Birks is an iconic jewelry store in the heart of downtown Montreal, right across from the cathedral (hence the churchy-looking wrought iron fence) on the corner of Union and St. Catherine. I did this ten-minute sketch, leaving out all the cars, signposts, and trash receptacles, while waiting for a friend yesterday afternoon. This morning I added some watercolor, and pretty much ruined it! Glad I photographed it first.
As I wrote to another artist recently, I've pretty much stopped using sketchbooks. I find I prefer to carry loose sheets of papers I like, bound with rubber bands between stiff boards all cut the same size. Then I can just choose a sheet and work on it, without the problem of a fold, and the paper can be of better quality. Lately I've been working on Stonehenge, a nice multi-media paper from Maidstone/Rising Line (the same paper I used for the big Icelandic drawings), and on Arches hotpress watercolor paper. When I tried to use this sketchbook yesterday I was really unhappy - the paper is comparatively absorbent, and awful for watercolor or any kind of washes. If I decide to use sketchbooks again, I'm going to continue to make them or buy a Stillman&Birns specifically for wet and dry media. What I do like about sketchbooks is their diary-quality, which you certainly don't get with cut sheets (unless you post the results to a blog!)