Recording What You See

As an urban sketcher, we’re told we should sketch the scenes around us, do reportage, record our life and those around us.  I’m horrible at all of that.  I draw for the pleasure of moving a pen across paper.  I don’t “draw verbs.”  I don’t even think it’s possible to do this popular plea from urban sketchers.  I draw things, stuff, objects, nouns.  My sketches do hold memories of the times and places where they were done but that is not my goal in creating them.

With all that said, there are times when a bit of reportage is, or should be important, even to me, and I have to confess that I fail at it.  I have a cell phone, like everyone else.  A simple click of a button and I could record these moments.  But I never think about it.  I see the results of other sketchers, who take photos of their fellow sketchers and sketching groups who regularly pose for group photos.  Our local sketchers just don’t think that way and a bit of reflection in the mirror suggests that I don’t either.

A case in point is when people come to Quebec City to sketch with me.  These times are among the highlights of my time as a sketcher and yet I don’t document them well.  Most recently Owen Swain came to visit.  He’s a really good illustrator/sketcher from Winsor, Ontario and he came to visit with his family.  As it turned out, it was just too darn cold for us to sketch the day we met, but our conversations over several cups of good coffee made for a memorable day.  And I don’t have a single photograph of Owen’s visit [sigh].

And it got me to thinking about other visitors I’ve been lucky to have visit.  Marc and Laurel Holmes came to spend a day sketching Quebec City.  I learned a lot from Marc and really enjoyed Laurel’s company.  Not a single photo of the event was taken by yours truly.  Fortunately, Laurel is an excellent photographer and came to the rescue with a single photo of Marc and I walking down Chemin St. Louis.

Karen Casper came to visit from the US.  She’s a first class watercolorist and a lot of fun to be around.  We had two great sketching days together.  Not a single photo was taken during her visit, though I did do this really quick sketch of her while we were sketching.

The one visitor I did take a photo of when she visited was Paula Raudenbush, back in 2015.  We had a ball the day she and her friend visited and for some reason I did take a photo of her as we sat in front of Trinity church and she sketched.  To commemorate my singular act of photo-taking, I made a sketch from that photo.

Clearly I’ve got to get better at this sort of thing.  I feel really bad about not having any physical evidence of Owen’s visit.  Maybe I can get him to come back for another visit.  If any of you would like to visit Quebec City this summer, I promise to take your picture.

6 thoughts on “Recording What You See

  1. Don’t worry, Larry — if I ever get to QC (which I certainly hope to someday), *I’ll* be sure to take our photo together and post it on Facebook. I’ve been called the “selfie queen.” 😉

    – Tina

    • Great idea (you coming to Quebec). Bring Kate with you 🙂 Funny thing about selfies. I don’t do those either. The only selfie I’ve done was when I sketched my shadow on a sunny day 🙂

  2. Yup, Tina is really good at selfies… and selfies that include the entire group of sketchers, too!

    For over 30 years, my art expression was Photography. Now that I’m back making art with paper, pen and paint, I do still take a lot of photos during sketch outings (and other times).

    • As I was writing that blog post I was thinking of Seattle. You guys are model citizens when it comes to photographing sketcher activities and I love it when you take photos of the aviation museum. Bring your camera when you and Tina come to Quebec 🙂

  3. Hey Larry! Your sketch took me right back to that lovely day in QC. You were such a great host. We did more chatting than sketching that day but it was great to get to know you.
    Hope our paths cross again. Cheers!

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