August 26th was our 30th wedding anniversary. Thinking about that, Chantal deserves a medal for living with me that long. We decided to celebrate by getting off planet Quebec City and spending a couple days in Rimouski, a smallish town on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, just as it begins to open up into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Originally I planned on it being just the two of us but Chantal thought it would be fun to bring Jodie along. Turned out that was a great idea because my bum knee limited my ability to do some things and Jodie gave Chantal some company while she them.
We stayed at a rustic hotel that sits right on the coast, a rocky intertidal area right in front of the place. Excepting that there was no coffee available on site and a 20-30 minute shopping trip to get some, it was an ideal place.
Our first day there wasn’t great because it was very windy and cold. Yep…cold. No heat wave that day. We visited a museum/lighthouse/submarine place and Jodie and Chantal wanted to tour the submarine. We weren’t sure that my knee could manage the bulkhead doors and the requisite steps downward so I went and sat in the car. This allowed me to do this quick sketch of the rocks, etc. in front of me.
Rimouski is a fishing town and on every corner is a poissonerie (fresh fish store) and associated restaurant. We went for Korean food and it was spectacular. If you’re ever in Rimouski, foresake the crab dinner and head to Parfum of Korea, an oddly bilingual named restaurant. We filled up on Bokkeum, grabbed coffee to go and headed back to the hotel, where we spent the evening staring at the river/ocean (you can’t see across at this point and the water is salty).
The next day we drove to Matane, a fishing/university town a couple hours north of Rimouski. We did this mostly just to enjoy the trip and the wonderful coastline scenery along the way but also with a purpose. I wanted to draw a fishing boat and Mr. Google told me they had lots of them. When we got there I was disappointed. Matane itself is nice enough. We discovered a great beach covered with small round rocks and lots of sand. We also discovered a fish ladder, all ready for the salmon run up the river… next week. Oh well, it was cool to see even without the fish.
But we couldn’t find fishing boats anywhere. So we went to the information center which exists in the form of an old lighthouse. Chantal went to discuss the whereabouts of the fishing boats with the information folks. I set up and started drawing the lighthouse.
We learned that the fishing boats are actually a bit south of Matane in their own artificial harbor area so we headed there. It turned out that most of them were off somewhere, probably making a nuisance of themselves in the world of crabs, shrimps, and fish of several species. But there were a few in port and a sketcher only needs one. Here she be. I was frustrated with the hot-press paper I was using and so this one never saw a brush.
What’s Up With Hot Pressed Paper?
We had a great time on that trip but my first use of hot-pressed paper was a disaster. What’s up with it anyway? I was using Fabriano Artistico HP. Unlike the CP I normally use I couldn’t get this stuff to stay wet? I was constantly fighting with lines in my washes. And EVERYTHING just seemed ‘flat.’ It seemed to suck the life out of the paint. What am I doing wrong? Can anyone advise?
You’re not the problem Larry. The paper is. Fabriano Artistico used to be wonderful and we botanical artists used it almost exclusively. Then the mill in Italy was hired to print the Euro and they retooled the presses and everything went haywire from there. If you’re intent on using watercolor for your sketches I’d say stick to cold press. Arches is still reliable and Stillman & Birn have some good sketchbooks with w/c paper.
Eeek….that’s not good news. I bought a couple large blocks of the stuff with the thought of learing some botanical illustration but I felt like I was painting on cheap cardboard when I tried it. Is the same true of Fabriano Artistico CP? I bought 40 sheets of it a bunch of years ago and since I do most of my sketching in Stillman & Birn sketchbooks, I haven’t used a lot of it. I do love using it, however. What do botanical artists use these days? Alternatives to Arches HP available?
I have tried HP paper on occasion. All I can say is “yuk”! The paint slides all over the place, and doesn’t stay where I want it to be. CP is my go to choice, or a great sheet of rough. My style tends,to like the “nooks and crannies” of a rougher piece of paper. My go to is usually Arches. But I have tried them all over the years. I feel your”pain” about a bumb knee. I see a knee replacement inthe not too distant future. Keep plugging away my friend!!
Stephanie, this is the description I’ve read from others but that’s not what I got at all. Rather, painting on the Fabriano HP was more like painting on cheap cardboard, or even a sponge, leaving the paint dull and blah.
Sorry to hear you suffer knee problems. I’ve been amazed at how mine has affected not only my mobility but my demeanor as the near constant pain just drags me down.
I don’t know a thing about cold press paper, but I wanted to congratulate you newlyweds! 😉
I sometimes prefer to work with single sheets because I can keep things very light and because working on single sheets is easier for me when I work with watercolor. It does cause some organizational problems, however 🙂 Thanks for the congrats.
Hope that knee gets better soon. A couple years ago I could hardly walk. Had some PT. Got a brace. Don’t know what worked but now I don’t even use the brace.
I don’t like hot press either but am not able to articulate why. My paper of choice is distributed by Legion: Stonehenge Aqua. It does come in hot press but I use the 140# cold press.
I confess that I’m confused by it all, Kate. I have osteo-arthritis and I know that set of pains, caused by moving the leg in the wrong way. But my knee is still very swollen and this causes the real aches, pain and limits to my movement. I’m hoping the orthopedic guy I’m seeing tomorrow can lend insight. Also, now that I’ve been diagnosed with anemia, I’m hoping I can get my energy back. If that happens, I can deal with just about anything 🙂 I see another doctor about that on Wednesday.