The coldest day

When I was drawing in the car today the noon phone-in show was playing on the radio. The subject: What are Montrealers doing differently this winter because of the cold? I listened for long enough to find out that we are eating more take-out food (instead of going to restaurants), walking the dog less (I can attest to that one)… just basically hibernating most of the time. This long spell of extreme cold has also taken a toll on my car sketching. A few years ago when I started drawing from my car there were only a few sub-zero days when I had to paint indoors, but this year we’ve had weeks on end when it’s impossible to stay in the car for more than a few minutes without repeatedly turning on the engine. I spent some time in Ville St. Pierre this morning, watching the bundled pedestrians and hoping to turn out a painting, but left with only one small sketch and ten frozen toes.


21 Comments on “The coldest day”

  1. Ross says:

    Nice sketch. This bit of road looks very familiar… you have drawn in this area previously, I think?
    And it doesn’t look that cold… I suspect you are exaggerating about that.


  2. The silver lining is that it will probably etch the scene in your memory. I’m painting one right now from a sketch done at plus 32 last summer and it takes me right back there. Soon, soon, it will warm up. The days are already getting noticeably longer.


  3. Monique says:

    You area brave one..great!
    I would have thought way more home cooked meals..Healthy..warm..comforting..on real plates….


  4. Lee Kline says:

    I recall this street. My thinking is that it was done in a warmer time. Nicely made, though.


  5. I had a chuckle reading Ross’s comment “how cold could it be when the sun is shining”. I actually assumed it was a cold day because of the sunny sky. In Edmonton where I live, the sky is brightest when it’s very cold. At minus 20 or colder you will never have a cloudy sky unless a blizzard is happening. I just took a painting to the Landscape show at the FCA that was a scene shot at -25 and the sky is Manganese Blue! It’s funny that we have access to this wonderful big world and yet naturally we relate to things as they are at home. 🙂


  6. Les says:

    Shari, I’m always impressed with your determination and results. What makes you decide to use pen versus pencil with your watercolors?


    • Les, it is much easier to do a quick sketch starting with pen. The black lines help build up the structure much faster. It always takes more time to work only in watercolour. So in summary, weather and temperature and time constraints sometimes dictate the materials used.


      • Les says:

        Shari, I want to make sure I understand your reasoning. Are you saying that if you start with pen it is more distinct then pencil or perhaps it is more complete then pencil so that following with the watercolor shapes is less work (and thus faster)? I’m asking because I’ve been going back and forth a bit myself on pen versus pencil.


      • That’s exactly what I’m saying Les. If I work only with pencil and watercolour, it takes longer for me to build up the sketch with the darker values of paint. If I start with pen, some of those darker values go in first and then the washes don’t have to be as detailed. In fact, the pen adds a lot of the detail that would normally be added with brushes. Is that a bit clearer?


  7. Sharon Smith says:

    Those hot days will return. Soon for those south…


  8. Les says:

    Thanks for the further clarification on pen versus pencil Shari. I hadn’t thought of the situation in that way and that helps a lot. I need to get faster sketches quite often.


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