Sketching Day In Levis, Quebec

Quebec City and Levis are separated from one another by the St. Lawrence River, which is a mighty river for sure, serving as the shipping highway between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean.  It seems to be a considerable barrier for our sketching group as we rarely go to Levis in spite of it being a great place to sketch.  I could leave this description just the way it is, fully justifying our avoidance of that city, but the truth is, it’s only a 10-minute ferry boat ride so we really have no excuse.

We did go last Saturday, though, thanks to an invitation by Marie Gauthier, who owns/runs an atelier in Levis.  And we had a great time, though I spent way too much time talking to the new acquaintances.  It was a cold day and I was underdressed so there was a bit of shivering going on as I drew this scene.  I guess it’s my Arizona roots but I’m always underdressed for the cold.

Sketching A House On A Hill

We’re finally getting some summer heat here, along with our typical high humidity.  But that wasn’t how this day started.  We started the day trying to figure out where we could go to sketch indoors because it was too cold to be outside and there was a threat of rain.

We took the ferry over to Levis with the idea of sketching in the new passenger facility that I described in an earlier post and so off we went, Yvan, myself and Claudette.

The trip was uneventful except that the sun came out so when we got to the other side we thought we should walk along the street while searching for sketching opportunities.  There are many along the south shore of the St. Lawrence.

Being the sloth that I am, I was happy with the idea of lounging around in the grass of the park there.  Claudette and Yvan thought it might be fun to climb the stairs up to old buildings that reside “up there.”

Let me explain a bit.  These are not ordinary stairs.  We’re talking serious stair-climbing here as the stairs worm their way, serpentine fashion up the cliff face to the neighborhoods of old Levis.  These stairs have their own restaurant, the Restaurant de l’escalier for goodness sake.  Up we went.

At the top Yvan and Claudette settled into sketching mode and I realized that I’d forgotten to bring my stool with me.  I wandered around, looking for a place to sit that would afford a view of something.  The best I could muster was sitting on a curb at the bottom of the street, looking up at a couple houses.  This perch was right over a sewer grate that supplied free smells, direct from the neighborhood.  What more could a guy ask for?  Oh yeah…it was out in what had become a bright, direct, and very warm sun.

Undaunted, I started drawing a couple buildings.  They ended up a bit wonky but hey, at least I didn’t lose my pen, which fell onto that sewer grate I mentioned, but didn’t slip through the slots to a stinky grave.  It was a special day.

Levis, Quebec houses

Stillman & Birn Gamma (10×7), Namiki Falcon, De Atramentis Document ink

The Real Entrance To Narnia

Yeah…yeah, I know that the kids got to Narnia by way of a wardrobe but have you ever wondered where the main entrance was?  I think I’ve found it.  It’s in Levis, Quebec.  Just go through this gate and up the steps into the forest.  Easy peasy.

Narnia gate

Stillman & Birn Alpha (10×7), Pilot Falcon, Platinum Carbon Black

A Short Trip To Levis

To both of you who follow this blog, I apologize for my absence.  It’s embarrassing to admit but without my laptop I’m dead in the water, and I had a hard drive crash late last week.  I got the problem diagnosed by Friday night and then began waiting for a hard drive to arrive in the mail.  This is not something you want to be doing as the weekend is just beginning.

So, I scuttled around in my basement and, using ancient computer parts, cobbled together something that looked like a computer and ran almost as fast as an abacus.  But it did get me email and limited web access.  The drive arrived on Tuesday and I’m now back in business  Thank goodness for backups as not much was lost except for a lot of time.

3x5 - Pilot Prera w/Lex Gray ink

3×5 – Pilot Prera w/Lex Gray ink

During that time I went for a long sketching walk.  First stop was to do a quick sketch of sailboats in the harbor.  Me and sailboats don’t get along well, mostly because I don’t know much about the rigging and doo-dads that encrust the top surface of sailboats and, from my distant vantage point, these things are hard to make out.  But I continue to try and this sketch consumed ten minutes of my time.  The fact that I was standing up didn’t help much.  I do wish I could get better at sketching while standing 🙁

I wandered around downtown for a while and then got the notion to head to Levis as the sun was out and I always look for an excuse to ride the ferry.  On my way over I recalled a small, but rather ornate house I’d seen while I was in Levis sketching with fellow sketcher, Yvan.  This is it.  The people got sort of faked in using people who were walking by.  I ran out of room while adding the woman and I’m not sure she has a left arm.  If she does, it’s somewhere in the guy’s right side (grin).

Stillman & Birn Zeta (5x8), Pilot Prera w/ Platinum Carbon Black ink

Stillman & Birn Zeta (5×8), Pilot Prera w/ Platinum Carbon Black ink

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.