Various Thoughts At The End Of The Year

This post will seem a bit disorganized.  That’s cuz it’s a bit disorganized, or at least my thoughts about it are disorganized.  But I want to wrap up the year by talking about a couple things and I’ll throw in a sketch just to keep it interesting.

Stillman & Birn source for Canadians

Lots of people have asked me where to buy Stillman & Birn sketchbooks in Canada.  Sadly, Canadian suppliers are simply horrible when it comes to fulfilling the needs of urban sketchers and none of them are a reliable source for S&B sketchbooks.  Even Amazon.ca, who list them, do so at such ridiculous prices that nobody in their right mind would pay that for them.

Thus, I’ve never had an answer to give to those asking about S&B, until now.  I realized that Jackson Art Supplies in the UK has them… the entire S&B product line.  And what’s good about Jacksons is that they, like several UK online sellers, “get it.”  By that I mean they’ve figured out that if they sell to 7 billion of the Earth’s inhabitants, they are better off than selling only within their country.  If only the US would figure this out.  Anyways, Jackson Art Supplies will ship ANYWHERE for FREE if you buy 39GBR or more from them.  I’ve ordered from them a couple times and they’re great to deal with so if you want S&B, there’s a place where you can get them.

(ed note:  Susan King just informed me that Opus Art in Vancouver is not stocking the full line of Stillman & Birn softcovers which is really good news.)

New Year’s Resolution???

I’m probably notorious for doing a bah humbug when it comes to making New Year’s resolutions and each year I say as much in a blog post.  This year I won’t do that because, I guess, in a casual way, I’m making a resolution.

I’ve decided to talk more about my drawing process on the blog.  I’ve avoided that thus far because I don’t really know what I’m doing and a lot of other people are much better equipped than I when it comes to discussing drawing.  But I’ve realized that I have something they don’t.  Because I’m relatively new to this I’m able to remember the kinds of struggles I had when I started.  Besides I know what I do more than anyone else and that’s what people ask me about.  I don’t know how or what I’m going to talk about and I don’t know when. I just hope to do it.  See…it’s just like a resolution 🙂

Turning the page to 2017

I’m finishing up two more sketchbooks so I can start with a couple new ones in 2017.  I still have an Stillman and Birn 8.5×5.5 with about 15 pages left so that one will drift into 2017 but I’ll be starting new 8×10 Beta and 3.5×5.5 Alpha softcover books.

I did a bunch of small sketches to finish up the little one and I have one page left in the larger one.  There’s a guy on Instagram that does a lot of loose motorcycle sketches and he really impresses me with his simplicity of line and confidence of purpose.  I’ve tried to replicate some of his sketches but have never been successful.  I decided to draw a motorcycle from memory of his sketches.  The result isn’t as good as his and not nearly as loose, but that’s how Larry rolls after all.  And yes, I’m now talking about myself in the third person.  If it’s good enough for Trump, shouldn’t it be good enough for me?

I’m anxious to get started with 2017 sketching and I hope the year ahead is a productive and happy one for all of you.

Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10), Platinum 3776

 

Sketching In The Museum Attic

Currently there is an exhibit that is a set of rooms, each unique in its own way.  They form something of a ‘find _fill_in_the_blank’ treasure hunt for kids who are visiting the museum.

For the most part they are not worthy of a sketcher’s attention, with one exception.  One room is supposed to be an attic area, an accumulation of junk.  This ‘junk’ is so well spectacular, though, that it’s unconvincing as such.  What it is, however, is a small room with a whole lot of stuff packed into it and much of it is worth drawing.  The space is crowded however, and some things are more sketchable than others simply because you can find a place from which to sketch them.

I was there last Tuesday and sketched this little insect/curio cabinet and some stuff that was sitting on top of it.  I hope you like it.

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

Last Trip To The Museum Before Christmas

With my daughter coming home for Christmas, and Chantal getting a few days off, I won’t be doing any location sketching for a while.  But I did go with the gang to the museum for a pre-holiday sketching session.  They wanted to sketch some of the folk art nativity scene that is now in place there.  If nothing else, it demonstrates imagination on the part of its creator.  Have you ever seen a flying cow-fish?

I decided to sketch a wooden carving of a fusilier in another part of the museum.  It is fairly large, almost telephone pole diameter and quite black, as though it had been creosote treated.  In spite of this, it suffers from severe cracking in places.  Nevertheless, it’s an impressive carving, far more impressive than my sketch of it I’m afraid.  I got caught between wanting to include detail and the fact that the entire left side was in deep shadow, almost black.  Like every sketch, though, it was fun to do which is why I do them.

Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10) softcover, Platinum Carbon ink, Platinum 3776 pen

When I finished I headed up to the nativity scene and found everyone busy drawing.  They were talking about getting coffee, though, so I just sat down and waited for them.  The thing is, I can’t sit for very long without getting out a sketchbook and I did this quick sketch of Lisette, busy sketching some wooden guy (I think, but I was too far away to know for sure) in a large glass case.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (8.5×5.5) softcover

 

I’ll probably put together some sort of post during the holidays but I’m not sure what.  I willl be spending lots of time eating and sketching, though, so there will probably be something to post.  In the meantime, and since it’s December 23rd,

Happy Festivas

A Quick Trip Across The River

We made a quick sketching trip across the St. Lawrence River, back to Maison Alphonse-Dejardins last week.  With the holidays rushing towards us I entirely forgot to write about it so here’s the abridged version.

We went.  We were there.  We had fun.  I drew a cabinet hanging on the kitchen wall, mostly because of all the goodies hanging from it.  I shot this photo of sketch and cabinet as I waited for the first bit of paint to dry.  Once dry, I added more color and this was the result.  I mucked up the shadows but nobody’s perfect 🙂  Done in a Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10) softcover.  I’ve fallen in love with these sketchbooks.   Same great paper as my hardcover books but at almost half the weight.

I thought I’d throw in this small sketch I did of one of the lights in the house.  I did it quickly a few weeks ago while waiting for others to finish up.

It was great to get out sketching on location again, in spite of the snow and the cold.  I suspect I’ll be returning to Maison Alphonse-Dejardins this winter.

Leaf-tailed Geckos In Quebec

In the nanotechnology exhibit of our museum rests a glass box and inside is a stick and a small plant – a terrarium of sorts.  It’s raison d’etre is to house two of the oddest creatures – leaf-tailed geckos.

They’re only six inches long.  They have none of the flair of the whiptail lizards I used to chase when I lived in Arizona and none of the venom of the gila monsters I avoided.  No, if you walked by these guys in a forest you wouldn’t even see them and quite often that’s the situation in our museum as well.  I’d been waiting for today.

You see, the reason they’re in our nanotechnology exhibit is that they have nano-hairs on their feet.  These are hairs so fine that they can cling to glass, those hairs ‘sticking’ to glass molecules using Vanderwaal forces, the forces that hold molecules together.  And finally, today, one of these lizards was sticking to the glass out where I could see and draw him.

The view I had was a top view and I wanted to capture both its shape and the fact that when they do this they are squashed down flat to the glass.  They remind me of how Wile E. Coyote looks after the Roadrunner dropped an anvil on him.  They are really flat.  In the end it doesn’t make much of a sketch but I walked away quite satisfied that I’d accomplished the task.