Can’t a City Horse Get A Drink Around Here?

It seems that with all of the issues that face us these days that New York’s Mayor de Blasio could pick something more pressing than elimination of horses from Central Park.  Then again, that is consistent with a lot of the weirdness we see from our politicians these days.

But indeed, this anti-equine maybe claims he wants to replace the horse carriages of Central Park with electric cars.  Progress?  Throwing tourist dollars down the drain?  Eliminating one of the few ways for city kids to see animals?  Are horses just too much nature for New Yorkers, or just for Mayor de Blasio?

I bring this up because here in Quebec City we have horse-drawn carriages.  Tourists pay way too much money to be transported around the old city and parts of the Plains of Abraham, behind one of the many beautiful horses who work for… well, I’m not sure who signs their checks.

But the horse union, long ago, must have lobbied long and hard for proper facilities.  Behind each horse is a ‘waste capture device’ which prevents horses from being embarrassed by things they might drop along the way.  And when the tourists are paying large fees, horses have a ready supply of oats to snack on.

But horses are no fools.  They also got the city to install several horse-sized drinking fountains around the city.  They didn’t settle for plain old metal or concrete troughs either.  No…they wanted something with class, fountains with running water.  None of that stagnant stuff for them.

And so, thanks to horses, we’re blessed with several beautiful drinking fountains, big enough for horses.  I realized, after walking by them a gazillion times, that I’d never drawn one.  I have rectified that omission and present the results here.

horse drinking fountain

Moleskine watercolor sketchbook (5×3), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Sketching At The Quebec Aquarium

Claudette, Fernande and I headed to the Quebec Aquarium because predictions were for rain.  This is an ideal sketching venue when weather is suspect because there are both indoor and outdoor sketching available.  As it turned out, the weather was pretty nice so we all stayed outdoors.

I started my day with a sketch of the largest building complex.  It was a nice building scene and I could sit in the shade of a large ash tree.  I had fun sketching the tall, large-leaf plants I was looking over from my tripod stool view.

Quebec Aquarium building complex

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

We met for lunch at a picnic bench in the kid’s playground and compared sketches.  Then we talked about their sketching sessions while I was in Ottawa and I told them about my sketching in Ottawa.  I really enjoy this part of urban sketching.  There’s just nothing like the camaraderie among sketchers.

We split up again and I did a bit of wandering.  There are several ponds on the grounds and I found a water lily that grew in just the right spot for me to sketch and so I sat down and did just that.

water lily

Moleskine watercolor book (5×3), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

 

Another Hydrant?

I was out for a long walk, with no intention to sketch, but as always, I had my sketching stuff with me.  I was walking down Rue St. Claire from Rue St. Jean and saw this little scene containing my favorite thing – a fire hydrant.  My stool comes out, I sat down, and the next thing you know, this little sketch was completed.  Sometimes it’s the little things that count.

Moleskine watercolor book (5x3), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Moleskine watercolor book (5×3), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Sketching Around Quebec’s Parliament

Moleskine watercolor book, Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

It’s the end of August and we’re finally experiencing summer and we Quebec sketchers are determined to take advantage of it.  Claudette and I decided to meet in front of Parliament for a sketching session.  I got there a few minutes early and decided to spend that time sketching this monument at the entrance to Battlefield Park (the Plains of Abraham to anyone who lives here).  I’m not even sure what it’s a monument to but it served as a target for my pen.  Claudette showed up as I was slopping on some color.

If you climb onto the wall that surrounds the old city and walk over the St. Louis Gate and a bit beyond, you can see this pleasing view of the Quebec Parliament building sticking up above the tree line.  Both of us thought this a good place to sketch.  I got a bit carried away given the amount of time alotted, but this was a lot of fun.

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

It was windy and this cooled us down to the point that both of us needed coffee, so a short walk ensued and we got some.  After  kibbitzing about sketching and consuming our go juice, we decided that we should go out onto the Plains of Abraham, err…I mean Battlefield Park, and find something small to draw as both of us were a bit tired.

Claudette chose a cannon, an infinitely wise choice.  I decided to do a quick sketch of a larger scene, the refinery across the St. Lawrence, an infinitely not so wise choice.  By the time we finished we were, done, fatigued, worn out, dragging, wiped out, spent, exhausted.  But it was a good kind of tired and we headed home quite satisfied with our day.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (10x7), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

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

A Summer’s Day At Berthier, Quebec

It’s been three days since I went out sketching with the gang.  It didn’t make it to 60F that day so, of course, as we headed out for a road trip to Berthier, Quebec the prediction was for temps in the mid-80s with a humidex pushed to over 90F.  Mr. Jetstream is oscillating like crazy these days.

This trip was timed perfectly as we would be sketching next to the St. Lawrence River, where there’s always a breeze to cool things down.  Claudette, Fernande, Yvan and I headed over the bridge with Fernande at the helm.  Once on the south shore we turned east along the river on our way to pick up Louise in St. Vallier, half an hour away.

Monologue 9x12, Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Monologue 9×12, Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Berthier is just down the road from St. Vallier and I’d never been there before.  I’ll be going back ‘real soon’, though.  It’s a sketcher paradise.  There is a small marina with lots of sailboats to sketch.  There is a quay with benches so you can sit and sketch either passing boats or the other side of the St. Lawrence, which features Mount Tremblant.  There is a large park area with lots of picnic-partaking folks to draw.  There are rocks along the coastline and farm buildings if you look in the other direction.  And if that ain’t enough, there’s a place to get coffee and restrooms to cycle it.

The five of us headed for the marina to sketch boats.  I wanted to capture the height of the masts and  chose a scene and vertical format to emphasize their extraordinary height.  I probably worked too fast but that’s always the case when I’m with a group.

Moleskine watercolor 3x5, Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Moleskine watercolor 3×5, Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Monologue 9x12, Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Monologue 9×12, Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Once finished there we sketched a bit more, up in the park area and then set up at a table overlooking the marina for lunch.  We’d collaborated and brought cheeses, baguettes, grapes, and wine for lunch.  Claudette made some fantastic roasted peppers that were great along side cucumber slices.  We were living high.  I ate too much.

To be honest, by the time lunch was over I needed a siesta.  I sketched some but decided that a coffee might perk me up.  I think it did and I sketched some more but the sun and food had slowed me to a crawl.

Monologue A6 sketchbook, Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Monologue A6 sketchbook, Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Evidence of that is here.  I’d sat down on a bench looking out at the river.  It was thoroughly enjoyable but there wasn’t much to sketch except for a large ‘other side of the St. Lawrence’ sort of sketch and I didn’t have the energy for that.  But, in front of me, on the storm wall was a light, part of a series of them along the wall.  Behind, and well below them were rocks and the river.  So, I drew one light, drinking coffee and breathing in the fresh air.  I was thoroughly content with the day and this sketch was the final drip from my pen.

 

Sketching Quebec’s Aquarium

I was supposed to meet sketching buddy Fernande at the Nouvelle-France festival but she wrote to say that it was supposed to rain and that maybe it would be better to go to the aquarium.  I said ok, that I’d meet her there but that I bet it wouldn’t rain.

It rained.  I was wrong – again.  At least I’m consistent.  When I arrived it was raining and Fernande had not yet arrived.  I went to the main aquarium building sat in the corner of the foyer and sketched an outdoor scene through the window.  One of the really great things about our aquarium is that there is a lot to sketch outdoors when weather permits and an equal amount of stuff to sketch indoors if it rains, even if you don’t think it will.

Stillman & Birn Beta (6x8), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Stillman & Birn Beta (6×8), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Once Fernande arrived we started wandering indoors, looking for sketching opportunities.  Unfortunately, we chose the same day to visit as a convoy of school buses full of kids.  The place was packed, prohibiting us from being able to sketch without being trampled.  After a while we decided that eating lunch was the solution.  And so we did.

Moleskine watercolor notebook (3x5), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Moleskine watercolor notebook (3×5), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

In this case the virtue of patience was rewarded.  The school buses packed up, the crowds thinned out, and we found something to sketch.

By this time, though, I was getting tired so I chose a small subject – a seahorse.

We’re heading back Monday for another session.

 

Quick-Sketching In Malbaie

It was a nice day and my family decided to drive  to Baie St. Paul and Malbaie for the day.  It’s very pretty country and besides, they have good ice cream and there are lots of art galleries in Baie St. Paul.

Moleskine watercolor (3x5), Namiki Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Moleskine watercolor (3×5), Namiki Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

It’s convenient, if you’re going to both towns, to drive right past Baie St. Paul and on to Malbaie as there’s a convenient ‘loop’ road that brings us back to Baie St. Paul.  It also happens to go by a nice, long, sandy, sunny, and popular beach called Plage Irené.  

Family jaunts aren’t conducive to me doing a lot of sketching as watching me sketch is about as exciting as staring down a rock.  I did manage a couple very quick sketches, one of the beach and another of what appeared to be a gatehouse into Domaine Forget.  I don’t know what this place was used for originally but these days it hosts dinner theatre.  I thought the gatehouse was cool, which is the singular criterion for a sketching subject…right after having a place to sit in the shade to sketch.

Moleskine watercolor (3x5), Namiki Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Moleskine watercolor (3×5), Namiki Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Plants Are Everywhere

2014-07-16TreeI’m a building sketcher.  I also love to sketch garbage cans, fire hydrants and lamp posts.  I’ve rarely drawn plants that weren’t part of a building sketch.  After our sketchcrawl at the botanical gardens I started to rethink that and suddenly I’m aware of the obvious.  There are plants everywhere.  Who’da thunk it?

While out walking the other day I did these two sketches.  Both were done quickly in a 3×5 Moleskine watercolor sketchbook, using a Pilot Prera and Lex Gray ink.  I’ll be doing more of these.  They’re fun.

2014-07-18bullrushes

Sketching Behind The Scenes

Moleskine watercolor sketchbook (3x5), TWSBI Mini

Moleskine watercolor sketchbook (3×5), TWSBI Mini

The older parts of Quebec City are very tightly clustered.  There are no front yards and no space between the buildings.  The result is many access portals into the rear parts of the buildings.  Sometimes these are simple corridors.  Often, though they are wide enough for a car, sometimes with parking available behind the buildings and/or courtyard gardens.  I like the ones that lead to lots of clutter.

Here’s one such portal.  It was done in a 3×5 Moleskine watercolor sketchbook using Platinum Carbon Black in my TWSBI Mini.  Hope you like it.