I’ve been waiting to sketch Anne for a long time. She’s heavier and more rigid than most of the models I sketch, but her bright yellow colour more than makes up for it.

Anne is the name of the launching gantry for the light rail commuter system that’s being constructed in Montreal. She’s used to hold the precast segments that will form the rail line, and she’s been coming my way for a long time. Because the rail line runs parallel to Highway 40, I couldn’t find a good place to sketch Anne (not many parking spots along the highway!), until a friend had a brilliant idea. He suggested I sketch from a nearby grocery store that has a second floor with picture windows facing the section of the line where Anne is now. And a nice seating area. Bingo!

You might want to know why she has that name. She’s named after the station where this part of the line will end: Ste. Anne de Bellevue.

It’s been fascinating to watch Anne move along the highway, as the elevated rain line getting longer and longer. The REM website explains the construction better than I can:  More than 4,000  segments (prefabricated parts manufactured in Québec) are transported by truck and then assembled using the launching beams. The beam is placed between two  pillars and lifts the segments in the air to assemble them one after the other, thus forming part of the deck on which the REM will travel. When a segment is completed, the beam is moved between the next two  pillars to continue its work, and so on.

My favourite part of watching the construction was to see the workers moving along the line, all attached to Anne by safety cables. It’s a surprisingly fast process, as each segment gets put into place. I think construction of the line will stop soon and resume in spring, which means I may even get to sketch Anne in the snow.

13 Comments on “Anne”

  1. Jeff Gold says:

    Now, that’s urban sketching. What a great composition and well realized depiction of a complicated subject. But then, that’s what you are so GOOD at. I love the spots of bright orange and yellow against the neutral sky and ground. And all the lettering; another of your forté’s. Beautiful!


    • Your comments made me smile, Jeff. Yes, this really is urban sketching, although it is actually suburban from this vantage point. This scene had all the elements I love, so yes, you are right about why I chose it to draw. Lettering, good shapes and colours, all of that.


  2. Jan says:

    That is beautiful. I agree with Jeff, this is urban sketching at its finest. Your painting is so captivating that I went to the REM website to learn more about it. Your painting makes me want to see Anne for myself.


    • Thanks Jan! I spent a bit of time on that website too, learning a bit about the line. It was progressing slowly at first, but now construction is moving along at a good clip. I have to paint again soon if I want to paint from that same spot.


  3. Ingrid Lacis says:

    You too, sis…..I am freezing….I just didn’t want to turn on the heater.❌⭕️❌⭕️




  4. Ha! I’ve been wondering about this, every time I’ve been in the West Island. Thank you for the sketch and the excellent explanation.


  5. Judy Sopher says:

    What a pretty depiction of a construction site. Love the colors. Looking forward to seeing it in the snow.


  6. This is a great example of big shapes and modifying color tones to keep things interesting. And the people and trees enliven the scene…Nice!


  7. Love all the detail to this 🌺


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