A Visit To The Pre-Winnebago Days

An outdoor theatre group was in town for a week and one of their props was this old trailer.  I remember these when I was a kid, long before people started driving Winnebagos the size of a barn down our highways.

It’s not the most beautiful trailer, and I didn’t create a particularly beautiful sketch of it, but memories are contained within and I hope the sketch conjours a few of your own.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (8x5), Platinum 3776

Stillman & Birn Alpha (8×5), Platinum 3776

Ferns In Captivity

I live on a part of the Earth where you can go into forests and find wild ferns hanging out as part of the forest understory.  So much so, in fact, that fern leaves, before they’ve unrolled, are collected and sold as Fiddlehead greens in our grocery stores during late spring.  This is novel to a guy who grew up in Arizona.

Of course you can also find them kept in captivity, kept by those with greener thumbs than mine.  There were a bunch of them in the same place as the Chinese statues I talked about in my last blog post and I drew one of them as they live in really nice clay pots.  I should have posted the sketch with the statue sketch but I forgot all about it.  I post it here to make up for that omission.

Stillman & Birn Delta (8x10), Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

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

Chinese Statues In Ste-Foy, Quebec

When they were building it, some of the cynics referred to the grandiose building that was to be Ste-Foy City Hall as the “Taj Mahal.”  It really was on an over-the-top building just to house the mayor and his court.  And the irony is that it wasn’t too many years later that all the smaller municipalities were merged with Quebec City and city governance moved, principally into the Quebec City Hall.

I’m not sure what the function of the building is these days but one thing it does is to keep the rain off a couple of beautiful Chinese statues.  It’s just as unclear why these statues exist in Quebec City but our group took advantage of them to do some sketching during yet another rainy day.  It was a fun days and I hope you like my result.

Stillman & Birn Delta (8x10), Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

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

Rainy Tuesday Sketching

We can’t catch a break with the weather it seems but Yvan and I sat under an awning in open-air atrium at the museum and sketched very large potted plants.  This area becomes a restaurant when weather permits and these huge pots will be moved around to decorate the area.  I was struck by the fact that while these huge planters were very similar to one another, none of them were exactly alike.

Large planters at museum

Stillman & Birn Alpha (8×5), Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

Back On The Plains Of Abraham

Well, the last time I was on the Plains of Abraham (in Jardin Jeanne d’Arc) I froze because I dressed for summer and Mother Nature was still thinking early spring.  So, I returned on Friday, in long pants and wearing a jacket.  And I’m glad I did because it was very pleasant to sit in a grassy area and draw this scene.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (5x8), Platinum 3776

Stillman & Birn Alpha (5×8), Platinum 3776

The structure is an interesting one.  It is a military observation/gun emplacement built by the British to defend against a potential attack from the United States.  What’s interesting about it is that you’re looking at the “thin” side of the building.  The walls on this side are typical stone while on the side facing south the walls are very thick to withstand cannon fire, and maybe even a Trump speech (grin).

Sketching In Parc Jeanne D’Arc

We’re in an intermittent rainy period so it’s been hard for us to plan our weekly get togethers but I recommended that we gather at a large park associated with the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City.  This place is beautiful and in the middle of it is a large statue of Jeanne d’Arc, after whom the park is named.  Weather reports said it would be sunny in the morning and that the rain would only come later in the afternoon.

Stillman & BIrn Alpha (8x5), Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

Stillman & BIrn Alpha (8×5), Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

So some of us did show up and we were greeted with cool (16-degree) temps and significant winds that made it feel quite cool.  All the smart people (ie – everyone but me) wore long pants and jackets.  I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

Undaunted, I sat behind a bunch of tulips and started drawing.  The flowers were blowing around and I’m sure my body temperature was dropping.  Nevertheless, I did draw three tulips before I had to choose between hypothermia and getting up and walking around.

Stillman & Birn Alpha, Platinum 3776

Stillman & Birn Alpha, Platinum 3776

I visited everyone else, saw what they were drawing and then walked up and down the garden a couple times, half looking for something to draw and half just trying to stay warm.  Eventually I decided to do a quick sketch of one of the drinking fountains.  I love them but I need more time and temperature to do them justice in a sketch.

I kept moving but at this point my shorts/tshirt garb and frozen physiology had become foolhardy.  I certainly couldn’t concentrate on drawing so I was close to calling it quits.  One more lesson learned, maybe.

But I saw Hubert sketching and I related to his scrunched down form, head poking out from between the turned-up collars of his vest.  It just seemed tell the story of my day and I had to quickly sketch him as well.

Stillman & Birn Alpha, Platinum 3776

Stillman & Birn Alpha, Platinum 3776

A Bright Idea From Bright Ideas

20160531_BrightIdeasSometimes you just want to draw on colored paper.  Maybe it comes from the days when we were kids and had piles of “construction paper” in all colors of the rainbow.  Whatever its roots, sketchers like to shun the white and walk a bit on the wild side, if only once in a while.

A company called Bright Ideas has a solution and it’s called the Bright Ideas Journal.   This is a 5×7 book with 408 pages.  I suppose you could get away with very light applications of watercolor but the paper isn’t heavy enough for the serious watercolorist.  As a substrate for pencil and/or ink drawings, however, this journal is pretty sweet.

2016-05-31binding

It’s thick (about 1-inch) compared to most sketchbooks because of its 408 pages of paper in ten different colors but a big plus is that this book lays flat, very flat because of the open spine binding.   Some may grumble because each page has the name of its section printed in the lower right corner.  What purpose this could possibly serve is lost on me but I don’t find it objectionable for my ‘small sketches’ needs.

201605-31opensflatI haven’t had much chance to experiment with it but the paper takes ink very well, with no feathering, no bleedthrough and ghosting only if you hold up the sheet to the light.  I think I’m going to have a lot of fun with this book and I thank the Bright Ideas folks for their bright idea.  I ran down to the local park and did this quick test sketch so I’d have at least one ‘test’ that isn’t a bunch of scribbles.

2016-06-01test_sketch

 

 

More Sketches From Yvan’s Garden

I promised I’d post the rest of my sketches from Yvan’s garden and here they are.  We did have a lot of fun that day.

These were in a window box and difficult to draw because they were in the shade. Stillman & Birn Alpha (8x5), Platinum 3776

These were in a window box and difficult to draw because they were in the shade. Stillman & Birn Alpha (8×5), Platinum 3776

This small birdfeeder brought delight in the form of black capped chickadees, gold finches, and sparrows. Stillman & Birn Alpha (8x5), Platinum 3776

This small birdfeeder brought delight in the form of black capped chickadees, gold finches, and sparrows. Stillman & Birn Alpha (8×5), Platinum 3776

I don't even know what this is but it was fun to draw. Stillman & Birn Alpha (8x5), Platinum 3776

I don’t even know what this is but it was fun to draw. Stillman & Birn Alpha (8×5), Platinum 3776

A Look At Part Of Quebec City’s Port Area

I was out walking and took the opportunity to sketch a bit of Quebec City’s port area.  This is small portion of it, which is the place where Riviere St. Charles empties into the St. Lawrence River.  It’s an ever-changing scene as large ships dock on each side of it for loading and unloading.  It’s good to be out in the sunshine again.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (8x5) softcover, Platinum 3776

Stillman & Birn Alpha (8×5) softcover, Platinum 3776

Cartier Monument And More…

French explorer Jacques Cartier made a couple trips to what is now called Quebec.  On his second visit, in 1535, he and his crew wintered only about 10 minutes from my house, at the confluence of the St. Charles River and the Lairet River.  Why he didn’t stop by for coffee is unclear.  Maybe the timing wasn’t right.  Maybe he knew how bad my French was.

Stillman & Birn Gamma, Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

Stillman & Birn Gamma, Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

Our group was sketching Limoilou just before I headed to Ottawa last weekend and decided to draw the monument erected in his honor in spite of his snubbing me when he was here.  The monument sits in what is now called Cartier-Brébeuf park in honor of you know who.

Sweet Tooth FIeld Notes, Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

Sweet Tooth FIeld Notes, Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

When I finished the sketch I started wandering around, trying to find the other sketchers.  I came across Lisette and Hubert who were drawing an old Catholic church that has become Quebec’s clown school.

They still needed a few minutes to finish up so I decided to do a quick sketch of the church chimney.  Once they finished up we all met for lunch.  All in all, it was a great day as we’re finally getting to sketch outdoors.