Sketching The Riviere Lairet… Sort Of

Once upon a time there was the Riviere Lairet.  It meandered through what became Limoilu as Quebec City spread north from its origins atop Cap Diamond.  Ultimate, Limoilu was swallowed by Quebec City during a large merger but everyone still calls it Limoilu.  We’re a stubborn lot.

From the photos I’ve seen one of the basic problems with the Riviere Lairet was that lots of water ran in it in the spring and almost none in the summer.  The result was a fairly deep canyon running through what was quickly becoming a very populated area.

Maybe more important, the canyon had a lot of very fast-flowing, dangerous water at one time of year and at other times it became a dumping ground for the less civic-minded members of Limoilu.  So it was decided, in the mid-20th Century, to build a huge pipe to convey the spring waters underground from north of Limoilu all the way to the St. Charles River – my river.

Parc_Cartier-Brébeuf_smThese days, the Riviere Lairet name can be found on maps as a long, open pond area in Cartier-Brebeuf Park, with the south end of the pond emptying into the St. Charles River.

But the water that fills this park area still has to get there through the pipe I mentioned.  They do everything in their power to hide the pipe’s opening into the park but I thought it would make for a fun sketch.  The weather further convinced me as while it was almost warm, it was also windy.  After climbing down the hill to this view, I was conveniently out of the wind with only a few ants to bother me.

I used a Uniball Signo UM-151 (.38mm) gel pen for this one.  The fine pens in the 101 series are mostly waterproof but anything thicker than .38mm and the gel ink starts to wash into the watercolors, at least on the Stillman & Birn Alpha (9×6) paper that I use.  Hope you like it.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9x6), Uniball Signo 101 (.38mm)

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9×6), Uniball Signo 101 (.38mm)

4 Responses to “Sketching The Riviere Lairet… Sort Of”

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  1. Aarti Uppal says:

    Neat sketch. Larry, your posts are not just about the art but also about sharing knowledge about material. Thanks.

    • Thanks Aarti,
      I’ve been struck by the fact that most of social media is about posting a drawing, never saying anything about it, and other people pressing like buttons. That doesn’t seem like communication to me. When I got into sketching I was desperate for information about materials and techniques used by other sketchers. So, I try to provide some of this stuff for people, like myself, who are relatively new to art.

      Cheers — Larry

  2. Tina says:

    A really good composition, Larry! That gel pen sounds interesting… most of the gel pens I’ve ever tried are definitely NOT waterproof.

    • Gel pens are a mine field, as you suggest. And the companies don’t make it any easier. For instance, Uniball has a gazillion pens, all with similar names and yet their inks differ. The Uniball Vision Fine is water-resistant. The Uniball Vision Micro is not. Same goes for the Signo line.

      Part of the problem seems related to how much ink is dumped by these pens. As I mentioned, I’ve found that the Uniball Signo UM-151s in the smaller sizes (.28 and .38mm) are water-resistant while I’ve found that the .5 and .7 versions of the same pen will smear in a manner similar to the problems we encounter with Noodler’s Black. I suspect this is also dependent upon the paper used and the more absorbent the paper, the less smearing you’ll get.

      I first heard about the Uniball Signo UM-151s from Pete Scully who uses them all the time.

      Cheers — Larry