Give Me A Hand And….

…I’ll draw it.  Particularly if it’s a plaster cast of a hand.

Canson Ingres toned paper, Pilot Prera, Noodler's Lexington Gray ink

Canson Ingres toned paper, Pilot Prera, Noodler’s Lexington Gray ink

I’m so excited!!!  Hidden away, in the bowels of the Université Laval music building is a museum of sorts.  Sadly, it’s not a museum you can visit.  It’s a place where the entire collection from the now defunct natural history museum is stored.  In addition, Madame Wagner, the curator, has stored a very large collection of plaster casts that were cast off by the art department when it was decided that learning to draw wasn’t quite as important as it once was.  Abstract art, it seems, has had a very debilitating long-term affect on the art community 🙁

So imagine a place where you can walk among stuffed water buffalos, bears, mountain sheep and caribou.  Imagine cabinet after cabinet of avian, insect, marine, and mammal fauna, all just waiting to be drawn.  Imagine another room full of artifacts from all parts of the earth and some from outer space.  Imagine walls lined with plaster busts, full statues, and other plaster body parts.  Would you like to sketch there?

Me too.  And just to sweeten the pot, imagine that in one corner of this place is a makeshift studio where one can take any item, set it up on a stage, light it, and then sit in a very quiet room while drawing for as long as you like?  Pretty sweet picture, isn’t it?

But, for me, there’s more cuz my friend Yvan has access to this place and I’ve been invited to join him.  Suddenly I don’t care as much about our ridiculously cold temperatures and I’m hoping to spend at least one morning a week in this wonderful dream world.  Today, following a tour, I grabbed a hand and did the small drawing above.  I need to get better at shading with pen but it was sure fun.


The Sketches That Don’t Get Posted

I’ve never done a count but I think that I post less than 50% of the sketches that I do.  I know this is true if I include my constant doodling.  Sketching is about learning to see, hand-eye coordination and building a vocabulary to turn 3D images into 2D sketches.  While stated often by experts, I think most want to believe that there’s some way to get past the need to practice, practice, practice.

Because of this constant sketching I generally have sketches to post but, right now, I’m sick.  Mr. Flu came to visit our house and I’ve spent the last few days staring at Olympics and debating whether living or dying was the best course of action.  Such is the nature of Mr. Flu.  Because of this, I haven’t done much sketching.

But this morning I read a great post by Tina Koyama.  She came across a couple of her sketches that she’d forgotten about and decided to share.  They were great and appreciated that she took the time to post them.

Her post made me think of all the sketches that never see the light of day and gave me an idea.   In defiance of Mr. Flu, I offer this little doodle I did while looking out the window at three people who were walking slowly down the sidewalk in front of our house.  No big deal and the middle guy’s head seems too large to me, but heck, it’s not bad given that I had a 102F temperature at the time.

Canson Ingres paper, Hero 578 pen

Canson Ingres paper, Hero 578 pen

Sketching The Art of Fernand Pelez

I rarely sketch from art unless I’m trying to learn how DaVinci did it, or how my buddy Yvan Breton does his people sketches.  But the Paris exhibit at our Musée de la Civilisation has a couple of large that just say “sketch me.”  I think it’s because of their size and content.  One is a 21-foot long mural of the Parisian open-air market in 1900.  The other is an equally large circus mural titled Grimaces et misére by Fernand Pelez (1888).

Grimaces et misére depicts circus performers, including dancers, musicians, clowns and others, but unlike most circus art, these figures are depicted in what was probably a more realistic state.  The faces and body language of these characters are sad, tired, and suggestive of their overworked, day-by-day lives.

I, along with my buddy Yvan decided to meet Tuesday morning to sketch the musicians who represent about 25% of the mural.  He drew in pencil; I used my Wahl-Eversharp pen and Noodler’s Lexington Gray.

The paper was Canson Ingres (6×9).  I like the lightly toned versions of this paper for pen drawings, though it would be quite useless for watercolor.  The bit of added tone came from dilute Lex Gray in a waterbrush, while the white was done with a Stabilo “paper-glass-plastic-metal” pencil.  I think Prismacolor pencil does a better job but it was worth a try (grin)

2014-01-28OrchestreFrancais_72For those asking “What the heck is that instrument on the right,” I was equally curious and so I did some digging.  Turns out it is an ophicleide, a precursor to the tuba.  It’s actually a U-shaped tube but the downward part of the tube is behind the upward portion so you don’t see it in the painting.  But you can see the mouthpiece which is very tuba-like.