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.


Pierre’s Loon


Yvan’s owl


Rene’s owl


Larry is a Loon

Sketching Too Quickly – Follow Up

In my post of yesterday I mentioned that I could “improve them by adding some shading” but that I was posting the quick sketches ‘raw.’  I’ve had a couple requests, asking me what I meant and/or what I did.  Truth is, there are a lot of things one can do but in this case I kept it very simple.  Here are three of them with some color added.  Doesn’t change things much but it adds a bit of spice I think.

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Sketching Too Quickly

I’ve found it amazing to watch the likes of Veronica Lawlor drawing dancers.  It always seemed impossible.  Then my friend Yvan started attending sessions at our museum where dancers and choreographers were practicing.  The drawings he was producing were spectacular.   I kept saying “Maybe I’ll come along” and always I chickened out.  As a slow [understatement alert] sketcher this seemed impossible and I guess I was trying to avoid the frustration.

But I finally did attend one of those sessions with Yvan and two things became clear.  The first was that I was right.  It IS impossible.  The second thing was a big surprise.  I loved it and can’t wait to do it again.  My sketches are sloppy and barely look like the women I sketched.  One woman was wearing a huge African head scarf and she had bells covered with scarves on her ankles.

In all, I covered 14 pages with scribbles.  Some of them look almost like people and I’ve never moved my pen so quickly, never strained my visual memory so much and after two hours I was completely exhausted.  I could improve them by adding some shading but the point of the exercise was to draw quickly, without the time to think about it so I thought I’d present these as they were done, in the moment…in a moment.

I did some sketches of spectators.  They didn’t move so much.







The rest of these came as a blur, or so it seemed at the time.  If you squint a lot you might enjoy them.  An open mind and closed eyes might be the best approach (grin).  I can’t wait to do it again.

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Love Me Some Harpsichord

I’m as close to a musical know-nothing as you can get but I really enjoy most classical music.  Spare me the Schoenberg’s 12-tone scales and other modern attempts at cacophony but the rest is great.  Sadly, I’m so ignorant of music that I can’t identify composers by ear, and can’t wax eloquently about how Beethoven’s 9th is such a great piece because…  I just listen.

And so for me, it’s more about particular instruments.  I love cello music of all kinds.  I think classical guitar is sublime.  But give me Bach played on a harpsichord and I am enthralled.  So it was exciting for me to show up at the chapel for draw-the-carving session to find a guy practicing harpsichord.  What could be better than listening to harpsichord music while sketching?  Maybe sketching a harpsichordist while listening to harpsichord music and that’s just what I did.  Unfortunately, when I finished I had to run off to the Musee de la Civilisation where there would be dancers to sketch.  More on that tomorrow.

chapel harpsichord

Canson XL watercolor paper, Pilot Prera, DeAtramentis Brown (and black)


Sketching Quebec City From Levis

Recently I wrote about  Yvan and I crossing the St. Lawrence so we could sketch the Quebec City skyline.  I mentioned that we were disappointed by the lack of sun that made it difficult to see the buildings clearly in the low-contrast light.

Of course we do quick sketches as we cross on the ferry. Here's one example - A Girl On a Boat (alias A Girl On a Phone).

Of course we do quick sketches as we cross on the ferry. Here’s one example – A Girl On a Boat (alias A Girl On a Phone).

Undaunted by that experience, we watched weather forecasts and, on a day that was supposed to be sunny, we boarded the ferry and headed to the south shore of the St. Lawrence.  That sounds too much like we took a trip.  The ferry ride is no more than 10 minutes and half of that is waiting as they dock the ship.  We scurried off the board and into the terminal, which is a nice, warm place from which to look at Quebec City.

Apparently, Mother Nature doesn’t read weather forecasts because there was no sun but we sketched anyway.  As we were leaving it started to snow.

Quebec City skyline

Fabriano Artistico CP, Platinum Carbon Black, Platinum 3776