Urban Sketchers Workshop part 2

Shari's demo up close.

Shari’s demo up close.

The Watercolor Sketching in Historic Montreal workshop I attended this weekend is over, and I have mostly recovered. You can read the first part of my review  here. After spending day 1 with Marc, my group and me got to spend Saturday with Shari Blaukopf down in Place Jacques-Cartier and next to Bassin Bonsecours. It was all quiet when we got to Place Jacques Cartier and we settled under the trees at the south end of the Place, with a great view up the street at the Nelson monument.

Shari doing a drawing demo.

Shari doing a drawing demo.

As the hours passed, the Place filled up and I have to say that this spot attracts weirdos. We had one guy try to shake everyone’s hand AND kiss many of the attendees and a passive aggressive panhandler. We also had tons of tourists come by and try to look at what we were doing. Shari got us to do value sketches and reviewed before we settled on one composition. I’m used to thumbnailing illustrations, but I never thought to do that when drawing from life. It helps make a conscious choice to edit parts of the image to get a better final piece of art. We then got lunch at the newfangled food trucks in front of the wharfs and I can’t say that I was impressed.

My painting of N-D du Bonsecours church.

My painting of N-D du Bonsecours church using ultramarine, alzarin crimson, a tiny bit of cool yellow and touches of umber and black when I got lazy.

We then moved on across the Bassin Bonsecours bridge and settled in front of the Bonsecours Market and Notre-Dame du Bonsecours church. This time, Shari did a demo on using a limited palette and I learned about transparent and opaque colors in watercolour (I was just going on the assumption that all watercolours are equally transparent by virtue of being watercolour, hah!) It worked well for me and I no longer feel bad about hating some of the colors that came with my set of paints. I think I’ll remove some from the set and use the additional space to put bigger pans of my favorite colors. Because seriously, two different cad reds is overkill, and also: I hate you Phtalo Green.

We had a longer time to work in the afternoon and many of my classmates produced lovely paintings. It was also way less crowded than Place Jacques-Cartier and I stopped hovering  over the piles of unattended stuff my classmates left lying around. We got a few drops of rain here and there, but it was just enough to scare us, we never really had to stop painting.

My painting of the Painted Ladies.

My painting of the Painted Ladies.

Sunday was the last day and we met in Carré St-Louis in the Plateau Mont-Royal neighborhood. We just scathered around and painted, getting occasional feedback from the instructors. Carré St-Louis has spectacular painted houses nicknamed Painted Ladies (when reading the description of the location in the workshop documentation, I remember wondering why they mentioned hookers in Carré St-Louis, not knowing what Painted Ladies were.) Our luck finally ran out and we got the rain that had been forecast all weekend just an hour before we were planning to leave and meet up at the restaurant so we just went to get lunch a bit early.

Lunch was great fun, by that time, people had socialized and made friends and exchanged contact information, promising to keep in touch. Then one by one, the group dispersed.

I’m really glad I was able to attend this workshop, I learned a lot and it motivated me to spend more time with watercolors. I’m also looking forward to hanging out with the local Urban Sketchers in the future meetings.

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