Sometimes timing is perfect and we were moving our daughter to Montreal on the same weekend as the USK Montreal sketchcrawl at the Maison des Éclusiers. So, between the back and forth between Ottawa and Montreal, the up/down elevators with countless boxes, and exciting activities like unboxing, cleaning and hanging drapes, I got to go to the event.
The venue was great. During the introduction Jane Hannah provided a long list of places and things to sketch in the area and then we all dispersed, like a bunch of young kids, excited to find the “best” spot. Turned out, the head count revealed 60 participants.
The Maison des Éclusiers, or as others call it the Marché des Éclusiers is a place along the harbor where boats enter the Lachine Canal (an éclusier is a guy who manages the locks on the canal). Where they go I do not know as I was busy meeting people, sketching, and generally just wandering around, gathering information for future trips to the area. The place is set up as a tourist/local eatery/relax area, complete with restaurants, coffee house, and lots of benches and grassy areas.
I chose to draw a large house (castle?) from one end of it, mostly because there was a nice picnic bench in the shade that afforded a good view. In hindsight, I don’t feel I ever completed this sketch as I just sort of quit near the bottom of it. I guess I got bored or wanted to talk to some more people.
From there I just started wandering around. I wanted to meet some of the sketchers and see what they were up to. Lots of talent in this group and, because I hope to be returning regularly, I wanted to start establishing some relationships, though I struggle with trying to remember everyone’s name. Eventually I sat down with Diane Gauthier and her friend Lyse (sp?). I’d met Diane when I was in Montreal to meet Koosje Koene of Sketchbook Skool, who was visiting. It was almost time for lunch and they let me share their picnic bench.
I decided I wanted to draw the crane on the other side of the river. It was a goofy subject, if only because it was so far away and it didn’t provide a nice scene. Undaunted, I decided to draw a street lamp in the foreground to improve things a bit. I was only partially successful but here are the results.
We chatted for a while, I ate sloppy tacos, but by then it was time for me to leave. There were still things to do back at the apartment so I had to leave before the group meeting at the end of the sketchcrawl. Nevertheless, it was a fantastic day and, to quote Arnold, “I’ll be back!”