A Morning At The Museum

I realized that I never posted sketches from my last trip to the museum.  My only excuse was that I was still dealing with the flu and wasn’t much in a blog-writing mood.  But as I looked at them I realized they told a story of the day in a way that only sketches can.

When I arrived at the museum I was feeling ok.  Not great but not good enough that I hadn’t cancelled the trip.  There were five of us and we all headed to the Egypt exhibition.  I realized two things.  I’d forgotten my stool and I’d forgotten my light.

The exhibit is pretty dark so it was hard to find a subject where I could get enough light on the paper to see what I was doing.  I found this little statue (about 40cm high) and if I stood close enough to its glass case, the spotlight that was on it illuminated my paper, sort of, and so I drew.  I remember noting how hard it was to draw something when you stand that close to it.  I used a watercolor pencil to add the color.

2015-11-26StatueBy the time I finished this sketch, though, I felt like I’d been run over by a truck.  I went sat down and stared into the dark for a while, interrupted only by a couple short conversations with students about the drawing above.  Mostly I was waiting for the others to finish as I just wasn’t up to standing and sketching.

Eventually I got up and walked to where Claudette was sketching and sat down to watch her.  She was mostly in the dark but I decided to do a quick-sketch of her.  Mostly I was making it up as it really was hard to see her.  In fact, I completely missed the fact that she had a sweater laid over her shoulders.  We need more light in our museum exhibits (grin).

2015-11-26ClaudetteWhen the others were done we headed to the museum cafe for coffee and to share sketches and to talk sketching.  This must have revitalized me a bit as while we typically leave after coffee, I decided to stop and do a quick sketch of a fishing creel that’s part of a small historic fishing exhibition going on right now.  I guess I felt guilty that I hadn’t accomplished more.

2015-11-26CreelI remember thinking how stupid itwas to be drawing in a museum while feeling the way I do.  I also remember thinking that the dedication to drawing that drew me to the museum was why I can’t understand people who say they don’t have time to draw.

 

Mt Herman Cemetery Entrance

It’s the end of November and things are cooling down, but because of Mr. Nino we’re still having the occasional day that gets into the mid-40s, enticing street sketchers to venture out.  But most days suggest the beginning of the long, and I do mean long, slog through winter has begun.

But it’s always nice to catch a break and so I did this sketch of the entrance to my favorite cemetery in Quebec City, the Mt. Herman Cemetery on Chemin St. Louis.  Not much to say about it except that it was fun.

Stillman & Birn Beta, Namiki Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black

Stillman & Birn Beta, Namiki Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black

December Croquistes De Quebec Sketchcrawl

We’ve entered the short days of winter and it already seems like we’re living in the dark.  Though our temperatures have been surprisingly warm, it’s become too cold for outdoor sketching, at least for extended periods of tie.  This makes scheduling sketchcrawls more difficult, but Yvan has managed to line up several winter venues for us.

2015-11laurentienne

2014-01-19PavLaurentienneThe Croquistes de Quebec sketchcrawl will be held on Sunday, December 13 at Pavillion Laurentienne on the Université Laval campus.  The building contains a cluster of statues that are ideal sketching subjects and there’s a fair amount of comfortable seating as well.   So bring your sketching materials and a lunch and join us at 9:30AM for a fun day of sketching.

We’ll eat lunch at noon and share sketches.  Then, for those interested, we can continue sketching.  More details, including a map are available on the Croquistes de Quebec blog.

Sketching With the Montreal Urban Sketchers

I mentioned in my last blog post (written a week ago) that I was sick.  This flu just won’t go away.  But I was really looking forward to driving to Montreal to sketch at the Redpath Museum with the USK-Montreal group.  I’d never been to the RedPath and it is a museum in the old tradition of large wooden cabinets with glass rather than the more modern all-glass enclosures and it’s stacked to the rafters with everything imaginable, from dinosaurs to Samurais and everything in between.  It was also the case that we’d pre-arranged a family reunion that weekend as my daughter was going to hop a bus and meet us there.

So, while not completely over the flu we pointed the car west and headed for Montreal.  As luck would have it, I’d also screwed up my back such that I could stand or sit, but between those two conditions was excruciating.  It was going to be quite a day [sigh], but still I was excited.

If you just landed from another planet I should mention what most people know, which is that USK-Montreal urban sketchers is organized by Shari Blaukopf and Marc Taro Holmes and because of their great and giving personalities, the group is both large and dynamic.  It was amazing to wander the museum with at least half a dozen sketchers in sight, regardless of where you were or where you looked.  They were EVERYWHERE!

Because I was in less than optimal form I decided to draw stuffed birds that were conveniently housed at my eye-level.  In this way I could sketch while standing and not have to worry about bending over, at least until the cap on my waterbrush dropped out of my hand.  Funny how far away the floor becomes when the flexy bits of your anatomy stop working.

birds at RedPath Museum

Stillman & Bin Beta, Namiki Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black

After I finished drawing birds I went to find what my family was up to, and found them in the beautiful shell collection.  They were drawing up a storm but, like me, they were ready for a break.  I really needed to sit down as my back was screaming at me.  So, we went out and got a cup of coffee and  did some family kibbitzing. It had been a while since we’d seen our daughter so that was pretty special.

fossil at RedPath Museum

Canson Mi-Teintes, Namiki Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black

When we returned to the museum I was pretty wiped out.  What I really wanted was a bed.  What I got was a kleenex, some tylenol and then it was back into the museum.  I was a bit sluggish but mustered a small sketch of a rock containing a plant fossil.  Then I just spent some time enjoying the museum.  I really do have to get back there as there is a lot to draw.

I had a nice chat with Marc.  He was doing watercolor sketches, skipping his normal pen work and we discussed the results, which were amazing.  I’ve learned a lot from his courses and it’s really nice to be able to actually talk with him about sketching.  I’m a lucky guy, all except for this darn cold, and my broken back.

More Museum Sketching

I’m still doing sketching at our museum in what is, for me, lightning speed.  It’s funny to write that as I regularly do 1-2 minute sketches but those are quick ‘grabs’ at some subject.  In this case I’m trying to rush my way through sketches while retaining a semblance of accuracy and detail.

Egypt artifacts

Stillman & Birn Beta, Namiki Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black

I can’t say I’m successful but it’s sort of like the 1-minute, single-line drawing exercises I’m doing in response to a Marc Taro Holmes workshop; it’s a sketching time frame that’s teaching me things and helping me visualize proportions quickly and helps me prioritize what’s important and what is not.  If 1-minute single-line sketches are the 100-yard dash, these are more like the 3k run and in contrast to my normal sketching which is akin to a marathon.  I did all these sketches in about an hour.  At the rate I’m going, I predict that I’ll have sketching figured out by the time I hit 130.

Egyptian artifacts

Stillman & Birn Alpha, Namiki Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black