The Summer Rush To Sketch

I waited so long for it to come.  Now summer is here and I’ve been sketching up a storm.  I’ve also forgotten to post anything on my blog so consider this a catch-up post.

2013-06-13on801I do some sketching on buses, though I find them too bumpy and bouncy for my untrained eye and hand.  Still, here’s one of the many sketches I’ve done of seated passengers.  I do these in a small, cheap sketchbook I buy at the dollar store.

I love boats and our marina is, once again, full of boats.  Most are sailboats but this one is one of my favorites.  This one was done in an S&B Alpha (10×7) with a TWSBI Mini and Platinum Carbon Black ink.

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I was at my mother-in-law’s 3rd floor apartment for dinner one night and after dinner I went out on the balcony and got this birds-eye view of a tall church steeple.  This church is going to be turned into an indoor skateboard place this fall.  S&B Alpha (4×6) with TWSBI Mini/Platinum Carbon Black.

This is a paper mill that’s near the old port area in Quebec City.  It’s been the center of brisk debate where one day it was going to close and the next it wasn’t.   So far it’s stayed open and they seem to be doing well.

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Those are a few of the sketches I’ve done recently.  I’ll try to remember to post some more but heck, it’s summer.  Around here, when the sun’s out, you go out cuz it doesn’t happen all that often.

Desperate Sketchers Brave The Elements

Last Saturday was supposed to be the Bazar des ruelles in Limoilu which is always a fun event.  This is a part of the city that, when built, included alley ways behind the houses.  I think those went out of style with the invention of ‘suburbs’ but it affords a great opportunity for the people in this part of Limoilu as they organize a huge garage sale every year, with signs and balloons all over the place, that direct wanderers up and down the ruelles to the many garage sales.  There are also places that sell hot dogs and there are things for kids to do as well.  In short, it’s a city-wide party.

I was supposed to meet my buddy Yvan at 8AM and we did meet.  We stood under umbrellas as the rain came down and even we could figure out from the note on the signs saying “in case of rain, we’ll do it Sunday” that we were alone.  We turned it into a sketcher social event, spending several hours talking art, drinking coffee and playing with fountain pens.  We also planned to meet again the next morning.

2013-06-09WindowSunday began with me standing, same place, same umbrella, different rain.  Yvan showed up with his umbrella and we stood.  Then we headed to the coffee shop where the guy there told us that the event had been rescheduled for next week (Jun 15th).  So, after coffee, and quite desperate to draw SOMETHING, we headed downtown to the library, where we did quick sketches of umbrellas with feet through the library windows.  I did this small sketch of a window across the street.  Yvan’s sketches were wonderful.  Mine were…not so much.   Stillman & Birn Alpha (4×6) and a Noodler’s Creaper as the pointy device.

 

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It finally stopped raining so we headed for the old city and set up under an awning where the calesh horses get to snack and wait for tourists willing to part with a lot of money for a ride.  This is a sketch of the Kent Gatehouse (not surprisingly it’s associated with the Kent Gate, the middle gate of three gates that let too many cars have access to the old city.  It felt soooooo good to sketch something outdoors, though it was still too cold for comfort and threatening rain.  Stillman & Birn Zeta (5.5×8.5) and a Pilot Prera/Lexington Gray combination.  By the time we finished I was cold enough to express an urgency for getting indoors and preferably at a place where I could drink something warm.

2013-06-09BuildingWe’d talked about the McDonalds in the old city and I’d told Yvan about its’ nice second floor view.  We headed there for some well-deserved warmth.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t get one of the ‘good’ seats until we were about to leave but  we grabbed them and quickly did sketches.  I did this building.  Yvan did something really nice.

 

We wandered around looking for something that turned our heads and we ended up sitting in a gravel parking lot for some apartments, looking up at this tower attached to an old building.  The sky spit rain on me on occasion which is why I left the sky blank.   Same S&B Zeta sketchbook; same Pilot Prera pen.

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I mention Yvan a lot but I never show you his sketches.  Yvan sketched the same tower that I did, did a much better job and then, while he was bored and waiting for me to finish, he did this sketch of me finishing up my sketch.  Yvan is amazing and I’m lucky to call him friend.

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Such is life for a mid-June sketcher in Quebec City this year.  The prediction is for sunshine this weekend, though, so I’m really excited.  Maybe summer will be better than spring.

 

Rain, Rain, Go Away…

Here it…June and my street sketching spring is almost gone with not much to show for it.  We’re setting records for rainfall if, records are a consolation, but they don’t do much for my disposition.  I’ve got to figure out how to get my brain to be happy sketching indoors from pictures, I guess.

2013-05-28GableUntil I do that, these are the sorts of things I’ve been doing.  I hopped off the bus one day and did this tiny sketch.  When I look at it what I remember was the rush I got from actually doing a sketch outdoors.  I was only off the bus for 10-15 minutes but it was a precious 15 minutes.  Done in a Stillman & Birn Alpha (4×6) using a TWSBI Mini and Noodler’s Lexington Gray.

2013-05-311stAveRestaurantAnother day, I got to the bus stop just as my bus was pulling away.  I quickly did this little sketch of a somewhat ugly restaurant across the street.  This place has changed hands so many times I can’t remember all the restaurant names it’s announced proudly to a customer base that never came.  Not sure what kind of food they serve now.  I’m one of those who never went.  Same sketchbook but I was using a Noodler’s Creaper here.  Only had 10 minutes as I had to catch the next bus.

2013-06-03Ferry

I tried to have a sketching day with my friend Claudette.  It was raining but we climbed aboard the ferry that traverses the St. Lawrence.  It only takes 10 minutes to cross and crossings take place every half hour.  We made several circuits but, for me, it was not a great adventure.  The fog was so bad that you couldn’t see the buildings on either side of the St. Lawrence and for a while it rained so hard you couldn’t see much of anything.  Mostly I just looked out the windows and wished it would stop raining.  This sketch was done in an S&B Alpha (10×7) with the TWSBI Mini.  I sort of lost interest by the time I got to the vending machines (grin).

Will it EVER stop raining?

Sketching Visualization And How To Miss Your Bus

A very popular form of sports training is mental visualization, where the athlete visualizes himself doing whatever sport it is they are doing.  You can see it in real time by watching a golfer set up for a shot.  They’ll look towards their target, staring intently.  They’re “seeing” (visualizing) the shot.  Seeing the ball travel the ideal trajectory.  Then they take a practice swing, again seeing that trajectory.  Repeated visualization has been shown to produce positive results.  Some suggest that this process is the very basis of positive thinking.  It’s the ultimate in what you see is what you get.

I find myself doing this constantly relative to my sketching.  During any dull moment you’ll find me ‘drawing’ something, anything, but without a pen and without paper.  I envision running the pen around the outline of a house, a sign, a fire hydrant.  At other times I’ll just mentally dissect the angles and relationships between pieces of some object.  I think this constant practice of my ‘seeing’, making those all important eye/mind connections, has helped me quite a bit as a sketcher.

2012-05 Bus

But there’s been one problem.  It causes me to miss my bus.  The first time this happened I was waiting for a bus across the street from a major shopping center.  I was ‘drawing’ a large sign and got involved with noticing the various tones from the various planes that composed the sign.  Only the sound of the bus pulling away brought me out of my trance.

Then there was the day I was waiting for the bus early in the morning.  I was looking at rooftop angles, trying to see how they changed as I looked at a row of buildings along the street.  It was an interesting mental experiment, until the bus went by as I obviously wasn’t interested in the bus.  I was holding my finger up to analyze the angles.

We’ve got a great bus system in Quebec City but if you don’t get on them, they don’t take you anywhere.  Lucky for me I always have something to do when I wait the 10 minutes for the next one to come along.

Newsflash: Weather Responds To Blog Post

Last Thursday I wrote a blog post titled “Waiting for Spring.”  I moaned and groaned that in spite of spring being a month old, it was still too cold to sketch outdoors.

Well guess what happened?  On Friday our temperatures increased significantly.  We had sun…LOTS of sun.  Even the wind died down.  So I tucked my sketchbook under my arm and headed out for a weekend of sketching.  It was wonderful.

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Here’s the first sketch I did.  I was out with my buddy Yvan and we’d previously talked about sketching on Rue de la Remparts, which skirts the upper portion of our ‘old’ (founded in 1608) city.  So, our first stop was there.  I did this sketch in a Stillman & Birn 7×10 Alpha spiral sketchbook.  Though I really dislike spiral-bound for storage, I love it for this larger format because I can fold the book back on itself , making it manageable while the book rests on my knees.  I used a TWSBI Mini filled with Noodler’s Lexington Gray.

While “warm” by comparison to the previous day, it was still cool and we both ran out of body heat about the same time.  So, I snapped the photo above and we headed for something warm to drink.  I applied some color later and this was the result.

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I suppose some might suggest that the weather changing had nothing to do with my blog post – that it was only a coincidence.   I’ll continue to believe otherwise… I think.