18 July 2014

Sketchbook snapshot: Botanical garden highlights

When the opportunity arises (waiting in line, waiting for someone at a coffee shop, having an impromptu picnic), I sketch. 

Some weeks, I wind up with far more sketches than we can fit into the column. Here are two from last week that didn't make the cut.
This little chipmunk kept dashing past me, distracting me from the flowers in the botanical garden. I can't recall the local French name for a chipmunk, but it's a wonderful-sounding word that sounds like how a chipmunk bounds and dashes about. 

*You'll have to forgive any anatomical errors - this creature isn't the type to pose for a sketch. In fact, most of these sketches were made by rapidly drawing a portion of the animal each time it reappeared in front of me. In order to finalize a sketch, I would wait patiently until the chipmunk paused again in the same position. It should be clear by the sketches that some poses were more common than others.

The water garden (jardin d'eau) at the garden's entrance is absolutely cloaked in blooming waterlilies. Sketching there was a lesson in looking deeply, for an extended period of time.

I must have spent nearly an hour engrossed in the sound of running water and the subtle shadows on the white flower petals before I spotted one blossom resplendent in magenta and neon green. As I lifted my gaze from that flower, a damselfly paused for a fleeting moment on the edge of a nearby lily pad - just long enough for me to notice it had a blueish hue.
Both sketches are from the Université Laval's botanical garden, which is featured in this week's column

They were made with a combo of graphite (quick base drawings), watercolors, and a permanent fine-line Sharpie marker. That marker accounts for the particularly bold and dark lines in these sketches, and also helps ensure the watercolors don't blur the ink into a muddy mess.

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