The COVID stuff has caused me to be somewhat apprehensive about spending a long time in one place while sketching and I’ve got to walk a lot each day as I build strength in my bad leg. These two things combine to have me doing very quickly, fairly sloppy scribbles where I capture something in a couple minutes.
As time has gone by, however, I’ve gotten a bit more comfortable being out and about and so the other day I slowed down a bit. I’m still capturing subjects quickly but I’m choosing smaller subjects so I can be a bit more careful with my lines. On this day I drew a couple tree bases. I think I’m going to draw a bunch of tree bases as these were fun.
While I’m posting, here’s another one I did in my backyard. Chantal tells me they are snowballs… in summer (grin).
Weather for many of us is weird this year, but I suspect we need to get used to weird. We’re in the middle of another heat wave, with records set in Montreal and everyone crying that their beaches are not open due to COVID.
Have you ever thought of how different a plein air artist views weather from the rest of the world? I have a love/hate relationship with sun. Love it for shadows. Hate it for how it blinds me when it reflects off my sketchbook. Gardeners, on the other hand, want every photon our stingy sun will give us.
Generally rain limits my sketching opportunities and right now we aren’t getting any (should be thunderstorm time), but farmers are in dire straits for the same reason that I’m happy.
Wind…yuck from my point of view, though a slight breeze on a hot day is welcome. I doubt the the windsurfers being dragged across the Ste Lawrence River by brightly colored kites see it that way.
We’ve been a couple degrees luckier than Montreal and while it’s blistering hot today, we had an absolutely perfect day a couple days ago. Jodie and I headed to the small park that’s just south of our house, her with a book and me with sketching gear. It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve sat on my stool and let the world drift away for an hour or so. From a nice, shady spot, I sketched this old brick residence. I think the building complex may be part of the church that is behind it but I’m not sure. What I do know is that I had a perfect day. We even made milk shakes in the afternoon.
I sometimes enjoy trying to draw a plant by carefully drawing each leaf while capturing the relationships between them. It’s a real challenge in relationships and proportions but it’s good training for my visual cortex. This was my attempt to do just that with a basil plant.
I should be writing blog posts about how life would be for a snail trying to do location sketching. Movement from point A to point B is so slow and energy-draining for me these days that I have to make decisions based on how long it will take me to get there. I suppose that’s true for everyone but I’m talking about how far I have to walk in a museum. Distances measured in feet have become important (grin). Weird that.
But I am starting to get out and about and it feels really good. I went to the museum on Tuesday. I used to walk there (about 45min). Now I take two buses and when I get there I’m exhausted. Once I’ve hobbled up a couple flights of stairs I have to sit down and rest before I try to sketch.
The significant thing about all this is that the majority of my sketching time isn’t spent sketching so I have to keep the subjects simple and just try to get as much enjoyment from the short sketching fix as possible. There’s a row of weathervanes on display right now and they fit a snail-sketcher’s approach really well. Hope you like this one. The original is made of sheet metal.
We headed to Berthier last Thursday, to enjoy each other’s company and because Claudette has a new project – sketching Casse-Croutes. I don’t even know what you call them in English but they are generally smallish, roadside food dispensaries.
Our first stop was a Casse Croute that sits on Rte 132 near Berthier, Quebec. My sketch was going well until I started adding color. I made a big mistake, though I only half know what it was. I started adding shadows to the building and the shadow color started melting the Quin Gold already in place on the building, causing a mess. Could be that the Quin Gold wasn’t dry. Could be that I used too much water in the shadow. Could be that I rubbed too hard. In any case, I made a mess. I post it here as an example of a sketch gone wrong. Other than a bit of grumpling at the time, it was still fun.
It was time for lunch so we headed for the marina/park in Berthier, scored a great spot overlooking the St. Lawrence, and Louise started digging food out of a big case she brought along. My goodness did we eat…and eat. And drink. Wine and sun can certainly mellow a sketcher. By the time I was done consuming a gazillion calories and a sufficient ration of alcohol, I was ready for a nap.
But time was a wasting and we were sketchers. We piled into the car and headed to a Casse Croute called L’Extra. Claudette and Louise had already drawn that one but they wanted to draw some of the “extras”, which were a bunch of plywood cutouts of all sorts of stuff. I have to be honest, between the wine, the sun and the goofy sketching subjects, I was less than enthused. I still wanted my nap. But I sat down with the rest of them. Yvan took a photo of us. I share that photo with you as it looks like we’re sitting on the side of a road praying. I’m sure I had my eyes closed. I did get out a sketchbook, though, and quickly doodled a few of those “extras.” It was more fun than I thought it would be. I think the wine helped.