There are three much-photographed Victorian houses on Carré St. Louis. You’ll even see them in the Wikipedia entry for the square. One has red trim (here is the door I sketched a few years ago), one has teal blue trim and then there’s my favourite —the purple house. Since we’re having some kind of September heat wave in Montreal, I took a little time to sketch that house today. It’s especially nice in the morning when the sun travels across the door.
Me and my Sharpie went out today to draw some people. It’s been a long time since we’ve done this, and the exercise was painful. We haven’t been keeping in shape and it shows. We parked ourselves across from the weekly market where people come to collect their vegetables, hoping that the slowly moving line of figures would help to work out the kinks between us. After about thirty minutes things started getting better. The hand loosened up, the lines were more fluid, and the ink started flowing. We agreed that this would be a daily encounter for the next little while.
Argh. It started off as a perfect view of a yellow building in sun and the rest of the street in shadow, and I had one hour of sketching time before heading off to school. I finished my drawing just as an SUV pulled up and blocked my view. Yikes, I should have known that would happen. I spent a moment debating the situation. Draw the car or ignore it? I looked for the driver to see where he was going and spotted him ducking into a barbershop. That meant at least 20 minutes of painting time for the car. Fortunately for me my estimate of the barber was quite accurate and I had plenty of time to paint the car before the newly-shorn man drove off.
There was a storm warning of epic proportions today. Here it is, word for word, from the Environment Canada site: “Very strong wind gusts can damage buildings, down trees and blow large vehicles off the road. Be prepared for severe weather. Take cover immediately, if threatening weather approaches” What should a sketcher do with a warning like this? I sketched in my car, just in case. Turned out to be nothing, but who would want to get hit by a large vehicle being blown off the road?
I’ve been trying out a new brush (photo below) this week. It’s a sable blend from Rosemary & Co, and what’s unusual about it is the shape. It’s a 1/2″ dagger — an angled shape I’ve never used before. I first tried a Rosemary brush in Cambodia when Suhita Shirodkar lent me hers to try, and she almost didn’t get it back. I liked it so much I ordered one when I got home. It’s advertised as being a great brush for long flowing lines, and it is. But this was the only brush I used for my begonia painting, so it’s clearly wide enough for big washes as well. And what I liked most about it was the ability to draw with it too, both at the start and at the end of the painting (there are no pencil lines in this). The brush is so delicate that you can make a skeleton drawing, move into the painting, and then finish with more calligraphic lines. It’s a real beauty. I can see why many artists use these handmade brushes. Painted on Arches Rough, 300lb, 12″ x 9″.
Once again this year I am happy to be part of “Art by the Lake” — the annual outdoor show of the Lakeshore Association of Artists. The exhibition takes place on the lakeside grounds of Stewart Hall (a place I’ve painted many times) on Saturday and Sunday, September 12 & 13. It’s always an honour to be exhibiting with this talented group of artists, and there’s no nicer way to spend a September afternoon than wandering around looking at the art. This year the raffle prize will be my painting “Lake Water”, so if you come by my booth don’t be surprised if I try to sell you some tickets. The money raised from the raffle (as well as a portion of the proceeds from all sales of art) funds a mentorship program for a Visual Arts student through The John Abbott College Foundation. The show will be on from 10 am to 5 pm both days, so if you are in the area, please come by to say hello.
As an added bonus, there will also be eight artist demos at the show, at different times on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. My demo is at 1:30 pm on Sunday, and I’ll be demonstrating ink and wash technique like the one I did on the blue house on St. Joachim in Pointe Claire. I hope you come by to say hello.
If you want someplace to practice adding figures to your paintings or sketches, a college campus is a great place to start. Why? Because students, for the most part, walk slowly. They dawdle. They chat. And they are in no rush to get to class which makes them perfect subjects for painting. I don’t need to be reminded that it will soon get colder and they’ll be walking faster (and I will probably be indoors) but for now, on these beautiful end-of-summer days, there is a constant stream of models waiting to be painted.