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Creating Jaclyn’s Neighbourhood

Jaclyn’s Neighbourhood, acrylic on mylar, 20 x 26 inches, 2024.

Art & text by John Pohl

Once a week I go on the Outdoor club d’art’s Facebook page to discover where in Pointe Saint-Charles a group will gather the next day to sketch together.


On Feb. 21, we met on Sebastopol St., which runs along an embankment that has become a path overlooking a rail yard many tracks wide, and the skyline of downtown Montreal beyond. From the top of the path I looked straight down Favard St.


The “club” is an offshoot of the École d’art Pointe-Saint-Charles School of Art. It is open to anyone who shows up with a sketch pad. There are about 10 or 12 members at any one time, but a good turnout is five or six. That day I was joined near the observation point by an animation artist who happened to walk by us one day on Wellington St. I personally charmed him into joining the club. He was temporarily laid off and drew with us for a few weeks.


We meet year-round, rain or shine, freezing or sweating. Sometimes we draw with gloves on. When it rains we run past the checkpoints on the bridges that cross the Lachine canal and take cover under a shelter in the park between Rufus-Rockhead St. and the Charlevoix bridge. Sometimes we sneak into the Atwater Market and draw the well-populated scenes there.


Once we escaped the neighbourhood completely and found ourselves in the lovely Square Saint-Louis. The drawing I did there ended up as a painting that was slated for a prominent spot in the book that the art school published last Christmas. Alas, sophisticated tracking methods (the drawing was dated) revealed the location of the scene and my painting was pulled by a group of angry editors.


A typical “meeting” has us sketching for about an hour, then gathering to chat and photograph our work for the Facebook page. On Feb. 21, I had an elevated view of the buildings facing me and receding down Favard St. As usual, I photographed the scene for future reference, and then turned it into an acrylic painting on Mylar during two sessions of a painting class I’m taking at the school. The teacher is Dave LeRue, who has a master's degree in Painting and Drawing and PHD in Art Education.


At home, I added cats in the windows of an apartment building, which probably helped my painting be accepted in Art sur Papier, an exhibition that will take place in Montreal June 4-17 at Galerie Erga.


I named the painting Jaclyn’s Neighbourhood after an artist who both lives nearby and has an Instagram page dedicated to photographs of cats in windows.












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1 Comment

Love the cats in the window, John. Lovely work!

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