I don’t know if high humidity and almost daily rain is a new normal for Quebec City but this summer has been a frustration because of it. That said, the plant world is having a great time. Everything is more lush, a lot greener, and flowers are everywhere.
I’m trying to fit my powerwalks (old man power walks mean distance, not speed) into our renovation work and I found myself in Parc de l’Amerique Latin, which is a park that features a bunch of statues of famous people from Latin America.
It was hot and I needed a break so I sat down to practice drawing flower blossoms. I love drawing plants where I try to draw an individual plant or flower, leaf by leaf or petal by petal. This is great practice in size/orientation relationships of organic subjects. Here’s what I came up with on that day.
It’s hot. It’s humid. Too hot for an old man to be out walking, that’s for sure. So, I put my stool in a shady spot in the yard and drew a small “scene” designed by Chantal. I thought these little guys were going to be hosta-guarding soldiers (wrote about that), but Chantal had other ideas. As usual, hers was a better one.
I’m trying to get back to a daily walk routine. It’s been hard this spring/summer because of all the rain and a bunch of house stuff we’ve been doing, but I was out the other day and stopped to sit in a park near my house. There was a birch tree there to keep me company and I decided to draw it, or at least its feet and legs.
Stillman & Birn Alpha (9×6 softcover), Kaweco Lilliput pen, DeAtramentis Document Black, Daniel Smith watercolors
In another venue I commented that if not for the internet I might well never use color. I met a friend for coffee in a park and saw this scene. The next day I returned to sketch it. I just couldn’t bring myself to mess it up with color. The plants seemed to speak volumes, at least to me.
Every time I visit a museum and am faced with large canvas panels painted with a single color I wonder why I waste time drawing stuff. It’s not that I’m enthused by these boring wall coverings. It’s that I’m told they’re worth millions, while my art is worth nothing. For some reason that matters.
So, I’m doing something about it. I’m switching mediums again (acrylics this time) and increasing the size of my resulting artworks significantly. My brush is now 4″ wide and I use a very limited palette but buy the paint in one gallon containers.
The one downside to this sort of art is that surface prep is extensive. It involved cleaning and scrubbing, followed by sanding. But ultimately I was ready to make modern art. Here is my equipment.
I decided I should start small to get used to the materials. The first problem I ran into was that I’m a sketcher of things so painting without things just isn’t right, so my first attempt was too representational.
My second attempt didn’t go much better. I realized that I need to paint a different view from typical, working the angles and shapes to achieve art on a higher plane. I’m afraid that I may still have missed the mark.
I must admit that modern art is harder than I thought. I’m sure, though, that when my eight-foot square canvas and paint roller arrive, I’ll do better.
Until then I’ll pose a question. Is this urban sketching? These paintings were done on location. They were done in an urban environment and there’s a reportage component to them. And I’m sharing it with others, one sketch at a time. Hmmm….
One thing is for sure. While we say that sketching is about the process, not the product, this is not that. The process is not fun.