Sketching Rocks In St. Vallier

Louise and Fernande

Louise and Fernande

I’m a lucky guy to have friends like these.  Plans for this sketching session in St. Vallier came from discussions between Claudette and Louise, who are best buddies.  Louise hosted the event as she lives in St. Vallier, a beautiful village about half an hour from Quebec City.  Plans were made.  The weather checked.  It was on the calendar.

When the day came we faced a very cool morning with very windy conditions.  Undaunted, we piled into Claudette’s car and headed to St. Vallier, which is on the south coast of The St. Lawrence River as it opens up into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  It’s always windy there so we were concerned that it might be too cold to sketch.





It was windy when we arrived, but sunny.  As we walked to the rocky areas we were all bundled up as though we were invading the North Pole but the sun was out, our pens warmed up, and we were ready to draw rocks.

We found some parts of the coastline where we could be sheltered from the wind and it was quite pleasant.  We sketched and chatted all morning and then climbed the hill back to Louise’s house for lunch.  Homemade cream of mushroom soup, wine and sandwiches was an unexpected treat, served in a gorgeous solarium that doubles as Louise’s studio.  Then, having eaten more than I should have, Louise brought out a strawberry upside-down cake.  When we were finished I needed a siesta.  Louise has agreed to adopt me.

Rocks at St. Vallier (Stillman & BIrn Alpha 9x6, Uniball UM-151,.38 pen

Rocks at St. Vallier
(Stillman & BIrn Alpha 9×6, Uniball UM-151,.38 pen

But there is no rest for the sketcher.  We headed back down the hill for a shorter, but fun sketching session.  It had warmed up so, out of the wind, I could actually unzip one of the two jackets I was wearing.  I did one drawing during this session but didn’t get a chance to add color.  I’ll do that and post it later.  Thanks to all, and especially Louise for her hospitality.  Life is sweet.

Louise, our host.  She was sitting next to a storm wall, drawing trees that rose above it.  (Stillman & BIrn Alpha 9x6, Uniball UM-151, .38 pen

Louise, our host. She was sitting next to a storm wall, drawing trees that rose above it. (Stillman & BIrn Alpha 9×6, Uniball UM-151, .38 pen

T-shirt Sketching

I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona.  Everyday is t-shirt day in Phoenix.  But I now live in Quebec City and May 26th was the first day this year that I could go walking in jeans and a t-shirt, my typical street-sketcher garb.

It was glorious and as I headed out for a long walk and sketching session I had high hopes that I’d get a lot of sketching done.  That didn’t happen.  Some sort of Forrest Gump think happened and I just kept walking…and walking…and walking.  It was so much fun that the thought of sitting down to sketch never occurred to me.  I covered 7.5 kilometers on my walk and enjoyed every step.

I did come across a new sort of streetlamp in Vanier and I did sit down and sketch it.  I used a Pilot Prera, Noodler’s Lexington Gray and moved the pointy end around in my Stillman & Birn Alpha (9×6) sketchbook.  Then I walked some more.  It’s been a long time coming but real spring is finally here.


Sketching Doors In Quebec

If you spend any time wandering the streets of the old city of Quebec you will notice the doors.  Everywhere you look, it seems, there are magnificent doors.  Some are all wood, some include lots of metal.  Others have sculpted stone frames.  I’ve always told myself that I should sketch them and I finally took a step in that direction.  This is a door at 30 Rue St. Ursule.

I used a Hero 9296 X-fine pen for this sketch.  It’s sort of a poor man’s Pilot Prera.  It has some virtues, not the least of which is that it’s very inexpensive, and some drawbacks.  I’ll probably put together a blog post about it ‘real soon.’


Stillman & Birn Alpha (9×6), Hero 9296, Noodler’s Lexington Gray

Sketching In Victoria Park

Most people who know my sketches know that I like fire hydrants.  Their variety is simply amazing.  This little guy was in the middle of a large park in Quebec City.  You’ll notice the sign that sits on an 8-foot high pole. It indicates the existence of the hydrant.  They all get covered with snow here and the signs let people know where they are.  For me, they will forever be fun to draw.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9x6), Pilot Prera, Noodler's Lexington Gray

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9×6), Pilot Prera, Noodler’s Lexington Gray

Once Upon A Time We Had A Zoo

There was a time when Quebec City had a zoo.  It was a good zoo.  It was a place where you could go to not only commune with animals but also to walk the large, wooded grounds and have a picnic.  Then a really dumb, and completely unavoidable political decision, was made and we no longer have a zoo.

What do you do with a huge tract of land that had a bunch of moats, fences, and buildings scattered all around it.  What Quebec did was fence off most of it and turn the front section into a small park to serve the population in the northern portion of the city.  It’s a beautiful park, with waterfalls scattered along the small river that runs through it.  It’s also just a short bus trip from my home.

My daughter and I went there.  She took her Kindle.  I took my sketchbook.  We had a grand day, enjoying one of the first days where we could be outside without coats.  I chose this scene.  The small building used to be one of the administration buildings of the museum.

cheap toned paper sketchbook, Pilot Prera, Noodler's Lexington Gray

cheap toned paper sketchbook, Pilot Prera, Noodler’s Lexington Gray