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June 4, 2008

Quebec Travel Sketchbook - 3

Quebec City (continued)

Rain arrived in Quebec City on our 3rd day and we did our big walk through the streets (haute-ville and basse-ville) with umbrellas.   But we definitely didn't want to spend the rest of the day in the hotel.  The gazebos along Terrasse Dufferin, on the top of the cliffs, provided wonderful shelter from the rain and allowed me to sketch and my husband to do one of his New York Times crossword puzzles.  I sketched what I could see from inside of the gazebo and painted it while we were there.  The color squares map our walk that morning. I decided that I don't like Fabriano CP watercolor paper, but had to forge ahead and use these few pages.


When we got too cold to sit any longer we went in search of onion soup gratinee and salad.  I sketched the following "oldest house in Quebec" (Maison Jacquet; built in 1675-76) in the sun the afternoon before while my husband was at the gym.  It is now a lovely, cozy restaurant named Aux Anciens Canadiens in honor of a book written by Philippe-Aubert de Gaspe who lived in the house from 1815-24.  So it was a perfect place for lunch.


During lunch I sketched one of many figures on a large carved wooden picture above our heads - and then used artistic license to add color to her.  I also sketched my husband's soup bowl after the thick layer of cheese was consumed.  The painting was done later during a quiet moment. 


One of the buildings near Place Royale has an enormous fresco painted on the entire side of the building - depicting all of the historical figures important in the settlement of Quebec City.  The figures are life-size as drawn - and it is a challenge to take a picture while students aren't posing at the bottom amidst the famous folks.



June 3, 2008

Quebec Vacation Sketchbook - 2

Quebec City (continued) 

Exploration of Basse-ville:  We wandered down the hill from Chateau Frontenac, not using a map, nor the funiculaire, nor the "breakneck steps," and found Rue St. Paul - a wonderful street of galleries and antique shops.  On the way I quickly sketched a few items in gallery windows that we passed (sketched in pen quickly and painted later).  We spent time in multiple galleries and found some new contemporary Quebec artists that we liked.  On rue Sault-au-Matelot we visited an Inuit Art Gallery to learn more about the "Dancing Bear" sculptures in the window and then visited Musee de la Civilisation to learn some Quebec history.   My sketchbook page from the museum visit has more writing than sketching as I learned about Quebec (page not included). 



The following day we walked through Parliament Hill area to the Musee de Beaux Artes where we discovered two Canadian artists. 

Alfred Pellan has many imaginary beasts in the permanent collection, including the large garden sculpture sketched here and a children's exhibit and workshop.  All of the sketches on these two pages were done in pen as we walked through the exhibits and painted later. 


Jean-Paul Riopelle created a massive, haunting mural (Homage to Rosa Luxemburg: more than 30 huge paintings all strung together) in which he uses spray paint and stencils for many, many types of birds on Ile de Oies.  It was beautiful, but also upsetting as I thought about dead Snow Geese and other types of birds being used to create so many images.

We also learned more about Inuit Art touring the Museum's Brousseau Collection and I sketched a few more Inuit sculptures at the Museum and several whimsical dancing bears in the window of a gallery on our way to dinner (we were 10 minutes early for our reservation).  These bears were all sculpted from serpentine rocks and then highly polished by Inuit artists in Nunavik (Quebec Province).





There were many performers in Place D'Armes and around the entrance to the Funiculaire.  I took photos of some of the more interesting ones and later used two to sketch this artist and musician.  It would have been difficult for me to sketch them without being very conspicuous - even the photos felt rushed.  I had time in the early morning to sketch from my photos on our laptop so this worked well and allowed me to practice quick figure drawing (one of my Art Goals for 2008).



June 2, 2008

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.

May 24, 2008

Last Every Day in May - 23

We are in Quebec City and Montreal for vacation - see everyone in June.  The first page of the recycled book that I made for this trip is a map of Quebec Province and I hope to really play and have fun on every page! 

May 21, 2008

Every Day in May - 20 and 21


May 20th:  Another Matisse contour drawing from my book of Suerat to Matisse French Drawings.  Matisse did the contour drawing self-portrait, and I copied it line by line and then added the color.


May 21st:  Long day at work and we're getting ready for vacation this evening.  I removed the sharps from my carry-on bag and did my fastest sketch ever.  One more day of work and then a relaxing trip to Montreal and Quebec City where I hope to fill a specially prepared recycled sketchbook.


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