Quebec Forests On Fire, But No Smoke

Our harbor is clogged with cruise ships.  It’s that time of year when everyone wants to float along the St. Lawrence River, looking at the hillsides on either side of the river and this is a particularly good year for autumn leaf watchers.  While the trees have responded to changing day length by ceasing chlorophyll production, we’ve maintained enough warmth and lack of wind that the leaves have been late in falling, creating an amazing blaze of reds, yellows and golds.  Some of the trees are so bright that they are hard to believe.  Maybe someone is painting them.

Chantal and I have been driving around on the weekends, visiting different places under the auspices of sketching and adventuring, but mostly just to enjoy the sunshine and the trees.  Mostly we just enjoyed being outside in the sunshine.

My arthritis has disabled my drawing hand so I haven’t really done a lot of sketching, but my heart’s in the right place and that’s something.  I’m hoping the hand will return to normal soon and I can get back to sketching more.  In the face of our excursions hither and yon to visit forests, there is some irony in the fact that the sketch I present to you here was done no more than a 10-minute walk from my house.  I sat at the edge of a park and drew this amazing tree and its surroundings.  Hope you like it.

Stillman & Birn Beta (8x10), Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

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

Late Fall Sketching Is The Best

Ever notice that when things come as a surprise they’re just a bit better?  We’re experiencing some late fall weather that’s been really great and it’s extended my outdoor sketching season.  This surprise has been sweetened even more by my boss and true love (some call her my wife) wanting to sketch with me.  Life is great.

We found ourselves on Ile d’Orleans, the island I’ve mentioned in recent posts and we were back in the park I discussed here.  Chantal wanted to sketch the large hotel building and I sat down to sketch an old house on that sits on a hill in the park.

Stillman & Birn Beta (8x10), Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10), Pilot Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Brown

When I finished up I went looking for Chantal and found her working away on her sketch.  Not wanting to interrupt her, I sat down and started doodling details of the building she was drawing.  I need to do this more often cuz it’s fun… lots of fun.  I probably could have organized them better on the page but I gave that no thought as I just kept scibbling until the pages were full.  You might want to click on the graphic to enlarge it a bit.  Do you ever do this?

Stillman & Birn Alpha (5.5x8.5), Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

Stillman & Birn Alpha (5.5×8.5), Platinum 3776, Platinum Carbon Black

 

Getting Away From The Noise

For the last few weeks our street has been under construction.  The city is replacing sewer/water lines, repaving the street, replacing our sidewalks, installing new streetlights and, hopefully, they’re going to re-sod the parts of our lawns that are currently torn up.

What does this have to do with sketching?  Not much I suppose except that Chantal and I were all full up with the noise, particularly the beep, beep, beep of trucks and machinery backing up.  So we left.

We drove out to Ile d’Orleans, the large island I mentioned a couple posts ago.  We headed directly to La Boulange, a little slice of heaven that overlooks the St. Lawrence and that has great coffee and pastries.  During our visit we also learned that they have fantastic pesto pizza.  We enjoyed good food, sunshine and some quiet as we at on their veranda.

2016-09-21-60laboulangestatueThe only sketch I did from that location was this little quickie (maybe five minutes) that I scribbled into a small Stillman & Birn (3.5×5.5) sketchbook.  The bit of color was splashed on from a 4-color palette I carry, using a waterbrush as my splashing device.

When the pizza, coffee and pastry was gone we decided to head to the other side of the island (north side) to visit the large church, and its associated park because it’s a great place to sketch.  Chantal wanted to sketch the gazebo that sits at one end of the park.  I decided that was a pretty good idea and we enjoyed some more sun as we sat together sketching.  This was my result.  It was really nice to get away from the noise and we returned refreshed and ready for another round of beep, beep, beep.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (8.5x5.5), Platinum 3776

Stillman & Birn Alpha (8.5×5.5), Platinum 3776

A Perfect Sketching Day On Ile d’Orleans

Just east of Quebec City, in the St. Lawrence River, there is a huge island that is filled with farms, vineyards, and about a gazillion apple trees.  We go there in early summer to pick strawberries.  Mostly though, we go there to sketch because the small towns that run around its perimeter are full of sketchable subjects and because it’s “out in the country.”

At one of our gatherings Miram Blair came to sketch with us and she offered for us to come to her summer cottage on the island and since there aren’t many outdoor sketching days left in our year, I decided to contact her and arrange for us to descend upon her like sketchbook-carrying locusts.  She graciously agreed to host us.

As it turned out, only three of us could go but go we did, arriving about 10AM on a cold, blustery day.  As it turned out, Miriam doesn’t just have a cottage.  She has a huge barn and a bunch of land associated with her cottage and her cottage has a huge room that serves as kitchen, dining room, and studio.  It’s also a little slice of heaven.  No wonder Miriam is always in a good mood.

We decided to sketch outdoors first, in spite of the wind and the threat of rain.  We figured we could sketch until we got too cold and then head indoors to sketch the amazing stuff Miriam has hanging on her walls, sitting in window frames, and on cabinets in the large room.

I, being the consummate sissy, decided that I couldn’t sit in the wind so I took up a position just inside the door of the barn and drew this scene.  I’d taken a large folding chair with me because my back was still barking at me and, as it turned out, I was really comfortable and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I never really finished the sketch.  I just stopped when everyone went inside.

Stillman & Birn Beta (8x10), Pilot Falcon, DeAtramentis Brown, Zig brush pen

Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10), Pilot Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Brown, Zig brush pen

The brave folks, the ones who sat in the wind and drew the barn, were cold so we made our way into the house and for the rest of our time with Miriam, that’s where we stayed.  It was soooooooo much fun.

I spent a lot of time just looking at all the stuff Miriam has collected, mostly during local walks from the looks of the bird nests, shells, driftwood, etc. that graced her room.  She has two long tables, set end to end and a dozen beautiful wooden chairs lining their sides.  We used a few of them as we ate lunch, flipped through art books, and talked.

Eventually, though, we got back to drawing and I chose this scene.  When I started I wasn’t sure how successful I could be with it but I sure had fun doing it.  It’s a very different kind of drawing than my typical building sketches as I had to do a bunch of visual planning to get the bottles in the right places.  In the end, though, I was really happy with it as it captured the spirit that is Miriam’s place.

Stillman & Birn Beta (8x10), Platinum 3776

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

Stillman & Birn (4x6), Duke 209, DeAtramentis Document Black

Stillman & Birn Alpha (3.5×5.5), Duke 209, DeAtramentis Document Black

Miriam has a small dog named Nicki.  He and I became friends and he sat with me while I did my first sketch and because I gave him a bite of my sandwich 🙂  But as we were packing up to leave, Nicki was laying on the floor and in spite of three sketchers who were all around him as we packed up our gear, he wouldn’t budge.  I grabbed my small sketchbook and did this quick sketch of him.  It was a great end to a perfect day.

The Spires of Quebec City

If you follow my blog you know that there are a lot of pointy things that rise up from the citiscape and that I love to draw them.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the old city area where there seems to be more churches, tall fountains and statues than there are people.  I’m trying to work my way through some severe back pain that’s limiting my ability to sketch (can’t sit on my stool as it’s too low), but I found a bench facing a nice stack of those pointy things and I drew this.  The statue is in front of the old post office and I’m looking west, towards City Hall.

Stillman & Birn Beta (8x10)

Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10)