Sketching Between Rain Days

We’re still getting more rain than we should and certainly more rain than I want.  But we got a weekend that only started under rain and high winds.  We ended up with slightly damp conditions and warm temperatures.  There was this scary yellow ball in the sky.  Not sure what that was but it seemed harmless enough.

Yvan and I took advantage and we went to Artillery Park, an area in old Quebec City that has a bunch of old military buildings and fortifications.  It’s also where a munitions factory operated until 1964.  Now the large buildings are museums surrounded with park areas, cannons and high walls – a great place to sketch.  And we did.

I sketched a building called Redoubte Dauphine.  It’s an impressive structure and I set up at the base of it, sitting on the edge of a parking lot.  I sort of botched the perspective by placing a couple lines incorrectly.  As I didn’t want to restate them in their correct locations, I made the best of it and finished it with the wonky angles.  Do me a favor and squint a lot when you look at the sketch.  Maybe you won’t notice (grin).  The sketch was done in a Stillman & Birn Alpha (10×7) sketchbook with a Pilot Prera and Lexington Gray.

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It was very hazy and cloudy so I decided to return to add color/details, when there was some sun to provide contrast.  I packed up and went looking for Yvan.  I located him, sitting high above me on a wall.  In fact, I noticed that you can see him as a tiny orange blotch on the right of the photo above.  He was sketching something and I thought it’d be fun to do a quick sketch of him.  I did it in my Stillman & Birn Alpha (4×6) with a Pilot Prera and Platinum Carbon Black.

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I climbed the hill you see in the first sketch and entered a tiny park area associated with what was once an officer’s quarters.  I liked the shape of the end of that building and so quickly sketched it.  Same small sketchbook; same pen/ink.

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2013-06-29OldBuildingSiteThe eastern edge of Artillery Park is bordered by an old rock fence.  On the other side of it there’s a grand old apartment building that’s no longer inhabited and, sadly, it’s crumbling from neglect.  It pokes its second story above the rock wall and I liked the view, of the back of the building and so I sketched it.  Same sketchbook, same pen, same fun experience.  Every sketching day is a great day.

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The 40th Worldwide Sketchcrawl On July 13th

The 40th Worldwide Sketchcrawl has been scheduled for Quebec City.  I hope you can make it to this event, which is anticipated to be our best ever, and with good reason.  We’re going to meet near the St. Jean Gate into the old city and sketch in the rue D’auteuil – Artillery Park area.  Lots of people to sketch, lots of great architecture, and some really nice park areas if you want to sketch trees or just sit and enjoy the ambiance.

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DATE: Saturday, July 13, 2013
TIME: 10:00 to about 15:30
LOCATION: rue D’Auteuil – Artillery Park near the St-Jean Gate
COST: Free unless it rains as we’ll all run for the Artillery Park museum (see below) which costs $4.

 DETAILS:

We’ll meet near the St. Jean Gate and begin sketching at 10AM.  Around mid-day, we’ll break for lunch, have fun seeing everyone’s sketches, and have the inevitable sketching discussions.  Those who arrive late and those who remain with us for the afternoon will sketch until around 15:30, when we can once again enjoy each other’s sketches.

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This is a sketch I did of the Artillery Park Museum entrance, which is just inside the St. Jean Gate.

The weather will be beautiful, I just know it will … but otherwise we will gather in the Artillery Park Museum.  We’ll have to pay the $4 entry fee but they have agreed to allow us to sketch the museum holdings.

Celine Poulin and Yvan Breton are the organizers and we all hope to see you out sketching with us!  Please invite your friends, and feel free to circulate this invitation!

Paris In Quebec City…Sort of.

The Musee de la Civilisation launched its new Paris 1889-1920s exhibit by holding a special grand opening on a Tuesday evening.  As I’m a member I got an invitation and Yvan and I decided to go.  We saw it more as a reconnoitering session than anything else so our plan was to quickly run through the exhibit, noting what would be good to sketch.  This exhibit will be one of our principle sketching subjects this winter.

We decided, though, that we should go early enough that we could sketch in the old port for a couple hours before the event and that’s what we did.  We sat in Place Royale, a tourist hot-spot and boy, were there tourists.  Because of our lousy weather it didn’t seem like summer to us until we looked at the sea of people.  So, we looked up and I sketched this roof line over the heads of the tourists.  Stillman & Birn Alpha (10×7), Pilot Prera and Lex Gray ink.

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When we finished up we still had some time and we wandered into a place adjacent to Place Royale that has a cannon battery pointing out at the St. Lawrence, to protect Place Royale from the tourist and ferry boats.  This is the gate into the place but from the inside, looking out.  I felt a bit rushed so it got a bit wonky but I like the sketch nevertheless.   Same sketchbook and pen/ink combo for this one.

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Downtown Sketching Event

There is a series of outdoor sketching events, in Quebec City, this year.  Time will tell how organized, or not, they are but Yvan and I attended on a week ago.

We were to meet downtown in a small park near the Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City’s challenge to Hogwarts.  It’s a grand hotel and there’s a huge fountain in the park next to it.

2013-06-14MesquiteWhile waiting to meet up with Yvan to walk downtown, I did this little sketch of a branch that caught my eye.  It doesn’t take much to get my pen moving.

When we arrived there were four other sketchers there and we all scattered about and got busy sketching.  Yvan and I took advantage of the fact that they’d been working on the fountain and it was dry.  We climbed into the fountain, sat on its perimeter and started sketching some of the fountain details.

2013-06-15Fountain copy

We broke for a quick lunch and then it was back to sketching.  I love this large steeple and so it became my target.  About half an hour into the sketch it started to rain so we hot-footed it to the Subway a block away.  We got lucky and got a seat by the window and we drank coffee and sketched through the window.  There was a bike race going on and the rain didn’t stop it so we had plenty to sketch.  I’ll spare you my quick sketches from that session as they’re particularly bad.

Once the rain stopped, though, we returned to finish our sketches.  Here’s the steeple.  Done in a Stillman & Birn Alpha (10×7) using a TWSBI Mini and Platinum Carbon Black.

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It was a great day, though I remember being particularly tired at the end of it.

The Summer Rush To Sketch

I waited so long for it to come.  Now summer is here and I’ve been sketching up a storm.  I’ve also forgotten to post anything on my blog so consider this a catch-up post.

2013-06-13on801I do some sketching on buses, though I find them too bumpy and bouncy for my untrained eye and hand.  Still, here’s one of the many sketches I’ve done of seated passengers.  I do these in a small, cheap sketchbook I buy at the dollar store.

I love boats and our marina is, once again, full of boats.  Most are sailboats but this one is one of my favorites.  This one was done in an S&B Alpha (10×7) with a TWSBI Mini and Platinum Carbon Black ink.

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I was at my mother-in-law’s 3rd floor apartment for dinner one night and after dinner I went out on the balcony and got this birds-eye view of a tall church steeple.  This church is going to be turned into an indoor skateboard place this fall.  S&B Alpha (4×6) with TWSBI Mini/Platinum Carbon Black.

This is a paper mill that’s near the old port area in Quebec City.  It’s been the center of brisk debate where one day it was going to close and the next it wasn’t.   So far it’s stayed open and they seem to be doing well.

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Those are a few of the sketches I’ve done recently.  I’ll try to remember to post some more but heck, it’s summer.  Around here, when the sun’s out, you go out cuz it doesn’t happen all that often.

Desperate Sketchers Brave The Elements

Last Saturday was supposed to be the Bazar des ruelles in Limoilu which is always a fun event.  This is a part of the city that, when built, included alley ways behind the houses.  I think those went out of style with the invention of ‘suburbs’ but it affords a great opportunity for the people in this part of Limoilu as they organize a huge garage sale every year, with signs and balloons all over the place, that direct wanderers up and down the ruelles to the many garage sales.  There are also places that sell hot dogs and there are things for kids to do as well.  In short, it’s a city-wide party.

I was supposed to meet my buddy Yvan at 8AM and we did meet.  We stood under umbrellas as the rain came down and even we could figure out from the note on the signs saying “in case of rain, we’ll do it Sunday” that we were alone.  We turned it into a sketcher social event, spending several hours talking art, drinking coffee and playing with fountain pens.  We also planned to meet again the next morning.

2013-06-09WindowSunday began with me standing, same place, same umbrella, different rain.  Yvan showed up with his umbrella and we stood.  Then we headed to the coffee shop where the guy there told us that the event had been rescheduled for next week (Jun 15th).  So, after coffee, and quite desperate to draw SOMETHING, we headed downtown to the library, where we did quick sketches of umbrellas with feet through the library windows.  I did this small sketch of a window across the street.  Yvan’s sketches were wonderful.  Mine were…not so much.   Stillman & Birn Alpha (4×6) and a Noodler’s Creaper as the pointy device.

 

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It finally stopped raining so we headed for the old city and set up under an awning where the calesh horses get to snack and wait for tourists willing to part with a lot of money for a ride.  This is a sketch of the Kent Gatehouse (not surprisingly it’s associated with the Kent Gate, the middle gate of three gates that let too many cars have access to the old city.  It felt soooooo good to sketch something outdoors, though it was still too cold for comfort and threatening rain.  Stillman & Birn Zeta (5.5×8.5) and a Pilot Prera/Lexington Gray combination.  By the time we finished I was cold enough to express an urgency for getting indoors and preferably at a place where I could drink something warm.

2013-06-09BuildingWe’d talked about the McDonalds in the old city and I’d told Yvan about its’ nice second floor view.  We headed there for some well-deserved warmth.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t get one of the ‘good’ seats until we were about to leave but  we grabbed them and quickly did sketches.  I did this building.  Yvan did something really nice.

 

We wandered around looking for something that turned our heads and we ended up sitting in a gravel parking lot for some apartments, looking up at this tower attached to an old building.  The sky spit rain on me on occasion which is why I left the sky blank.   Same S&B Zeta sketchbook; same Pilot Prera pen.

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I mention Yvan a lot but I never show you his sketches.  Yvan sketched the same tower that I did, did a much better job and then, while he was bored and waiting for me to finish, he did this sketch of me finishing up my sketch.  Yvan is amazing and I’m lucky to call him friend.

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Such is life for a mid-June sketcher in Quebec City this year.  The prediction is for sunshine this weekend, though, so I’m really excited.  Maybe summer will be better than spring.

 

Rain, Rain, Go Away…

Here it…June and my street sketching spring is almost gone with not much to show for it.  We’re setting records for rainfall if, records are a consolation, but they don’t do much for my disposition.  I’ve got to figure out how to get my brain to be happy sketching indoors from pictures, I guess.

2013-05-28GableUntil I do that, these are the sorts of things I’ve been doing.  I hopped off the bus one day and did this tiny sketch.  When I look at it what I remember was the rush I got from actually doing a sketch outdoors.  I was only off the bus for 10-15 minutes but it was a precious 15 minutes.  Done in a Stillman & Birn Alpha (4×6) using a TWSBI Mini and Noodler’s Lexington Gray.

2013-05-311stAveRestaurantAnother day, I got to the bus stop just as my bus was pulling away.  I quickly did this little sketch of a somewhat ugly restaurant across the street.  This place has changed hands so many times I can’t remember all the restaurant names it’s announced proudly to a customer base that never came.  Not sure what kind of food they serve now.  I’m one of those who never went.  Same sketchbook but I was using a Noodler’s Creaper here.  Only had 10 minutes as I had to catch the next bus.

2013-06-03Ferry

I tried to have a sketching day with my friend Claudette.  It was raining but we climbed aboard the ferry that traverses the St. Lawrence.  It only takes 10 minutes to cross and crossings take place every half hour.  We made several circuits but, for me, it was not a great adventure.  The fog was so bad that you couldn’t see the buildings on either side of the St. Lawrence and for a while it rained so hard you couldn’t see much of anything.  Mostly I just looked out the windows and wished it would stop raining.  This sketch was done in an S&B Alpha (10×7) with the TWSBI Mini.  I sort of lost interest by the time I got to the vending machines (grin).

Will it EVER stop raining?

Holiday Weekend Sketching

Last Friday was a crazy day, with trying to fit X hours of work into fewer than X hours of available time.  But I was desperate enough to get it done cuz Saturday was the beginning of three days of good weather and SKETCHING!!!!

2013-05-18MaisonGominSaturday I hopped a bus for the other side of town as I’d convinced my buddy Yvan that we ‘needed’ to sketch Maison Gomin.  This is a castle-like building that used to be a woman’s prison.  It’s now a funeral/crematorium place that drips money inside.  Seems there’s a lot of money in dead people.  Anyway, this sketch represents one end of the building.  The dragon sits on top of the other end, guarding the princess.  It was done in my Stillman & Birn Alpha (10×7) sketchbook.  I used a TWSBI Mini and Platinum Carbon Black.

2013-05-19MoulinDesJesuites_siteSunday morning Yvan and I headed the the north part of the city and we sketched an old mill (17th Century) built and operated by Jesuits.  It’s now a historical landmark.

It was done in the same sketchbook with the same pen.  It suffers a bit from a change of heart on my part.  When I laid out the sketch I thought I’d let the end of the smaller building run off the page to the right.  But later I decided I wanted the end of it in the sketch and thought I could do that by simply shortening it.  I did that but the proportions of the building made it look odd, but then most of my sketches are odd so I guess it fits.

2013-05-19CadranSundialAs we were packing up I decided to do this quick sketch of a sundial which is unlike any I’d seen before.  It’s a tiny sketch, done in a Stillman & Birn Alpha (4×6).  I used Lexington Gray in a Noodler’s Creaper to draw it.   Color was quickly applied by waterbrushes filled with very, very dilute ink.

Monday I was going to stay home and work but I got the itch to sketch some more and so I wandered downtown.  I realized that I had never sketched the Musee de la Civilisation, where I spent the winter sketching.  So I took the opportunity and did this sketch of the left end of the museum complex.  Back to the S&B Alpha (10×7) for this one and the TWSBI Mini, though I switched to Noodler’s Lexington Gray for ink.  I prefer the dark gray lines to the stark black of Platinum Carbon Black.

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All and all, it was a great weekend, with good weather, good company, and a great time sketching.  I’m still thinking about it as this week it’s been raining almost constantly 🙁

A Bit of Urban Sketching

Just as spring had sprung and it was starting to be warm enough to sketch outdoors, yours truly decided it was time to get sick.  I spent more than a week feeling pretty bad, made all the worse by coming home one day to find water dripping from our first-floor ceiling.  I still have a hole in the ceiling to fix but the pipes are holding water again.

2013-04-27BeauportHouseBWBefore getting sick, though, I did get out with my buddy Yvan and we rode our bikes on an adventure into Beauport, a suburb of Quebec City.  We sketched this house, which I liked very much.  I used my Pilot Prera for this one.  Same Noodler’s Lexington Gray I normally use.

I did stop in the old city one day as I was returning from French school and I made this sketch in a Stillman & Birn Zeta (5.5×8.5) sketchbook, using a TWSBI Mini and Noodler’s Lexington Gray.

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And so, as the weekend approached, and my energy had come back, I was chomping at the bit to go sketching.  Mother Nature had other ideas and it rained all day Saturday.  Yvan and I went sketching anyway.  We headed to the Musee de la Civilisation and while it’s between major exhibitions, it was at least warm and dry and we figured we could find something to sketch there.

2013-05-11CaberetLeChatWhat we found was a small exhibit of architectural models of classic structures that were part of old Paris.  I chose to sketch Cabaret Le Chat, one of the popular hot spots on the north side of Paris.  The model was about 15″ high and fairly well-done, though the building to the right of it lacked any detail, which is how I drew it.  Stillman & Birn Zeta sketchbook and TWSBI Mini fountain pen.  I had switched up the ink and was using Platinum Carbon Black.

When we finished there it was still raining and we decided that we should board the ferry that goes between Quebec City and Levis, across the St. Lawrence River.  The ferry has a nice, cozy passenger area with big windows and we figured we could sketch from there.  We hadn’t included the heavy mist/fog in our calculations as you could hardly see the other side of the river, only a few hundred yards away.

2013-05-11LevisStoreSo, we just rode across, got off, and decided to sketch out the windows of the ferry building, catching the next boat (30 minutes) for our return.  I still have problems sketching while holding a sketchbook in one hand, pen in the other.  I generally perch my sketchbook on my knee or on a table if one is available.  I also have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time so maybe it’s just too much for my brain to hold one item (sketchbook) still while moving another (pen) around.  This sketch suffers from a case of the wobbles and the fact that I was working quicker than my normal glacial pace.  I did this it in a small Stillman & Birn Alpha (4×6) with the same TWSBI Mini and Platinum Carbon Black.  Color comes from some quick swipes with Faber-Castell watercolor pencils.

I went sketching.  It was a wet day, but a good day.

Sketching Visualization And How To Miss Your Bus

A very popular form of sports training is mental visualization, where the athlete visualizes himself doing whatever sport it is they are doing.  You can see it in real time by watching a golfer set up for a shot.  They’ll look towards their target, staring intently.  They’re “seeing” (visualizing) the shot.  Seeing the ball travel the ideal trajectory.  Then they take a practice swing, again seeing that trajectory.  Repeated visualization has been shown to produce positive results.  Some suggest that this process is the very basis of positive thinking.  It’s the ultimate in what you see is what you get.

I find myself doing this constantly relative to my sketching.  During any dull moment you’ll find me ‘drawing’ something, anything, but without a pen and without paper.  I envision running the pen around the outline of a house, a sign, a fire hydrant.  At other times I’ll just mentally dissect the angles and relationships between pieces of some object.  I think this constant practice of my ‘seeing’, making those all important eye/mind connections, has helped me quite a bit as a sketcher.

2012-05 Bus

But there’s been one problem.  It causes me to miss my bus.  The first time this happened I was waiting for a bus across the street from a major shopping center.  I was ‘drawing’ a large sign and got involved with noticing the various tones from the various planes that composed the sign.  Only the sound of the bus pulling away brought me out of my trance.

Then there was the day I was waiting for the bus early in the morning.  I was looking at rooftop angles, trying to see how they changed as I looked at a row of buildings along the street.  It was an interesting mental experiment, until the bus went by as I obviously wasn’t interested in the bus.  I was holding my finger up to analyze the angles.

We’ve got a great bus system in Quebec City but if you don’t get on them, they don’t take you anywhere.  Lucky for me I always have something to do when I wait the 10 minutes for the next one to come along.