Sketching Too Quickly

I’ve found it amazing to watch the likes of Veronica Lawlor drawing dancers.  It always seemed impossible.  Then my friend Yvan started attending sessions at our museum where dancers and choreographers were practicing.  The drawings he was producing were spectacular.   I kept saying “Maybe I’ll come along” and always I chickened out.  As a slow [understatement alert] sketcher this seemed impossible and I guess I was trying to avoid the frustration.

But I finally did attend one of those sessions with Yvan and two things became clear.  The first was that I was right.  It IS impossible.  The second thing was a big surprise.  I loved it and can’t wait to do it again.  My sketches are sloppy and barely look like the women I sketched.  One woman was wearing a huge African head scarf and she had bells covered with scarves on her ankles.

In all, I covered 14 pages with scribbles.  Some of them look almost like people and I’ve never moved my pen so quickly, never strained my visual memory so much and after two hours I was completely exhausted.  I could improve them by adding some shading but the point of the exercise was to draw quickly, without the time to think about it so I thought I’d present these as they were done, in the moment…in a moment.

I did some sketches of spectators.  They didn’t move so much.

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The rest of these came as a blur, or so it seemed at the time.  If you squint a lot you might enjoy them.  An open mind and closed eyes might be the best approach (grin).  I can’t wait to do it again.

2016-02-07dancers4 2016-02-07dancers5 2016-02-07dancers6 2016-02-07dancers7 2016-02-07dancers9

 

 

Love Me Some Harpsichord

I’m as close to a musical know-nothing as you can get but I really enjoy most classical music.  Spare me the Schoenberg’s 12-tone scales and other modern attempts at cacophony but the rest is great.  Sadly, I’m so ignorant of music that I can’t identify composers by ear, and can’t wax eloquently about how Beethoven’s 9th is such a great piece because…  I just listen.

And so for me, it’s more about particular instruments.  I love cello music of all kinds.  I think classical guitar is sublime.  But give me Bach played on a harpsichord and I am enthralled.  So it was exciting for me to show up at the chapel for draw-the-carving session to find a guy practicing harpsichord.  What could be better than listening to harpsichord music while sketching?  Maybe sketching a harpsichordist while listening to harpsichord music and that’s just what I did.  Unfortunately, when I finished I had to run off to the Musee de la Civilisation where there would be dancers to sketch.  More on that tomorrow.

chapel harpsichord

Canson XL watercolor paper, Pilot Prera, DeAtramentis Brown (and black)

 

Sketching Quebec City From Levis

Recently I wrote about  Yvan and I crossing the St. Lawrence so we could sketch the Quebec City skyline.  I mentioned that we were disappointed by the lack of sun that made it difficult to see the buildings clearly in the low-contrast light.

Of course we do quick sketches as we cross on the ferry. Here's one example - A Girl On a Boat (alias A Girl On a Phone).

Of course we do quick sketches as we cross on the ferry. Here’s one example – A Girl On a Boat (alias A Girl On a Phone).

Undaunted by that experience, we watched weather forecasts and, on a day that was supposed to be sunny, we boarded the ferry and headed to the south shore of the St. Lawrence.  That sounds too much like we took a trip.  The ferry ride is no more than 10 minutes and half of that is waiting as they dock the ship.  We scurried off the board and into the terminal, which is a nice, warm place from which to look at Quebec City.

Apparently, Mother Nature doesn’t read weather forecasts because there was no sun but we sketched anyway.  As we were leaving it started to snow.

Quebec City skyline

Fabriano Artistico CP, Platinum Carbon Black, Platinum 3776

Thursday Sketchers At The Museum

18th Century Armor

18th Century armor – Canson XL watercolor, Pilot Metropolitan, DeAtramentis Document Black

Our small group of “Thursday sketchers,” met at the Musee de La Civilisation.  I put the name in quotes because there’s nothing formal about us except that we meet at the museum on Thursdays.  Not surprisingly, we were there on Thursday (grin).

We scattered around the Quebec exhibition, which is part of the permanent collection, they’re planning on shutting it down for reorganision ‘real soon.’ Nothing motivates sketchers more than being told they weren’t going to lose access to something and so it went that day.

I’d made a short list of things I wanted to sketch before this happened so I set to work, not wanting to spend too much time on any one subject.  It was a great day and we had a lot of fun together.

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This goofy-looking, sheetmetal rooster came from a Church Steeple.   Pilot Metropolitan, DeAtramentis Document Black

cannonball mold

Half of a cannonball mold. Pilot Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black

Cheap, Small Sketchbooks – Another Solution

I go through a lot of small sketchbooks because I’m constantly scribbling in them.  I have one where I watch TV, one in my office, one in my coat pocket and at least one in each of my sketching bags.

I’ve tried using Field Notes notebooks.  I use the ‘mustache’ notebooks I wrote about at one point.  These are wonderful because of their toned 4×6 paper that take fountain pen ink well.  But for my sketching bags I like to have something that’s just a wee bit bigger, with a spiral binding so I can fold everything back and have just the sheet I’m working on in front of me.  It still has to be cheap, fountain pen friendly, and of a practical size.  For that I’ve been cutting 9×12 spiral-bound, 60# sketchbooks that I cut in half, creating 80-page 6×9 books that cost me less than $4.  All of these solutions suffer when I try to add even light washes of watercolor.

What is a problem is that while I like the cheap Fabriano paper in those 6×9 books, they’re just large for the purpose, being too large and too heavy because I’m also carrying my regular S&B sketchbooks.

CansonXL_inhalf

So, when I saw Canson’s XL Multi-Media book in a 7×10 size, I knew I’ve found my answer.  Cut in half (I just run it through my bandsaw), it provides two 60-sheet 5×7 sketchbooks and the best part was that the paper is 98lb paper that takes watercolor washes quite well.  No, I’m wrong.  The best part is that these books only cost $3.50.   I put one of my sketches on the front just to spiff it up a bit.

5x7sketchbook