There’s a superb piece of architecture in Limoilou that used to be a firehouse. While I’ve lived in Quebec it’s been used as a daycare center, some sort of base for a charitable organization and has probably had other uses as well. Right now, it’s undergoing some exterior restoration and interior remodeling. I drew the top portion of one end of it because below this view are all sorts of machines, dumpsters and debris.
Chantal: “Where are you going?
Me: “I’m meeting Yvan and Claudette on 3rd Avenue.”
Chantal: “Ok. Don’t sit on your stool.”
That’s the conversation that took place following my “banging head against the wall” day on Tuesday. She needn’t worry. My Walkstool has worked flawlessly for years and excepting the need to replace the rubber feet that just wore out, it has been a reliable companion. The calamity was all on me; I screwed up… again.
Anyways, I did meet “the guys” and drew this little scene. Not my best but I am trying to recoup my blood supply after all. I did another sketch, a more complete one, but I didn’t get to put color on it so I’ll post that one tomorrow. Great day but REALLY cold.
This little scene is in Victoria Park, near my home in Quebec City. As it’s my favorite subject, I had to sketch it. The sign on the tall post is to let people know where the hydrant is when everything is covered in snow.
Here it is, the middle of May, and we’re still having a hard time getting outdoors in Quebec City because of cool weather and a lot of rain. But it happened. In fact, we had a bright, hot summer day on the 16th and our little sketching group took advantage of it. We headed to an older part of the city where they have alleyways.
Alleyways provide sort of grungy views but views with lots of shapes that make for great sketching subjects. I just love them. In this scene you’ll find two large “towers.” These are actually enclosed stairways, loosely constructed but effective in keeping the snow off the stairs. They are very common in these neighborhoods. I had a lot of fun doing this one.
When I was a kid I remember Howdy-Doody and Buffalo Bob, Captain Kangaroo, and Sheri Lewis and Lamp Chop. When my daughter was little she watched Mister Rogers and Sesame Street. Kid shows with a mix of adult and puppet characters have always been popular.
A show I never did see was very popular in Quebec and involved Bobinette, a wooden-headed puppet, and Bobino, a guy sporting a vest and bowler hat. I’d heard of Bobinette but never seen her until, because of rain (again) we were forced into the museum. A new display provided some insight into this early TV show and provided a chance to draw her. The show was called Bobino and ran from 1957 to 1985. Bobinette was Bobino’s sister. Isn’t she a doll?
Besides yelling at the sky because of all the rain we’ve been getting (parts of Quebec are considered disaster areas because of the flooding), I’ve been struggling with arthritis in my drawing hand. The two things are related because low barometric pressure triggers my arthritic problems. Regularly I think of Babette, in Gilmore Girls as she runs down the street saying “It’s gonna rain, my ankles are never wrong” as I’m in the same boat it seems.
But I did get out one damp, cool day. It was only 7C with on/off misty rain but I was out walking and decided to do a quick drawing just to say I did. Here’s one of the side entrances to our city hall building. I hope things get on track soon so I can get out and do some real sketching.
This crazy spring is causing us to be drawing in museums even into May and we found ourselves, once again, sketching at the hunting and fishing museum in St. Augustine, Quebec. I should consider myself lucky because many in Quebec are dealing with their houses being flooded from all the rain we’re receiving. I’m just disappointed that I can’t sketch outdoors, which pales by comparison.
I spent some time with a wolf on this day. I have to admit that I’m really getting a bad case of cabin fever and less and less in the mood to draw in museums but what’cha gonna do? Unfortunately, I think this is beginning to show in the results. Here’s the first drawing I did.
I decided to compliment this drawing with one of a wolf skull. If you extend the back of the skull in the drawing just a bit, you’ll see a pretty decent rendition of a wolf skull. Fun thing about this is that while I was drawing I kept thinking I was drawing everything too long, when in fact, I’d drawn the back of the skull too short. Better luck next time.
When my daughter was home for Easter I offered to take her back to Ottawa so she wouldn’t have to take the bus. This would save her the long bus ride, garner dad some brownie points, and give me several hours worth of discussion with said daughter as we drove to Ottawa.
A not-so-well-hidden reason behind this gesture on my part was my desire to get back to Ottawa so I could sketch at the Museum of Nature. It never really makes much sense to spend ten hours driving (round trip) so that I could spend four hours sketching, but then we sketchers are a sorry lot when it comes to logic. I got to DRAW!
We left at 5AM and I got to the museum by about 10:30AM. I walked around a bit, and ended up in the mammal exhibition. I generally draw bones in the dinosaur exhibits and so I’ve neglected the mammals. Time to make up for that.
I started with a grizzly bear. It was a disaster and I include it here only as an example of sketching gone wrong. I got the bright idea to try wet-in-wet while sitting on a tripod stool in a museum and with my extensive background of never having tried it before. Eeeeeekkkk! I wet the entire bear. I can’t say whether I wet it too much or too little as I had a hard time seeing just how much water was on the paper in the subdued lighting. What I do know is that when I started dropping in browns, I created something more akin to the big bang than a painting. There was brown exploding everywhere and in an instant I had a bear-shaped outline that looked like something that came from the south end of a cow. I quickly started dabbing at it. I’m sure the other patrons thought I was under attack by some invisible creature as I flailed around. As I said, it was/is a disaster.
With that mess behind me I decided it was snack time so I could regroup. Then I returned to the mammal exhibit, determined to redeem myself. I targeted the head of a thinned-horn sheep and, leaving wet-in-wet techniques for another day, achieved what I felt was reasonable redemption.
Across the corridor was an antelope scene and since I only had a short time remaining, I decided to give it a try rather than doing my typical walkabout to find a subject. I worked fairly quickly and, I suppose, there are some errors but nevertheless, it was a fitting end to a great day. When I was finished I realized that I was about 10 minutes late for my rendevous with my daughter. Sketching and time just don’t mix well.
Three of us headed back to the Federation of Hunters and Fishermen museum on Thursday. We really love this place because the people are really nice, the facilities are great and because there’s soooooooo much to draw. Once the snow melts it’s going to be a great outdoor site as well as they have hiking trails through a nature preserve that’s maintained by the organization.
I decided to draw a Merganser sitting on a post and, I’m afraid, I got more excited about the post than the duck. Here’s the result in any case. Hope you like it.
We took a break, ate lunch, and then decided to do another, quicker sketch and my target was an otter. I was trying to do more saturated watercolors this day and I’m not sure I succeeded but I did learn some things. Practice, practice, practice.
Louise is one of my favorite sketching buddies. I call her mom, though I think she’s younger than I am. This is mostly because I want her to adopt me so I can live in her incredible house.
That house was where all of us went last Tuesday. She invited us out to sketch, chat and eat soup, the later being the best part. On this day, however, it was raining so we were trapped inside one of the most beautiful houses I’ve ever gotten to sketch within. Her husband is a master craftsman and his work exists everywhere in this house. Louise is an artist and so her ‘eye’ is reflected everywhere, with great stuff to sketch everywhere you look.
I found myself standing in front of well-stocked bookshelves, looking at the dozens of artbooks and sketchbooks from others that she has accumulated. I could have spent the entire day there but eventually I decided I should draw something. I made a mistake, choosing this small cabinet as my subject. I didn’t really have time to do it justice as lunch was scheduled and I had to finish by then. Shouldn’t have spent so much time with the art books I guess.
I’m not really pleased with the result but I’m sharing it anyway. You win some and lose some. We broke for lunch and spent the next hour or so eating the best mushroom soup I’ve ever had, cheeses, fruits and veggies. I was so stuffed I wasn’t sure I’d ever move again.. and then she brought a wonderful apple cobbler smothered with pecans. It’s been said that there’s always room for Jello but I learned that one can even make room for apple cobbler.
I waddled around the house the rest of the day, making lots of small sketches of smaller items on various shelves. I have to confess that I’m too lazy to scan all those so you’re stuck looking at one ugly sketch. Sorry.