February Croquistes De Quebec Sketchcrawl

It’s hard to find places to hold winter sketchcrawls in Quebec City.  We don’t have an array of museums to choose from so we’ve got to get inventive.  So far, those inventions have been quite successful, mostly because of the participants are so fun to be around.  I think the February event will be even better.

We’re going to meet at Maison Dorion-Coulombe, which is the home of the Riviere St. Charles Society, a group that helps to maintain the 32km long Parc Lineare that runs along the river.  They do great work, including the maintenance of Dorion-Coulombe and the small museum contained within its walls.

We’re fortunate to be invited to hold a sketchcrawl there on Valentine’s Day, Sunday, February 14th.  We’ll meet at 9:30 and get to draw the stuffed animals, plants, and the views of the river and bridge beyond.  We’ll be in the company of a large turtle who smiles a lot as he swims in a large aquarium.  While you can buy coffee and water on site, you need to bring a lunch as there are no restaurants nearby.

One thing we’re going to do a bit different, to add a bit of spice to the event, is to bring along an item or three that people can sketch if they choose to do so.  This is a lot of fun and we encourage you to drop an item into your own bag to bring along.

The last time we did a sketchcrawl at Maison Dorion-Coulombe it was raining and yet it was a fantastic as a sketchcrawl site.  The cold of winter should make drawing in a nice warm environment even more fun.

Look Outside Sketching

Doo doo doo lookin’ out my back door. – Credence Clearwater Revival

Looking Out My Backdoor was one of the craziest songs CCR ever created.  It won gold and platinum records, made you happy when you heard it, and the lyrics made no sense whatever.

Sometimes my sketching is like that and no more so than when I went sketching with Yvan at the museum chapel where we’ve been sketching lately.  Due to circumstance, mostly beyond my control, I arrived at the chapel really late.  Yvan was well into his sketching and so I looked around for something to draw quickly in the remaining time.

Seminary entrance

Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

There are windows that look out on a large courtyard, with beautiful seminary buildings encircling it.  I’ve drawn their roofs and steeples in the past.  But today everything was covered with featureless snow, so there wasn’t much to draw.  I decided to sketch the entrance on the other side of the courtyard.  Then, I drew the only other thing sticking up from the white landscape – a bicycle and trash can.  See what I mean?  Just like the CCR song, the sketches make little sense but they made me very happy.  Hope they make you smile too.

bicycle

Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

 

Sketching Winter People

At piano recital

At piano recital – Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

As an urban sketcher, I guess I’m an odd one as my least favorite subject is the human.  I don’t know what it is but I don’t find them that interesting.  Maybe that will change some day but for now, my people sketching is done more out of desperation for something to draw when it’s too cold to sit on the streets and draw architecture.

Guy waiting for light to change - Zebra 701 ballpoint.

Guy waiting for light to change – Zebra 701 ballpoint.

And so it is these days so I’ve been doing some people sketching.  I thought I’d share a few of those sketches, done in small notebooks.  They’re done quickly and, I’m afraid, not very well but that’s what happens when you don’t practice.  Maybe I’ll be better before spring shows up.

2016-01-29people5

Standing on street corner, Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

Drawing people in ads on TV - Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

Drawing people in ads on TV – Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

People waiting to order at McDonalds - Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

People waiting to order at McDonalds – Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

A Sketching Challenge: Chapel Altar

I love drawing the ornaments and carvings in churches but confess that I find most churches to be pretentious.  Still, there I was, in the chapel associated with the Musée d’Amérique francophone when I got the bright idea to sketch the huge, monolithic, altar.  Because of the complicated nature of it, doing a proper, accurate drawing would have required many hours.  I only had two.

So I “steeled” myself (i.e. tried to channel Liz Steel) and set to work.  My eyes crossed several times as I tried to draw all the bits and details of this 30-foot high structure.  It was both fun and tiring, and it humbled me a bit, which I guess is the goal of such structures.

Musee d'Amerique chapel altar

Fabriano Artistico CP (7.5×11), Pilot Metropolitan, DeAtramentis Document Black

Urban Sketcher Goes Rogue

I’m an urban sketcher, or at least almost everything I draw is done ‘on location’ – drawing what I see.  I’ve not be too interested in ‘expressive’ or abstract drawing.  I’m not into adult coloring books.  I just draw stuff and wandering my city looking for things to draw is part of my equation.

But it’s winter here in Quebec and while it’s amazingly warm for us at the beginning of February our high temps are still in the -10 range so sketching on the street, my usual location, isn’t really practical.  I know that Nina Johansson uses vodka so her paints don’t freeze but I’m an old Arizona boy and I’d have to consume a lot of vodka to keep myself from freezing.

And so, this is the time of year when I start drawing people in coffee shops, restaurants and at the library.  This is a time when I draw in our museums.  This is the time of year when I’ll draw the occasional cast drawing in an attempt to improve my ability to see halftones and to render objects.

One thing I’ve never done in art was to make stuff up.  I’ve done it as a writer but I haven’t felt that I had sufficient handle on form, light and shade, and the rest to conjour drawings from my memory.  Yvan keeps telling me that I should develop that ability as it helps so much when drawing on location but, well, I haven’t done so.

Until yesterday.  I was playing with creating some watercolor backgrounds for doing ink sketches on to of them and when my brain looked at the bright Quin Gold blob I’d put in the middle, I saw a ‘tall mountain island fortress’ and so I started drawing.  It was a feeble effort, but an effort nonetheless, to draw something from my imagination.  I had fun and will probably do this some more.

2016-01-28FantasyIsland