It’s hot. It’s humid. Too hot for an old man to be out walking, that’s for sure. So, I put my stool in a shady spot in the yard and drew a small “scene” designed by Chantal. I thought these little guys were going to be hosta-guarding soldiers (wrote about that), but Chantal had other ideas. As usual, hers was a better one.
I’m still plodding along, trying to figure out oil painting while also learning lots of stuff about color mixing, and the nuances of foresaking my pen and ink style. I’d like to think I’m getting a bit better at it but there is more failure in my results than successes. Reminds me of 2012 and my beginnings as a sketcher. We learn from our failures so I must be learning a lot (grin). Here’s my latest, a pot of oranges.
It’s 2022 and our province is mostly locked down as Omicron ravages our population. We’re lucky in that Quebecers have largely embraced vaccination but still, COVID hangs over us like a wet blanket. If the biology is sound, however, it looks like we may actually have a decent summer of sketching. I sure hope so. Cheers, everyone.
I’ve pulled these books from my library and they now rest on the table next to my reading/TV chair. The Guptill and Harding books are still the best in my opinion but I like all of these books. Harding has a great book on drawing trees too but I don’t have that one.
So here I am, pencil in hand, drawing stuff. While it feels like a new road for me, I have done some pencil drawing in museums during winter, because many museums don’t like the idea of watercolors being sloshed about near the exhibits. This is when I work with watercolor pencils too, using a water brush. That was back in 2013-2014 though, and mostly I was still trying to figure out how to deal with basic proportions. Light and shade was mostly foreign to me.
I was walking the other day and found some mushrooms on their last legs I did some tiny sketches of them. It was hard because they were old and falling apart. Somehow I related to them (grin). Anyways, the highlight was that I found some milkweed pods and I brought some home with me. This was done in my S&B Epsilon 9×12 sketchbook.
Drawing this was… well… peaceful. I’ve mentioned that I draw slowly regardless of medium. That’s how this kind of drawing is done. Pencil books don’t spend time telling you to draw quickly (grin). The time flew by, however, and I felt refreshed at the end. On to the next page. I hope you find my stumbling around with new media at least casually interesting and that you’ll laugh along with me.
Late in August most of the lockdown stuff was over. We’re still wearing masks because we’re not idiots, but back then we were like bears poking our head out of the cave, unsure if we wanted to come out. Being a bit apprehensive about traveling anywhere, but also feeling like most and wanting a change from being sequestered at home, we decided to take a trip.
We didn’t need or want a big “see the sites” trip and most tourist things were shut down anyway, so we decided to go somewhere and sit, without our computers, without TV, and without an agenda. I even made the decision to limit my sketching during the trip.
We chose St. Simeon, Quebec because there isn’t ANYTHING in St. Simeon except a coastline along the beginnings of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. When I say there isn’t anything I really mean it. No good restaurants, no coffee shops, no nothing. But we did have a hotel that looked out on the water and it was quiet enough. We drove up a valley that holds the Black River and did a bit of sitting by the river. I spent half an hour making a sketch of the tree-lined roadway. I had a lot of fun doing it but I can’t show it to you. I’d forgotten what a spiral-bound sketchbook can do to a pencil drawing and the sketch has become a cloud of smeared graphite.
On another day, however, we went to “Port au Persil,” which is a small town with a gorgeous cove area and a pier where you can sit and watch whales. I got to see my first beluga whale which was exciting. Actually, we saw lots of them during our trip. By whale standards they’re quite small but they’re snow white and gorgeous. My sketchbook came out around the cove though. The cove is full of rounded sandstone rocks and I couldn’t resist. This reflects those formations.
Mostly, though, we sat on the balcony of our hotel, or walked along the beach. This involved a lot of whale watching, some beer drinking and a lot of salsa and chips. It was delightful. I decided that I should try to paint the coastline and I’m afraid I let the paint get away from me a bit but I’ll share it anyway.
The trip was a big success. It seems that doing nothing appeals to both of us and we felt great as we headed for home. I need to spend more time doing nothing.
Summer is struggling to hang on here in Quebec City and I’m grateful. Very few leaves have dropped and the trees are still mostly green. So we’re continuing to do our walking regime, while talking about what we’ll do when it finally does snow.
My summer has been less “sketch filled” than ever before and you know, I don’t feel bad about that. I feel a bit guilty that I haven’t been posting here but I’ll try to catch up “real soon” because a number of things have occurred with my art over the past few weeks and it’ll be fun to share those with you.
I promised not to bore you with my stream of 4-5 minute sketches but I think sharing a few of them might give me a chance to mention what I actually have been sketching while out on our walks. First are the people. I’ve drawn a bunch of them, mostly as we sit, taking a break in one of the local parks. These are typical of those efforts. Nothing to write home about but I really like the little girl, with her large head and big hair, perched on her frail body.
I don’t do portraits but who could resist sketching this guy, who sat down across from me in the park. I did take advantage of my wife’s patience as this one took more than five minutes, but not more than ten.
I’ll throw this one in as my “teaching moment.” Chantal started bring her sketchbook with her and found the 5-minute routine as frustrating as I do. At one point we were discussing how to grab a scene quickly and so I showed her how I would grab a scene in a minute or two. As I’ve said, I’m not good at this but then ability has never prevented artists from giving advice to someone else (grin).
Those are some examples of the sorts of things I’ve been doing while out on my daily walks. All were done in 3×5 or 4×6, dollar store sketchbooks. My new knee is serving me well. It’s the best joint in my body and the others are straining to keep up. I’m afraid getting old isn’t pretty and it’s beginning to limit my overall ability to urban sketch but as time marches on, so do I.
Again, I apologize for my lack of blogging activity and hopefully you’ll see more from me “real soon.” Hope everyone is doing well.