The Université Laval conducted an International School for the Visual Arts at Percé, Quebec, during the summer. I journeyed there near the end of July, 2003, to teach and lead 16 students in a week-long seminar called Carnet de voyage/Aquarelle de voyage (sketchbooks and travel watercolours). It was a wonderful week with une belle gang -- an excellent group of adults with experience ranging from almost none (with watercolour, although all were familiar with drawing and oil/acrylic painting) to professional.
Pôchades are watercolour sketches; croquis are quick drawings
Clockwise from top left: La maison James, built by New York painter Frederick James in the 1880s, is the headquarters of the school--students paint outdoors all over the town of Percé, and use James' studio as the main atelier and meeting room for the class; the group and I, with La Rocher Percé in the background, at the James house; the atelier; and, on the final afternoon, the students present their work in a vernissage to which the general public is invited.
My sketchbook also filled up during the week, partly to demonstrate various watercolour techniques.
Everyone produced multiple images of the enormous Percé Rock -- I was fascinated by the effects of the changing weather and light, and the steady stream of people--mere dots in the distance--walking across the narrow sandbar at low tide. On the grey day the sea was flat calm; on the blue day, a brume--a mist, a fog, rolled in off the Atlantic and briefly wreathed the rock.
View from the James house along the Percé waterfront--a very unfinished pôchade. One day we set up an imaginary pique-nique as a still life (nature morte) subject.
The view more-or-less north across the bay takes in the old Biard's Beach property, a very old farmhouse and barn with a set of cabins built in the 1920s or 1930s and used as a resort until the 1990s. It is intended to be incorporated into the university's operations in Percé.
The unrestored kitchen in la maison Biard--a classic Québecois cuisine. The upstairs of the Biard house is divided into small rooms for holidayers--this is Chambre 15 under the pitched roof of a dormer, where I slept for a couple of days at the end of the trip.
Go to second Percé page from 2004-5