April Showers Keeps Urban Sketchers Indoors

Every spring, towards the end of March, we get a big snow storm.  People here call it the St. Patrick’s Day storm.  It comes just as we start to think that spring has sprung so it’s always a let-down.  What follows, without fail is a couple weeks of rain, which is good because it melts the snow, gets road salt dust out of the air, and generally does a spring cleaning of the city.

It’s sure hard to take, however, when you’re an urban sketcher who has been cooped up for the last five months.  In desperation I picked up some veggies while we were shopping, including an heirloom tomato that I thought could be a nice subject for a still life painting.  Ha… me trying to paint.  What a joke.  Anyways, this is what came of that idea.  I’m still pretty lost when it comes to paint and fuzzy sticks but I had fun doing this one.  Hope it stops raining soon.

Fabriano Artistico CP (7×11), Daniel Smith watercolors

Sketching A Boat With Holes

Several recent posts featured sketches I’ve done at the Quebec Federation of Hunters and Fishers museum.  Most of those sketches have been of birds, mammals and fish.  The museum is a wonderful place for drawing these subjects because the people are friendly, the lighting good, and the displays rival those of any natural history museum.

Because of all those animal subjects available, it’s been hard for me to draw any of the other objects they have on display, but I’ve eyed this “boat” every time I’ve visited.  It’s not really a boat at all.  It’s a homemade live well, used to hold fish.  Its bottom is made of screening so that water can enter.  It’s only about two feet long and truly a beautiful piece of folk art.  Hope you like it as much as I enjoyed drawing it.

Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10) softcover, Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

#OneWeek100People2017: Day 4: More Mall Sketching

So far I’ve been quick-sketching whole people, mostly those buying coffee at the mall.  Marc Taro Holmes chided me a bit for drawing those people with their backs to me.  This was sort of true.  Because of the place I was sketching, everyone had their backs to me as they paid for, and received, their coffee.  I did look back, however, and noticed that 14 of those 50 people (28%) did have their face visible.  Marc’s a tough critic (grin).

So, when I went to the mall today I decided that I’d draw floating heads/faces.  I sat in the food court, moving once in a while, and most of my targets were looking in my direction.  Marc will undoubtedly tell me that I’ve left the bodies off and, again, he’d be correct.  And yes, I’m kidding, Marc.

I quickly slapped some color on these before I scanned them and, I think, this flattening the sketches considerably.  I guess I should have taken the time to try to get some shading into the color.  It’s said you can get two of three attributes from any endeavour.  These are cheap, quality, and quantity.  I always get cheap so I choose between the other two and this “challenge” is about quantity.  These 20 were done during a 30-35 minute session.  It shows.  Sigh…

 

 

Sketching Animals – The Sequel

We had so much fun at the la Fédération québécoise ​des chasseurs et pêcheurs during our first visit that we decided to get back as soon as we could, which was last Tuesday.  There were five of us this time and we had a great time together.  I do hope we can return ‘real soon.’

Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10) softcover, Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

I decided to draw one of the deer and I struggled to get the antlers right.  And I didn’t.  I find some days I just ‘see’ better than other days.  Not sure why.

When I finished that I wandered around a bit.  There’s so much to see and study there.  Eventually, though, I settled down in front of a couple Canada Geese.  By the time I got them drawn it was time for lunch and we all got together, shared our projects, and chatted up a storm.  Then I added color to my geese.   I’m sure we’ll go back again, and probably real soon.  Next stop, though, is the Croquistes de Quebec sketchcrawl.

Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10), Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

 

Sketching Animals That Don’t Move

What could be better for a sketcher than a place where there are hundreds of animals that don’t move.  Daniel Chagnon, an organizer for the Le Collectif des ateliers libres en arts visuels de Québec (CALAVQ) organized an event at la Fédération québécoise
​des chasseurs et pêcheurs.  This is a bit outside the domain of CALAVQ, which is primarily a portraiture group, but Daniel has been organizing more and more of these events and it’s very exciting to see.

I didn’t know that the Quebec hunters and fishermen had a museum/training center but this place is incredible for those of us scrambling to find winter sketching places.  It’s a bit of a drive but access is free, though they appreciate donations.  There is a lunch room with microwaves, vending machines, etc. AND several hundred taxidermy specimens just waiting to be drawn.  The hard part was deciding what to draw and being satisfied even though you didn’t get to draw everything.

There were a dozen of us sketching in the building and a lot of sketches were produced.  I found myself drawing too quickly and I was a bit disappointed in that.  I sometimes get ahead of my skis and it shows up in the results.  My attempt at drawing a wolf is a case in point.  I blocked it in quickly (ie too quickly and I got one foot in the wrong place.  I drew the eye incorrectly, tried to correct it, only making it worse.  Still, it looked like a wolf, sort of.  You might notice that it’s not displayed here 🙂

Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10), PLatinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

I moved onto the wildfowl area and drew this elegant bufflehead.  Here I bumped into my watercolor ineptitude and had trouble obtaining a really dark black, but I was generally happy with the result.  Robert Bateman I am not.

After lunch I decided that since I’d drawn fur and feathers that it was time to draw a fish.  I like the small vignette surrounding this one.   Striped bass used to be common to the stretch of the St. Lawrence River around Quebec but they had nearly disappeared until the fishing and hunting organization started a program to build up their populations.  They are being grown and planted along the river and fishing regulations prohibit the taking of this fish.  From what I could read, the program is making good progress towards their reintroduction.

I slowed down just a bit, partly because of my early morning lesson and partly because I was just getting tired.  I think the result was more in tune with my norm…only a few mistakes (grin).  Thanks to CALAVQ and particularly Daniel for organizing this event and introducing us to the museum.  We’re heading back here on Tuesday.

 

Our Tuesday Group Hosted By Hubert Langevin

Stillman & Birn Alpha (8.5×5.5), Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

I’m really behind in my posting but this event is so old that it’s starting to show up in the history books.  Way back when, about a week and a half ago, Hubert Langevin invited us to sketch at his house.  As a  big storm was predicted and we got to watch the snow going sideways through the large windows of his house as we drew objects Hubert had placed around for that purpose.  There were seven of us and we spent the day sketching, laughing and eating marvelous vegetable soup and fresh bread.  Lisette brought date bars for dessert.

I started sketching this smallish (15-20cm) clay woman.  She was so cute, even though she lacked a face.   Then I watched the snow fall, talked with everyone too much (I must drive them crazy) and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Then I sat down to draw a set of teacups set out as a still life.  We broke for lunch and then, with belly full, I returned to sketching tea cups, spoons and napkins.  My intent was to simply do a shaded contour drawing but somehow I got dragged down the rabbit hole of drawing all the decorations on the cups.  This was a lot of fun and not nearly as hard as one would suppose.  I hope you like it.  Thanks to Hubert for hosting us.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (8.5×5.5), Platinum 3776, Platinun Carbon Black

Sketchcrawling With USK Montreal

I’m going to keep this short because we’re experiencing really low barometric pressure which is giving me a horrible arthritis attack in my knees and hands.  I’ll also apologize for the typos because my typing is being affected…bigly.

But last Sunday I was in heaven.  I met Marc Holmes for coffee before the event and when we arrived at the Pointe-à-Callière museum there were 30 or so sketchers waiting for the place to open.  The goal for the day was to sketch the Asian exhibition and it was a doozy.

The exhibit is on two floors and I probably should have made a quick run around to inventory things but I just started sketching these small clay figures.  They were simple, crude, and I managed to make them even more so when I went out in hall and tried to paint them while standing.  I was at least a couple of hands short for that exercise.

Stillman & Birn Beta, Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon

I did those quickly, all the time thinking of heading upstairs in search of something better to draw.  The second floor had one display of larger statues, a bunch of pottery, kimonos, and a couple samurai suits.  I decided to draw a couple of the larger statue artifacts.  Those were fun but I really hope that some day I’ll get better at drawing while standing.

Stillman & Birn Beta, Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon

The area around the samurai suits was pretty crowded so I decided to draw a piece of pottery.  Then I went outside and found Marc creating a masterpiece.  Watching work with watercolors is always a treat.  I never did add color to my pottery.

We only had 20 minutes left so we went back in and I decided to take that time to read about some of the smaller pieces which were at the other end of the first-floor room from where I had done my first page.  That’s when I saw it… a large door into yet another room.  Dare I say this was where thek really good stuff was?  Large buddah’s statues of all sorts, large busts of Asian characters.  Wow…and me with only a few minutes left before we were to rendevous for lunch and show-n-tell.  I quickly drew one of the heads, using pencil this time.  Yet another skill I need to work on.

We met for lunch and passed sketchbooks around.  USK Montreal has a lot of talented people among its ranks and it was fun seeing their results.  This day was pretty special to me and I hope to return for some of their future sketchcrawls.  Thanks, Marc, for organizing the event.

Native Americans Wear Cool Boots

Due to lots of snow removal, going to sketchrawls, and general winter sloth, I am once again behind in my blogging.  This sketch was done at the Musee de la Civilisation last Tuesday, I think.  I like it a lot, mostly because I really enjoyed getting caught up in the detail of these beautiful boots.  I hope you agree.  I also hope I can get caught up ‘real soon’, like that’s gonna happen (grin).

First Nations Boots

Stillman & BIrn Beta (8×10) softcover, Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

Sketching in the First Nations Exhibit

One of the permanent exhibits at our Museé de la civilisation reflects the First Nations of Canada.  It’s a wonderful exhibit that leans heavy on videos and audio, but that also holds a large collection of First Nations artifacts that are good sketching subjects.

I was there on Thursday and decided to draw a “scene” that amounted to a large, floor drum and a manikin wearing ceremonial garb.  The manikin was hard to deal with as a sketcher because it was black foam and almost without a face.  The dark room, dark outfit and dark manikin did make drawing the figure difficult. Like all my moving of pens around on paper, it was fun and made the day a good one.

Stillman & Birn Beta, Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

Kicking The Year Off With A Croquistes De Quebec Sketchcrawl

We had a great sketchcrawl on Friday.  Yvan arranged for us to sketch at the Université Laval Collections and somewhere around a dozen sketchers showed up.  Some of us sketched stuffed birds, mammals and insects while others took advantage of the large collection of plaster heads.  Still others sketched items in the large display windows outside the facility.

It was made particularly special because some of the people who showed up were not using the typical pen & wash approach that so many of us use.  Johanne was using charcoal and a white pastel pencil to capture likenesses from the plaster heads, while others did beautiful renderings with pencil.  It was fun to talk with them about their approaches and to appreciate the results.

I did a lot of talking because, unfortunately, my arthritis flared up in my drawing hand.  It does this on occasion and is not only painful but it hampers my ability to draw.  I did do one sketch before it got the better of me though.  It is a tufted-ear squirrel.  I think it’s Sciurus vulgaris but I’m not certain of that as there was no label on the specimen.

Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10), Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon ink

In spite of my hand, I had a ball because of all the great people in attendance.  It’s hard for us to have sketchcrawls in winter because it’s so cold outside, so it’s special when one is as successful as this one.  Thanks to Yvan for organizing it and to Madame Wagner for hosting us.