I was at our civilisation museum the other day and my joints were bothering me. It was hard to draw and, even more, it was hard to concentrate because of the pain. But I sat, stared at, and drew an Inuit stone carving of an Inuit stalking a seal. I loved how a complete scene was captured in the rock.
Inukshuks are common across northern Canada. Seen principally as a product of the Inuits, other Native American groups also make them. They are said to have been used as navigation markers, or markers of significant locations. They commonly represent of Canada itself and some have deemed them a symbol of hope. You can buy tiny inukshuks as souvenirs, sold right next to the beaver and moose figurines.
In any case their structure is meant to represent a human form and larger ones even have legs and arms. Most have outward projections that represent arms in some way. Mostly, though, they are a pile of rocks and I love drawing rocks.
We were at the museum the other day and in the Native American exhibit there is a small inukshuk that sits behind some large display cabinets. You can see all of it if you’re standing in front of those display cabinets but I had to sit across the aisle from them so I would have light to see my paper. This meant that I couldn’t see the bottom half of it. I drew it anyway, direct with ink, and this is the result.
I really had fun drawing this inukshuk and I remembered that I’d drawn one before, an inukshuk that resides on the Quebec Parliament grounds. I decided to see if I could find that sketch. I rarely look at my old sketches but I did find it and I learned a couple things. First is that this older sketch was done in 2012, only a few months after I decided to learn how to draw. The second thing I learned is that I have actually improved as I’ve accumulated pen miles. That made me happy. Maybe inukshuks do represent hope.
Long before Sesame Street, baby boomers cheered on puppets of one form or another as they came to our houses via television. Television was new back then and we didn’t seem to mind that the shows were goofy, didn’t have any super-heros and not a single explosion upset the simplistic dialog of these shows.
Bobinette now stands in our civilization museum, next to Bobino’s suit coat and bowler hat, and while a blizzard was dumping yet another foot of snow on us, I drew her. I probably should have used color to show off her pink dress and big blue eyes but I settled for a Pilot Kakuno and a brown/black mix of DeAtramentis Document ink. I hope she’ll make you smile. We need more smiling these days.
Quebec is a province full of French-speaking Quebecois, descendents of the explorer Jacques Cartier, Champlain and those who settled this part of Canada before it was Canada. Yes, the British defeated them on the Plains of Abraham and those “red coats” would have forced Quebecers to speak English if not for a pesky group called Americans who got the idea to invade Canada. The Brits needed the Quebecois to help them fight off these attacks and so struck a deal that allowed them to retain their language. Thanks America. Quebec is the better for it.
But this didn’t end the tensions between the French and English and by the 1940s, the English, using the Church to keep the very religious French in their place, pretty much ran the province of Quebec. But then came groups like the FLQ who thought this wasn’t such a good idea.
A lot of their actions were political but during the 60s there were over 200 terrorist bombings, including a famous one in Quebec City. One night, in 1963, dynamite was stuffed into a large bronze statue of Queen Victoria and the resultant explosion blew her head off and sent it flying over 100 yards across Victoria Park. I won’t bore you with the rest of Quebec history but the Quiet Revolution that took place in the 70s is a remarkable history of a people regaining control of their province. Instead, I’ll share with you a sketch I did of Vicky’s head, which resides in our Musee de la Civilisation.
I should be writing blog posts about how life would be for a snail trying to do location sketching. Movement from point A to point B is so slow and energy-draining for me these days that I have to make decisions based on how long it will take me to get there. I suppose that’s true for everyone but I’m talking about how far I have to walk in a museum. Distances measured in feet have become important (grin). Weird that.
But I am starting to get out and about and it feels really good. I went to the museum on Tuesday. I used to walk there (about 45min). Now I take two buses and when I get there I’m exhausted. Once I’ve hobbled up a couple flights of stairs I have to sit down and rest before I try to sketch.
The significant thing about all this is that the majority of my sketching time isn’t spent sketching so I have to keep the subjects simple and just try to get as much enjoyment from the short sketching fix as possible. There’s a row of weathervanes on display right now and they fit a snail-sketcher’s approach really well. Hope you like this one. The original is made of sheet metal.