We’ve had some good wind in Montreal these past few days. The kind that knocks leaves out of trees and sends branches flying. And good wind usually means good skies, so I went out to Macdonald farm to paint clouds, in the shelter of my car. The farm is the campus for McGill University’s Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and it’s the closest place to my house where I can feel like I’m escaping the suburbs to go to a rural setting. I’ve sketched there often, including from today’s spot which a cul de sac near a few residences on the campus.

About halfway into the sketch, I noticed a guy in a McGill facilities truck drive by slowly, but he didn’t stop to ask what I was doing, so I assumed it was fine to be parked there. Clearly not. Five minutes later two McGill security vehicles came flying in my direction, one taking the road facing me and one taking a higher road, so they could approach from both directions and block my escape if they had to. I dropped my brushes, and in typical intruder fashion, threw up my hands to prove my innocence. One guard approached me cautiously, to see what trouble I could be causing, at which point I slowly reached for my sketch and held it up for him to see. He tilted his head, took a closer look, and then broke into a smile. It was a pretty comical scene, and I wish I had a video of the encounter to I could watch a replay.

49 Comments on “Intruder”

  1. Christi says:

    That is a funny story! Thanks for sharing. I love the clouds!


  2. Ginny says:

    Love the sketch, the sky, and the story! The best sketches have a story. Thanks for posting!


  3. Bernadette says:

    Great story to go alone with this wonderful sketch. This one should be framed so you would smile whenever you looked at it. Folks don’t trust anyone these days!
    Love the sky. I never noticed that windy days bring the best skies. I’ll need to pay more attention and get out there!
    Thanks for sharing.


  4. gaelle1947 says:

    Oh my goodness! That’s one of the best sketch artists’ field stories I’ve come across, and one that the security guards will enjoy recounting as well. Hopefully, with so much fear and paranoia around these days, we won’t end up with a law forbidding sketching/painting in public places, as in some cities (can’t remember which one(s), but I’d read that somewhere). Wishing you a great summer with lots of safe outdoor sketching adventures!


  5. TonyU says:

    Only just out of lockdown and you’re trying to get locked up! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. sandidureice says:

    There is no doubt that sketch will always be memorable for you. So glad you are safe.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Sandi. I don’t think they wanted to harm me. Just investigate the suspicious car. Oddly, they also asked if I had any animals with me, in guess because it’s an agricultural campus and they are afraid of disease to plants and animals.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Lisa says:

    They don’t know who you are!!?? Nice sketch, as always!


  8. Chris Rusk says:

    Really nice and calming 🙂


  9. I guess the guards have seen it all. Nature reserves have really strict rules. It looks exagerated at first , even offensive but when you know the why it makes sense.


    • Yes, they thought I might have animals with me, which are not permitted because of the agricultural and animal studies faculties on the campus. Of course I can understand that too. Still it was quite funny, after I got over the initial shock of having them come at me like that.


  10. Kathleen ODonnell says:

    That was a pretty hilarious story, scary as well, the painting is lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Susan says:

    Love the story Shari. I just cant imagine what they thought you were up to!!
    Love the clouds too.


  12. You can’t make this stuff up! Priceless!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Oh my! What an experience!
    I love that lavender/violet colour with the green. I like the texture in the power lines. Pencil, or dry brush? Great sketch.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. JoAnn says:

    Reminds me a bit of that incident in Siena with the fruit store man! This one seems like a better experience though.


    • The fruit store guy was much more aggressive. These guys were actually very nice once they realized what I was doing. The fruit store guy still wanted to punch me after I showed him my sketch. Hope all is well with you JoAnn!


  15. Donna says:

    That was quite a day for you!!! Did they let you stay? Next time you go you should be welcomed with open arms. Your sketch is so fresh looking, as usual.


  16. Mary Beth says:

    It’s good thing you weren’t painting with a sword or a dagger!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Chris says:

    Shari the watercolor terrorist


  18. Rita Cleary says:

    Great story! Yes, it would have been fun to have it on video…although had you been video-Ing, they probably would have run you in!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Uma Maheswar Nakka says:

    Good Morning dear Shari,

    Nice, it was an amusing experience, good you threw up your hands to prove your innocence.
    This is a beautiful sketch with those power posts, houses, trees, cables crossing, the man at infinity, and that garbage bin.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Uma. It was a pretty funny situation and it turned out well, but in the moment it was a bit distressing just because they approached so aggressively! Thanks for writing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Uma Maheswar Nakka says:

        Good Evening dear friend Shari,

        God is great, you are safe, but a thing to learn.
        You know the society and the culture in the world changed a lot and all towards negativity.

        Nowadays even saying ‘Good Morning’ also turns offensive sometimes with a funny reply’for what’.

        So please watch the surroundings and take care of yourself.

        I love your sketches, reading your replies to all, packed with family affection and love.

        The Lord bless you and your whole family added with mine.

        Uma with regards


      • Thank you for your concern Uma. I am very careful when I go out to sketch. If I am not in my car, I am wary of my surroundings.
        Best to you too. Shari

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Denise says:

    Your stories are as fabulous as your sketches! It’s a good thing those security people appreciate art!


  21. toddpop1 says:

    Great story and great sketch! You dangerous artists!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. April Richardson Stewart says:

    What a GREAT story, thanks for sharing…I would love to know what the man who called campus security THOUGHT you were doing!


  23. Betsy says:

    Oh dear! That would have left me shaken. Apparently you have more sang-froid.


  24. Great story! I am sure you remained cool, calm, and collected. To see the face of the security guard . . . priceless!


  25. Lynn Holbein says:

    This is indeed a funny story, but here in the U.S. things are happening — and have been happening for generations — to people with different skin color which aren’t so funny. So I read this story with a consciousness of our white privilege.


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