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

Cemetery Sketchcrawl Was A Big Success

It’s too late in the year to have an outdoor sketchcrawl in Quebec City.  We did it anyway.  Our group met at 10AM at the Mt. Herman Cemetery, a large expanse of rolling hills, tall white pines, oaks and maples and an ambiance that makes one want to meditate.  There’s a haiku group that meets weekly just to sit and write haiku poems.  I can understand why.

But we were there to draw.  Mark Brennan, one of the nicest guys in all of Quebec City and director of the cemetery, offered us the facilities of his building so we had toilet facilities as well as a kitchen and table around which we could sit for lunch.  As it turned out this really put the frosting on our sketchcrawl cake.

We went out to sketch and after some wandering, I sat down to draw a monument with a statue on top.  I had just done some organizational lines when Rene came over, introduced himself and told me that there were some other people that had just arrived.  So, as the organizer, I grabbed my stuff and hoofed it back up the hill to welcome people.  The cemetery is huge so it was no small feat to find everyone but find them I did, all busy sketching and in no need of my smiling face.  I gave it to them anyway.

I was heading back down to my sketching location when I met someone and that encounter became an hour-long discussion of fountain pens and inks.  Eventually I realized that there was something of an information overload occurring and so I told her I’d send her some links to the products we’d been talking about (Goulet Pens should give me cut) and I finally got back to sketching.

I got a few more lines drawn before I saw Rene and Gilles walking along the road and realized that we’d agreed to meet at the house at noon for lunch.  Guess what time it was.  So, once again, I packed up and walked with them.  Lunch was fun as we sat around talking (well, mostly I listened as I still have a hard time maintaining a conversation in French), some other people arrived, and we were having a bit of a party, sharing sketchbooks, talking about the virtues of gathering to sketch, etc.

Having had food, drink and comraderie, we headed back out to sketch and I was determined to finish at least one sketch so I headed immediately back to my statue.  It was now 3 1/2 hours into our sketchcrawl and I’d sketched no more than 15 minutes of it but I was having a lot of fun.  Sometimes it’s just not about the drawing.

It had also cooled somewhat and my Arizona bones were hurting, literally.  My arthritis and the cold froze up my hands to the point where I was having a hard time holding the pen and getting a straight line was out of the question.  But I finished the sketch and then ran over to a car full of sketchers and spent a few minutes inside warming up (grin).

Mt Herman Cemetery

Stillman & Birn Beta, Namiki Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black

In all, we had a dozen sketchers, enjoying one of those ‘crisp fall days’ that authors talk about.  We sketchers call them ‘awfully cold’ but we did have fun.  Thanks to everyone who came and to Mark Brennan who made it all possible.