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Quebec Vacation Sketchbook - Part 1


We just returned from a 10 day vacation to Quebec City and Montreal - and I did finish at least one sketch per day - thereby completing my "Every Day in May" challenge.  There was a recent discussion on "Everyday Matters" about keeping a travel sketchbook when traveling with non-artists.  I will try to mention how I did some of the pages as I post them.  But the most important advice is sketch fast and take reference photos to finish the pages later in the hotel or when sitting for coffee, wine. lunch, dinner etc.  And have a spouse who enjoys seeing what you are doing as long as he doesn't need to sit for more than 15-30 minutes total. 

I recycled a Will and Ariel Durant book called Lessons in History for this vacation and used wonderful paper depicting French postcards for the end papers. 


There are 36 watercolor pages and 8 pages for collage.  I will fill the entire book after I sketch the Hockey jerseys we brought back for our 3 grandsons and the princess clothes for our 2 grand daughters on the last 2 pages.   I sketched in pen while walking through museums with my husband, just capturing a few of the most interesting pieces.  I also did fast sketches (15-20 min)in pencil while my husband did crossword puzzles or went to the gym - and then finished the pages later.  I hope to post representative pages over this next week as I continue my vacation at home.


We flew on an American Eagle flight from LaGuardia to Montreal and then took the train (VIA) to Quebec City.  I sketched in both the airport and train station to pass the time until departure.

Our hotel in Quebec City was the Chateau Frontenac and I could have sketched only this magnificent building, which dominates the skyline, for the entire 4 days.  My husband sat with me in the main area of Terrasse Dufferin while I did this pencil sketch of one of the turrets.  I went back to the same spot to paint it while he was at the gym late the next afternoon.


This next sketch was made and painted over two days - early in the morning - from the window seat of our hotel room.  It is the back side of the roof of the major central tower of the Chateau.  Most of the artists have sketches of the Chateau Frontenac for sale in the

 artist's alley (Rue du Tresor) and after sketching this I realized that everyone of them was of the front side - which is slightly different.


Tomorrow - Part 2.  The Musee des Beaux Artes and Inuit Art.


Oh, these are lovely! You do such a great job with architecture---I remember many such wonderful sketches from your trips to London! I'm eager to see the next installment and hear the rest of your Montreal story.

Oops, I mean your Quebec City story! I love the endpaper you used---it's so fitting and so evocative!

Oh how lovely, I barely remember visiting these lovely sights years ago, I will have to plan another trip - I look forward to more posts and - Welcome Home!

Ooooh! What glorious pages...maps, and architecture, and bits and pieces of little momentoes, gorgeous end pages...This will become a treasure for sure...Thanks for sharing...your work ia always drawn from the heart!

These are wonderful watercolor sketches! I really admire your use of color. Looking forward to the next installment:)

I found your page searching for pictures of lips. I was simply looking through to find some that closly resembled a friend's. (The picture I am using for reference is slightly blurry) I became captivated by all of you paintings and sketches. They are so beautiful! I esspecially love the people... They seem to have personality. I have drawn plenty of my friends but I am still frustrated with the picture because it looks like them but it seems to be missing something! I just wanted to say your work is absolutly amazing and I love it!

Great sketches and very interesting commentary, especially for those of us who travel with non-sketchers!!

What a treat - this really looks like a wonderful sketchbook. It's true that you have a real feeling for architecture. You manage to be so accurate, but still so expressive. I hope I'll get to flip through this books when we next get together!

Lovely architecture sketches Shirley! I can clearly see you enjoy doing architecture. and that postcard paper is just beautiful, love it.

Shirley, these drawings are so inspiring! I hope to have the time to do this many drawings on my upcoming vacations! I love what you wrote and will be adding some of the sites that you drew to our itinerary when we visit Montreal and Quebec City at the end of August.

I am hoping to email you about your trips to Montreal, Quebec as well as NYC advice.

I have the pleasure of spending one full week in NYC in mid-July to take art classes and tour the city BY MYSELF on an art grant. I am so excited. I have been to the city about five or six times, and of course visited museums and did other arty things while there but never have been by myself and never just for art, so I am elated at the thought of it all!

If you could contact me via e-mail, I'd love to chat with you. I am traveling to Montreal and Quebec with my husband and daughter and we will have only two days in eac location. We are also spending 2-3 days in and around Stowe, Vermont.

I will be sketching madly!

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