The other day I was annoying at least one person for not being an Facebook because I was out doing other things. This is what I was doing. I am now, officially, Canadian. They gave me a cute little maple leaf pin, taught me the secret handshake and told me that though I was Canadian I wasn’t responsible for Justin Beiber. We splurged in celebration and had nachos and beer for dinner.
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.
I am so excited to be writing this post. As many know, Stillman & Birn, my favorite sketchbook company, released a line of softcover sketchbooks not very long ago. Sadly, what most also know is that there were manufacturing problems with those books and they had to recall all of them, at great expense, from around the world. I applauded them for this as it hit their bottom line hard, but they didn’t want we artists to bear the pain of the problem.
Excepting the manufacturing problem, these softcover books looked like a dream come true. Available in all of Stillman & Birn’s great papers, in a variety of sizes, and with cover colors that reflected the paper type. The covers had an almost suede-feel to them. They weighed only 55-65% of the weight of the equivalent hardcover and they were much thinner. A dream come true for someone like me who carries several sketchbooks and walks a couple hours a day to sketching locations.
Well, they’re BACK!!! Or at least almost back. Stillman & Birn says they should be available ‘real soon’ and they sent me a couple of their prototype books to get my opinion about whether the problems are fixed.
To that I can say, they are fixed and then some. I’ve gone through both of my prototype books, one page at a time, and the problems we saw with the initial release are gone. But it’s better than that. These books lay flatter than their early softcovers and certainly better than the hardcovers. I didn’t have to bend them backwards as you do with the hardcovers to get them to lay flat. They just do, though I still recommend going through each page, folding it out flat before using the book. I do that with any sketchbook, regardless of brand.
As I said, the books they sent me are prototypes. They came with Delta and Gamma paper so I could check both the 150gsm and 270gsm binding. The covers are the same material as the production versions but these aren’t color-coded; they’re prototypes. Still, they are amazing books and I’m downright giddy that I have them to use. I was planning to get somewhere to do a sketch for this blog post but a snowstorm prevented that. Truth is, everyone knows how great Stillman & Birn paper is so I decided it was more important to get this announcement into the ether. So here it is, without a sketch. Here’s the money shot of the books laying flat. Ain’t they gorgeous? Coming soon to an art store near you.
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.
Happy New Year, Everyone
Every year, on January 1st, we’re supposed to make resolutions so that we can break them before the end of the month. I’ve generally taken issue with this nonsense and last year announced that I wouldn’t be making resolutions. I’m taking a different approach this year. Here are my resolutions for 2016.
- I will sketch almost every day, just like I have for the past four years.
- I will do as much sketching on location as I possibly can, just like I have for the past four years (at least 90% of my sketching is on location).
- I will sketch with friends as often as I can coerce them to sketch with me, just as I have for the past four years.
- I will stubbornly cling to my fountain pens as my principal sketching tools, just as I have for the past four years.
- I will work hard towards the goal of staying alive for the entire year, just as I have for the last four years.
- I will look forward to saying that I’ve been sketching for five years, just as I have for the last four years.
Ok…that should be enough. I am now properly resolved for 2016. How about you?