January Croquistes De Quebec Sketchcrawl

Built over 200 hears ago as the city's first prison, the Morrin Centre now also houses one of the world's most beautiful libraries, Vieux Quebec, Quebec City, QC, Canada

Built over 200 years ago as the city’s first prison, the Morrin Centre now also houses one of the world’s most beautiful libraries, Vieux Quebec, Quebec City, QC, Canada

I’m a bit late in announcing this and for that I apologize.  Holidays have messed with my internal clock.  The next Croquistes de Quebec sketchcrawl will be held at the Morrin Center library.  Yvan went above and beyond to allow us to sketch there.

If you’re not familiar with the Morrin Center it’s the home of the Literary and Historical Society of Québec, an anglophone organization.  The crowning jewel of this organization is its library, which, with large, leather-covered rectory tables, bookshelf-lined balconies and tight winding stairways, is Quebec’s version of the Hogwarts library, without the book that scream at you.

Unlike most of our sketchcrawls, this one will be in the afternoon only, from 1PM to 4PM.  You can get details of the event from the Croquistes’ website.  I’ve never gotten to sketch there so I’m looking forward to it.  See you there.

A Day At The Chapel

When I talk about “our museum” I’m generally referring to the Musée de la Civilisation in Quebec City.  But we do have other, much smaller museums, one of them being the Musée de l’Amérique francophone. This small museum exhibits are mostly disappointing as while they have considerable display space, it is very poorly utilized and the exhibits are…well boring. 

2015-12-27steepleBut, with winter upon us, Yvan and I decided we should visit and see if we could find something to sketch.  We did, though not in the museum.  Between the museum entrance and the exhibits is a chapel that you walk through to get to the elevator that takes you to the exhibits.  There, you can sit in the warmth of the place, look out the window and sketch.  That’s what I did to sketch this quick drawing of the tower over one of the old seminary buildings (not the Université Laval Dept of Architecture).

What really drew our interest, however, were all the small decorative carvings that ring the main chapel area.  These are handcarved floral designs, with lots of symmetry, curves, and details.  To Yvan, this means fun challenge.  To me it means scary, but a good kind of scary.

We decided that we would draw a bunch of these as it would form good practice.  I admit that I struggled with this first one but I also enjoyed the mental challenge of depicting a piece that is largely symmetrical but that also has a sprinkling of asymmetry due to the vagaries of its handcarved nature.  Can’t wait to go back to do more.  I’m hoping I”ll improve my use of watercolor shading on subsequent sketches.

Decorative carving

Quick Stop At The Coffee Shop

I was out for a walk today and stopped into a coffee shop for a quick cup of coffee.  In a time when everyone is paying $5 for their fancy, five-word named coffees, it must seem odd to the barista when I just say cafe noir when I’m asked what I want.  But they give it to me anyway and I don’t even have to stand in line with everyone else who are waiting for the steam machine to produce their orders.  Then again, they get fancy stuff drawn in the foam of their drink and I don’t.

I sat down, drank some coffee and looked out the window.  I decided to draw an old guy who was sitting on the opposite side of the room but before I was very far along he got up and left.  One must pick targets wisely and I hadn’t.  I continued, trying to complete his shape as best I could but eventually I gave up when it came to his extremities.  Instead I drew the lamp over his head and then, back to looking outside, I drew the street light.  A bit of fun and a bit of coffee.  It was time to walk some more.

2015-12-23brulerie

Hitting The Streets On Christmas

I had an exciting experience today.  It’s Christmas, December 25th, and I’m in Quebec City.  Our average December high temperatures are 15-16F.   But I got a spiffy new pair of gloves for Christmas and I decided to give them a test drive.  There is no snow on the ground here, which is almost a miracle. but what definitely is a miracle is that it’s over 40F here today, or 25-degrees above normal.  It was warmer yesterday 🙂

And so, though my purpose was to take a walk, I couldn’t resist the thrill of doing a street sketch on Christmas day.  I sat on a bench at the edge of a park and drew this little sketch of a gate across the street.  The sketch is trivial and yet incredibly significant to me at the same time.  Outdoor sketching on Christmas; who’da thunk it?

Xmas Day sketch

Stillman & Birn Alpha softcover, Namiki Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black

Thursday Museum Sketching Group

Some of us in Quebec City have met at our Musee de la Civilisation for a while now, sometimes on Tuesday, sometimes Thursday, and sometimes both days, but we seem to be making the Thursday morning meetings a regular event, mostly due to emails sent out by Claudette to let us know what day we’re supposed to show up.

These sessions are really fun and quite different from a typical sketchcrawl.  Rather than an all day affair, these are only two to three hours.  We sketch for most of that time but then meet in the cafe for coffee/tea and to talk about drawing.  If we’re lucky we can get Yvan talking as he always teaches us something interesting about drawing.  Mostly, though, it’s just a regular, fun get together that keeps us all in touch and yet doesn’t require the commitment of an entire day.

At the last session I drew this Egyptian musical instrument called a sistrum, or at least that’s what the sign said it was.  I’m not sure how it’s supposed to work or what sounds it makes but I suspect it’s sort of like a tamborine and that you shake it.  I suspect there are supposed to be wires running through the other sets of holes.  In any case, it’s a paradox of simple, rusted strap-metal with small, carved characters stuck onto it.  Very interesting shapes to draw.

Egyptian musical instrument

Stillman & Birn Gamma, Namiki Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black

I wandered around, had a conversation with Claudette and knew I was running out of time.  Claudette had shown me her sketch of this little guy so I sat down and did this quick drawing of him, or her.  Hard to tell with otters.

Egyptian river otter statue

Stillman & Birn Gamma, Namiki Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black

Right now, there are eight of us who are regulars at Thursday Sketching Group.  We won’t be meeting Christmas Eve day and probably not New Years Eve day, but otherwise, why don’t you come out and join us.  You’ll have fun.  I guarantee it.