Category Archives: Sketches, etc

Quick sketches done mostly on a daily basis of home, cities visited and holidays.

My Autumn 2017

Our Tuesday plein air group returned to Terrebonne, Île des Moulins

Île des Moulins, Terrebonne, watercolour, 2016

It is August 22 and another day with the forecast of rain. However, early in the day around 9 am the sun is trying to shine so maybe the weather man or woman is wrong. Just as I begin my sketch, large drops of rain hit my paper and within minutes more and with this …. I settle for my watercolour sketch of 2016. There is a silver lining, the cafe across the street Impressions offering moules et frites with a side order of mayonnaise. Delicious and all in with beverage under 20$cdn.

Café Impressions, Île des Moulins, Terrebonne, QC

A three day workshop with Chinese American painter Lian Quan Zhen in Corbeil, Ontario ends the month. The desire to learn the Chinese brush strokes and Lian’s approach to watercolour takes me to this small town on the outskirts of North Bay. The first day is the use and technique of the Chinese brush, Chinese paint and ink on rice paper to render hollyhock flower. Later, we move on to painting birds in flight. The last two days are spent learning Lian’s watercolour techniques. To be brief, he favours certain primary triads, quality watercolour paper and masking liquid. Here is my finished product.

Piebald and Bay Horses, watercolour on Arches paper, 14 x 21 inches, 2017

In September, our Swedish cousins arrived for a visit and introduce me to the founder of the Swedish Contemporary Art Movement, the painter Ivan Aguéli (1869-1917). A close friend of Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin makes him a “must know”. For myself, this art of the landscape is simple, direct with the colours put down with conviction of truth. What else is needed to succeed!

Ivan Aguéli, Landskap, canvas mounted on cardboard, 23x 32 cm

Ivan Aguéli, Lanskap Med Gult Fält, canvas, 20.5 x 23 cm

How high is the water?

This summer is wet, humid and cool. But on Tuesday, when we sketch outdoors the rain clears and gives us a few hours of sun and clear skies. We all have noticed the continuing high levels of river water throughout this summer. This spring we had abnormal high level of flood water from the Ottawa River which attributes into the  St. Lawrence, at the westerly tip of Montreal Island. Here in Quebec, the St. Lawrence River is often referred to as the “Fleuve”. The french take pride in knowing the difference between a fleuve and a rivière- Ce n’est pas une rivière . C’est un fleuve. My take on this is the English vocabulary of river does not designate the grandness of the St. Lawrence.

At St-Anne-de-Bellevue the water level in June in certain parts was over the boardwalk and later in the summer over the ‘tie up’ area for boats in the locks.

Waiting for the Lockmaster, watercolour, 2017

At Coteau-du-Lac, the St. Lawrence River is flowing high and quickly, covering rocks and the feet and ankles of willows along the shoreline.

Willows on shoreline, watercolour, 2017

When we painted at the Parc des Rapides, in Lasalle we were restricted to the entrance area. The island and bird sanctuary has a large steel gate with a notice “closed due to high water levels”. The following excerpt is taken directly from Montreal.com and will give you inside to why we enjoy this park.

The Parc des Rapides is a 30-hectare waterside park, containing marsh, pools and walkways and stretching out into the St. Lawrence River.
Located in Lasalle, at the foot of 7th Avenue, the park gives unequalled views of the river rapids, with a view across to the Heron Island bird sanctuary. The park allows the walker to really get out on the river and observe the birds that are the main focus of the park: 225 species are said to have been observed here, and the flora is also diverse and interesting. Many avid bird watchers and nature photographers find this park an unequalled site of interest so close to the city.

The Parc des Rapides is part of the Lachine Rapids ecoterritory, which extends over the park, Heron Island, and parts of Nuns’ Island downstream.

If you want to see Great Blue Herons in the Montreal area, in an area accessible by public transit, this is one of the best places to go. It’s the largest heron species in North America and the birds look especially majestic when taking flight.

If you are interested in this area and the bird sanctuary this site is helpful. ( les ami du parc des rapides).

Montréal Skyline from Parc des Rapides, watercolour, 2017

Pointe-du-Moulin & Vieux-Montréal, 2017

Many of us continue to enjoy the Tuesday plein air organized by Linda Drewry. This past week we spent a beautiful rain-free day at Pointe-du-Moulin, Notre-Dame-de-I’île-Perrot. The historical park is in summer mode offering tours of the windmill and visits to the stone farm house. Some of the staff are dressed in period costumes. So, when the lady of the house came and sat in the doorway, I decided she needed to be part of my sketch.

Old Stone Farm House, Pointe-du- Moulin, watercolour, 2017

This past Saturday August 5 Montréal artist Marc Taro Holmes organized an informal gathering with Australian artist Liz Steel and French artist Anne-Laure Jacquard  at Place Jacques Cartier in Old Montreal. All three are ardent sketchers and instructed workshops at the recent Chicago 2017 International Urban Sketchers Symposium. This was a stop over before heading home and an opportunity to sketch and visit our city.

Thanks to Chi Mai Vo for the photos

The day started with a downpour of rain, an ITU World Triathlon at the Old Port, incredible road traffic and street closures. I arrived late at Place Jacques Cartier to see only two ladies sitting on a bench with sketch book in hand from Upper State New York. As Marc said, “We’re easy to find- just look for people with sketchbooks and drawing boards!”

Eventually, everyone used the same strategy and with the rain gone and the sun out a final gathering at Jacques Cartier Place completed the day.

 

 

I am always aware of my environment as I sketch and today was no exception. I heard the cheers of the nearby cycling and running portion of the triathlon. Spain’s Javier Gomez Noya won the Montreal triathlon. He completed the 1.5 kilometre swim, 40 kilometre bike ride, 10 kilometre run in one hour 47 minutes 50 seconds. The women’s race was won by Australian Ashleigh Gentle with Canadian Joanna Brown of Ottawa in fourth.

 

 

 

City Hall, Jacques Cartier Place, watercolour, 2017

Nelson’s Column, Place Jacques Cartier, watercolour, 2017

 

 

July 2017

Plein Air, Greenwood House, Hudson, Quebec, 2017

“When clouds appear like towers the earth is refreshed with showers”. Throughout Quebec this summer we know this saying; we have daily downpours, showers and thunderstorms but regardless we find dry time to sketch outdoors.

Linda Drewry continues her Tuesday plein air outing  This past Tuesday we sketched at Greenwood House, Hudson, Quebec. Most of us have tried several times to paint this house and we always manage to miss or misplace a dormer, forget about aligning roofs, doors and chimneys.  A quote from their website helps explain this source of our problem with the origin and the house’s many roles and additions. Perhaps, we have a partial excuse for our faulty work.

Jean-Baptiste Sabourin first settled the Greenwood property in 1732. The original Sabourin homestead still stands and forms part of the house. The property remained in Sabourin hands until 1820. At that time, John Mark Crank Delesderniers purchased it. He intended it to be both a residence for his son, Peter Francis Christian, and a general store and trading post. In the 1840’s, it served as the first post office in the area. Greenwood was extended eastward on two occasions, in the 1820’s and again after 1860″.

Now the property and house belongs to the public when the last owner Phoebe Nobbs Hyde left it in her will to the Canadian Heritage of Quebec. For opening hours and events visit their website.

Below are my sketches from the south side of the house.

House and gardens, late morning, watercolour, 2017

 

House and garden in afternoon after four gardeners gave a weed and trim, watercolour, 2017

Charlevoix, Qc, 2017

The region of Charlevoix is a destination for outdoor painters. Canadian landscape painters, Charles Gagnon (1881-1942), James Wilson Morrice (1865- 1924), A.Y. Jackson(1882-1974), Bruno Côte (1940-2010) to name only a few, have painted here.

For us this year, no snow storm, freezing rain or bone chilling winds to hinder us. The morning is warm and sunny, we stop to visit at “Le Forgeron ” which is located half way up the hillside overlooking the village of  Saint-Irénée. We are welcomed with an offer of coffee, parking for the day and a panoramic view of the village and St. Lawrence River. Kindness of this sort is greatly appreciated.

St.Irénée, watercolour, 2017

By the afternoon the weather is holding with sun and a clear vista. I decided to drive to the village of Saint-Joseph-de-Rive and then sketched the row of houses on the northside of the railway tracks.

Houses on the north side of the tracks, watercolour, 2017

However, the following day rain and fog are threatening but hold off for the morning. Just enough sketching time in the village of Baie Saint Paul.

Ice Jam in the Bay, watercolour, 2017

Western Skyline, Baie Saint Paul, watercolour

On our final day we travelled north to Saint-Hilarion and Le Pied-des-Mont. We settled on the hill looking down on Ferme Caprivoix. We see the snow showers in the distance moving slowly in our direction, so time to paint.

Ferme Caprivoix, watercolour, 2017

My friend and wholesale supplier of Caran d’arch water brushes presented me with a new tool for sketching. This water brush pen has a 15ml fibre brush and a 20ml reservoir. It is a practical tool with the reservoir providing enough water from the pump to pool on the paper before adding pigments or alternatively squeezing the tip and then dipping in pigment to draw fine lines. Another good addition for minimal equipment when you need to travel light.

Village House, Les Eboulements, watercolour, 2017

If you visit the area ” a must see “is Les Jardins de Quatre-Vents, Malbaie ( tickets sold out for summer 2017). A documentary, The Gardener, 2016  by Sebastien Chabot is available for viewing this summer throughout Quebec and Canada.  A wonderful film about a world class garden, right in our back yard.

http://lepetitseptieme.ca/tag/quatre-vents/

Pont de Lune, Les Jardins de Quartre-Vents, Malbaie, Qc  credit for scene from the documentary, The Gardener, 2016

You can follow  Sebastien Chabot on Facebook for up to date information on the film.

Sculpt in Charlevoix , August 27, 2017  from noon, Domaine Forget, Saint Irénée, Sculpture Garden, Free, families welcome.

Show up and try this art form.