Holiday Doodles

There’s a lot of unplanned time during the holidays at our house.  Some cooking and baking is involved.  Too many Christmas movies are watched.  And then there is the puzzle making.  We avoid shopping due to the crowds and so we don’t get out very much.

This leaves me with an itch in my pen and I have to scratch it.  So I doodle a lot.  I may draw something in front of me or I may draw from photos or even sketches done by others.  Normally I wouldn’t show these to anyone, mostly because they’re not worth showing.  But I always feel that we do a disservice by presenting only those sketches we deem as “acceptable” and so I offer this pile of doodles, done on a whim during the holidays.  All are small.  All were done quickly.  All represent very little at all.  But they helped me scratch my itch.

Jodie and I sat down in the kitchen to draw one morning.  She was drawing flowers from one of my botanical art books and I grabbed an orange and lemon, dropped them on a plate and did this rather poor rendition that I title “Orange and Lemon.”

 

I did go down to our Grande Marché  one afternoon, sat for a few minutes and scrawled this sketch of one of the kiosks.  Like most of my quick sketches, it illustrates the frantic pace at which is was done.  But, like all sketches, it was fun.

One afternoon, Jodie and Chantal decided to make a fancy cake.  I think they felt challenged by the two batches of cookies and bread I’d baked (grin).  As I sat watching  I started sketching the kitchen.  This is as far as I got.

I met my buddy Yvan at the market for a bit of sketching people.  The people movement was hectic but I did a couple pages like this.  I’ve said before that I’m not a fan of people sketching but this is the only reliable sketching target for us in the winter.

One morning I just started sketching an old-time imaginary church on a hill.  It was fun to just doodle some sparse scenery around it.

A quick sketch from a photo.  Not much to say about it.

I’ll leave you with this.  It’s a page of doodles I did one morning, mostly while looking at sketches done by my friend Yvan.  I’d say I copied them but that wouldn’t do justice to Yvan’s sketches, which are in every way superior to these doodles.

Platinum Prefounte Fountain Pen

Last minute Christmas present, perhaps?  I just picked up one of the new Platinum Prefounte fountain pens.  Goulet Pens is selling it for $10USD and I paid only $15CDN locally.  This pen is a bargain, and more.

If you’re familiar with the Platinum Preppy you know something about this pen as it’s pretty much a “super” Preppy, with significant improvements.  First, it looks great and comes in orange, red, blue or green.  You can get it with fine or medium nibs, just like the Preppy.

While the Preppy caps are prone to breakage, the Prefounte cap is a significant upgrade.  Much stronger, and with a very positive click when you cap the pen.  More important, however, is that this pen includes Platinum’s super-d-duper no evaporation double cap seal.  The packaging claims you can leave ink in it for a year without much loss.  Try that with your Lamy (grin).

As a street sketcher, one of the things I really like about Platinum pens is that they are the one company that sells a waterproof ink for their pens in cartridge form.  This is also wonderful if you’re trying to get someone involved with sketching and/or fountain pens because they don’t have to deal with pen filling.  You just throw in a cartridge, about $3 for four of them, and you’re all set.  I’ve been using a Platinum Plaisir that way for quite a while.  This new Prefounte is lighter, though and I know I’m going to love it.  Kinda silly since I’ve got a bunch of high dollar pens sitting around but I don’t have to worry about losing these cheaper solutions.

I apologize for the horrible photos but I wanted to get this post up this morning and the overhead light in my studio isn’t the greatest for taking close up photos.  Goulet Pens, though, has good photos 🙂

I should add that the pens don’t come with red nibs; Prefounte nibs are silver.  I made the mistake of buying the medium nib, didn’t like it, and exchanged one of the Preppy nibs.  Of course I did this strategically to show you that this was possible.  Sure I did (grin).

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.

A Christmas Card Gathering

With winter upon us we’re into cold weather sketching routine, which means doing things indoors.  Still, we like to sketch together and so, every year, we reserve a room at our local library and draw/paint Christmas cards.  I’m not much of a card giver but this event is a lot of fun.

Sitting in a room without a subject wreaks havoc on my lack of imagination and this is reflected in my results.  I’ve seen a lot of examples of a red vehicle carrying a Christmas tree and so that was my first stop.  I found a volkswagen photo on my phone and went to work.  This was the result:

I decided to draw a little house and remembered a few examples drawn by someone on Instagram.  Sorry, but I can’t remember her name.  Anyways, I drew this one from a memory of those little houses.  Hers were better.

I thought about snow and got out some white gouache.  The sole reason for this one was that I wanted to spatter white gouache to make snow because I’d never done it before.  The rest was an afterthought.

As always, card-making day was fun, with lots of laughs and time with good friends.  The cards produced weren’t the real goal anyway.