November Croquistes De Quebec Sketchcrawl

Stillman & BIrn Beta (6x9), Namiki Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black

Stillman & Birn Beta (6×9), Namiki Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black

It’s starting to cool down here in Quebec City but undaunted by the cold, the Croquistes de Québec will gather at the Mt. Herman cemetery for our November Sketchcrawl on Saturday, November 7th.

Because of the season, we’ll be starting at 10AM rather than our normal 9:30 time.  You can get more details on the Croquistes de Québec website.

Mark Brennan, director of the cemetery, has graciously offered us their meeting room for lunch so bring a lunch along with your sketching gear.  Everyone is welcome, of course.  We hope to also have a couple cars available as movable ‘indoor’ sketching platforms if that is necessary.  I’m sure, though, that it will be warm and sunny and we’ll all have a good time.  See you there.

Mt Herman cemetery scene

Stillman & Birn Alpha (10×7), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black


Sometimes It’s More Than Sketching

The change of seasons, for me, means transition from street sketcher to museum sketcher.  It’s a sad time, but also an exciting time. There’s so much shape variation in museum exhibitions.

Our Musee de la civilisation has a new exhibit just opened that presents Australian/New Zealand aboriginal art and as I play didjeridu and love aboriginal art, I’m quite excited about it.  Most of the exhibit is paintings, rugs, and such but there are some statues and masks that I’ll be taking advantage of this winter.

I was there a few days ago, drawing a large wall-hanging mask.  So were a bunch of kids on school outings.  The kids were great as they’d come to see what I was doing and when I talked to them I got half a dozen more coming to see what was going on.  This begat more and more kids to the point where I was mostly just talking to them about the watercolor pencils, waterbrushes, and how much fun it is to draw.  Kids “get it.”  They haven’t learned the feelings and emotions about art that adults somehow acquire.

Eventually they wandered away, though, and I got back to drawing.  I was really enjoying the music and serenity of the room.  A mother and her two young daughters (I’d guess they were 4 and 6) came by and, again, the kids were interested and, as is often the case with parents, the mother told them to leave me alone.  I told her it was fine and I showed them what I was doing.

The older girl had some sort of writing/sketching book with her and started to draw with me.  The younger one, of course, wanted to draw too, which sent mom scrambling for paper and pencil.  She found some paper but had only a Seattle Seahawks pencil with her and it needed sharpening.  I sharpened it and we chatted as I did.  They were on vacation from where some of my favorite urban sketchers live – Seattle.

The kids drew a bit and I finished my sketch.  The older girl came over to show me her drawing and I asked her if she wanted to use my watercolor pencils to color her drawing.  Her look was priceless and I loaned her one pencil at a time.  The same thing happened with the younger girl.  We had a regular sketchcrawl going on.

I wish I had been smart enough to take some photos.  Sadly, all I can share is the sketch I did, but it was the most insignificant thing that happened on this day.

aboriginal mask

Stillman & BIrn Beta (9×12), Namiki Falcon, De Atramentis Document Black, Albrecht-Durer watercolor pencils

News Flash: Sobab Coffee Takes On High-Price Coffee Vendors

Remember when buying coffee meant digging out a coin or two?  Ever since Starbucks convinced people that coffee was more about being empowered to make infinite choices than drinking something brown and warm, we’ve been forced to pay ridiculous amounts of money for a cup of coffee.

And it’s clear that there are high margins from this business model.  Not only is there a Starbucks on every corner, every third store up and down the block is a coffee house.  The choices are endless, at least if ‘choice’ means choosing who is going to charge you a lot for a cup of coffee.

2015-10-24sobabNot so any more, at least not in Quebec City.  I walk down 3rd Avenue regularly and drop into the Brulerie to do quick-sketches of the people and get a ‘cuppa’ as Liz Steel is fond of saying.  I can expect to leave $3-4 lighter every time.  But across the street is a new place, Sobab’s.   I was out walking and decided to give it a try.

I only had a few minutes as I ordered a café au lait.  I was asked whether I wanted a small or a large and I chose large.  If you’re going to splurge on high-priced stuff, you might as well go all the way.  Time to pay.  Should I break a twenty?  Probably have to.  “That’ll be $1.50,” she said.  Huh?  I handed her a 2-dollar coin and dumped the change in the tip jar.

I sat down and, still in pleasant price shock, I scribbled out this little sketch of part of the counter area.  The coffee was good.  It was cheap, and a steady stream of people seemed to know all about it.  As I enjoyed my coffee I did some quick sketches of people ordering their own inexpensive coffee.

All sketches done in a Field Notes notebook using a Pilot Prera and De Atramentis Document Brown ink

All sketches done in a Field Notes notebook using a Pilot Prera and De Atramentis Document Brown ink

A Token Autumn Tree Sketch

As I follow Facebook groups and Instagram one thing is clear.  Sketchers sketch autumn colors, often as a single tree.  I’ve never done that but as I was out walking yesterday it occurred to me that I should.

Why?  Because there were steps I could sit on at the bank.  Across the street there was a red maple, showing off how it got its name.  I was only carrying my ‘short kit’ which amounted to small sketchbooks with inexpensive quick-sketching paper but I sat down and drew it.  The drawing took only a few minutes and I had to add the color at home, very carefully as the paper buckled quite a bit.  Regardless, here is my autumn tree.  The U-shaped things are supposed to protect the trees from errant snow plows.  Somewhat of an anachronism as it’s not going to snow any more – is it?

red maple

Reporting From Outside Quebec City Hall

I was on the beat and walking in front of Quebec City’s City Hall when I came across this.  It looked like the mayor had moved one of the offices (or lab) outside, just to the left of the main entrance to the building. There was only one administrative assistant as far as I could tell.

What is underway here is unclear.  I know that Mayor Lebaume is pulling out all the stops to get an NHL hockey franchise for Quebec City.  Maybe this is his latest attempt.  The mainstream press have said nothing at all about this, so I hope I don’t become the next Ed Snowden for exposing these activities.

halloween scene outside city hall

Stillman & Birn Beta (9×12), Namiki Falcon, De Atramentis Document Black