I haven’t gone night sketching in quite a while – but I’m using every moment of good weather before my sketching trip to Portland next week. (The workshop, by the way, has maybe one or two spaces left. [info here])
This is our city hall, Hôtel de ville de Montréal as seen from The Place Jacques Cartier. The square is a bustling tourist destination in the summer. Packed with artists sketching your portrait for a few dollars, kids getting neon light sabers from the vendors, rocker dudes with mini amps playing for change – all that family oriented activity.
But the real attraction is the city itself. The buildings are all dramatically lit making a romantic backdrop for strolling along the river. Even with the crowds of visitors, a summer night on the quay can seem like a holiday in Paris.
This sketch was about a half hour or so, done by faint streetlight. It’s a challenge, not being able to see your colors. You never know what you have until you get home. Have to go by memory of what’s on the palette and trust your washes will be fine. As long as you get value right, color doesn’t matter that much in this kind of scene.
For all that though, the night lighting is a great pleasure. Everything is dramatically lit. Shapes are reduced to the strongest forms, detail is erased. You find yourself making powerful drawings!