Sketching for over sixty years in Montreal and Quebec, John Collins has produced a companion to his highly popular Montreal Memories. This time he goes to Charlevois, Quebec City, the Laurentians and Eastern Townships, and back to Montreal. The sketches show Quebec through the eyes of one of her favourite artists.
Following are excerpts from the Introduction by John Kalbfleisch:
The great French scientist Louis Pasteur once said that when it comes to observation, chance favors the prepared mind, and so it is with John. The most important thing he takes with him when he steps out his front door is not, as you might expect, his pencils and sketchbook. Sometimes, walking about, he has been caught without paper when a scene has struck him and has had to make do, as he wryly explains, “with backs of envelopes, old bills, and once an old cigarette package found by the side of the road.” No, far more important than such obvious tools is his artist’s eye: it is always with him.
Some of the scenes John offers in this latest collection are familiar ones. Bonsecoeur Church, for example, or spiral outdoor stairs along a Montreal street fairly shout, “Sketch me! Sketch me!” as he wanders by. But others reward only the prepared mind. Most often we keep our eyes focussed at street level, but by so doing, as John reminds us, “we miss part of Montreal’s charm; its rooftops.” He never forgets to look up as well, and so is rewarded by those Victorian turrets and spires, “an architectural feast for the eyes.”
You will hear about one sketch that didn’t make it into the book, but, to our delight, a vast number did. As John says of those Victorian rooftops, so might we of this new volume of his sketches: it is a “feast for the eyes.”
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