Hakima at the market

Hakima sells squash at the Jean Talon Market. Not only that. For no extra charge she’ll throw in a recipe or two. She grows the squash in all shapes and colours, including a few I’ve never seen. I’ve missed most of the summer in Montreal so I’m trying to catch up on sketching at the outdoor markets before the season ends. This is the week for tomatoes, if you are planning on making sauce, but I’d rather spend my time sketching. I wish I’d drawn Hakima’s expressive face but I caught her from the back while she was talking to a customer. Sketched in a Stillman & Birn Beta softcover.


Product testing: Stillman & Birn softcover

This week I’m trying out the softcover versions of the Stillman & Birn sketchbooks. I seem to remember that there was a problem with the binding of these books when they first appeared last year, but the issue has been resolved and the books I have are the new ones, both the Beta and the Zeta series. These work best for me because they are the thickest papers and since I throw a lot of water around, thinner paper like in the Alpha Series book doesn’t cut it for me. I like this format for everyday sketching — the horizontal 5.5 x 8.5 book fits in my small sketch bag and I have to admit that the softcover is much easier to hold than the heavier hardcover books. Today I used the Beta series for my sunflower sketch, and even with all the water I used, the paper is still flat. I like the pebbly texture of the Beta series, the way it maintains the vibrancy of colour and the way it lays flat on the scanner. More tests to come tomorrow when I take it on the road to my favourite market.



Last weeks of summer

There’s definitely a change in the colour of the foliage of trees and plants this week. I noticed it in the maple trees first — not any obvious reds or yellows yet — just a bit of a shift from the brights of summer to more muted greens. I also noticed a yellowing of the tomato plants as I walked by a community garden this week. And in my own backyard, the Echinacea are starting to droop, fade and shrivel at the edges. A sure sign of the last weeks of summer.