Being in Québec, we don’t have the same freedom as other Urban Sketchers’ chapters. No painting outside in the winter for us (especially not THIS winter.) The organizers have to be creative and to find indoor places that will allow us to roam and draw stuff. One such place is Musée des Beaux Arts de Montréal.
I was super lucky, I started wandering by myself and ended up in the Napoléon exhibition, and there, at the end, was the room with the round windows, a majestic marble Napoléon bust, and a drawing horse. I snagged the horse and set up.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today was day 1 of Watercolor Sketching in Historic Montreal with Marc Taro Holmes and Shari Blaukopf. I was lucky enough to attend and I got to hang out with Marc and Laurel Holmes and a group of amazingly smiling and enthusiastic urban sketchers. I posted a few watercolour paintings from life recently. These were mostly done in preparation for this event, because I have a bit of pride and I didn’t want to show up without any practice.
We started out on Place d’Armes, which is a big paved square surrounded by a cathedral, an ancient bank head office, a seminary and other historical buildings. It features a large monument sporting 5 statues of historical figures and 4 fountains. I got over ambitious and worked on a building with way too many windows so I was not able to finish my painting (that and my brushes were too small for the size of the painting.) I’m planning on finishing it next week since it’s just minutes away from Atelier de Bresoles.
The weather forecast rain and possible thunderstorms, but we were fortunate and got sunshine all day (and easel collapsing wind once at the second location.) Marc’s demo consisted of a part where he talks about drawing accurately, placement of the subject on the page and concentrating on the focal point and then he dove into painting and showed us his Tea, Milk and Honey process. Of course, all workshops are a balancing act between demos and hands-on practice and we hurried to draw and paint as much as we could.
Then, after a short lunch break, we moved on to the second location, Square Dorchester where we could draw Basilique Marie-Reine-du-Monde. We again got a drawing and a painting demo. The subject I tackled this time was much more complex than my painting of the morning, yet I’m much happier with it. Here is a picture of the Basilique and the drawing and painting stages.
It took about 50 minutes to draw and another 50 minutes to paint. I ran out of clean water, hence the stormy looking sky. It was done in my Strathmore Visual Journal Mixed Media Vellum Finish (that’s a mouthful) with the watercolour set I wrote about in my Arundel post. I also used the ghetto easel I made yesterday for about 5$. I’ll post about it soon since it was a cheap but efficient tool. And now I have to go to bed, because it starts again tomorrow morning!