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.


Man on train

A friend gave me a gift of a Sumogrip pencil and I used it for this drawing. The lead is a 0.9 mm which is a bit thicker than I usually use but I quite like it. I think it helped my normally one-dimensional people drawings be a little less flat. Sketched in my really small Moleskine Watercolour book.


Facing south

I liked the view from the Hilton Hotel so much when I was sketching yesterday that I did one facing north (the cathedral) and a second one facing south. I seem to always be looking up at things when I draw (seated in my car) so it was a good change to look down at the rooftops.


38th Sketchcrawl Montreal

The meeting place for the Montreal Sketchcrawl was an indoor skating rink in a downtown office building but mostly everyone ended up at some point being drawn (no pun intended!) to the heavy snow falling outside and covering the dome and the back part of Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral. I followed my friend Marc, who remembered having seen a great view of the building from the lobby of the Hilton Hotel and we sketched there most of the day. From that vantage point the city seemed silent under the snow but I bet if you listened carefully you could probably hear the cheering of die-hard Montreal Canadiens fans gearing up for the first hockey game of the season at the Bell Centre only a block away.



I was happily surprised when I opened my travel palette and realized that I had forgotten to clean it yesterday. Normally that would be a problem but not today. The mud was that was left on the tray was the perfect colour for my spuds. All I needed to do was refresh it with a little water.