Alstroemeria, again

I felt I owed it to these flowers to paint them again. Last week when I posted them on Flickr I called them Freesias! I guess people were too polite to tell me, or no one knows the difference, but here and now, I stand corrected.

11″ x 15″, Fabriano cold press paper, 300lb.


Lunchtime panorama 2

Today at lunch I painted another panorama, this time on Fabriano hot pressed paper from a block. I prefer the one I did last week from the same spot because it was a wider view and the distant buildings were sunlit. Today’s sketch is missing St. Joseph’s Oratory which is the most iconic shape of Montreal’s skyline (along with Cormier’s U of M buildings, of course) when you are looking south. So the plan for next week is to cut a long strip of watercolour paper to the format I want (a long horizontal) and try that.


Head of Buddha

I have some catching up to do at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. I always go to see the blockbuster shows but have never spent any time going through the permanent collection. In fact, I probably have seen more in the Louvre or the Metropolitan in New York than I have in Montreal! In the Asian section I found this beautiful Thai Buddha set against a dark wall, with some very dramatic lighting on it. Quite an elegant piece to draw.


Join us in Barcelona!

I am soooooooo excited to announce that I was selected as one of 24 sketchers from around the world who will be teaching workshops at the Urban Sketching Symposium in Barcelona in July! Not only that, fellow Montreal Urban Sketcher Marc Taro Holmes will be teaching as well. My workshop is called “Triad Symphony: Evocative Watercolor Sketches using three primary colours” and I will be showing students colour combinations and theory that I use so often in my own work. A limited palette doesn’t mean limited colour! The lineup of workshops and instructors is truly amazing and my only regret is that because I will be teaching, I can’t attend as many sessions as I did last year.


I spent part of my time yesterday at the museum drawing the Greek and Roman sculptures with some graphite, water-soluble graphite and Inktense pencils. This part of the museum is so quiet, the rooms are dimly lit and I have to say that it was a pretty relaxing experience (especially compared to two weeks ago when I drew in the midst of hundreds of people viewing the Impressionist paintings).

Classical Statues

Looking down and up

Urban Sketchers Montreal met at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts today. Every time we meet there are more of us which makes me pretty happy (18 sketchers today!!). The museum is the ideal place to gather because  there is a plethora of stuff to draw— the sculptures, the architectural spaces, the visitors, the views from the picture windows— and the sketches captured it all. I am always curious to see the ones that Emmanuel does. Last time he drew only the eyes of all the stuffed animals at the Redpath Museum. This time he drew bits of landscape from many paintings in the European collection, and when you look at his sketchbook it’s like he has just completed a sketching trip through 19th century France and Italy. I found a window ledge on the fourth floor facing north with a view up Avenue du Musée towards the mountain.


Here’s some of the group at the end of the day near the Jim Dine scuplture that was our meeting spot. (The person sleeping on the sofa is not one of us!) I took a group shot at lunch but my lighting was bad so I am posting a partial group shot instead.


Mess o’ boots

Every winter I have the same problem in my front hallway. Everyone in the house has boots for deep snow, boots for cold days, boots for warmer days and even a few pair of shoes just in case there is a thaw.


The other side of the sheet

I had a bad start with yesterday’s apples and messed up a sheet of 300 lb paper before starting again. This paper is too valuable to discard, so today I painted on the other side of the sheet. I wish I hadn’t centered the vase quite as much but by the time I noticed it, it was too late to modify the drawing. Size: 11″ x 15″


Apples and sunday sketching

Sunday sketching is back for Montreal Urban Sketchers! Of course with the extreme cold we are experiencing this week, our destination is indoors. Please have a look at the website for details.

For today’s sketch I worked on Arches 300 lb rough paper. I haven’t used textured paper like this in some time, but I have a lot of it so I thought I might give it a try. I’d forgotten how beautiful it is to paint on this and I really like the way it takes the washes, allowing you to mix colour right on the paper.


Lunchtime panorama

The quest has been long but my search is over. For over a year I have been on the lookout for the perfect place to get a panoramic view of Montreal. One that encompasses St. Joseph’s Oratory, l’Université de Montréal, the mountain, etc. It’s not that there aren’t plenty of good vantage points but usually they are from overpasses or other busy places where I can’t park or even stop. Well I finally found the perfect view and I am almost embarrassed to say that it is in the building where I work! My office is on the third floor and I have never had any reason to go to the fifth floor because I have no classes up there. So imagine my joy when a colleague took a few of us upstairs to see a new classroom and I discovered a picture window with this view. And the added bonus is that the sill is wide enough for all my gear and there’s even a baseboard heater for drying the washes. I think it was worth the wait and I may even do a painting on a strip of real watercolour paper one of these days.


School in snow

It wasn’t long after sunrise that I went out to sketch today and the temperature reading on my car thermometer was -18C. I have to admit that I drove out of my garage so the vehicle was not as cold as it could have been and that bought me a bit of time. How long could I last in that car? There was a frigid wind blowing off the lake in Pointe Claire but I did manage to do this in about 30 minutes. And with the forecast for the rest of the week hovering between -20C and -25C, I may have to wait for a warmer day to venture out there again. I hope I conveyed the arctic colours.