Heading Towards Autumn As A Sketcher

This time of year is crazy for me.  It’s entirely self-inflicted, though our orbiting world has some play in the matter.  You see, we’re hurtling towards the Autumnal Equinox.  Now, if you live in Arizona this probably means nothing to you but if you’re a sketcher, living in Quebec City, it means everything.

The Autumnal Equinox means my days as a street sketcher are numbered because it will soon be too cold to sketch outdoors.  It’s leaning that way already.  And so, each year, without intention, I become frantic to “get out there and sketch.”  I can’t help myself.  There are also the “We gotta go _fill in the blank_ before it gets too cold to do so” events and this adds short trips to hither and yon in an attempt to keep up with an Earth that’s flying along at 108,000 km/h.  How’s a guy to keep up?

So, we’ve been day-tripping and I’ve been sketching and the days have become so full that I don’t have any time to even scan my sketches, let alone write blog posts about them.

So I apologize for my lack of presentation but rest assured, I’ll make up for it as things slow down a bit.  In the meantime, here’s a rather quick sketch I did of a cute little storage building (not sure of its orignal purpose) that lives in the Parc des governors in Quebec City.

Stillman & Birn Beta (8x10)

Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10)

A Bit Of The Chateau Frontenac

The symbol of Quebec City is the Chateau Frontenac.  I call it Hogwarts as that’s what it reminds me of, when I don’t see it as a tourist attraction.  There’s a large terrasse that runs along in front of it and Chantal and I were sitting there, taking a break from a long walk we were taking.

We decided to draw.  It would have been impossible to draw the entire Frontenac as we were far too close to even see it in it completely, so Chantal drew one of the towers while I drew this portion of it.  I did it fast enough that some wonkiness (as Liz Steel calls it) was baked into the result and I confess that I like that.  Hope you do too.

Stillman & Birn Beta (8x10), Platinum 3776

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

Parc Cartier-Brebeuf On A Sunday Afternoon

While my daughter was visiting we were at Parc Cartier-Brebeuf, a park near my house.  It’s on the St. Charles River and was the spot where Cartier overwintered during one of his trips to what is now Quebec City.

While Chantal and Jodie talked, I did this sketch of the information center of the park.

Stillman & Birn Beta (8x10), Platinum 3776

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

The Doors Of Quebec City

I’ve long thought that I should do a series of sketches of Quebec City doors.  We have many stately, carved or otherwise detailed doors and a set of detailed sketches of them would be nice.  This is one of those doors, though this was done rather quickly as I leaned against a wall on a windy day.  It is the entrance to the Tetu estate home, an 1800s home in the old city.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (5.5x8.5), Esterbrook J9550

Stillman & Birn Alpha (5.5×8.5), Esterbrook J9550

Family Day At Cap Tourmente

The Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area is a great place to get out into nature.  It’s a place with lots of short hiking trails through several habitats and, if you go during the week and outside ‘goose season’ it’s largely devoid of humans so it’s QUIET.  We city-dwellers don’t get quiet anymore and I think it affects us more deeply than we think..if we think about it at all.

I mentioned goose season.  Cap Tourmente is a major stop-over area for migrating geese.  In October/November and thousands of geese aggregate there during their journey south.  It’s pretty cool to see them turn a marsh white with their presence and fill the sky in squadron-like fashion.  But geese bring with them hundreds of humans, filling over-flow parking lots with their pollution devices and that pretty much ruins the experience for me.

But on this day, we were there on a Monday, out of season.  The day was delightful.  We watched a lot of young hummingbirds at feeders, enjoyed the presence of a young porcupine, saw egrets, blue herons, marsh and red-tail hawks, and we even saw the Perigrine Falcons that nest in the cliffs that overlook the refuge.  They told us to beware of bears but the only ones we saw were on the beware of bear signs on the garbage cans.

It wasn’t a sketching day but I couldn’t resist the urge so I did this little landscape while wife and daughter were off investigating the building featured in this sketch.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (5.5x8.5), Esterbrook J9550

Stillman & Birn Alpha (5.5×8.5), Esterbrook J9550

We stopped for lunch and sat near the information center because there is a gaggle of picnic tables there and we were the only ones using them besides a few tussock moth caterpillars.

Once we were sufficiently nourished we decided to head out in the opposite direction, but I spent 2-3 minutes doing this really quick sketch of a copse of trees.  Not much but it was still good fun.  The washable ink made it even more fun/quick.

Mostly, this day allowed us to fill up on quiet and that’s worth doing.  Give it a try, it’s refreshing, particularly during an election year.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (3.5x5.5)

Stillman & Birn Alpha (3.5×5.5), Pilot Metropolitan, J.Herbin Cacao de Brezil washable ink.