Road Trip To The RedPath Museum In Montreal

I’m a really lucky guy.  Why?  Because I’ve got a daughter who’s been accepted to the McGill Law program in Montreal.  Who cares, you might ask.  Well I ask you, what better excuse could there be for a certain sketcher to go to Montreal and sketch in the many great sketching locations that exist there.

My first trip took place last week, when my daughter went to an orientation at the law school.  It was a great day.  I emailed (is that a verb yet?) Marc Taro Holmes and asked if he was available.  Good timing and a bit luck found him having the day free for sketching.

We met at the RedPath Museum on the McGill campus and I spent the day attention torn between concentrating on my drawing and talking to Marc and watching him do some amazing watercolors.  For this post I’ll stick with showing you what I drew that day.

This heron and I spent some time together.  He (she?) was beautiful.  I was doing this standing up and when it came to the paint I ran out of hands, which led to things being out of control, and that’s putting it mildly.

Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10), Pilot Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black

When we finished up in this part of the museum we decided to go upstairs to draw.   The stairwell is filled with a bunch of stuffed animals.  It was a very overcast/rainy day and this part of the museum was pretty dark but I decided to draw the head of a hippopotamus.  As I sat on the steps, I could see the outline well enough but there was considerable guesswork regarding the various undulations on the body of the animal.   It was both frustrating and fun to try to think about how the muscles would run around the head/neck of the animal.

Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10), Pilot Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black

We’d had a long discussion about whether one should use pencil or not.  This internet meme is very popular and I don’t ascribe to it, though I’m very much in favor of leaving the eraser at home.  I’ll probably talk about it at some later date but here I’m only going to say that I decided to do some pen-only drawings.

I was fascinated by this very primitive stringed instrument, formed by a drum-like body with sticks strung through it to raise up the “drum” cover so that a bridge could rest on it to hold the strings.  The neck of the instrument was a long, somewhat rough stick with frets formed by ropes wrapped around it along its length.  I hope I’ve captured it well enough to show these features.

Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10), PIlot Falcon, DeAtramentis Document Black

I was getting sort of tired at this point but just to the right of where I was sitting was this clay statue that had a grass skirt and a bunch of feathers on its head.  I quickly sketched it but didn’t completely finish it as time ran out.  I played with some color when I got home but I don’t think it improved it much, if at all.

This day was a great day.  Heck, I think any day at the RedPath would be, but it was particularly great because the discussions that Marc and I had were fun and watching him work magic with watercolors was very insightful and inspiring.  Ain’t sketching and the sketching community great?


6 thoughts on “Road Trip To The RedPath Museum In Montreal

    • Lucky? You bet, Julana. Montreal has a very active urban sketchers group, headed by Marc Taro Holmes and Shari Blaukopf and lots of great sketching locations. That my daughter will be moving closer to us is a bonus 🙂

  1. Excellent Larry! I was able to visit that museum once while in Montreal and it is a gem. (I can’t seem to manage a trip to a city without finding a natural history museum or botanical garden– or in Montreal, both.) I especially like your mounted head sketch from the stairwell. Glad it was such a productive day!

    • Glad you liked the hippo and mentioned it, Jean. I’m only starting to think about color and trying to integrate it into my drawing process. I find that difficult because I’m always drawing on location and sitting on a tripod stool. The pragmatics of having only two hands and no imagination limits how I can draw/paint at the same time. For the hippo, however, I was able to sit on the steps of the museum, with my paints, water, etc next to me and this allowed me to shade the surface of the animal with a bit more patience than I normally would. It was fun.

  2. Such wonderful news, Larry! I’m happy for you and your family. Congratulations!

    • Hi Sheila, it’s good to hear from you. I’m looking forward to getting to go to Montreal more often and going to Ottawa less often, though I will miss Ottawa. Jodie is very much an over-achiever. She’ll be graduating from UofOttawa with an A average for goodness sake. I’m happy for her.

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