Sketching An Inukshuk

Inukshuks are common across northern Canada.  Seen principally as a product of the Inuits, other Native American groups also make them.  They are said to have been used as navigation markers, or markers of significant locations.  They commonly represent of Canada itself and some have deemed them a symbol of hope.  You can buy tiny inukshuks as souvenirs, sold right next to the beaver and moose figurines.

In any case their structure is meant to represent a human form and larger ones even have legs and arms.  Most have outward projections that represent arms in some way.  Mostly, though, they are a pile of rocks and I love drawing rocks.

We were at the museum the other day and in the Native American exhibit there is a small inukshuk that sits behind some large display cabinets.  You can see all of it if you’re standing in front of those display cabinets but I had to sit across the aisle from them so I would have light to see my paper.  This meant that I couldn’t see the bottom half of it.  I drew it anyway, direct with ink, and this is the result.

Stillman & Birn Nova (5.5x.8.5), J. Herbin Lie de Thé ink

I really had fun drawing this inukshuk and I remembered that I’d drawn one before, an inukshuk that resides on the Quebec Parliament grounds.  I decided to see if I could find that sketch.  I rarely look at my old sketches but  I did find it and I learned a couple things.  First is that this older sketch was done in 2012, only a few months after I decided to learn how to draw.  The second thing I learned is that I have actually improved as I’ve accumulated pen miles.  That made me happy.  Maybe inukshuks do represent hope.

A Walk With The Gods

The search for places to sketch in winter is continual here in Quebec City, so when Yvan said “Why don’t we go to Pavillion Laurentienne to sketch?” everyone immediately responded with “Sure!”  Only later did we ask “What is Pavillion Laurentienne and what can we sketch there?”

Pavillion Laurentienne, as it turns out, is a relatively new building on the Université Laval campus.  It’s used for conferences and larger meetings.  What’s interesting about it is that it’s got a very large lobby area with a bunch of large plaster casts of statues that live in Europe somewhere.  Another way of looking at them is that they’re big white naked people, though one of them, out of modesty no doubt. has a small sheep wrapped around his shoulders.

Yvan got permission for our motley crew to show up today to sketch.  Sunday is certainly the day to go as except for the security guard, we were there alone, hanging out with the white naked people.  It was a very meditative atmosphere.

Here’s a loose sketch of part of the lobby area.  I did all these sketches on Canson Ingres papers that seems ideal for pen and ink drawing, though it’s too thin for watercolor.

2014-01-18PavLaurentienne0_72Sketching statues is certainly not my forté  but I sure had fun today.  This guy’s name is Marcellus, though he and I never had a real conversation.  His neck isn’t really that long – I was being “artistic,” I guess (grin).

2014-01-19PavLaurentienneI was getting a bit tired at this point, so I had some coffee and some great conversation.  I decided to draw an arm and, I’m afraid, I worked one beat too fast and the poor guy’s hand looks like it went through a meat grinder, though in this case I guess it would have to be a plaster grinder.  In any case, the result left something to be desired, as did my second, hand attempt.  I guess I was just tired from trying to keep my gut sucked in around these well-muscled white guys.

2014-01-19PavLaurentienne2All of these sketches were done with a Pilot Prera with either J.Herbin Lie de thé or Noodlers Lexington Gray ink.   As we left for the day most of us agreed that we’d have to come back.