Sketching At Domaine Cataraqui

It’s clear that Domaine Cataraqui was once the humble abode of some rich folks.  These days, however, there’s a public component to the estate grounds, including a large parking lot, a communal garden and a bunch of picnic tables.  The main building now houses a cooking school.  Still, there seems to be an active staff maintaining the place.

For our regular sketching group, it’s a wonderful place to go sketching because one can sketch nature or architecture and so we headed there on a nice sunny day to burn some ink.

I found a nice spot under a huge elm that had a good view of the greenhouse attached to the mansion and went to work.  For some reason I found it more complex than I thought it would be but I got lost in the sketch and well over an hour had passed before I came out of my haze.

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

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

I spent the next few minutes wandering around, mostly taking a break but I found this large pile of equally large rocks with flowers planted in the crevices.   I always find drawing rocks to be lots of fun and these were no exception.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (5.5x8.5), Platinum 3776, PLatinum Carbon Black

Stillman & Birn Alpha (5.5×8.5), Platinum 3776, PLatinum Carbon Black

Then it was time for a snack and sketcher talk.  Hope you like the sketches as much as I liked doing them.

Ottawa’s Agriculture Museum

I forgot about this sketch yesterday when I was posting building sketches from my Ottawa trip.  My daughter and I spent part of a day at the Agriculture Museum in Ottawa and I drew this beautiful old barn.  It should have been included in the last blog post.

Stillman & Birn Delta (8x10), Platinum 3776

Sketching Ottawa Statues

There are a lot of “old dead guy” statues in Ottawa and while interesting, I was looking for something different when I wandered around evaluating  statues for sketching.  I found two that I liked a lot.  Hope you approve of my choices.

This statue sits in a small triangle of dirt/grass with cars whizzing by on all three sides of it.  It’s near the National Art Gallery and while I’ve been there several times, I’ve never even noticed it because of its location.  But heck, there it was and there was a large tree under which I could sit while I sketched it.  Like the streets surrounding it, the statue is a 3-sided affair, though you can only see two sides of it in my sketch.  It’s Haida, I think and quite beautiful.

 

2016-06-23haidastatue

Stillman & Birn Alpha (5.5×8.5), Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

I was walking from Parliament towards Confederation Park and as I passed the post office on Spark Street I noticed a couple of large lions protecting the doors.  In truth, they themselves were caged by large fencing put up to protect people like me from construction going on around the facade of the building.  This made it hard to find a place where I could sit to draw.  I walked around the building and found there are actually half a dozen of these guys standing around in the sun.  They’re enlarged heads make them all the more majestic and I had to draw one.  I found a place where I can climb up on some large concrete blocks, set up my stool and draw.  I only fell off once.

2016-06-24Lion

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

Sketching At Jardin botanique Roger-Van den Hende

When I want to draw some plants I head to Jardin botanique Roger-Van den Hende.  It’s a very large garden that is something of a large library of plants rather than a coordinated esthetic garden.  So many textures, so many shapes.

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

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

Our sketching group met there on Thursday and the weather couldn’t be better.  Lots of sun, little wind, and it was warm enough that even I was searching for some shade.  I was planning on drawing flowers but didn’t draw a single petal.  Funny how fickle the sketching eye is and I went down a different path.  We’ve scheduled a sketchcrawl in the garden for July so many I’ll get to the flowers then.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (5x8), Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

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

Sketching Around Bassin Louise

A popular place in Quebec City is Bassin Louise, the sheltered harbor area where people keep their sailboats and mini-yachts.  There’s also a large market complex that is popular with tourists and locals alike.  And that’s where our sketching group was on Tuesday morning.  We’re finally getting decent sketching weather so we’re taking advantage of it.

This is a view I’ve wanted to sketch for a while.  It’s nothing special but the trees frame up a group of building shapes that has always attracted my eye.

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

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

Sometimes I’m attracted by a shape, sometimes a texture.  Unlike a lot of artists, I’m not driven to find “great scenes” but rather I like things that look like they’d be fun to draw.  I think this sketch illustrates this point.  I was walking along the harbor and found the sacks that cover furled sails create an interesting draped fabric shape and I thought they’d be fun to draw one… and so I did.  Ain’t sketching fun?

Stillman & Birn Alpha (5x8), Platinum 3776

Stillman & Birn Alpha (5×8), 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

Wandering The Alleyways Of Quebec

We’ve finally gotten a couple days where we could sketch outdoors and we’ve taken advantage of it.  A group of us met to wander the alleyways and do some sketching together and we had a lot of fun doing just that.  What alleyways may lack in terms of esthetics, they more than make up for in the form of interesting shape complexes and textures.  If only there were fewer stairs to draw (grin).

Stillman & Birn Delta, Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

Stillman & Birn Delta, Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

Every gathering of sketchers has periods where we ignore one another because we’re lost in our sketching but eventually we get hungry and we come together.  This day was no exception and we gathered at the local coffee shop for food and to chatter away about pens and paper.  Then it was back on the streets, or alleyways in this case, in search of something else to draw.

I decided to sketch a sketcher.  Yvan was sketching up a storm when I sat down to sketch him and while I don’t do him justice, he was a cooperative model.  All in all, it was a wonderful day.  We were teased by those couple days of good weather and I’m looking forward to more of them.  Yesterday it snowed.

Stillman & Birn Gamma, Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

Stillman & Birn Gamma, Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

Rain In The Alleyways

Last Sunday was our May sketchcrawl through the alleyways of Limoilu but things didn’t go as planned.  My first sketch was interrupted by rain, big drops hitting the sketch before the ink had dried that created ink splats to form on the page.  A quick run to the coffee shop where Yvan and Ginette shaking off their own rain.

This was Ginette’s first sketchcrawl and we had a great time getting to know each other as we sat in the cafe, sketching people.  Clearly she was the highlight of this sketchcrawl as it just went downhill from here.

We are almost desperate to sketch outdoors and the sketchcrawl was supposed to be our first outdoor sketchcrawl of the year, so when the rain stopped we headed out again to do the proverbial try, try again.  Same results, and in my case it was worse – another sketch ruined.  We decided to pack it in and that was probably a good thing because almost immediately the rain started coming down in buckets.

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

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

The attempts to sketch alleyways put me in the mood to try again as in Quebec City alleyways provide large shape-clusters that are both appealing to me and challenging, particularly all the stairways going up the back of the structures.  So, when the weather turned nice on Wednesday, I headed out to sketch.  Here are two sketches I did that day.  They don’t have any color on them because I forgot to put my watercolor kit in my bag.  Hope you like them.

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

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

 

First Outdoor Sketch Of The Year

We’ve completed the first week of May and we have yet to see our first 60F temperatures in Quebec City.  In fact, they say, it may freeze tonight.  But, we now have several crocuses peaking out of the ground and that’s a good sign.  I think they’re teasing but Mr. Weatherman says it may hit 70F later this week so I guess spring has finally sprung.

A couple days ago, however, it did get into the 50s and so I headed out to do some sketching.  I wore gloves, jacket and sweater and it wasn’t too bad as I sketched this building, though by the time I got to adding color, I was ready to move around to warm up.   Here it is, though, my first outdoor sketch of 2016.

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

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