A (very old) crabapple in Le Vieux Séminaire

I feel very fortunate to have spent a few hours sketching in the tranquil garden of Le Vieux Séminaire in Old Montreal. The last time this historical building was open to visitors was in 1967, but because of Montreal’s 375th anniversary this summer, the Sulpician priests have decided to open it to the public again. You can book a guided tour which includes a historical exhibit and a visit to the garden out back where I found this crabapple that seemed almost as ancient as the building itself. At the end of the tour I settled myself on a shady bench to practice some tree drawing in preparation for my workshop Trees in the City at the Urban Sketchers Symposium in July.


27 Comments on “A (very old) crabapple in Le Vieux Séminaire”

  1. Marie says:

    Beautiful! What a nice old tree!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mkjohnsen says:

    Lovely – I love how you can feel it’s age! And the small flowers at the building are delightful bits of color along that gray side!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I wish I were taking your workshop. Actually I’m not going to be in Chicago. I hope you will share your techniques here after the Symposium!


  4. gaelle1947 says:

    A venerable old tree indeed and so befitting it’s surroundings! Thanks to your inspiring work, I decided to take my watercolors a little more seriously these days and laid out a full fresh palette in an orderly manner (harkening back to workshops I took years ago). Do you ever use frisket to reserve the whites? This is still something I’m struggling with and probably the reason I’d lost hope of ever being a bona fide watercolorist. But when I see how your work glows, I am so drawn back to this medium.


    • Hi Gayle, Glad to hear that you are taking out your paints. In answer to your question about frisket, I don’t generally use it. If the whites are large, I paint around them. If they are tiny, I add some Titanium whites at the end like I did on the Bleeding Hearts from the a few weeks ago. I have never been good with frisket. It seems too messy for me.


  5. Evelyn says:

    How wonderful to be able to visit the site. To think of history and years gone by, how fortunate that you have had a chance to visit and paint there. I have always love how you use watercolor and document what you see in the way that you do. Your way of painting, sketching, use of shadows, highlights and mixing pigments always evokes a sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This tree looks like it has been reaching out its branches for so long. I love the elegant, twisting limbs. You did this so nicely!!


  7. Terri says:

    I love this entire scene, but especially the tree. I grew up in an old house (in an even older neighborhood) that had a crabapple tree in the backyard. I never see crabapples anymore. My brother and I used to have some pretty brutal wars under that tree… the bitter fruit made great ammunition!


  8. TonyU says:

    Looks like a lovely place to be and your sketch is a fitting tribute to that wonderful old tree. A Shari masterpiece I think, even by your high standards. Guessing we’re going to be seeing a few more trees too before Chicago.


  9. Oh so beautifully captured!!


  10. Yanglish says:

    Stunning picture.


  11. ANN MACMURRAY says:

    When you have two large areas to cover like thiss; the tree and background building, which do you normally paint first?


    • Hi Ann, The tree was so dominant in this that I worked on it quite a lot first. I really wanted the background to be secondary and quite neutral so I worked on that at the end.


      • Annie MacMurray says:

        Thank you. I struggle with which to tackle first. And often end up with no POI because both end up overworked.


  12. Robert Cox says:

    It’s like a bonsai gone wild. I love it.


  13. Ruth says:

    Quite a remarkable talent you got there!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s