Art Deco Period Houses in Quebec City

One of the things I love about Quebec City is that there is an obvious location of the founding period of the city.  Our “old city” is a UNESCO Heritage site, as it is the oldest walled city in North America, officially founded in 1608.  The history is rich and evident.

And as Quebec City grew, people moved beyond the walls and the city spread outward as lava flows from a volcano.  This outward movement was limited by the St. Lawrence River to western and northwestern expansion.  The result of this slow expansion is a “map” of how architectural trends changed over the years from 1600 to the present and, as a sketcher, it can be examined much as an archeologist examines layers of rock.

I’ve spent most of my time sketching inside the old city, as the architecture there is both early and a combination of French and British influences.  But, if one wanders away from the walls of old Quebec by just a few kilometers, one hits the motherlode of Art Deco architecture.  Bay windows and corner towers give way to rounded walls, flat roofs, and frosted glass decorations – a completely different world from the French architecture of our Chateau Frontenac, the architectural symbol of Quebec City.

Here’s my first art deco house sketch but it won’t be my last.  I love the cobblestone-like rounded wall and the door.  I’m looking forward to mining the art deco layer of our architectural history.  Sketching in Quebec City is exciting and fun.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9x6 landscape) sketchbook, Pilot Prera, Platinum Carbon Black ink

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9×6 landscape) sketchbook, Pilot Prera, Platinum Carbon Black ink

More Small Sketches… More Fun

I’m continuing to have fun with small 3×5 (or smaller) sketches.  Thought I’d share a few more with you.

2013-07-18MaryDooleyCThis is a small, adorable building that is the home to a dress designer.  It looks like something from a fairy tale and seemed like a great small sketch subject.  As with my previous small sketches, this one (and the others here) were done in a Moleskine watercolor sketchbook.  This particular one was done with a Pilot Prera and Platinum Carbon Black ink.

2013-07-21KamouraskaCWe took a day trip down (up?) the southern coast of the St. Lawrence River to Kamouraska.  I’d hoped to sketch some of the great buildings there but instead I did this sketch of my daughter looking out at the ocean (the Atlantic is out there somewhere if you look far enough).  I like this one a lot, probably because of the subject matter.

2013-07-23shipCI was walking across the bridges that crosses the St. Charles River just as it flows into the St. Lawrence and decided, without much thought, to sketch this scene.  I think the scene would have been better served by a larger format but the little sketchbook came out and the pen started jittering around the paper.  I’m not a fan of sketching while standing and this is further evidence that I’m not very good at it.  But they can’t all be great.  It was still fun, which is why I do this.

2013-07-23guyCLastly, and certainly least, I was taking a break on Terrace Dufferin, a large boardwalk associated with the Chateau Frontenac.  Across from me was this guy, looking out at the St. Lawrence.  I took out my cheap sketchbook thinking I’d just do a one-minute sketch of him and, big mistake, I started the sketch in portrait format, thinking I was only going to draw him and couple boards to represent the bench.  Then I sort of got carried away making squiggles to represent the railing and before I knew it I was having to draw him smaller than I planned, the bench became more integral to the sketch, and in the end I had a tiny, 2×2 vignette of a guy on a bench.  It’s sort of scratch and way too small but again, quite fun and I thought I would share it as an example of improper planning… or maybe just the right amount 🙂  This one was done with a Uniball Signo UM151 (brown-black) pen.  I really like these pens and I’m now armed with several of them.

Ferry Dock Sketching

I use any excuse to take the ferry from Quebec City to Levis, which is on the other side of the St. Lawrence River from us.  I do it because 1) I like boats, 2) my bus pass makes it free, and 3) did I mention that I like boats?

On this day, I did it because Yvan wanted to sketch the ferry station, which is an old train station that’s been sort of messed up by neglect and its conversion into a ferry dock.  But they’re planning on tearing it down and he wanted a sketch of it.  Seemed like a plan to me.

But when I got there, something about sketching the station just didn’t turn my crank that morning so I found an alternative, this building that was probably a hotel at some point and may still be.  I like the way the cliff jutted up above, dwarfing what is actually a very large building.
It was done in a Stillman & Birn Zeta (5×8) sketchbook with Pilot Preras and Platinum Carbon Black and Noodler’s Lexington gray inks.  Hope you like it.  It was sure fun.