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Painting in a crowd, Place Des Armes

May 31, 2012

Yesterday I spent the afternoon painting with Shari in Place des Armes. The square is finally in use again after a massive  re-construction project. At lunchtime, it was absolutely packed with downtown office types enjoying the sun. A bit later  we had tour groups showing up from all over the world.  I’m starting to see cultural trends. Asians seem to love art, and often come up to talk. South Asians seemed mainly worried their kids were bothering me (I don’t mind), and Europeans often do drive by, “hey good job’ comments without stopping. Or hang back in my peripheral vision, so I’m never quite sure but I think they’re taking pictures :)

I had an incident with a rogue gust that tipped over my easel, dumping out my paint water. If you’re painting often enough, I guess it’s going to happen. I supposed it’s my own fault for taping half sheets to this tripod that’s meant for quarter. This might have meant a trip to buy an overpriced water bottle, but fortunately, the base of the Maisonneuve statue is a fountain!  I think I was a bit discombobulated after that. The painting turned out a little more chaotic than I’d like.

I’ve been feeling lately that I need to get the people and cars into the paintings. Usually I avoid cars as much as possible. Somehow they seem anachronistic next to the subjects I choose. But, it is part of life as it exist in the city, and I should be learning to paint any situation. So, this is the first pass at handling the presence of people. Clearly I’ve simplified the crowd into silhouettes – the lighting situation at mid-day helped with that.  This is going on my list of things to work on. I want to be able to tackle the complexity of a street scene a little more gracefully in the future :)

14 Comments leave one →
  1. May 31, 2012 10:50 AM

    Love the painting! Funny, I was just at Place d’armes yesterday late morning (going to the Palais de Justice). Missed you guys by only a few hours, I guess. I did say to myself that it would be a lovely place to do some sketching.

    And thanks for mentioning Sheri. I am checking out her blog. Is she out here on the WI? I’m getting that impression. Both your work is beautiful.

  2. May 31, 2012 12:02 PM

    Gee, I don’t know. Just easier to type WI. : ) I figured your being a local, would know what I mean. It’s the abbreviation for Wisconsin, which is NOT wheat I mean. Heh.

    I just explored the link in the Gazette, as well as Sheri’s blog. Yes, she’s next door! I’ve asked her if she wants to sketch sometime. Now, Marc, I’m not of the same caliber as you guys per the art you do, but I would like to ask if I might join y’all sometime. I have not sketched much this last year, and want to get back into it. I’d also like to continue to explore how to sketch more in my style, as well as keep pushing past the fears and inhibitions to do so. If I want to encourage others that you can create art at whatever level you are at, I kind of have to begin with myself. : )

    And, yes, I had my sketchbook with me. I just am not in the habit to draw these days. Thanks for the encouragement!

    • marctaro permalink*
      May 31, 2012 12:21 PM

      Of course! Your absolutely welcome to join any time – that’s the spirit of urban sketching ~ I’ll ping you by email.

  3. May 31, 2012 12:10 PM

    I like the people. Looks like a fine, fine outing.

    Sorry about the wind… when doing long-exposure photography, some photogs have a heavy bag of sand (or beans) that hangs from the center of the tripod… to hold it steady in gusty conditions.

    • marctaro permalink*
      May 31, 2012 12:20 PM

      James Gurney said that too – out in nature that would work (always dirt handy to fill a sandbag),. In town you’d have to haul it with you :) Usually I catch it! It was just one of those moments of inattention. Was kind of hilarious chasing rolling brushes in all directions.

  4. May 31, 2012 1:35 PM

    I love the sketches and paintings, Marc. I spent four years at McGill, so I was happy to come across your sketches on Urban Sketchers. Your impressions of Montreal are fantastic! I look forward to seeing more. Cheers, Doug.

  5. Armando permalink
    June 1, 2012 5:34 PM

    I love your sketches

  6. June 3, 2012 12:53 PM

    I love your sketches, too. So full with harmony. Specially considering “the around drawing” situation))

  7. June 9, 2012 11:01 AM

    This is fantastic…my new desktop. I was at this exact spot in May 2011…and yes it was construction mess. Back to Montreal this autumn (2012).

    • marctaro permalink*
      June 9, 2012 12:21 PM

      when you get back into town, let me know, perhaps we can go sketching somewhere!

  8. Barbara Scott permalink
    August 19, 2012 12:36 PM

    I think the people and car give the sketch life and a feeling of ‘being there’, but don’t distract from the main subject. Years ago my nephew, a NYC photographer, told me to put people in my photos.

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