No far from my house is Pont Drouin (Drouin Bridge). There are benches on either side of the roadway where you can sit in the middle of the bridge and ponder your navel, or maybe sketch. I chose to do the later, quickly trying to capture the scene without much detail.
When I came to Quebec I was struck by how people would completely change their schedules if the sun shined, cancelling meetings so they could go on a picnic, taking the day off from work so they could go get a tan, or maybe just to do a happy dance. Coming from Arizona, it never crossed my mind that sunshine was something to be savoured when it was around.
I’ve learned, though, that rare things have that affect on behavior and it couldn’t be more true this year. Three of us skipped off to Limoilou to sketch on Tuesday because it wasn’t raining – the sun was shining. It was a rather short adventure but sketch we did.
I’m working on doing my sketching more quickly than my norm and chose to apply those efforts towards this stately building along 4th Avenue. It almost looks out of place as it’s far more elegant than those around it and I suspect it once served some special purpose. I even got to work on my tan while I drew it.
This summer has become one for the record books in terms of how little sketching I’ve been able to do. The lousy weather was bad enough but being rushed to the hospital with heart problems really put a damper on my sketching just when we started getting some good sketching days. Happy as a clam following recovery from that, though, I was starting to get out sketching until…
My daughter is still in Ottawa and she decided to fall down a bunch of stairs. It could have been worse, but she badly sprained her ankle and was suddenly on crutches. To put this in context, she’s in Ottawa alone and needs to walk 20-25 min each way to work every day. To make matters worse, her timing was unfortunate because she had arranged to take the bus to Montreal to pick up the keys for her new apartment. And so she called mom and dad.
The result was that we dropped everything and drove five hours to Ottawa and the next morning we drove to Montreal and back (another four hours). Back in Ottawa, we spent the night and the next day we drove back to Quebec City (another five hours). What a weekend. I’m old; I was exhausted.
So…not much sketching time that weekend, but we did sit in a park or about an hour and once we got Jodie sitting and her leg propped up I did some quick sketching.
Certainly not the best scene ever but this is what I could see over the trees. It was nice to scratch out this sketch in a Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10).
I took a short break and took a walk along the river. The Rideau River has bike/pedestrian paths on both sides of the river and it was nice to get out and do some walking. When I got back I drew this little scene, again, viewed across the Rideau River.
A river, northeast of Quebec City, creates a spectacular display as it tumbles through a small series of rapids and waterfalls near Inverness, Quebec. At the lip of the river canyon, fellow sketcher and all-around great person, Claudette and her chum have a really nice place and we were invited to spend the day sketching.
It was a great day and I wish I’d been feeling better. The drugs I was given for my heart, while fine now, weren’t doing me any favors that weekend. Nevertheless, it was a great day in spite of this small problem. There were nine of us and we headed into the canyon shortly after we arrived.
Everyone started to draw and, of course, it started raining. Some had brought umbrellas but I was not so equipped and as the rain hit my ink, it blossomed across the page. What a frustrating mess that was. So, I grabbed my 3×5 Stillman & Birn Epsilon sketchbook and drew Lisette in her “July in Quebec” sketching suit.
The rain was not long-lived, though, and the rest of the day was under a bright sun and warm temperatures. Rain free, I made a second attempt at drawing the road bridge over the river and above the falls.
Eventually hunger drove us from the canyon and we headed to Claudette’s place for lunch and conversation. I confess that my limited language skills are not up to the task of keeping up with the rapid fire French that occurs when so many fluent speakers are together, but lunch was fun anyway. At one point, though, I got up from the table and took a seat outside the fray. Again, in my small sketchbook I did this quick sketch of the party.
I wasn’t feeling that well and so didn’t get much accomplished the rest of the day but it was really nice to get out of the city. Thanks Claudette, for a great day.
I think we must be setting a record for sitting in alleyways while drawing. Sort of goofy I suppose but alleyways do present scenes with a lot of personality, albeit a somewhat humble form of it.
Claudette and I both chose this scene. I get the impression that the door on the right leads to an empty building but I could be wrong. In any event, I had fun drawing this one and we’ll probably all be back in the “ruelles” again.
What’s your ideal sketching day? I think mine is spending the day at Miriam’s cottage. Miriam’s cottage is an idyllic place on a large island in the St. Lawrence River, near Quebec City. She’s got a wonderful artist’s cottage, a huge barn full of sketchable stuff, and a chunk of land you could get lost in as long as you didn’t run out of paper. All of that would be great enough but there’s also Miriam, who is an inspiration.
She approaches art the way we all did as kids. She’s very much a “let’s try this” and “just have fun” kind of gal. Her house has one wall with animal heads looking down on the proceedings. These are not just any old animals either. There’s a unicorn among them and all are made from paper mache. In her loft there’s an full size man done using similar materials. She draws with abandon and with considerable skill, choosing her tools on a whim. It’s hard not to be humbled and harder still not to be thrilled just to be there. Her dog Nikki is a joy and he loves to sit at a sketcher’s feet, apparently enjoying our silence, or maybe the scratching of a pen on paper.
Yvan and I went out to visit her a few days ago. It was a rainy day but we were able to find cover and did some drawing. The first drawing I did was this one.
Yvan was drawing next to me and I grumbled about how hard it was to draw this simple scene because nothing on this old barn was in alignment as it should be. He took that as an opportunity to give me an art lesson and we had a great conversation about lines, squinting, and my problems with both things. It was perfect.
I got out my little S&B Epsilon (3.5×5.5) book and drew this small sketch of the pool shed, trying to keep what Yvan had talked about in mind. Then it was time for lunch so we headed to the deck, put up an umbrella over a table and ourselves and then spent an hour or so eating and enjoying each other’s company. Miriam’s sister, Sarah, joined us.
The rain stopped and we decided that we should walk a bit so we headed down the hill, down the road and ended up at low tide next to the St. Lawrence. In this location, huge rocks are exposed at low tide and we got the bright idea to try to do a drawing, in spite of the fact that it was threatening more rain.
I only had my little sketchbook with me and a Pilot 78G but that was enough. I sat down behind where Miriam was sketching and drew her and the surrounding rocks. I had no color with me but it didn’t much matter because I had to rush the last few lines because the rain had started to fall again. I added the color when I got home.
We climbed the hill back to Miriam’s place and all agreed that we were going to have to do this again…and maybe again. It was, indeed, an ideal sketching day.
It’s well-known that I’m a slower than molasses sketcher, but I am making a concerted effort t speed things up. The big problem is that when I do everything else goes downhill and I get frustrated. Such is my life but I keep trying.
A few posts ago I talked about some sketching I’d done one morning, including a quick sketch from a photo of a scene not far from my house. I decided to go to that location and do it again. Here it is, this one done in a Stillman & Birn Alpha (8.5×5.5) and with a dab of color added.
It seems as though we won’t be having a summer this year. Lots of rain and temps cool enough that we’re back to wearing jackets to go sketching. Pretty odd for July, even in Quebec City.
We headed to a large garden in Ste-Foy last week for a sketching session. Reports said the rain wouldn’t start until late afternoon, though it looked as though it could rain at any minute. We’re getting used to the dull days, though, so we didn’t think much of it. The garden brought reality home to roost. There were so few flowers, so little growth. The trees and grass were all very green, probably because of the rain, but the garden plants looked like it was April.
Everyone cast around for something to draw and I started by drawing on of my fellow sketchers. I admit my heart wasn’t into it but a quick sketch was done quickly. After this I got up and started wandering the grounds, around and around I went. Nothing inspired.
There were some people weeding some large beds and they had a small garden vehicle in support. I decided “why not” and sat down to draw it. A woman came over and asked if I wanted her to move the vehicle, thinking I wanted to draw the garden, but I explained that I was going to draw the vehicle. She laughed, probably thought I was nuts, and I set to work. Here’s what I came up with. Not a Rembrandt but it sure was fun to draw.
I do almost all of my sketching on location so I’m very comfortable doing so. There is one circumstance, however, that I find challenging. Looking up at the subject to be sketched always seems harder than it should be. I don’t know if there’s something about the upward-looking angle or the fact that I have to bob my head through a much larger angle between subject and paper. In any case, getting the proportions and perspective correct is always harder.
We were sketching at the train station, though, and I drew this portion of one of the buildings. Quebec is blessed with these sorts of rooftops and so looking up is is worth the effort.
The day of my daughter’s graduation we did some more shopping and returned to Andrew Haydon Park. It was still windy and still stormy but we like this park because there are a lots of geese and you can see the St. Lawrence River from there.
As a chipmunk foraged around us, I drew this sketch of a spit of land that sticks out on the other side of the marina associated with the park. I forgot to include it in yesterday’s post.