Weathervane Sketching Is Fun

I should be writing blog posts about how life would be for a snail trying to do location sketching.  Movement from point A to point B is so slow and energy-draining for me these days that I have to make decisions based on how long it will take me to get there.  I suppose that’s true for everyone but I’m talking about how far I have to walk in a museum.  Distances measured in feet have become important (grin).  Weird that.

But I am starting to get out and about and it feels really good.  I went to the museum on Tuesday.  I used to walk there (about 45min).  Now I take two buses and when I get there I’m exhausted.  Once I’ve hobbled up a couple flights of stairs I have to sit down and rest before I try to sketch.

The significant thing about all this is that the majority of my sketching time isn’t spent sketching so I have to keep the subjects simple and just try to get as much enjoyment from the short sketching fix as possible.  There’s a row of weathervanes on display right now and they fit a snail-sketcher’s approach really well.  Hope you like this one.  The original is made of sheet metal.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9×6), Pilot/Namiki Falcon

Sketching On The Side Of The Road

We headed to Berthier last Thursday, to enjoy each other’s company and because Claudette has a new project – sketching Casse-Croutes.  I don’t even know what you call them in English but they are generally smallish, roadside food dispensaries.

Our first stop was a Casse Croute that sits on Rte 132 near Berthier, Quebec.  My sketch was going well until I started adding color.  I made a big mistake, though I only half know what it was.  I started adding shadows to the building and the shadow color started melting the Quin Gold already in place on the building, causing a mess.  Could be that the Quin Gold wasn’t dry.  Could be that I used too much water in the shadow.  Could be that I rubbed too hard.  In any case, I made a mess.  I post it here as an example of a sketch gone wrong.  Other than a bit of grumpling at the time, it was still fun.

It was time for lunch so we headed for the marina/park in Berthier, scored a great spot overlooking the St. Lawrence, and Louise started digging food out of a big case she brought along.  My goodness did we eat…and eat.  And drink.  Wine and sun can certainly mellow a sketcher.  By the time I was done consuming a gazillion calories and a sufficient ration of alcohol, I was ready for a nap.

But time was a wasting and we were sketchers.  We piled into the car and headed to a Casse Croute called L’Extra.  Claudette and Louise had already drawn that one but they wanted to draw some of the “extras”, which were a bunch of plywood cutouts of all sorts of stuff.  I have to be honest, between the wine, the sun and the goofy sketching subjects, I was less than enthused.  I still wanted my nap.  But I sat down with the rest of them.  Yvan took a photo of us.  I share that photo with you as it looks like we’re sitting on the side of a road praying.  I’m sure I had my eyes closed.  I did get out a sketchbook, though, and quickly doodled a few of those “extras.”  It was more fun than I thought it would be.  I think the wine helped.

 

My Love Affair With Street Lamps

Long ago, Pete Scully introduced me to the notion that the mundane in our lives could be great sketching subjects with his series of fire hydrant sketches.  I started drawing every fire hydrant and garbage can in sight.  When you start looking at these things as art objects, they become art objects and that Pete’s important lesson to the rest of us.

I feel the same way about street lamps.  I draw them all the time.  They serve as practice; they serve as fun.  They also serve as the basis for sketches that give me joy.  Here’s one I did recently in Tadoussac where my family spent the day last week.  I’ll talk more about sketching Tadoussac in a future post but for now, imagine a place with these all over the place.

Stillman & Birn Beta (6x9), Esterbrook J9550, diluted DeAtramentis Document Black

Stillman & Birn Beta (6×9), Esterbrook J9550, diluted DeAtramentis Document Black

Taking A Break By Drawing A Bridge

I was out walking the other day and realized that I’d forgotten my stool.  This limits where I can sit to sketch so I started looking for the magic sketcher’s triad.  A shady spot, a subject to sketch, and something to sit on.  Eventually I found a bench under a tree and the end of a bridge I could sketch.  This was the result.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (5x8), Esterbrook J9550, diluted DeAtramentis Document Black

Stillman & Birn Alpha (5×8), Esterbrook J9550, diluted DeAtramentis Document Black

Backyard Urban Sketching

You don’t have to go far from home to do urban sketching.  All you have to do is get a wife that’s an avid gardener and scenes worth sketching just pop up around your house.  I have one and this is a sketch I did one afternoon.

Stillman & Birn Alpha, Esterbrook J-2048

Stillman & Birn Alpha, Esterbrook J-2048