Here’s a first – posting while driving. Actually posting while completely stopped at the Canada /U.S. border. I think all of Quebec went to New York for the holiday weekend. Drawing done in my little Moleskine with a Micron pen. Took a side border but the traffic is bad here too.
It’s been a bit of an adjustment to sketch in New York City. My Montreal suburbia is pretty quiet, especially when I’m in my car. But here the horns are honking constantly, people are yelling, and every few minutes a fire truck flies by with a siren going at full volume. It’s pretty hard to focus. This morning I went out early before the stores opened in Soho and found a quiet spot near the corner of Grand.
It’s a perfect day in New York City. Perfect for sketching in Bryant Park, in back of the New York Public Library. It’s an ideal little park — surrounded by plane trees with a big grassy area in the middle. It seems that all of New York was there today, sunning themselves, having lunch and just enjoying the day.
Testing, testing. This is the first time I post remotely using the camera on my iPhone and the WordPress app. And the wi-fi in my hotel room. If this works send me a comment to let me know.
You know a street is really quiet when the sleeping dog in the middle of the road doesn’t move when a car approaches. And as I painted this morning on Phillips Ave. in Senneville, many residents stopped at the common mailbox to pick up their mail. They must have wondered what this stranger was doing in her car on their quiet street but mostly everyone greeted me with a nod or a smile. Even the sleeping dog opened one eye in acknowledgement.
I don’t always know which direction I’m headed in when I go out to sketch, but this morning I knew exactly what I wanted to find. There was a photo of this old truck in the local paper today and the caption said it was in Senneville. I wasn’t sure I would be able to find it but as I entered the town it was visible from the road. It seemed deserted so I pulled into the driveway, hoping no one would come along to tell me to move but no sooner than I drew a few lines a car pulled up in back of me. It was a sheep farmer (yes, there are sheep on the island of Montreal) come to let her animals out to graze. We did a bit of car juggling so that she could get by and I got my sketch.
I think this is not my week for ink. Yesterday I had a problem with non-permanent ink. Today when I took off the cap of my Lamy pen the ink leaked all over my hands, narrowly missing a light coloured jacket and white shirt. So I went back to my first love — a little watercolour.
I replenished my supply of extra fine black markers but I guess I didn’t spend much time reading the label of a new Pilot liquid ink pen. I did a drawing of this busy junkyard and you can probably see where I started adding wash to the paper. If you can’t, look closely at the sky. That’s where I realized that there was all this black pigment mixed in with my blue grey wash. Yikes! The new pen is not waterproof! I should have read the label! Nevertheless, I carried on painting but added much less water to the paper so as not to disturb the Pilot ink. Lesson learned.
I took a little drive out to a more rural setting this morning because I’ve been doing so many street scenes lately and most of them vertical. I was looking for an open field where I could get a big horizontal with 80% sky and 20% land. I tried out my Canson XL paper with a pen and wash sketch and I’m much happier with the paper now. Because it’s so absorbent it seems to need the pen line to define shapes. This area is surrounded by new residential developments — giant houses on tiny pieces of land — but in the middle of all the new construction I found a little spot that still looked like farmland.
I’ve been experimenting of late with blues for the skies in my sketches. Over the past few months I’ve painted with lots of cerulean blue but I find that it can be somewhat granular, especially when it’s mixed with something to grey it. So I tried a new mix that I think may work a little better: a bit of cerulean mixed with ultramarine and just the tiniest bit of rose madder for a slight purple hue.