A Visit to Bugel – The Bagel Maker

In my continuing quest to eat my way through Quebec City, sketching as I go, Claudette and I visited Bugel – Fabrique de Bagels, a small place that makes some of the best best bagels I’ve ever tasted.  Situated at 164 rue Cremazie, it is hidden from the main traffic corridors but the locals know it well.  Besides, there are a great used bookstore across the street that has a lot of art books I can’t afford, but looking is free.

It was a nice way to spend the morning, though we had to cut it a bit shorter than our normal sessions as had things to do before Christmas eve.  Claudette managed to sketch a bunch of the patrons, many of whom were running in to pick up orders and each time someone came through the door, we’d get a blast of Quebec air, which kept us quite alert.  This is the time of year where I conclude that I will be permanently ‘cold’ until sometime in June.

Here’s my sketch.  The funny thing on the side is the stained glass address that rests above the door.  You might be able to make out the 164 (backwards) but it was really a failed attempt on my part.  Too much of an afterthrought.  Hope you all had a Merry Christmas.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (4x6), Pilot Prera, Kuretake brush pen

Stillman & Birn Alpha (4×6), Pilot Prera, Kuretake brush pen


Sketching At Paillard In Quebec City

2013-10-10Gallerie_colorThe first restaurant I sketched was the new Paillard in one of the Quebec City Malls.  You can read about it in a post about the brown-paper sketchbook, if you like.  This one has few walls and I sketched it while standing outside the restaurant.

But there’s another Paillard that is more famous, if restaurant fame is measured by being part of tourist’s agenda items when they visit Quebec City.  logo-paillardThis one, the original Paillard, is in downtown Quebec City, the “old” city, on rue St. Jean.  This is not a really old cafe where poetry was read and music played in the 60s like Chez Temporel.  In fact, when I came to Quebec City long ago to do a post-doctoral fellowship, the location of Paillard was a grocery store ‘down the street’ from my apartment and I shopped there regularly.

But in the intervening years I moved away and Paillard took the place of the grocery store. It has become a ‘hot spot’ for tourists.  It’s a large, brightly-lit and roomy melange of a bakery and a café.  Their pastries are wonderful but the real star is their frothy coffee drinks, including one of my favorites, the bol de café au lait.  I’m mostly ignorant of differences between latte, cappuccino, and the other frothy drinks are but in the case of café au lait  I think it’s heaven.  While I normally drink my coffee black, I’ll break with tradition for a bol de café au lait.  It’s strong coffee with lots of frothy milk added to it and I add a bit of brown sugar to the mix.  But it’s the bol part of the equation that’s important…it comes in a soup bowl so you get a lot of it.

I’m rambling.  Sorry.  Claudette and I went to sketch Paillard the other day and we had a great time.  I got my bol de café au lait and a muffin.  She was less of a cochon (pig) and got a regular café au lait.  We were there early and pretty much had the place to ourselves.  There were a couple people sitting behind me and Claudette started sketching them.  With no people in my sight line I drew food and chairs and tables.  Ultimately I did quickly sketch a woman who was ordering something, maybe her own bol de café au lait .  Here is my tribute to Paillard.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (4x6), TWSBI MIni, Platinum Carbon Black

Stillman & Birn Alpha (4×6), TWSBI MIni, Platinum Carbon Black

Sketching the Past – episode 2

Recently I posted a sketch I’d done of a caboose, done from a photograph taken when cabooses were part of our landscape.  In that post I floated the idea that if I was going to be forced to sketch from photos by winter, that maybe I should sketch things that used to be part of our landscape but that have largely disappeared.

Well, never say stuff if you don’t mean it.  My sketching buddies, Fernande and Claudette picked up on the idea and said, “You should sketch a bee-douze“, and I said, “Huh?”

They were surprised that I didn’t know what a “bee-douze” was even though they know my French isn’t very good.  It wasn’t a French problem, however.  “Bee-douze” is simply “B-twelve” in English but I still had no idea what they were talking about and I don’t think a lot of Francophones would know either.  But Fernande and Claudette both grew up in a part of Quebec called “La Gaspesie”, a rural part of the province.  They were taken to school in a “bee-douze” when winter snows prevented alternative transportation.

And you know what?  The B-12 is an important part of our technological history as it was a big money-maker for a company called Bombardier who invented snowmobiles and who are now one of the world’s largest suppliers of modern passenger train cars and executive jets.  Oh, and they still make snowmobiles via their recreational vehicle division called Ski-Doo.  Maybe you’ve heard of it.

The B12 gets its name from the fact that it could zip along above the snow, carrying 12 people.  Not the prettiest vehicle ever built, it gets high marks for its unique, almost Flash-Gordon-like round windows and teardrop shape.  I had fun drawing this one.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9x6), Pilot Prera, Platinum Carbon ink

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9×6), Pilot Prera, Platinum Carbon ink

From Oil Painting To Sketch

I’ve discovered something new to do – to practice my eye.  Being driven into museums by our cold weather, I’ve been staring at a bunch of oil paintings.  I tried sketching from them, trying to grasp the artist’s intent.  I’m not good at it and maybe it’s not even desirable to do so.

But I wondered what would happen if I didn’t try.  Instead, what would happen if I tried to look at the painting and “convert” it to my sketching style.  What would I learn?  I wish I could tell you what the answer is but I don’t really know yet, but I felt something while doing the following sketch.  I don’t know what it was but I think repeated treatments may change my sketching style, maybe even improve it.

Stillman & Birn (6x9) Zeta, TWSBI Mini, Platinum Carbon Black

Stillman & Birn (6×9) Zeta, TWSBI Mini, Platinum Carbon Black

Muffin And Coffee At The Cafe Supreme

We had a mild day (it wasn’t windy) and so I thought I should take advantage of that fact and headed off for a long, very long walk.  It was 5F.  I walked to a mall that was a considerable distance away, the plan being that I’d hop a bus to get back.

The walk was fun and with my big fur-lined hat with flaps (the proverbial anti-chic magnet) and a coat that is heavy enough to be used as an anchor, I was toasty warm.  When I arrived at the mall, I decided to reward myself for my effort with a tasty muffin and a cup of coffee.

I thought about the Pat Ng and Liz Steel approach to restaurant drawing and decided that I would draw the sign for the Cafe Supreme before ordering.  So I sat down and did just that.  Then I got my muffin and coffee and, in spite of temptation, they remained intact while I drew them.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (4x6), TWSBI Mini, Platinum Carbon Black ink

Stillman & Birn Alpha (4×6), TWSBI Mini, Platinum Carbon Black ink

The coffee hadn’t even cooled; my approach was going well.  So, with a mouth full of muffin and a swig of coffee, I started drawing a portion of Cafe Supreme itself.  A bright red coat, wrapped around a woman walked up and started to order so I drew it, put a head and legs on it.  There need to be more red coats in our world.  I finished up by drawing the bits and pieces that make Cafe Supreme the place it is.  Winter sketching is sure different, but it’s fun too.