Sketching The Tourny Fountain

As part of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec City, the Fontaine de Tourny was placed in front of Quebec’s parliament building.  I’d like to provide you a concise history of this fountain but, its history depends on who you ask.

The fountain gets its name from two identical fountains that sat at each end of the Tourny promenade in Bourdeaux.  Mathurin Moreau was its designer.  That much is certain.  But some reports suggest that the French government gifted the fountain to Quebec.  A more complete story is that a guy named Marc Maison acquired it when the fountains were removed from Bourdeaux and much later sold to Peter Simons, a Quebec entrepreneur.  It was restored given to Quebec for the 400th anniversary.  Most stories in Quebec suggest there were two of these.  A few admit to the existence of five scattered around the world.  The internet has a way of turning up info on such things and the total has climbed to 19 or 20 of them.  I suspect the foundry wanted to get their money’s worth from the molds (grin).

What I do know is that it’s a magnificent fountain, towering some 21-feet in the air.  I was with Claudette and Yvan while drawing this one and we had a great day.

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

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

Sketching A Whale Of A Sand Pile

Moleskine watercolor book, Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Moleskine watercolor book, Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Fernande and I went to the Quebec Aquarium last Monday.  On my way there I have to transfer from one bus to another, which meant a 10-minute wait.  I quickly sketched a video rental building in a small Moleskine watercolor book I carry.  Not much but it sure made that 10-minutes pass quickly.

Unlike our first visit to the aquarium, it was a beautiful day.  We spent the entire day in the outdoor areas rather than in the actual aquarium buildings.   I love urban ‘hardware’ and so did a couple smallish, sketches of some of the aquarium hardware.  There are examples of this sign everywhere on the grounds, providing directions to visitors.  Simple, easy-peasy to draw, and fun.

Moleskine watercolor book, Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Moleskine watercolor book, Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

While wandering around I found this bizarro device.  It seems to have either a generator or transformer on the side of it.  It is about four-feet tall.  There are actually a bunch of these along a stone wall, giving the impression that they were once used as lights.  The technology, whatever it is, is very old and no longer used, I think.  Looks like something you’d see in a steampunk movie.  I had to draw it.

2014-08-11AquariumLamp

Moleskine watercolor book, Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

It was already getting hot when I started this sketch and there was no shade from which to draw this large pile of sand.  Towards the end I was sweating like crazy and ready to be done.  As soon as the ink was done I headed for shade to do the color.  Hope you like it.

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

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

The Liz Steel Effect

How did people learn to draw/sketch/paint before the internet?  The availability of so much informatoin and access to so many great artists and their art has certainly changed things.  I think, for those willing to take advantage of these riches, it’s significantly eased the learning curve.  I’ve certainly benefited.

But the effects of internet sketcher interactions goes far beyond any discussions of art.  Through the sketching groups we get to visit other countries, wander their city streets, learn things about their cultures and perspectives.  Maybe more important, we learn that we’re all more alike than we are different.  It’s truly amazing.

I to tell you about a particular impact that sketches have had on my life that have nothing to do with sketching.  I call it the Liz Steel Effect.

Liz Steel is an Australian architect who happens to be a sketcher extraordinaire and a tea drinker.  I first came to admire Liz because of her great building sketches but her other favorite subject is the British style tea cup.

Until Liz, I never owned one of these beauties.  Until recently I had no idea what ‘bone china’ was.  Nor did I care.  But there were her sketches, a steady stream of wonderful tea cup sketches.

When I finally saw a tea cup and held it in my hands, I just had to buy it.  Then I bought another, and another.  At this point, my growing collection only numbers six, but I’m enjoying them thoroughly.  I’m convinced the tea tastes better.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9x6), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9×6), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

And so, when Liz’s part of Sketchbook Skool came up, I had a tea cup to draw when she showed us how.  I could even choose from among four (I’ve since bought two more) which I would draw.  In creating this sketch I learned something else, that’s probably obvious to everyone else.  It’s a whole lot easier to draw something like this when your sketchbook is laying flat on a table than it is with the sketchbook balanced on your knees like more normal method of sketching.  I might have to do it more often (grin).

2014-08-08LizSteelEffect_cup

Nouvelle France In Quebec City

2014-08-09NouvelleFrance1Every August, Quebec holds a festival to celebrate the founding of Nouvelle France in North America.  Lots of people dress in period dress. There’s a large food court serving traditional foods, a parade, fireworks, and a bunch of other activities.  The festival attracts thousands of people who enjoy the ambiance of our old port area and this year was no exception.

It’s also the case that we sketchers took advantage of the sketching opportunities.  I was there on Saturday, along with nine of my betters in the sketching world.  We had a great time, though the crowds are always a bit overwhelming for me.

This year I only took a small, 4×6 Monologue sketchbook but I kept it warm with my pen scratching.  Here are a few of the sketches I did during the day.

2014-08-09NouvelleFrance2

I liked the texture and angles of the arm/rifle so I isolated on these in this sketch

I liked the texture and angles of the arm/rifle so I isolated on these in this sketch

I wanted to do a building sketch but with all the people around, finding a subject I could actually see was difficult.  I went to the top stairs of the cathedral and, looking across the courtyard,  sketched the top of the buildings.  The format is too small for that much landscape but it was fun regardless.

 

2014-08-09NouvelleFrance4_-sm

 

 

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.