On Tuesday, Yvan, Claudette and myself headed to the hunting and fishing museum. We’d just had a huge snowstorm that was a real struggle to clean up because the 11-12 feet of the stuff that has preceded it made it nearly impossible to find a place to put the new snow. Anyways, it felt really good to head out for a day of sketching.
Unfortunately (for me), that same storm was beating up my joints. I was limping a bit, but the real problem was my left hand and wrist which made it very hard (impossible?) to draw. We had fun and I did three sketches, all of which were so full of errors and attempts to fix lines that went off willy-nilly that I’d be too embarrassed to share them.
We were drawing rabbits, however, and that got us discussing the structural underpinnings of a rabbit. When they sit back on their hind legs, they start looking like a ball of fur and it’s hard to make out what’s really going on inside. When we got home Yvan and I asked Mr. Google if he could provide us with a rabbit skeleton to study. He obliged and this morning I drew a rabbit skeleton, well sort of. My hand was a bit better this morning but it’s still hard to get my lines to flow. But I do understand lagomorph anatomy just a bit better.
When I was first learning about urban sketching my mentor (though she didn’t know it) was Cathy Johnson. I fell in love with her sketches, many of which appeared to me in books by her about nature, historical reinactment, and art books. Another thing she showed me how interesting and beautiful an artist can make the mundane and ugly. She’d paint broken down buildings as seen through rusty chain link fence. She did a sketch of a bridge being torn apart. And she did these things in a way that made you want to hang them on your living room wall.
I still aspire to have her abilities but one of the great things about being a sketcher is that with only a dollup of persistence you can try and try again. I’ve spent more than a little time drawing the alleyways of the older parts of Quebec City. These are cluttered, ill-maintained places that are mostly out of sight and out of mind. While I may not have Cathy’s expertise, I do have her zeal and I’ve done another alley sketch. Here it is, warts and all. I really enjoyed doing it.
Fabriano Artistico (7.5×11), Pilot Cavalier, R&K Sketch Ink (Lily), Daniel Smith watercolor