Sketching With The Jesuits

Last Sunday we met at the Maison des Jésuites de Sillery as our monthly Croquistes de Québec sketchcrawl.  Our time window was short because these small museums that are scattered around Quebec don’t open until 1PM during the winter but they are warm and they do have stuff to draw.   This particular place is a large two-story house, associated chapel, and the foundations of the original church that was across the street.  Contained within it are a bunch of artifacts that tell the story of this 18th Century missionary settlement.

While most were drawn to displays on the second floor, I couldn’t resist the golden eagle that was on display.  Halfway through the drawing I was wishing I’d chosen something else.  Did you realize that eagles have a lot of feathers?   I did like this view, however, as it’s a little different than the typical sideways, head up of most eagle photos/drawings.  Anyways, here’s what resulted from my interaction with this beautiful bird.

Stillman & Birn Beta softcover (8×10), Pilot Falcon, Diluted DeAtramentis Document Black

Old-Time Kitchen Sketching

In recent weeks I’ve had to forsake urban sketching because it’s just too darn cold outside and so I’ve started doing domestic sketching (my name for studio sketching as the opposite of urban sketching) and historic sketching (drawing from old photos).  Seems there is jargon-ese convergence in what I present today – historic, domestic, urban sketching.

Yvan and I braved the cold and took the ferry to Levis, where we climbed the hill and made our way to Maison Alphonse-Dejardins.  Dejardins is the guy who started the Quebec banking system and his home is now a museum in his honor.  I was on location and sketching and thus, I was an urban sketcher again.  But this time my target was the sink and counter in the smallish kitchen in this home.  Next time I’ll do the coal-fired stove cuz it’s a dandy.  And in one swoop, this sketch is both historic and domestic.  Voila, I did historic, domestic, urban sketching (grin).

I know, I’m being silly, but then the labels we put on everything, and worse, the debates over what qualifies as fitting a label are pretty silly too.  Anyways, here’s the sketch I did in a Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10) softcover sketchbook.  I kinda let the perspective get away from me but what the heck, if they were all perfect there’d be no reason to continue trying.

Maison Alphonse-Dejardins

Urban Sketching In 2029???

There I was, with John Connor, fighting against the machines.  Somehow my fountain pen didn’t seem quite up to the task.  Truthfully, neither was I.  The machines had taken over the Earth and they were in the process of exterminating the human race.  They were everywhere, as was evidence of the carnage.  What’s an urban sketcher to do?  Draw, of course.  A little thing like the annihilation of the human race can’t slow down an urban sketcher.

Ok…so I lied.  Actually, I was at our Museum of Civilisation, in the nanotechnology exhibit.  In that exhibit is a full-size model of the Terminator of movie fame in all its shiny metal glory and, of course, it’s posed over several broken skulls.  In honor of John Connor I did my best to capture the remains of the 2029 urban landscape.  I drew the skulls.

Stillman & Birn Beta softcover (8x10), Pilot Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black (diluted)

Stillman & Birn Beta softcover (8×10), Pilot Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black (diluted)

I’m Back Drawing Soapstone

[note:  this was done last week but I forgot to press the publish button]

We returned to the museum of civilisation on Thursday and I continued sketching Inuit soapstone carvings.  These are not precise carvings but they have a smoothness about their surfaces that is impressive when you realize they’re generally done by hand.  More importantly, traditional Inuit carving is a form of story-telling, a reflection of Inuit life.

I started a two-page spread in my Stillman & Birn 8×10 Beta softcover book but only got the central sculpture done.  It depicts a family’s successful hunt.

2016-11-14fishingfamilySorry about the poor photo.  I found it impossible to scan a two-page spread and didn’t have lights set up to photograph it properly.

The Saga Of A Sunday Sketchcrawl

Last Sunday was our monthly sketchcrawl.  We were to meet at a historic house, the Maison Alphonse-Dejardins, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River in Levis.  I was excited to visit the place and thankful that Yvan had arranged for us to sketch there.

Early Sunday morning, I set out on a walk to the ferry that took me just a bit less than an hour.  The ferry took 10-15 minutes to cross and then I had to climb a cliff (a gazillion stair steps are provided) and then into the older part of Levis where the house resides.  I was there at 10AM.  The air was crisp, which is a fancy way of saying I was glad I was wearing gloves, but I knew that people would be showing up soon.

But they didn’t.  Nobody came.  In fact, the house itself was dark.  I began to wonder if I’d written the date wrong.  Cell phones are handy at such times and the website announcement made clear my error.  Because of the house’s Sunday schedule, it didn’t open until the afternoon so the sketchcrawl was scheduled for 1PM.  @#%$!!

And so I walked to the stairs, descended the cliff and walked to the ferry.  I crossed the St. Lawrence and walked home.  I didn’t do the math, though, and when I arrived at home I realized that to get back to Levis by 1PM, I’d have to leave in… about 10 minutes [sigh].

I gave some thought to not returning but being the devoted sketcher (or fool – you decide) I put my coat back on and headed out the door…to walk an hour, take the ferry, climb the cliff, and make my way to the house.  I made it but since I’d been on the move from 8:30 to 13:00, I was exhausted and wasn’t much in the mood to sketch.  I just wanted to sit down.

The house, though, is sketcher heaven if you like sketching items you’d find in a Victorian house.  It’s a place I’ll be going to several times this winter for just that reason.  But on this day I found myself in the kitchen and in one corner there was a wooden, hand-agitated washing machine.  It had been semi-restored as a display piece but the staves that made the body of the machine had been glued together and the metal bands that would normally hold everything together were placed, somewhat askew, just for show.

2016-11-13washer

I couldn’t look at it without seeing it as a cartoon and so, channeling Gary Larsen as best I could, I drew it as such.  It’s not my best work but I had fun doing it which is my criterion for success.  And I only had one more trip between the Maison Alphonse-Dejardins and my place.  I went to bed early that night.