Cemetery Sketchcrawl Was A Big Success

It’s too late in the year to have an outdoor sketchcrawl in Quebec City.  We did it anyway.  Our group met at 10AM at the Mt. Herman Cemetery, a large expanse of rolling hills, tall white pines, oaks and maples and an ambiance that makes one want to meditate.  There’s a haiku group that meets weekly just to sit and write haiku poems.  I can understand why.

But we were there to draw.  Mark Brennan, one of the nicest guys in all of Quebec City and director of the cemetery, offered us the facilities of his building so we had toilet facilities as well as a kitchen and table around which we could sit for lunch.  As it turned out this really put the frosting on our sketchcrawl cake.

We went out to sketch and after some wandering, I sat down to draw a monument with a statue on top.  I had just done some organizational lines when Rene came over, introduced himself and told me that there were some other people that had just arrived.  So, as the organizer, I grabbed my stuff and hoofed it back up the hill to welcome people.  The cemetery is huge so it was no small feat to find everyone but find them I did, all busy sketching and in no need of my smiling face.  I gave it to them anyway.

I was heading back down to my sketching location when I met someone and that encounter became an hour-long discussion of fountain pens and inks.  Eventually I realized that there was something of an information overload occurring and so I told her I’d send her some links to the products we’d been talking about (Goulet Pens should give me cut) and I finally got back to sketching.

I got a few more lines drawn before I saw Rene and Gilles walking along the road and realized that we’d agreed to meet at the house at noon for lunch.  Guess what time it was.  So, once again, I packed up and walked with them.  Lunch was fun as we sat around talking (well, mostly I listened as I still have a hard time maintaining a conversation in French), some other people arrived, and we were having a bit of a party, sharing sketchbooks, talking about the virtues of gathering to sketch, etc.

Having had food, drink and comraderie, we headed back out to sketch and I was determined to finish at least one sketch so I headed immediately back to my statue.  It was now 3 1/2 hours into our sketchcrawl and I’d sketched no more than 15 minutes of it but I was having a lot of fun.  Sometimes it’s just not about the drawing.

It had also cooled somewhat and my Arizona bones were hurting, literally.  My arthritis and the cold froze up my hands to the point where I was having a hard time holding the pen and getting a straight line was out of the question.  But I finished the sketch and then ran over to a car full of sketchers and spent a few minutes inside warming up (grin).

Mt Herman Cemetery

Stillman & Birn Beta, Namiki Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black

In all, we had a dozen sketchers, enjoying one of those ‘crisp fall days’ that authors talk about.  We sketchers call them ‘awfully cold’ but we did have fun.  Thanks to everyone who came and to Mark Brennan who made it all possible.

November Croquistes De Quebec Sketchcrawl

Stillman & BIrn Beta (6x9), Namiki Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black

Stillman & Birn Beta (6×9), Namiki Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black


It’s starting to cool down here in Quebec City but undaunted by the cold, the Croquistes de Québec will gather at the Mt. Herman cemetery for our November Sketchcrawl on Saturday, November 7th.

Because of the season, we’ll be starting at 10AM rather than our normal 9:30 time.  You can get more details on the Croquistes de Québec website.

Mark Brennan, director of the cemetery, has graciously offered us their meeting room for lunch so bring a lunch along with your sketching gear.  Everyone is welcome, of course.  We hope to also have a couple cars available as movable ‘indoor’ sketching platforms if that is necessary.  I’m sure, though, that it will be warm and sunny and we’ll all have a good time.  See you there.

Mt Herman cemetery scene

Stillman & Birn Alpha (10×7), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black


Rainy Day Sketchcrawl A Big Success

The morning of this month’s Croquis de Quebec sketchcrawl bordered on the depressing.  It was the proverbial dark and stormy night only it wasn’t night, but it was certainly stormy.  I headed to our sketchcrawl in full rain gear, thinking that only Yvan and I, the organizers, would show up as people are reluctant to sketch in the rain.  Go figure.

MaisonDorion-CoulombThe sketchcrawl was to be in a park near my house so the walk was short.  Yvan had arranged for us to be able to take shelter in Maison Dorion-Coulombe to eat lunch.  This house is the office of the Societé de la riviere St. Charles, the group that manages the very long (I think it’s 32 km long) Parc lineare.  I headed there, and found Yvan, huddled at one end of the long porch that fronts this beautiful house.  We lamented our bad luck (the next day was supposed to be warm and sunny) and I sat down to draw some pumpkins that were sitting on the porch.


Stillman & Birn Beta (6×9), Namiki Falcon, De Atramentis Document Black

Yvan got up and said he was going inside to chat with them about our “event” and returned very excited.  He was almost at a loss for words as he’d discovered that inside was a cornucopia of things to draw.  Inside there were plants and a host of stuffed birds and mammals.  And in a large aquarium was a large turtle named Donnatello.  He and I talked for quite a while.

Things just got better and better.  Cassandra, the woman who runs the place had no problem with us moving the taxidermy and situating it on one of the tables so we could draw it.  The cushy chairs were quite a step up from my tripod stool, too.   I found that they sell tea, coffee and soft drinks and I ordered a coffee.  It was some of the best coffee I’ve ever had.  Now this was sketching at its finest.

Still, a sketchcrawl of two is a bit of a hollow adventure so it was pretty special when our friends Pierre and Celine came in, followed shortly afterward by Guylaine.  The sketchcrawl, without the crawling, was on.  We spent the next few hours sketching, talking and even spent some time sitting around a table eating lunch.  The time passed too quickly.  Here’s a sketch I did of a Northern Saw-whet owl.

Stillman & Birn Beta (6x9), Namiki Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black

Stillman & Birn Beta (6×9), Namiki Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black

October Croquistes de Quebec Sketchcrawl

I’ve talked about walking along my river, sketching on my river, and seeing ducks and flowers on my river.  It’s not really my river but the St. Charles River passes within a few minute walk of my house and the paths along its banks are a handy way for me to walk downtown, so I spend a lot of time on it.

Where Riviere Lairet exits into Parc Brebeuf

Where Riviere Lairet exits into Parc Brebeuf

The Croquistes de Québec will hold their October sketchcrawl on my river, or rather, at Parc Cartier-Brébeuf, on Sunday, October 11.  Parc Brebeuf is the confluence of the St. Charles and Lariat rivers; the Lariat runs mostly underground these days but is exposed to daylight just before it dumps into the St. Charles.  The park is a famous place as Cartier, explorer extraordinaire for the French government, overwintered (1535) in his ship, back when the St. Charles River was more open to ship traffic.  Now only kayaks and canoes ply its waters.

1st Avenue Bridge, just downstream from Parc Brebeuf

1st Avenue Bridge, just downstream from Parc Brebeuf

The sketchcrawl should be lots of fun so don’t be discouraged by our cooler weather.  Forecasts are for decent sketching weather and Yvan has arranged for us to use the Maison Dorion-Coulombe, which is a beautiful and large house along the banks of the river if you decide it is too cold.

We’ll meet at the usual time (9:30AM) and sketch all day so bring a lunch, a sketchbook, and your favorite pointy device.  Expect to be greeted with smiles.  For more details, head over to the Croquistes de Québec web page.   See you there.


Monument in Parc Brebeuf

Even So, The Sketchcrawl Was A Success

Steps at Bois de Coulonge

Steps in the garden at Bois du Coulonge; Stillman & Birn Beta (6×9), Namiki Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black

Sometimes luck is on your side; sometimes it’s not.  I’m still not sure which of these occurred yesterday, when we held our second Croquistes de Quebec sketchcrawl.  The day before the event the weather reports were suggesting 20-30mm of rain for the day – not exactly what you want to hear as an organizer of an outdoor event.  But when Sunday morning arrived, the report had been downgraded to 1mm of rain.  It was windy and it had cooled significantly from the nice temps we’d had all week.  Things, shall we say, were not looking good.

But, intrepid sketchers that we are, Yvan and I arrived at Parc Parc du Bois de Coulonge bright and early with smiles on our faces, though our collars were turned up and hats pulled down tight onto our heads.  We started sketching, hoping beyond hope that someone else would show up.  I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that we were doubtful.


Agathe drawing a Hosta plant.

But alas, there are other crazy  dedicated sketchers in Quebec City and soon, Agathe showed up.  She’s a passionate sketcher that did a great sketch of me sketching.  I wish I had it to share with you.  Later she became interested in drawing some of the plants in the park.


Guylaine, trying to keep warm

A bit later Guylaine arrived and began drawing a building that’s right out of one of Disney’s animation movies, with more gables and turrets resting on its small footprint than any building deserves.  I think she was the really smart one among us as the building houses a coffee shop and she got to sit at a table while she drew.


Yvan, my mentor, doing what he’s always doing – drawing

It was cold, however, and very windy.  Rain seemed just around the corner, though it didn’t actually rain until Yvan and I were heading home late in the afternoon.  The two women had had enough by lunch time and left but since we had established both a morning and an afternoon meeting time, for those who couldn’t make it in the morning, Yvan and I felt compelled to stay.  We headed to the afternoon meeting place, and while our spirits were cold, they had yet to be dampened, at least not literally.

Yvan decided he was going to draw the grand building at the head of the large garden/fountain/open area that is the heart of the park.  Being of more modest abilities and energy, I decided to draw what is now the information center.  It used to be the hub building for three greenhouses that splayed out in three directions but had been removed.  I found the building fascinating, particularly from my perch on a hill above it.  I still need to draw some of the garden behind it.


Stillman & Birn Beta (6×9), Namiki Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black

One thing Yvan did during the day was accumulate drawings of the lamps and fixtures within the park.  I thought I’d share it with you to give you some indication of this guy’s talent.  These are his “quick sketches,” each taking him only 2-3 minutes.

Yvan'sLampPageIn the end, the bad weather reports and the cold reality diminished our numbers and was unlucky.  On other hand, four of us had a great time getting together to sketch.  Overall I think we were lucky because we all went home happy and dry.  Besides, it’s supposed to warm up tomorrow and I’ll be out sketching.

Sketchcrawl At Bois Du Coulonge

This month’s Croquistes de Quebec sketchcrawl will be held at Bois du Coulonge.   If you’re unfamiliar with the park, it’s a gorgeous piece of land with trails through the forest, large gardens, a few buildings and bridges, and views of the St. Lawrence River.  In short, it’s a fantastic place for a sketchcrawl.

Bois du Coulonge

We’ll be there on Sunday, Sept 13th, starting at 9:30.  We should eat lunch together (bring your lunch) around 12:00 and then sketch again in the afternoon. Hope you can be there.  For more info, go to the Croquistes de Quebec website.

Nouvelle France 2015 – Day Two

Sunday was the last day of the Nouvelle France festival in Quebec and the Croquites de Quebec held a sketchcrawl which was pretty much a repeat of the sketchcrawl of the day before.

I showed up at 9:30 to find several people waiting for the organizers (Yvan and myself).  We all did howdy-dos just as Yvan arrived.  Things were pretty calm in Place Royale at that time in the morning so architecture seemed the thing to draw.

2015-08-09NouvelleFrance4It struck me as funny to see old stone structures, fake old kiosks and then a modern stage scaffold with some signs attached so I decided to draw this anachronistic scene.

2015-08-09NouvelleFrance5Things got rolling along around 10AM but before that I drew this kiosk and the woman who was setting before the crowds showed up.  I added a couple people to the page just to fill up it.   You’ll notice a ghost head, with partiallly drawn 3-corner hat, rising through the roof of the building.  Many ghosts were created as subjects walked away, often when I had  just started to draw them.

2015-08-09NouvelleFrance6This is just a page of random sketches, done of people within Place Royale.  This kind of sketching is like shooting skeet.  You’re happy when you get one and not too disappointed when you miss because there’ll be another to shoot at sketch real soon.

2015-08-09NouvelleFrance7Here’s a couple of “our mothers”, or so they are called here in Quebec.  Long ago, Quebec was settled mostly by adventurous men, sent by France to claim parts of the New World.  But as settlements were established, and the notion of permanence set in, it was clear to the king (and probably those adventurous men) that having some women around might be a good idea.

So, Louis XIV paid women to immigrate from France to Nouvelle France.  Some 700 women took part in the program.  Called Les Filles du Roi it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why these women are called by Quebecers “our mothers.”  They have their own society.

A portion of the festival is the arrival of the filles du roi, by sailing ship, and they are greeted at the old port and ushered into the city.  The society has a kiosk and the women wear traditional garb.  They are absolutely beautiful.  I spent a fair amount of time sketching them.  I’ll end with a final sketch of a fille du roi that had a beautiful cape to go with her dress.



Sketchcrawl At Fete De La Nouvelle France

2014-08-09NouvelleFrance1Our fearless leader has scheduled our second sketchcrawl to coincide with the Nouvelle France festival, on Sunday, August 9th.  The festival is always pretty special for sketchers as it’s a week of people wandering the old port area wearing period costumes, doing demonstrations of 18th Century crafts, and plenty of opportunity to eat traditional Quebec food.

We’re all going to rendevous in the square at Place Royale (prime subject-hunting territory) at 9:30 and after lunch we’ll move to Parc de l’Unesco which is just down the street.  You can get more details about the festival and the sketchcrawl from the Croquistes de Quebec webpage.  I hope you can make it.  Bring yourself, your sketching gear, and be prepared for lots of fun.  If you have any questions, you can contact me at larry@larrydmarshall.com or Yvan Breton from his web page.



Croquistes de Quebec Inaugural Sketchcrawl

Yvan Breton, our leader.  Apologies to Yvan for the poor photo

Yvan Breton, our leader. Apologies to Yvan for the poor photo

Last Sunday, the Croquistes de Québec held their first sketchcrawl, randocroquis, urban sketchers meeting, or whatever you want to call it (grin).  Whatever the name, we were out en masse  sketching on location.  Our fearless leader is Yvan Breton and he brought together more than a dozen folks for the purpose of enjoying the company of fellow sketchers.

And wow, did we have fun.  They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder and there is no better evidence of that than how Quebecers respond to a nice, sunny day.  We got one on Sunday and we all took advantage of it.

The garden, Jardin de Jeanne d’Arc, is part of  Battlefield Park and is one of the prettiest places in Quebec City.  It’s a long strip of land with a large statue in the middle and a well-tended flower garden surrounds its grass interior.  Our dozen or so sketchers spread out and began to sketch.  I couldn’t help but notice the various seating approaches used.

Some (Jodie & Larry here) used the local benchware. [photo by Yvan]

Some (Jodie & Larry here) used the local benchware. [photo by Yvan]


Some brought comfy chairs

Celine brought a comfy chair

While not popular the elevated view was used by some.

While not popular the elevated view was preferred by Joanne.

The most popular approach, of course, was the tripod stool.

The most popular approach, of course, was the tripod stool modeled here by Ann.

Some brought an entire studio along with their comfy chair

Yves brought an entire studio along with his comfy chair

In the end, though, we were all comfortable.  We broke for lunch on the grass and talked about pens, sketching and how great the weather was.  Did I mention that we were impressed by the weather?  Then, it was back to our benches, tripods, and chairs and our pointy devices started moving again.  We didn’t do a formal show-n-tell but sketchbooks were exchanged, mostly during lunch, and I think everyone went away with a hope that the next sketchcrawl will occur soon.

2015-07-12JeanneDArcI started my day with this sketch, of the lady honored by the park, Jeanne d’Arc.   I did this one in a Stillman & Birn Beta (9×12) with my Namiki Falcon and De Atramentis Document ink.  I also did a more complete pencil under-drawing than I normally do and, frankly, I think the pencil looked better than the ink, probably because it didn’t attempt so many details.

Things sort of went downhill from there when I started adding color as I stuck the side of my hand in red paint and promptly “stamped” a red blotch onto the paper (bottom left).  I tried, without success, to cover up with an awful dark green grass treatment.  Better luck next time 🙂

I also did this sketch of some of the beautiful rock stairs that lead down into the garden.  I didn’t have time to add color so you’ll just have to look at lines, my favorite things.

Last but not least, this was my daughter’s first opportunity to sketch with other people (she’s the one sitting with me on the bench).  Like so many, she was afraid she was apprehensive, certain she couldn’t sketch well enough, and that she’d be too intimidated.  But, she had a great time and told Yvan just before we left that “I’ll be at the next one.”

Stillman & Birn Gamma (10x7), Namiki Falcon, De Atramentis Document black

Stillman & Birn Gamma (10×7), Namiki Falcon, De Atramentis Document black

Sketching Together: July 12th

Jean D'ArcFor a while we had regular sketchcrawls in Quebec City.  With each one we gained more and more participants because everyone found them so much fun.  Well, just like the Terminator, “We’re back!”

Yvan Breton has proposed that we have monthly sketchcrawls on the second Sunday of every month.  These will be informal events with time and location suggested but otherwise, it’s up to you to bring your sketching materials and lunch.  You’ll get out of these events what you put into them but most people immediately start enjoying the comaraderie of the events and they learn from each other about techniques, tools, and maybe different ways to enjoy sketching.

Women enjoying the ambiance of Parc Jean D’Arc


Kiosk at the west end of Parc Jean D’Arc

Our first event will take place in Parc Jean D’Arc, on the Plains of Abraham, on Sunday, July 12th.  We’ll start at 9:30 and finish no later than 4:00, with a lunch break somewhere in between.  For more information, Yvan has set up a web page with all the information here.  We hope you’ll join us.