Drawing Chapel Arches

The Croquistes de Québec held their April sketchcrawl at the chapel associated with the Musée de l’Amérique du Francophone.  It’s really hard finding indoor places to sketch in the winter and so I’ve been to this chapel enough this winter to say that I’m ‘all full up.’  Nevertheless, I always enjoy sketching with others.

Turnout wasn’t great, probably because others are as tired as I am of sketching indoors, but there were five of us in attendance and we had fun, though this sketchcrawl wasn’t as long in duration as our summer sessions will be.

I decided to draw some arches.  I always have trouble drawing when I have to look upward.  I wonder whether it’s because of the view itself or the fact that my sketcher head-bob up and down from subject to paper, is so extreme.  Either way, it slows the sketching process and always results in some wonkiness working its way into my drawing.  Next month we’re going to sketch the alleyways of Limoilu – outdoors.  Spring had better be here by then.

Stllman & BIrn Beta (9x12), Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

Stllman & BIrn Beta (9×12), Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

April Sketchcrawl At Museum Chapel

musee-amerique-francophoneSpring rains have started so soon we’ll be able to have our sketchcrawls outdoors.  On Sunday, April 10th, at 10:00AM, though, the Croquistes de Québec will meet at the chapel associated with the Musée de l’Amerique Francophone.  If it’s warm enough the area around the museum is full of sketching targets, but if not we can sketch in the chapel.  Some of us have been sketching there throughout the winter and since the place is full of statues, woodcarvings and fixtures that are worthy of sketching.   Check the Croquistes de Québec site for details.  I’ll include a few of the sketches I’ve done in the chapel as examples of the possibilities.  See you there.

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Musee d'Amerique chapel altar

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Chapel Sketching Again

2016-03-13Chapel1Winter persists and so does this sketcher.  I met Yvan at the chapel associated with the Musée d’Amerique Francophone.  It’s warm and there are lots of woodcarvings and fixtures to challenge a sketcher.

I drew this large light fixture and found it quite fun.   As it turned out, there was to be a concert that afternoon and people were starting to arrive.  Yvan and I decided to sit in the back of the room and sketch people as they arrived.   That was fun and added to the enjoyment of the day.

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I then got the wild idea to sketch a set of statues that were part of the immense alter at the front of the room.  It was too far away to really see so I thought I might have some success by drawing the dark shadows and that maybe this would give me some guidance.  This was the result.  I might have learned something today.  In any case, I was one day closer to spring.

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Love Me Some Harpsichord

I’m as close to a musical know-nothing as you can get but I really enjoy most classical music.  Spare me the Schoenberg’s 12-tone scales and other modern attempts at cacophony but the rest is great.  Sadly, I’m so ignorant of music that I can’t identify composers by ear, and can’t wax eloquently about how Beethoven’s 9th is such a great piece because…  I just listen.

And so for me, it’s more about particular instruments.  I love cello music of all kinds.  I think classical guitar is sublime.  But give me Bach played on a harpsichord and I am enthralled.  So it was exciting for me to show up at the chapel for draw-the-carving session to find a guy practicing harpsichord.  What could be better than listening to harpsichord music while sketching?  Maybe sketching a harpsichordist while listening to harpsichord music and that’s just what I did.  Unfortunately, when I finished I had to run off to the Musee de la Civilisation where there would be dancers to sketch.  More on that tomorrow.

chapel harpsichord

Canson XL watercolor paper, Pilot Prera, DeAtramentis Brown (and black)

 

Look Outside Sketching

Doo doo doo lookin’ out my back door. – Credence Clearwater Revival

Looking Out My Backdoor was one of the craziest songs CCR ever created.  It won gold and platinum records, made you happy when you heard it, and the lyrics made no sense whatever.

Sometimes my sketching is like that and no more so than when I went sketching with Yvan at the museum chapel where we’ve been sketching lately.  Due to circumstance, mostly beyond my control, I arrived at the chapel really late.  Yvan was well into his sketching and so I looked around for something to draw quickly in the remaining time.

Seminary entrance

Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

There are windows that look out on a large courtyard, with beautiful seminary buildings encircling it.  I’ve drawn their roofs and steeples in the past.  But today everything was covered with featureless snow, so there wasn’t much to draw.  I decided to sketch the entrance on the other side of the courtyard.  Then, I drew the only other thing sticking up from the white landscape – a bicycle and trash can.  See what I mean?  Just like the CCR song, the sketches make little sense but they made me very happy.  Hope they make you smile too.

bicycle

Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

 

A Sketching Challenge: Chapel Altar

I love drawing the ornaments and carvings in churches but confess that I find most churches to be pretentious.  Still, there I was, in the chapel associated with the Musée d’Amérique francophone when I got the bright idea to sketch the huge, monolithic, altar.  Because of the complicated nature of it, doing a proper, accurate drawing would have required many hours.  I only had two.

So I “steeled” myself (i.e. tried to channel Liz Steel) and set to work.  My eyes crossed several times as I tried to draw all the bits and details of this 30-foot high structure.  It was both fun and tiring, and it humbled me a bit, which I guess is the goal of such structures.

Musee d'Amerique chapel altar

Fabriano Artistico CP (7.5×11), Pilot Metropolitan, DeAtramentis Document Black

Sketching And Painting Decorative Squares

Decorative carvingNot long ago I posted this decorative square and talked about how we’d started drawing these squares in a chapel.  I also mentioned that I was going to work on methods for painting/shading them.

These wood-carved squares are probably not even noticed by most visitors to the chapel because they’re dark mahogany and blend into the mahogany wainscotting that runs around the chapel.  Yvan ‘discovered’ them and we’ve both been thrilled with the idea of drawing them.  I find them challenging.  Yvan just makes them look beautiful (grin).

2015-12-29square2We’ve continued drawing them and I have been experimenting a bit with approaches to shading them.  The process is teaching me quite a bit about watercolors and their use, at least the way I want to use them.  Which one looks best to you?

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A Day At The Chapel

When I talk about “our museum” I’m generally referring to the Musée de la Civilisation in Quebec City.  But we do have other, much smaller museums, one of them being the Musée de l’Amérique francophone. This small museum exhibits are mostly disappointing as while they have considerable display space, it is very poorly utilized and the exhibits are…well boring. 

2015-12-27steepleBut, with winter upon us, Yvan and I decided we should visit and see if we could find something to sketch.  We did, though not in the museum.  Between the museum entrance and the exhibits is a chapel that you walk through to get to the elevator that takes you to the exhibits.  There, you can sit in the warmth of the place, look out the window and sketch.  That’s what I did to sketch this quick drawing of the tower over one of the old seminary buildings (not the Université Laval Dept of Architecture).

What really drew our interest, however, were all the small decorative carvings that ring the main chapel area.  These are handcarved floral designs, with lots of symmetry, curves, and details.  To Yvan, this means fun challenge.  To me it means scary, but a good kind of scary.

We decided that we would draw a bunch of these as it would form good practice.  I admit that I struggled with this first one but I also enjoyed the mental challenge of depicting a piece that is largely symmetrical but that also has a sprinkling of asymmetry due to the vagaries of its handcarved nature.  Can’t wait to go back to do more.  I’m hoping I”ll improve my use of watercolor shading on subsequent sketches.

Decorative carving

Sketching in Pencil

I met Claudette this morning for a sketching session at the Musée d’Amerique Francophonie.   I want to say this is a tiny museum but it’s actually a fairly big building/facility.  They just don’t have much in it 🙂  But there were a couple pieces that Claudette wanted to sketch so that’s where we went this morning.

I wandered around, looking for something to sketch.  We’ve done group sketching events there on several occasions so I was very familiar with the displays.  So, after wandering a bit, I finally settled on a statue (former mayor I think) as my subject.  Since we’ve been discussing pencil drawing in one of the Facebook groups, and since I know nothing of pencil drawing except that I tend to smear everything I draw, I decided to do this sketch with an HB mechanical pencil.  Definitely a KISS principle drawing.  It’s also a sketch that demonstrates why I use my fountain pens (grin).  It was done on a light gray Canson Mi-Teintes (6×9).

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Sketching Other People’s Art

Last Sunday Yvan, Pierre, Celine and I headed to the Musee de L’Amerique Francais because they were launching a new display of art done in Quebec long ago and donated to the Catholic church who kept the collection in their museum.  We didn’t know what to expect but since it’s still too cold for outdoor sketching, what the heck, we were going sketch art.

Much of the art in this collection is religious art, not my favorite way to use display space.  I find most of it too gawdy and repetitious.  But one room was filled with some amazing Quebecois pieces, many that would be considered ‘urban’ art today.  I was looking for a new challenge, something different… at least for me.

2013-03-10BronzeStatueAfter looking around, I settled down to sketch a bronze statue of a woman carrying a heavy bucket.  I was struck by how well the sculpture captured the physical effort and body/arm positioning to maintain balance with a heavy bucket in one hand.

This was a considerable leap for me as I’m not good at drawing human forms and I had no idea how to make one look like a bronze statue.  Still, it was fun.  I drew it in a Stillman & Birn Epsilon (5.5×8.5) with a Pilot Prera and Lexington Gray.  I used watercolor pencils to fake the bronze look.

There were many paintings that seemed worthy of turning them into a Larry sketch but one in particular caught my eye.  It was a painting of a 19th Century seminary courtyard, a courtyard that was actually just next door to the museum.  I went outside to look at the real thing and found what a hundred years can do.  The basic building layout remained.  In fact, on one edge of the courtyard, the end where the artist stood, there exists the remains of an old wall, clearly a very old wall.

Aside from that, everything had been remodeled and updated.  The two main buildings had an extra story added to them and all the windows had been modernized.  The stairway was gone adn the entries had modern doors.  It definitely looked cooler in the 19th Century so I went back indoors where it was warm.

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I’d never sketched an oil painting before and converting it to my cartoon sketching style did present some challenges, but it was fun, too.  Done in the same S&B sketchbook but with a Lamy Safari as my Prera ran out of ink .   I’m not sure I’ll add color to it as I like it au natural.

We’ve vowed to return to sketch some other pieces, particularly some of the sculptures.   A great day was had by all, but every sketching day is a great day, isn’t it?