Spring Sketching, Post-Pandemic

It’s probably incorrect to talk about Quebec as being “post-pandemic” but I count all things in terms of sketching.  For the first time in what seems like forever, I got to go sketching last Thursday.  We’re all still wearing masks and watching hospital populations rise as Omicron variant ABC3918583-F122 (or whatever) take another kick at us, but we’re starting to come out of hibernation anyway.

I was invited to attend a “first event” run by a local art group called La Collectif.  We were to sketch a small museum associated with the Augustine monastery in the old city.  Driving to this place is near impossible without spending a month’s rent on parking so I needed to get my bus pass renewed.  I did and headed off, in a pouring rain, to find the place.

The museum is very nice.  Mostly it’s religious artifacts of little interest to me but the ambience is great if you like quiet like I do.  They took us on a tour of the museum and then we were left to our own devices to find something to sketch.  I chose a very nice doll, dressed like a nun.  Fun to draw but I found it hard to paint black on black folds in the fabric.  BUT, I sketched, on location, as an urban sketcher.  Wah, hoo!!!

More Hatching – Going Too Fast

I’ve mentioned that I am following France Belleville-Van Stone’s new series of draw-along videos and sometimes she limits the drawing to 20 minutes.  I decided to try that while attempting to draw a statue that I own.  Turns out, 20 minutes isn’t enough time for something that complex when I’m the guy trying to do it.

I messed up the face and generally wasn’t precise enough with the hatching.  But here it is.  I’ll probably try again, but a bit slower.

A Bit Of Fake Location Sketching

I’m becoming frustrated about not being able to do sketching on location.  I did go for a walk in the rain, yesterday, though.  And when I went to Kristy Kreme to buy donuts I managed to draw a woman who was ahead of me in line.

Somehow that wasn’t sufficient, though, and when I got home I got out my sketchbook, pen and watercolors and went looking for a “location photo.”  I found this little girl and drew her very quickly, as I would have to do if she were standing in front of me.  Total time, including the paint, was no more than two minutes.  But this was enough to ease my frustration at least for the day.

Online Victoria And Albert Museum – Great For Artists



“Canada spends all spring waiting for spring to arrive.”


I don’t know who wrote this. It was a blurb associated with a Weather Channel video.  It may be the best descriptor of how a sketcher feels in Canada when he/she looks outside.  I was supposed to go to a coffee shop to sketch this morning because it was supposed to rain.  Well, it did rain, kinda sorta.  It is currently raining ice pellets and accompanied by high winds.  As crazy as I am, I’m not crazy enough to go out in that mess.  And so I’ll write about art instead [sigh].

Indoor art it is.  I’m probably the only guy on Earth to discover the Victoria and Albert Museum’s online resource, but I got excited when I found it.  I haven’t seen an online resource that provides such high-resolution graphics of museum holdings, allowing the user to zoom and scroll over the work.

Here’s an example and one I’ve started to work from, a sculpture by Aime-Jules Dalou of a woman nursing her child.  If you click on the website image you’ll find several images of the statue and the ability to scroll around them, zoom into them.  I decided not to do the entire statue but rather to zoom in, rotate a bit and capture a more typical portrait graphic.  This was the result.

I’ve only started on the drawing and stopped with a very light massing in of tone.  I stopped because I’m not sure if I want to complete it with pencil, the original idea, or to do watercolor washes to capture the sepia look of the statue.   This is done on Stonhenge paper, though, so I’ll probably proceed with pencil, taking me down yet another road where I have little experience.  I did increase the contrast of this scan somewhat because many of the lines are very light.  Hopefully working on this will mitigate my frustration of those ice pellets hitting my window.

France Belleville-Van Stone Is The Bomb

One of my favorite sketching books is Sketch, by France Belleville-Van Stone.  The “how to draw content is great but what I really love about the book are the early chapters on her philosophy, the value of art, and how to approach doing art.  Like her videos, there is a clarity and practicality in her words.

France has been doing real-time videos of her drawing process for several years and I have watched many of them.  I haven’t gotten involved because she did them on Sktchy, which for the longest time operated as though there was only one operating system in the world and it wasn’t the one I used.  I don’t think it is that way any longer but their resistance to things Android and Windows still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

I actually missed her transition but France now has her own site from which she streams her videos and classes.  When I found this to be the case I signed up for her latest, Showing Up At The Page.    It’s a series of videos where we draw animals, cars, people, etc. and all done in France’s typical style, though with a slightly looser hand that she calls “fuzzy hatching.”

I certainly need more hatching practice and my drawing has become pretty sloppy due a drawing kinda-sorta-hiatus to replace a knee, live through a pandemic, trying to oil paint and all the rest.  So, this should be very good for me.  It also fits my recent goals of  learning to see surfaces/form more than just contour edges.  Here’s my first attempt, done with a Bic ballpoint pen.