I don’t do a lot of discussion of products here, but I was in the local COOP run by university art students (their way of getting quality stuff since our artcraft store doesn’t stock it) and I came across this little sketchbook.
Unlike the Cotman pads I’m used to seeing from Winsor & Newton, this one had 5×7 sheets of 100% cotton paper. I bought one and emailed W&N to ask if this was a new or old product. The response I got suggested that the guy writing to me didn’t know the product at all, though it is listed on their website. Wandering around the internet, however, suggested that somewhere around a year ago, W&N stopped making the Cotman books and started making “craftsman” and “professional” papers. This little gray book is part of their professional series. All of this is anecdotal but what I can say is that this is completely new to me.
I haven’t had much chance to try it out but the paper does seem very nice. In the hands of someone who understands watercolor, probably even more so (grin)
Yvan and I planned a sketching session on St. Denis street and we were to meet there. This street has many majestic residences and a large grassy area in front of them so it’s an ideal place to sketch.
As I arrived I realized that I’d forgotten my WalkStool. This is a big problem as my knees and me don’t much like sitting on the ground, for fear that we’ll never be able to get back up.
And so the search began for a sitting place with something in front of me to sketch. It’s not really rocket science but I wandered around for a while before finding such a combination. I ended up in the Parc des Governeurs, a small park between the Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City’s tourist landmark and the American consulate.
Both of these buildings are great sketching subjects but I chose this more humble structure that sits in the park. Yvan suggested that it was once a toilet but these days it looks to be used by maintenance people. In any case, it had a bench, in the shade, and so I sketched it in my Stillman & Birn Zeta (5×8) with a Pilot Prera and Platinum Carbon Black ink. I used Lexington Gray for the stairs in the background. I’m enjoying the contrast between these two inks. As always, I used Winsor & Newton watercolors like crayons to add some color.
The leaves are falling from the trees and temperatures are heading in the same direction. It won’t be long before I won’t be able to stalk the streets of Québec, looking for buildings to sketch. I guess I’ll have to go inside and stalk Quebecers to sketch.
But I was out today and walking a street I’d walked many times. Either I’m going blind or this small ‘casse-croute’ (in some places it would be called a chips stand) has just gotten a very bright facelift. In any case today gave me opportunity to capture its essense, which I did.
Stillman & Birn Alpha sketchbook (10×7), Pilot Prera/Lexington Gray, Winsor & Newton watercolors
I did the basic sketch on site but decided to come home to do all the signage as I wanted to try out some different tools. To that end, the large sign and the plates of food were done with colored pencils, a medium I have yet to conquer. The ‘Frites maison’ sign was done with some Stabilo felt pens I just bought…and like very much for doing such things. The building’s kinda cute, don’tcha think?
Here’s something you won’t see in many urban sketcher’s sketchbooks, an Inukshuk. The Inuit have used these for years to provide directions, mark locations, and even to aid in caribou hunts. Because of this, you can find these human-like rock piles scattered across the northern parts of Canada… or in souvenir shops, as miniature versions are quite popular.
This one, however, is in downtown Quebec City, on the Parliament grounds. I’d guess its height at ten feet. Yesterday wasn’t the optimal time to sketch it as there are barriers up around the grounds due to construction so I couldn’t get as close as I’d like, nor could I view it from its front, the optimal way to sketch an inukshuk (“in-ooo-shuck”). But, I was there; it was there; and I sketched it as, these days, I’m interested in rocks and how to depict them.
When I came across this house in Quebec City, I had to sketch it. I wonder if the Russian Czar who must be living there had a pool table under that dome or a ballistic missle. It didn’t matter; it was just plain KEWL!
I set up across the street and went to work, sketching the bones in pencil and then doing the ink sketch. I’m pretty slow as a sketcher and so this took me more than an hour but the time passed without notice. When it came time for color, the waterbrush came out and… I realized that my watercolors were sitting on my desk at home. So I shot this photo, packed up, and headed home.
Once at home I vowed to make up a second palette of watercolors so that I could keep it in my sketching satchel. I had a W&N Cotman Sketcher palette that I picked up on sale and so I popped out the Cotman watercolors and filled the pans with Winsor & Newton artist-quality watercolors. I’m still experimenting with color palettes and mostly working with little knowledge. This is what I’m using right now, though.
I decided to go light on the color for this sketch; it just seemed to call for that approach, with all the emphasis on the building. I hope you like it.