While Walking Through The Park One Day

The Plains of Abraham, in Quebec City, is a large area where a guy once had a farm.  Then the Brits climbed the cliffs, shot it out with the French and among other things, they built a large fort to protect the area from those big bad Americans that would soon invade.

They never did but the result is that this large, partially wooded, and well-developed park area is now labelled Battlefield Park on the signs but everyone who lives here calls the area the Plains of Abraham.  It’s our oasis – a place to sit under a tree and have a picnic.  It’s a place to walk through a forest, although it’s really a managed clump of trees by forest standards.  Our art museum is in the middle of the Plains.  When the likes of Paul McCartney comes to town, the Plains are where he sings Let It Be.  Oh, and the Plains plays a significant role in my mystery novel, Her Book of Shadows.

It’s also a place where I go when I’m in the mood to sketch some nature, though more often than not I turn to my favorite subjects, man-made objects.  This sketch is something of a mix but I couldn’t resist this small scene.  After I did the sketch I went to the garden to sketch, but all I did was sit and enjoy the sun on my face and the large array of tulips that were blooming.  Life is sweet.


Stillman & Birn Alpha (9×6), Pilot Prera, Noodler’s Lex Gray

Halloween door sketching

A week or so ago I posted a sketch of a fancy door in Quebec City.  A comment from a long-time friend, Pat Roberson, asking for more door sketches has resulted in this one.

A week ago I saw this door but I was on my way to St. Vallier to sketch with friends and so couldn’t sketch it.  It’s not one of the old, classic Quebec City doors, but Pat is such a fan of Halloween, and apparently doors, that I just had to go back and sketch this aperture into the bright orange house with black trim.  Hope you like it, Pat.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9x6), Pilot Prera, Noodler's Lexington Gray

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9×6), Pilot Prera, Noodler’s Lexington Gray

Sketching Rocks In St. Vallier – Part 2

Yesterday I talked about a day-long sketching session in St. Vallier with my buddies.  I mentioned that I did a sketch in the afternoon but didn’t have time to apply color.  I also promised that I would post it once I did add the color.

Here it is.  This wall of rocks  was piled up to support the hill behind it.  Just behind the fence is the walking trail that we used to walk down onto the beach.  It seemed like a fitting challenge since our goal was to practice drawing rocks.  Hope you like it.  I nearly went cross-eyed trying to do this.

Stillman & Birn Alpha 9x6 sketchbook, Pilot Prera, Noodler's Lexington Gray

Stillman & Birn Alpha 9×6 sketchbook, Pilot Prera, Noodler’s Lexington Gray

Sketching Rocks In St. Vallier

Louise and Fernande

Louise and Fernande

I’m a lucky guy to have friends like these.  Plans for this sketching session in St. Vallier came from discussions between Claudette and Louise, who are best buddies.  Louise hosted the event as she lives in St. Vallier, a beautiful village about half an hour from Quebec City.  Plans were made.  The weather checked.  It was on the calendar.

When the day came we faced a very cool morning with very windy conditions.  Undaunted, we piled into Claudette’s car and headed to St. Vallier, which is on the south coast of The St. Lawrence River as it opens up into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  It’s always windy there so we were concerned that it might be too cold to sketch.





It was windy when we arrived, but sunny.  As we walked to the rocky areas we were all bundled up as though we were invading the North Pole but the sun was out, our pens warmed up, and we were ready to draw rocks.

We found some parts of the coastline where we could be sheltered from the wind and it was quite pleasant.  We sketched and chatted all morning and then climbed the hill back to Louise’s house for lunch.  Homemade cream of mushroom soup, wine and sandwiches was an unexpected treat, served in a gorgeous solarium that doubles as Louise’s studio.  Then, having eaten more than I should have, Louise brought out a strawberry upside-down cake.  When we were finished I needed a siesta.  Louise has agreed to adopt me.

Rocks at St. Vallier (Stillman & BIrn Alpha 9x6, Uniball UM-151,.38 pen

Rocks at St. Vallier
(Stillman & BIrn Alpha 9×6, Uniball UM-151,.38 pen

But there is no rest for the sketcher.  We headed back down the hill for a shorter, but fun sketching session.  It had warmed up so, out of the wind, I could actually unzip one of the two jackets I was wearing.  I did one drawing during this session but didn’t get a chance to add color.  I’ll do that and post it later.  Thanks to all, and especially Louise for her hospitality.  Life is sweet.

Louise, our host.  She was sitting next to a storm wall, drawing trees that rose above it.  (Stillman & BIrn Alpha 9x6, Uniball UM-151, .38 pen

Louise, our host. She was sitting next to a storm wall, drawing trees that rose above it. (Stillman & BIrn Alpha 9×6, Uniball UM-151, .38 pen

T-shirt Sketching

I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona.  Everyday is t-shirt day in Phoenix.  But I now live in Quebec City and May 26th was the first day this year that I could go walking in jeans and a t-shirt, my typical street-sketcher garb.

It was glorious and as I headed out for a long walk and sketching session I had high hopes that I’d get a lot of sketching done.  That didn’t happen.  Some sort of Forrest Gump think happened and I just kept walking…and walking…and walking.  It was so much fun that the thought of sitting down to sketch never occurred to me.  I covered 7.5 kilometers on my walk and enjoyed every step.

I did come across a new sort of streetlamp in Vanier and I did sit down and sketch it.  I used a Pilot Prera, Noodler’s Lexington Gray and moved the pointy end around in my Stillman & Birn Alpha (9×6) sketchbook.  Then I walked some more.  It’s been a long time coming but real spring is finally here.