New Tuesday Museum Sketchers Group???

This winter it has become a habit for five or six of us to meet at the museum for a sketching session on Thursday mornings.  I really look forward to it.  I go on other days as well but it’s fun to meet and talk with some fellow sketchers.

Field Notes (3x5), Pilot Prera F, Noodlers Polar Brown

Field Notes (3×5), Pilot Prera F, Noodlers Polar Brown

Claudette suggested that we meet on Tuesday this week as well, and while some of the ‘regulars’ couldn’t come on Tuesday, she managed to get a couple sketchers I don’t see often to show up so there were seven of us sketching this morning.  Why is it so exciting for sketchers to gather together only to ignore one another for extended periods of time?  Don’t know myself but it sure is fun.

I started the day with a little five-minute (maybe?) sketch to try out the yellow Field Notes book that comes with the blue and red books I’ve reported on recently.  It’s a small wooden statue and I guess the yellow notebook passes the suitability test.  I’ll probably do more in this book, though I prefer the red and blue books.

After wandering around a bit I headed to the new nanotechnology exhibit to draw a Mayan 3-tube flute.  It’s made of clay and I haven’t a clue why it’s part of the nanotechnology exhibit.  Maybe I should have read the plaque.

I’d filled my Falcon with Noodler’s Lexington Gray which I haven’t used in quite a while.  I’d forgotten how much its “water-resistant” nature doesn’t work on papers with lots of sizing.  I applied some color with watercolor pencils and a waterbrush and everything acquired a gray overcast from the ink.  Back to DeAtramentis Document Black for me.

Stillman & Birn Beta (9x12), Pilot Falcon, Noodler's Lexington Gray

Stillman & Birn Beta (9×12), Pilot Falcon, Noodler’s Lexington Gray

Parc Des Braves – Quebec City

2015-06-17ParcDesBravesA few days ago I talked about Parc des braves and showed you a sketch I’d done of the toilet building.  I was back in that neighborhood and decided to draw the large monument in front of the parc.  This monument is in tribute to soldiers who died in one of the final battles (1760) of the French-English war.  It’s hard to capture a monument this tall but I hope I’ve done it justice.

Stillman & BIrn Beta (9x12), Namiki Falcon, De Atramentis Document Black

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

Short Cruise Sketching

After a week of frightfully cold weather, things warmed up in Quebec City.  In fact, we’re experiencing weather that’s more like it should have been in mid-August, when we were all wondering when summer was going to start.

Given the date, and given that the trees measure day length very well and are starting to look like autumn, I’m taking advantage of every one of these warm, sunny days.  Late last week I went for a really long walk and mid-walk I climbed onto the ferry that crosses the St. Lawrence between Quebec City and Levis just to get out on the water.

I headed for the top deck so I could sit outside, catch some rays and experience the high seas, or at least my version of it.  Below me was this scene and, of course, I had to sketch it.  It was the only sketch I did that day but it was a glorious day.

Quebec City Ferry

Monologue 4×6, Pilot Falcon, Noodler’s Lexington Gray ink

The Value Of Sitting

I’m a street sketcher.  I wander my city looking for things to sketch.  I’m not too picky and actually shun the things tourists photograph.  I guess I’m more of a “mundane sketcher” as I like the challenge of creating something that looks good from something most wouldn’t even notice.

But there are times when I “can’t find anything to sketch.”  I put that in quotes as it’s a common phrase among sketchers that really makes little sense, but the person saying it knows exactly what they mean.  Yes, there are trees, planes, trains and automobiles to sketch but nothing is speaking to them.

When I find myself in that situation I sit down.  Yep, it’s that simple.  If I sit, pretty much anywhere, I start to see things I don’t see when I’m walking.  I’ll sit and start looking around.  Rather quickly, I’ll find something interesting to sketch.  Remember, I’m not searching for Mona Lisa.  I just want something that motivates me to get out my sketchbook and pen.

This sketch is the result of sitting down in a tiny park along the St. Charles River.  I sat on a rock as it was dryer than the benches because it had been raining as I walked.  Before I got to add color to this sketch, it started raining again so I had to add the color when I got home.

park near St. Charles River

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

I was returning from a long walk and I sat on a bench in Parc Brebeuf, along my river (the St. Charles) and decided to sketch this small scene of a part of the river bank.  Done quickly, I added color to this one when I got home as well.

Moleskine watercolor sketchbook, Pilot Falcon, Noodler's Lexington Gray

Moleskine watercolor sketchbook, Pilot Falcon, Noodler’s Lexington Gray

So, the next time you’re out and looking for something to sketch, sit down.  It may help.

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 The Parc Victoria Chapel

Parc Victoria is a large park not far from my house and I’ve done a lot of sketches in it.  I’ve told myself many times that I needed to sketch the small chapel that’s on the grounds.  It’s no longer used as a chapel and I know nothing of its history.  Currently, from the looks of things, it’s now used to store equipment for the associated pro-quality soccer field that was built a couple years ago.  Here’s my take on this cute little chapel.

Stillman & Birn Delta (6x8), Pilot Prera, Lexington Gray ink

Stillman & Birn Delta (6×8), Pilot Prera, Lexington Gray ink

Sketchcrawling Through The Garden

Yesterday I reported on our 44th Worldwide Sketchcrawl participation.  What I didn’t do was show you my sketches and talk a bit about them as that post became quite large because of all the photos.  Here be the follow up post on my sketchcrawl sketches.

The sketchcrawl was supposed to start at 10AM but I ended up getting there around 9:30.  As you enter the botanical gardens there is a large water feature amounting to several lily-pad-filled ponds with small water features between them.  I located shade, my first prerequisite for sketching on a sunny day, and started sketching next to the second of these ponds.  It was a great place to be as I could meet people as they arrived while sketching.  It breaks my meditative sketching state to have to get up ever few minutes to say hi but gosh… isn’t that what sketchcrawls are all about?  I think so.

Stillman & Birn Delta (6x8), Pilot Prera, Lexington Gray ink

Stillman & Birn Delta (6×8), Pilot Prera, Lexington Gray ink

By the time I’d finished this sketch, I was sitting in the sun as at this time of year the sun swings across its southerly track across our sky fairly quickly.  So, I was once again hunting for a shady spot.

I found it on the other side of the entrance, with several sketching options.  I decided to draw the main kiosk that faces the entrance.  Lots of brightly-colored flowers, a nice shape and the girl who manned (womaned?) the kiosk obliged by wearing a red shirt.  I switched weapons for this sketch as I wanted to get some more experience with my Hero pens.  I’ve got several of them and I don’t use them enough.

Stillman & Birn Delta (6x8), Hero 578, Platinum Carbon Black

Stillman & Birn Delta (6×8), Hero 578, Platinum Carbon Black

It was lunch time so we all met together to swap sketchbooks and wish we were as good as everyone else.  For me, this is the best part of sketchcrawls.  I do a lot of solo sketching and it’s really fun to get together with other sketchers, though my French is sufficiently bad that I’m more than a little bit limited in my ability to talk like an adult.  Quebecers are quite patient, however.

After lunch I decided I should draw flowers.  I don’t know flowers beyond red flowers, purple flowers, orange flowers, etc.  I can tell you the names of all their parts, discuss at length the mating ‘habits’ of plants, and all the rest, as in another life I was a research scientist but when it comes to naming flowers… I got nada, or as we say around here, rien.

2014-07-12flowers

Stillman & Birn Delta (6×8), Pilot Penmanship XF, Lexington Gray

But flowers are cool.  Depending upon how accurate you want to be while drawing them, they can be quite challenging as the more you drill down into their details the more difficult they become to properly depict.  I’ve drawn very few, and it shows (grin).  Here’s a couple.  At least they look like flowers.

Stillman & Birn Delta (6x8), TWSBI Mini, Platinum Carbon Black

Stillman & Birn Delta (6×8), TWSBI Mini, Platinum Carbon Black

Catching Up On My Walking

Having lost a couple days to rain, I was running a walking deficit for the week.  I walk a lot and do so as my old man way of keeping my body from taking on the shape of an eggplant.  That translates to walking a couple hours every day.  With two days lost and the worldwide sketchcrawl coming up on Saturday, I’ve been living on the streets, hoofing everywhere and anywhere, trying to put in the miles.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9x6), Pilot Prera, Lex Gray

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9×6), Pilot Prera, Lex Gray

This has gotten in the way of my sketching time.  I just didn’t feel I could stop to sketch if I was going to get caught up.  But I did stop to do this quick sketch.  It’s one of the many gables on our train station.

I can skip a day or two without sketching, but when I do I start to feel like something is missing.  My solution this time was to sit in the backyard and draw some flowers.

I rarely draw flowers but every time I do I think that I should do it more often.  The shapes are endless.

I started this sketch with a rudimentary pencil sketch but most of the shapes were formed directly with watercolors, something I’ve only done once before and, back then, things didn’t go so well.   Once done, I added some ink using a refillable Sharpie pen.  I did this in a Stillman & Birn Delta series sketchbook.  This is my first “ivory” sketchbook.  It was fun and provided me with some much needed sketching/meditation time.

Stillman & Birn Delta (6x8)

Stillman & Birn Delta (6×8)

 

Sketchbook Skool And Rainy Days

The last couple days have been rainy and windy and I haven’t been able to walk and sketch like I normally do this time of year.  So I thought I’d talk a bit about something new in my sketching life.

It’s called Sketchbook Skool and if you’re part of the social media crowd, you’ve probably heard of it.  Operated by Danny Gregory and Koosje Koene, it’s a school that’s as much about motivation and ideas as it is about teaching techniques.  This is the second session they’ve held and it’s called “Seeing”, with emphasis on how artists see and communicate what they see in their art.  It brings together Liz Steel, Cathy Johnson, Danny Gregory, Brenda Swenson, Andrea Joseph, and Koosje Koene as instructors.

It seemed ideal for me, and comes at an ideal time.  I’ve been very myopic in my approach to sketching thus far.  When I started sketching, 2 1/2 years ago, I couldn’t draw anything.  So I set out with a single goal – to learn to draw something… anything.  I didn’t worry about watercolors, compositions, or any of the myriad of details that one can be involved with in art.  I just wanted to draw stuff.

While I still have a lot to learn about drawing, I’ve gotten to the point where I can make scratches on paper that people at least recognize as the thing I was looking at so it seems to me that now is the time to start thinking of some of those other things that make an artist actually be an artist.  And I think Sketchbook Skool is going to help me in that.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9x6), Pilot Prera

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9×6), Pilot Prera

So far we’ve had two assignments from our first teacher, Danny Gregory.  We were to draw a piece of toast, with emphasis on drawing all the details of the surface.   It was an interesting sketch as I nearly went cross-eyed trying to ensure that I got all the little holes and crevices in the right places.  I want to do it again with a small section of grass or some other heavily textured surface.

Our second assignment was an investigation of how we see when drawing quickly vs slowly.  We were supposed to draw something in a minute and then draw right on top of that drawing, but more slowly, trying to do a detailed drawing.  Danny’s example used color for the first, fast rendition and pen for the second, slower version.

I drew our vacuum cleaner using yellow and gray Tombow brush pens.  We were to spend one minute on this.  I then spent 10 minutes drawing the machine using a Pilot Prera.  I really like this idea and hope to do a bunch of them.

2014-07-06SketchbookSkoolFastSlow

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9×6), Pilot Prera, Lex Gray ink

So far, I’m having a ball in Sketchbook Skool.  The video instruction is first class and interactions with other students is providing a bunch of great ideas.  Maybe I will be an artist some day.

 

Sketching On The Montmorency River

CMontmorencyOne of the tourist spectacles around Quebec City is Montmorency Falls.  The falls themselves are nice but the tourist areas around it are equally nice so it’s fun to go sketching there.  To make it even better, I can hop a bus that will take me there, which is what I did this morning.

Yvan and I met very early  and headed for the Montmorency Falls area.  The falls weren’t our target though.  Our quary was rocks.  I’m tempted to make a quary/quarry joke here but I won’t.

Suffice it to say that when we got to the falls we crossed the bridge above them and headed north, up the river.  It was much cooler than I’d expected and my shorts and t-shirt left me shaking in my boots, almost literally.  Yvan was smarter, wore long pants and even brought a windbreaker.  Even so, he said he was cold.  I was colder.  I win…errr…lose.

Stillman & Birn Delta (6x8), Pilot Prera, Lex Gray

Stillman & Birn Delta (6×8), Pilot Prera, Lex Gray

But we’re tough sketchers and had fun anyways.  I got to break in a new Stillman & Birn sketchbook. This one is a 6×8 spiral-bound Delta series book.  It’s the first time I’ve used their ivory paper but I thought I should try it.  I think I like the ivory color.  It’s probably better for some things than for others but this morning’s subjects seemed to like it just fine.  The paper itself goes without saying as it’s one of the best watercolor sketchbook papers in existence.  For those who may wonder, the Delta is the equivalent of S&B’s Beta series which is very popular with the watercolor crowd.

Stillman & Birn Delta (6x8), Pilot Prera, Lex Gray

Stillman & Birn Delta (6×8), Pilot Prera, Lex Gray