Pre-hibernation Behavior Of A Quebec Sketcher

I think this may be my last outdoor sketch of the year.  I was out this morning.  The temperature was 3-4 C and it was windy.  I did the basics of this sketch as quickly as my slow hand allowed.  It’s a tiny, old ‘casse-croute’ (typically this means they sell fries and poutine) on Dorchester street.

By the time I had the structure drawn, I was frozen so I headed to the library, which was nearby.  I’d snapped a photo of the building and used it to add details and color.  I think this marks the beginning of indoor season for me.

Stillman & Birn Zeta (6x9) sketchbook, Pilot Prera, Platinum Carbon Black

Stillman & Birn Zeta (6×9) sketchbook, Pilot Prera, Platinum Carbon Black

41st Worldwide Sketchcrawl – Quebec City

This is the second year that we’ve done the October worldwide sketchcrawl.  It’s a challenge for us because, by this time of year, it’s generally pretty darn cold.  Last year I learned a new French word – frissoner – which means to shiver.  So, only the intrepid among us are up for outdoor sketching in October.

This year was a bit different and our weather on Saturday was really pretty nice… for us.  You can see that we’re not wearing shorts and t-shirts,

Coatsbut Robert and Celine are merrily sketching a large building that sits high on a cliff above the Farmer’s Market, the site of our sketchcrawl.  Celine even manages to sketch while wearing these,

Gloveswhich is something I’ve never managed to do.  We made up for a lack of temperature with an abundance of laughter, talking, and sketching.  It was a great day and by my count, we had 14-15 people in attendance.  I remember, during the planning of our first sketchcrawl (June 2012), we wondered whether anyone would show up at all.  We’ve come a long way.

I did get to do some sketching and had great fun doing it but the most fun was talking with several of the newcomers to our ranks who were interested in my use of watercolor pencils (Faber-Castell Albrecht-Durer) and wondered what sketchbooks I used (Stillman & Birn).  We chatted about sketching in general, about having sketchcrawls more regularly, where to sketch during the Quebec winter, and a lot of other things.  This was a sharp contrast to my more typical loner stalking of sketching subjects in Quebec City.

Gilles Charron was one of the guys at his first sketchcrawl.  He’s been a watercolorist for a while and lamented that he should have been drawing more.  He made up for lost time, though, doing these two sketches during the event.  Aren’t they great?

Croquis 1_Gilles Charron Croquis 2_Gilles Charron

 

 

 

 

Yvan Breton and Celine Poulin organized the event and a big thank you is launched in their direction.  I don’t have a photo of Yvan at this event but his art speaks volumes about his talent.  I do have a photo of both Celine and her artistic talent.

2013-10-19-FarmersMarket-YvanSketchCeline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think I’ll skip posting my own sketches from the day as this post is filling up fast.  Maybe I’ll post them tomorrow.  For now, I leave you with a look at the art and faces of some of my friends

2013-10-19-FarmersMarket-41stSketchcrawland some of the sketches they did during our sketchcrawl.  Thanks to all the participants; you made the day very special.

2013-10-19-FarmersMarket-LucienSketch Bethann Claudette Legumes poirief Robert_piments Robert_Seminaire

Quebec City Street Scenes

Quebec City, particularly the older parts of the city, has many street scenes that are worthy of a sketcher’s time.  Often the streets are narrow and the buildings are connected to one another.

These form great urban scenes and the only thing that limits a sketcher is time and the place to sit while doing the sketch.  Time, scene and place to sit came together and I sketched this autumn scene.

Stillman & Birn Zeta (6x9); Pilot Prera w/Platinum Carbon Black ink

Stillman & Birn Zeta (6×9); Pilot Prera w/Platinum Carbon Black ink

A Simple Act Of Kindness

Here in North America our society is becoming more and more coarse.  The rhetoric of our politicians has become downright rude, we all walk around with headphones one, barely acknowledging one and other and, frankly, too many of us are too afraid of too many things.  So it’s hard to continue to believe an axiom that makes life bearable – that people are good.

2013-09-30PatEnvelopeBut then something happens and things snap back into perspective.  That happened to me when I went to my mailbox and pulled this from the box.

It was addressed to me with a flair that one rarely sees.  It came from Singapore.  Singapore???  Who did I know in Singapore?  I immediately thought of the Urban Sketchers of Singapore but I’ve never met any of them.  Who could be sending me something?

And so I opened it in the hopes of gaining some insights.  Indeed, the contents were sketcher-oriented.  There was a nice toned-paper sketchbook, a leatherette cover for that sketchbook, two Uniball Signo UM-120 pens, and a couple refills for those pens.  WOW!  The motherlode.  Being old I don’t think as quickly as I once did and I was still baffled about who might have sent these items.  And then I found the little card, from Patrick Ng.

Patrick is a great guy, who went out of his way to obtain a couple Hero pens for me that I couldn’t have purchased without his help.  And we ‘chat’ on Facebook, where we are ‘friends.’  He had been shopping for materials and remembered me, remembered discussions we’d had about the toned-paper sketchbooks made by a friend of his, and he bought me one, and a cover for it so I could fill the sketchbook, get another one and replace it, reusing the cover.  He’d sent a couple of the pens he uses regularly because he knew that Uniball don’t import them to the US.  People are still good, and Patrick is one of the best.
2013-10-03AndrewBook (1)The first thing I did was to test  bunch of pens on the paper, which must be 200lb tan-color paper.  It’s not heavily sized but it does take watercolors quick nicely.  You notice the lack of sizing when you try to do larger washes.  But being able to use the paper as a mid-tone and working on both sides towards dark (pen) and lights (colored pencil) is lots of fun.

2013-10-04LamppostBirdThe first full sketch I did was this one, done in Parc Brebeuf, a park not far from my house.  The ring-billed gulls like to sit on lamp posts and this one sat around while I drew him…or her.

I decided that since Patrick had been so nice to send me a sketchbook, the least I could do was walk a mile in his shoes, in a sketching sense.  He does a lot of sketches inside restaurants and coffee shops.  Sometimes he does them on toned-brown paper, sometimes not.  They are always wonderful sketches.

So, I took one of my Hero 578 ‘asian calligraphy’ pens (tip is bent upward), my new sketchbook, and headed to a mall.  It was morning and not very busy, which suited me fine.

I actually sketched this while standing up, just outside the restaurant, resting the sketchbook on the wall in the foreground of the sketch.   Me, standing, looking in at the restraurant was likely to be disconcerting so after I’d done a bit of the sketch I walked to the three women featured in it and showed them what I was doing.

Normally I would not do such a thing as typically this causes people to start posing.  But in this case, it was necessary.  The sketch was lots of fun and very much in honor of Patrick Ng.  Thanks, Patrick.  You really made my day, week, month.

2013-10-10Gallerie_color

Fall Is Here; Just Say No To Snow!

Fall officially came to Quebec a couple weeks ago.  Many of the trees, and certainly Mr Weathermaker, didn’t get the memo.  We’ve had very warm temperatures for a last couple weeks and the trees are very confused as daylength tells them to drop their leaves but the temps are saying “not yet.”

But, slowly and as surely as politicians will screw things up, winter is approaching.  For me, a street sketcher, it’s a time of transition.  It’s a time when I start figuring out what/where I’m going to sketch once it gets too cold outside to do what I love – sketch on the streets.

To that end I’m thinking about museums, have convinced myself that I should try, again, to sketch from photos, and that I should use Google Maps “pegman” to sketch in exotic places while snow blankets my world.  We’ll see.

toned paper; Pilot Prera and Prismacolor white pencil

toned paper; Pilot Prera and Prismacolor white pencil

In the meantime I’ve been doing some sketching.  I received a handmade tan-paper sketchbook from my buddy Pat Ng in Singapore and did this sketch to sort of break it in.  The gulls love to sit on the lamp posts around here so I had plenty of source material for this sketch.

This sketch was done in celebration of the show the trees put on for us every year.  Fairly simple, I combined a Uniball UM-120 black pen (.5) with a Uniball UM-151 brown-black (.38) pen and did it in a Stillman & Birn Alpha (4×6) sketchbook.  The fence lets me call it an ‘urban sketch’ 🙂

2013-10-07Fall2013-10-07QuickHouseI spent Monday night looking at a bunch of sketches done by Liz Steel, a very talented architect/sketcher.  She talks about how she works very quickly and why.  The next day I was walking down a street and saw this little house.  I decided to try out Liz’s philosophy/approach and while I didn’t produce anything near the quality of her sketches, once I buried the ‘ooooo…that’s not right’ and ‘oops…left that out’ I found the results interesting and I’ll probably do some more like this.  Took less than 10 minutes, including the time to get out my watercolor kit and waterbrush.  It was done in my ‘el cheapo’ 3×5 notebook and my Uniball UM-120 (.5) pen.

Sketching, no matter how it’s done, is fun and after two years of doing it, I can’t imagine a day without it in my life.