

 

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Some of the most fascinating parts of a city are behind the scenes, the back doors if you will.  In parts of Quebec City, most notably Limoilou, these are accessible to the artist through the ruelles or allies.  Most parts of Quebec City don’t have them but Limoilou has them and that’s where we’re headed for our next sketchcrawl, on Sunday May 8th.  For details of the event, head to Croquistes de Quebec website  for details.  If you need motivation, here’s a wonderful video that the Ottawa Urban Sketchers did when they did an similar sketchcrawl.  See you there.

 

Birds, Birds, Birds: Sketching While Waiting For Spring

The Croquistes de Québec held their April sketchcrawl yesterday.  There were seven of us in attendance.  We got to sketch in Les Collections at Laval University.  I love sketching there and because it’s not open to the public, it’s a special treat.  Big thanks to Yvan Breton who organized it and to Mme. Wagner who permitted us access.

This is a place that is piled to the gills with great stuff to draw, which is great.  If there’s a downside it’s that it’s piled to the gills with great stuff to draw.  Way too little space holds what used to be displayed at a full natural history museum and a huge collection of plaster casts that used to be used by the art department when they cared about artists learning to draw.   Les Collections is a storage facility, not a display museum.

Stillman & Birn Beta, Platinum 3776

Stillman & Birn Beta, Platinum 3776

I decided to draw some birds because 1) I’m really bad at it and 2) because I’m really bad at it.  To do this required that I sit in a very narrow space in front of a cabinet full of taxidermy specimens.  Lighting was rather poor so seeing feather tracts and other details was nearly impossible but it was fun to draw them nevertheless.  I’ll show you two of my sketches.  I started a third but didn’t get a chance to finish it.

Stillman & Birn Beta, Platinum 3776

Stillman & Birn Beta, Platinum 3776

April Sketchcrawl At Museum Chapel

musee-amerique-francophoneSpring rains have started so soon we’ll be able to have our sketchcrawls outdoors.  On Sunday, April 10th, at 10:00AM, though, the Croquistes de Québec will meet at the chapel associated with the Musée de l’Amerique Francophone.  If it’s warm enough the area around the museum is full of sketching targets, but if not we can sketch in the chapel.  Some of us have been sketching there throughout the winter and since the place is full of statues, woodcarvings and fixtures that are worthy of sketching.   Check the Croquistes de Québec site for details.  I’ll include a few of the sketches I’ve done in the chapel as examples of the possibilities.  See you there.

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Musee d'Amerique chapel altar

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Universite Laval Collections Sketchcrawl

2016-03-11_Collections_UL_Me_Hubert.jjpgThe Université Laval Collections reopened recently, having been moved and renovated.  This is an extraordinary place that houses the remnants of the natural history museum that used to be in Quebec City as well as an impressive plaster cast collection that the art department abandoned long ago in favor of paint rollers.

We held our March sketchcrawl there, thanks to Madame Wagner, the curator, and Yvan Breton who arranged access for us.  Imagine having a large room, complete with tables, chairs and some spot lights and the ability to place one of the museum objects on that table to draw it.  It was fantastic!

Me, I sat in the hallway.  I wasn’t being anti-social, though.  I wanted to draw that mountain goat that sits in one of the collection display windows.  Hubert joined me, however, and we had a great time sketching together.

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Stillman & Birn softcover Delta series (8×10), Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

March Sketchcrawl at Les Collections de l’Université Laval

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Yippee!!!  The Collections de l’Université Laval has reopened following renovations and we’re going to have a sketchcrawl there on Friday, March 11th, starting at 9:30AM.  Don’t miss this one.  Notice that this is a Friday rather than a Sunday.  The collection is not open on Sundays.

Yvan Breton has arranged for us to start the day with a tour of the facility so it’s important for you to be there at 9:30.  If you’re unfamiliar with this collection, it contains the contents of the abandoned Natural History Museum of Quebec and thus contains a large number of stuffed animals and many cultural and anthropological artifacts.  In addition, there is a large plaster cast collection, another wonderful collection that was abandoned by the university fine arts department when they decided that drawing wasn’t nearly as important as being able to use a paint roller (grin).

There will be a LOT to draw so bring a bunch of paper.  You’ll need to bring a lunch as well.  I’m excited.  How about you?  For a complete schedule and directions, go to the Croquistes de Québec website.

 

February Sketchcrawl At Maison Dorion-Coulombe

Celine, Yvan, and Rene drawing the Great Horned Owl

Celine, Yvan, and Rene drawing the Great Horned Owl

We did it!  Our numbers were small, but we were mighty.  I think a lot of people decided not to come because it was so cold (-40) and the news was warning everyone of the extreme cold.

Only six of us show up at Maison Dorion-Coulombe to draw last Sunday.  One of them was my daughter, who is home from school.  That was a special treat for me.  When we arrived, Cassandra, staff member for the Société de la rivière Saint-Charles, greeted us and let us set up stuffed animals however we liked.  For us, it was just nice to be warm.

Celine, Pierre, and Jodie

Celine, Pierre, and Jodie

Popular subjects were the Great Horned Owl and the Northern Loon but some ink was spilled documenting the river otter as well.  I did a quick drawing of Cassandra at her desk.   There was more chatter than normal between the sketchers, probably because we were so tightly clustered but that was fun.  Generally we have to wait until lunch to talk.

Celine drawing the otter

Celine drawing the otter

I’m including one sketch from each artist and displaying them smaller than I normally would.  To see them larger, click on each photo.  Sketchcrawls in winter are hard to plan because the venues are so limited but I hope you’ll come out and join us because they’re fun.

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Pierre’s Loon

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Yvan’s owl

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Rene’s owl

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Larry is a Loon

February Croquistes De Quebec Sketchcrawl

It’s hard to find places to hold winter sketchcrawls in Quebec City.  We don’t have an array of museums to choose from so we’ve got to get inventive.  So far, those inventions have been quite successful, mostly because of the participants are so fun to be around.  I think the February event will be even better.

We’re going to meet at Maison Dorion-Coulombe, which is the home of the Riviere St. Charles Society, a group that helps to maintain the 32km long Parc Lineare that runs along the river.  They do great work, including the maintenance of Dorion-Coulombe and the small museum contained within its walls.

We’re fortunate to be invited to hold a sketchcrawl there on Valentine’s Day, Sunday, February 14th.  We’ll meet at 9:30 and get to draw the stuffed animals, plants, and the views of the river and bridge beyond.  We’ll be in the company of a large turtle who smiles a lot as he swims in a large aquarium.  While you can buy coffee and water on site, you need to bring a lunch as there are no restaurants nearby.

One thing we’re going to do a bit different, to add a bit of spice to the event, is to bring along an item or three that people can sketch if they choose to do so.  This is a lot of fun and we encourage you to drop an item into your own bag to bring along.

The last time we did a sketchcrawl at Maison Dorion-Coulombe it was raining and yet it was a fantastic as a sketchcrawl site.  The cold of winter should make drawing in a nice warm environment even more fun.

January Croquistes De Quebec Sketchcrawl

Built over 200 hears ago as the city's first prison, the Morrin Centre now also houses one of the world's most beautiful libraries, Vieux Quebec, Quebec City, QC, Canada

Built over 200 years ago as the city’s first prison, the Morrin Centre now also houses one of the world’s most beautiful libraries, Vieux Quebec, Quebec City, QC, Canada

I’m a bit late in announcing this and for that I apologize.  Holidays have messed with my internal clock.  The next Croquistes de Quebec sketchcrawl will be held at the Morrin Center library.  Yvan went above and beyond to allow us to sketch there.

If you’re not familiar with the Morrin Center it’s the home of the Literary and Historical Society of Québec, an anglophone organization.  The crowning jewel of this organization is its library, which, with large, leather-covered rectory tables, bookshelf-lined balconies and tight winding stairways, is Quebec’s version of the Hogwarts library, without the book that scream at you.

Unlike most of our sketchcrawls, this one will be in the afternoon only, from 1PM to 4PM.  You can get details of the event from the Croquistes’ website.  I’ve never gotten to sketch there so I’m looking forward to it.  See you there.

Sketchcrawl at Pavilion Laurentienne

In what seems a recurrent theme, I’m way behind in blogging.  Maybe it’s the season, or maybe I’m just slowing down.  It was a week ago that we held our monthly sketchcrawl, this time at Pavilion Laurentienne, which is a building on the Université Laval campus.  They have a series of statues and they were our targets.  I missed them entirely, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

I arrived about 15 minutes ahead of schedule and since it wasn’t bitter cold (probably 38F) I decided to try to do a quick sketch of the building entrance.  While probably not the right format, I decided to do it in my new, 3×5 softcover Stillman & Birn sketchbook.  I sketched it quickly but even so, I was pretty cold by the time I finished so I didn’t add any color until I got warmed up inside.

Stillman & Birn Alpha 3x5, Namiki Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black

Stillman & Birn Alpha 3×5, Namiki Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black

Once inside there was the normal meet and greet that starts most of our sketchcrawls.  We ended up with eight people and the day was really fun.  Everybody but me was sketching statues but I was into ‘testing’ my new sketchbook so I continued with the tiny format.  Instead of statue sketching, I began to draw fellow sketchers.

Andre Gagnon was my first subject.  He’s not only a really fun guy, he’s a wonderful artist.  This day he was doing some fantastic work with a white pencil on black paper.

As I did this sketch I thought about testing something I thought of after I did the review of the Stillman & Birn softcovers.  Since the Alpha paper buckles slightly if you use a lot of water, I wondered how not having a hardcover would affect how the book would close.  With the hardcovers the buckling isn’t a problem as it happens as the sketch dries and once the cover is closed, the paper tends to flatten out.  So, as I added color to Andre, I really dumped a lot of water onto the paper.  In fact, it was too much for me to manage as I’m mostly ignorant of wet-n-wet techniques.

Andre Gagnon

I continued these little sketches, avoiding the statues for the day.  Here’s one I did of Yvan Breton, artist extraordinaire, who I consider both mentor and friend.  Note the “easel” he’s using.  It’s hung around his neck, very portable, and it can be used whether standing or sitting.  We’ve sort of jointly been improving the design and I’ll do a blog post about it “real soon” (which means I have no idea when I’ll get to it).  Again, I went heavy on the water as I wanted several pages that had been abused badly.

Yvan BretonThere’s one thing I noticed from my sketches that day.  I made everyone much fatter than they really are.  I wonder if they’re going to speak to me after I post these.  We’ll see.

After lunch Yvan started drawing a fig tree that was in the atrium.  He said it was hard to capture without adding all the details and I quipped (it’s easy to advise if you don’t have to take the advise), “Just draw it in two minutes and you’ll figure out how to do it.”

Unfortunately, my brain was listening and it decided that I was going to draw the tree quickly.  I exceeded “two minutes” by an order of magnitude but I did draw it fairly quickly, leaving out much of the detail.  I used watercolor pencils to color this one.

Fig treeAt this point we wrapped up the sketchcrawl and some of us headed for the bus stop.  Yvan and I ended up on the same bus and he started drawing a woman he could see in front of him.  She had a bright red hat that was an eye-catcher but I couldn’t really see her face because of a “thingie” that blocked my view.  I drew her anyway, or at least her hat.  This was done in a Field Notes book and thus the gridded paper.

2015-12-13busOh yeah…my watercolor/softcover experiment.  The paper holds up better than it should for a 100lb paper, but those of us who use S&B Alpha paper have come to expect that.   And I think I’m correct to be a bit more concerned about these softcovers staying closed after soaking pages with watercolor.  It’s not a big deal but as there’s no weight to the cover, it simply won’t squish the paper flat.  But, I now carry it with a rubber band wrapped around it and all is well.  I may even install a more typical closure band if I can ever get caught up on the blogging (grin).

 

December Croquistes De Quebec Sketchcrawl

We’ve entered the short days of winter and it already seems like we’re living in the dark.  Though our temperatures have been surprisingly warm, it’s become too cold for outdoor sketching, at least for extended periods of tie.  This makes scheduling sketchcrawls more difficult, but Yvan has managed to line up several winter venues for us.

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2014-01-19PavLaurentienneThe Croquistes de Quebec sketchcrawl will be held on Sunday, December 13 at Pavillion Laurentienne on the Université Laval campus.  The building contains a cluster of statues that are ideal sketching subjects and there’s a fair amount of comfortable seating as well.   So bring your sketching materials and a lunch and join us at 9:30AM for a fun day of sketching.

We’ll eat lunch at noon and share sketches.  Then, for those interested, we can continue sketching.  More details, including a map are available on the Croquistes de Quebec blog.