:: Chagall Exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts ::

If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.
— Marc Chagall

Went to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts today with one of my dear friends and we had the time to examine the whole exhibit from head to toe. It is a beautifully set exhibit with costumes, musical instruments and paintings that are joyful for the eyes. Chagall’s life impressed me as his life was one of a true artist. My friend remarked that because the exhibit was not really set in chronological order, it was difficult to understand the artist’s development and outcome… I wonder why the museum did not explain at some point why they had not done so? I drew one of the dresses that Chagall drew for the theatre.

On Sunday I also went with the Montreal Urban Sketchers as we were invited by Les amis de la montagne to sketch the beautiful Mount-Royal and 35 sketchers joined us. My two paintings were terrible, saturated — I really did not have the colours in my eyes that day and I was almost shy to show what I had done… alas, it was one of those days of painting but wonderful for everything else! One of the reasons why I did not succeed is that I have not painted in a long while, secondly I did not do a value sketch which is always very helpful. Next time -)

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook 3.5″x5.5″
Description: Costume for Aleko, Society Lady, Scene IV. 1942. Dress of painted silk taffeta, silk leno and tulle.

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Posted in Sketches / Drawings / Paintings | 2 Comments

Draw me a Mountain on Sunday May 21st

Artists and art lovers are welcome to take part in an art day on Mount Royal with the Urban Sketchers of Montreal and Les Amis de la Montagne on Sunday May 21st.

* 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Join the Urban Sketchers Montreal for a sketching/drawing/painting day on the mountain.

* 3 to 4:30 p.m.: Exhibition of works by all participants at the Beaver Lake Pavilion Café des Amis.

Free admission
• Meeting point at 10 a.m.: Smith House, 1260 Remembrance Road, Mount Royal
• Meeting point at 3 p.m.: Beaver Lake Pavilion Café des Amis
• 
For lunch: Café des Amis or bring your own lunch on the lawns of this majestic mountain.
• This year, enjoy the hospitality of the Café des Amis in two stunning venues – Smith House and the Beaver Lake Pavilion. Menu includes full meals, sandwiches, salads, desserts, hot and cold beverages.

This activity is presented as part of May : Mount Royal Month.

Those interested in acting as volunteers to help new sketchers should arrive at 9:30 am so that we can share responsibilities.

Facebook LINK — for more information on this activity and future activities, please join us on Facebook -)

For additional information, please contact:
• Danielle Desnoyers :: danielledesnoyers(at)me.com
• Jane Hannah :: jane.hannah(at)csur.ca
• Jean-Claude Boivin :: boivin442(at)videotron.ca

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DESSINE-MOI UNE MONTAGNE, une journée en arts

Les Urban Sketchers de Montréal en collaboration avec les Amis de la montagne invitent les artistes et amateurs à venir dessiner sur le Mont Royal dimanche le 21 mai. L’activité s’inscrit dans le cadre du Mois du Mont-Royal.

* 10 h à 15 h : Joignez-vous au groupe Urban Sketchers Montréal pour réaliser des dessins/peintures/croquis du Mont Royal.

* 15 h à 16 h 30 : Exposition des œuvres de l’ensemble des participants au Café des Amis au Pavillon du Lac-aux-Castors.

Activité gratuite.
• Point de départ à 10 h : Maison Smith, située au 1260 chemin Remembrance. Danielle Desnoyers et  Jane Hannah seront là pour vous accueillir.
• Rendez-vous à 15 h : Pavillon du Lac-aux-Castors
• Pour le repas : Le Café des Amis ou vous apporter votre lunch et profitez de la nature.
• Le Café des Amis vous accueille cette année dans deux lieux distincts – à la Maison Smith ou au Pavillon du Lac-aux-Castors. Vous trouverez au menu : repas complets, sandwichs, salades, desserts, boissons chaudes et froides.
• Les personnes intéressées à agir comme bénévoles pour guider les néophytes peuvent arriver vers 9 h 30 afin que nous puissions répartir les responsabilités.

Page Facebook LIEN — pour avoir plus d’informations et demander des détails joignez-vous à nous -)

Pour renseignements supplémentaires :
• Danielle Desnoyers :: danielledesnoyers(at)me.com
• Jane Hannah :: jane.hannah(at)csur.ca
• Jean-Claude Boivin :: boivin442(at)videotron.ca


 

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:: Église St-Enfant-Jésus du Mile End ::

“There is no such thing as an amateur artist as different from a professional artist,”
wrote Paul Cezanne,
“There is only good art and bad art.”

The Montreal Urban Sketchers were out sketching out today and the weather was beautiful, even though a tad cold with the wind. Surprisingly it was colder in Montreal than in Rigaud… as we live in the forest, there is rarely any wind. When I first decided to draw this majestic building, I did not know how intricate that it would be… and I kept thinking, “why did I choose to draw this building?” However, in the end I was quite happy to have completed it! I might have time tomorrow to paint it… I hope so -)

Paper: Field Watercolor journal 7″ x 10″
Pen: Platinum Desk Pen EF DP1000AB
Ink: Noodlers Lexington Grey
Location: Église St-Enfant-Jésus du Mile End

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Posted in Sketches / Drawings / Paintings, Urban Sketching | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

:: Easter Monday Flower ::

Life is not what one lived, but what one remembers
and how one remembers it in order to recount it.
— Gabriel García Márquez

The hour is growing late on this Easter Monday afternoon and I have to report to school tomorrow. My classes for the week have all been prepared and I am enjoying the music of Leon Bridges “River”, Agnes Obel’s “September Song” and the Villagers “Nothing Arrived”.

I have been intermittently reading Stephen King’s “On Writing” and it reminds me that to be an artist, any type of artist, we have to make a clearing through the chaos of our senses & events. When I first saw Kim’s photograph that she sent me, I sat down to study it… I had to make sense of it all before even starting to draw. Figure things out in a way that works for me.

I decided that I would start at the top and work through the first big flower as an outline, then move below to the second flower and then finish off with the leaves. Then fill everything in. What I actually did was start at the top with the first flower, filled it with the flowing lines, drew the stem and leaves, left them blank, and then finished with the second flower to finish everything off. So much for my plan!

Moleskine Sketchbook: 5″ x 8″
Pen: Sailor Desk EF
Ink: De Atramentis Document Black
Photograph: Taken by Kim Thuy Ly Thanh

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Posted in Sketches / Drawings / Paintings | 6 Comments

:: Kim Thuy ::

It’s not because we’re given a life that we know how to live.
I think we need to learn to live.
— Kim Thùy

Kim Thuy posted a beautiful flower on Facebook today and it inspired me… and I just drew it. She is an amazing writer, author & person and shows the resilience of refugees. She also has a great sense of humour, which makes us love her even more.

Today I studied for my Spanish course as I had been lagging behind in the past few weeks… so much catching on to do! Can’t wait for the semester to be over and really delve into what I love doing… time to paint… and paint. This will be forfeited for awhile as there are tons of correcting to do in the very near future.

Yesterday we cleaned up one of the patios at our house and it felt really good as Spring really seems to be have sprung upon us… let’s hope that it continues.

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook 5″ x 8″
Pen: Platinum Desk Pen EF DP1000AB
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Reference photograph from Kim Thuy

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Posted in Sketches / Drawings / Paintings | 4 Comments

:: Coneflowers ::

Educating the mind
without educating the heart
is no education at all.
— Aristotle

I must be ready for summer as I bought these beautiful flowers Echinacea Angustifolia or Coneflowers and decided to draw them. These flowers are part of the sunflower family and oh boy, the chickadees, nuthatches & goldfinches are having a field day with the sunflower seeds in my backyard. They are voracious. My husband and I sunbathed for awhile today and we think that there is a Pileated Woodpecker couple that are nesting in our backyard. These are very private birds and we feel cherished that they are staying in our wood.

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook 5″ x 8″
Fountain Pen: Sailor Desk EF
Ink: De Atramentis Document Black

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:: A little spring in the air ::

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid or making friends. Writing is magic, as much as the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink.”
— Stephen King On Writing book and some of his tips on Openculture

Even though there is still alot of snow here, Spring is in the air! The sun is shining, the beautiful shadows are long and the birds are chirping. The quality of the light flooding my window is soft and tender…

I have been reading Marc-Aurèle Fortin’s The Experience of Colour and he was known as the poet of painting. One critic said of him: “the poet and painter of summer” after seeing his beautiful paintings of majestic elms in Laval in the 1920s. It is quite inspiring to read on the artistic lives of painters as well as writers. Marc-Aurèle said: “Painting is nothing but visual poetry” I like that!

Another book that I am presently reading is Stephen King’s On Writing which surprisingly, talks about how to become a writer and I am loving every word in it. What a storyteller that he is. It is part memoir and part master class and well worth the read. Have a nice day -)

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook 5″x8″
Pen: Sailor Desk Pen EF
Ink: De Atramentis Document Ink Black

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:: Little Tree ::

      A little while, a little while,
The weary task is put away,
And I can sing and I can smile,
Alike, while I have holiday.
     Why wilt thou go, my harassed heart,
What thought, what scene invites thee now?
What spot, or near or far,
Has rest for thee, my weary brow?
     There is a spot, mid barren hills,
Where winter howls, and driving rain;
But if the dreary tempest chills,
There is a light that warms again.
     The house is old, the trees are bare,
Moonless above bends twilight’s dome;
But what on earth is half so dear,
So longed for, as the hearth of home?
     The mute bird sitting on the stone,
The dank moss dripping from the wall,
The thorn-trees gaunt, the walks o’ergrown,
I love them, how I love them all!
     Still, as I mused, the naked room,
The alien firelight died away,
And from the midst of cheerless gloom
I passed to bright unclouded day.
     A little and a lone green lane
That opened on a common wide;
A distant, dreamy, dim blue chain
Of mountains circling every side;
     A heaven so clear, an earth so calm,
So sweet, so soft, so hushed an air;
And, deepening still the dream-like charm,
Wild moor-sheep feeding everywhere.
     That was the scene, I knew it well;
I knew the turfy pathway’s sweep
That, winding o’er each billowy swell,
Marked out the tracks of wandering sheep.
     Could I have lingered but an hour,
It well had paid a week of toil;
But Truth has banished Fancy’s power:
Restraint and heavy task recoil.
     Even as I stood with raptured eye,
Absorbed in bliss so deep and dear,
My hour of rest had fleeted by,
And back came labour, bondage, care.
— Emile Jane Bronte

This morning, just before my morning class, I had a little time to draw this sketch of a little tree in front of my parked car. It rained a little today and I had little groups of students for my first class and I am coming out of a little cold. Apart from that, everything is looking good as Spring is upon us! Up to now it has given us fair amounts of rain & cold, but next week they are announcing for 18C… a little improvement over the past few days. I Photoshopped out some little blue lines that had seeped in from the underside of my paper as this morning I did not have my sketchbook with me…

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Posted in Sketches / Drawings / Paintings | 9 Comments

Redpath Museum with USK:Mtl

     A poem
is when you have the sky in your mouth.
It is hot like fresh bread,
when you eat it,
a little is always left over.
     A poem
is when you hear
the heartbeat of a stone,
when words beat their wings.
It is a song sung in a cage.
     A poem
is words turned upside down
and suddenly!
the world is new.
— Jean-Pierre Simeón

Felt really good today to be back with the Montreal Urban Sketchers, drawing & painting & sitting with at the beautiful Redpath Museum in Montreal. I had not really painted since the Christmas holidays & I felt quite rusty… funnily. Painting or drawing is not at all like riding a bicycle. Once you have learnt to ride a bike, after a few pedal pushes, your body settles immediately in the long-ago strides, a physical memory. Drawing or painting on the other hand is a discipline, which means that you have to do it on a daily basis if you wish to progress. I remember that when I started painting, I found that the maximum amount of time that I could go without drawing (and not losing what I had gained) was 3 days… after that, the eyes were less keen on colours, the hand was less coordinated… so I knew today where I was heading & because I knew, it was fine! I had expected it & it happened.

A woman came to sit beside me while I was painting & she herself did the same thing. We painted in cordial silence, until one of us decided to ask the other their name… and lo & behold, we realized that we had been friends on Facebook for over a year, had never met, that each one enjoyed the other’s art & thus in our encounter, we found a mutual respect & liking.

Right now, as early night is upon me and the sun’s rays have disappeared, I am filled with a deep sense of gratitude that I have been acquiesced to live long enough to enjoy the moments that I have left.

Colours: Buff Titanium, Yellow Ochre, Goethite & French Ultramarine
Fountain Pen: Platinum Desk Pen EF DP1000AB
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Redpath Museum, McGill Campus, Montreal, Québec, Canada

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#OneWeek100People2017 :: Day 2 ::

Claude Debussy
“Rien de trop”: that is the artist’s motto. Instead of amalgamating the instruments for mass effects, he throws into relief their individuality or delicately grafts one timbre on to another, without anything of their true nature being spoiled. Like the Impressionist painters of those times, he paints with pure colours, with that delicate sobriety that spurns all harshness and ugliness.
— Romain Rolland

I managed to draw 20 more people directly from TV, which is not as good as drawing “live” people in real situations, which I love best, but still second-best. Probably that this is my last day of this weekly challenge as tomorrow I will be in intense correcting mode and for the rest of the week we will be moving back all of our furniture to where they belong… no more camping in the living room — yeah!

Today I found it more arduous as my head is preoccupied with the daily ins-and-outs of workers coming in and letting the doors open, banging doors banging noises in the house… I just want a bit of peace. Soon I know!

Moleskine Sketchbook 3.5″ x 5″

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One Week 100 People 2017

La maison du clair de lune
Le boisé saura les protéger

    En veillant sur leur intimé
    Ici la nature est généreuse
    On oublie la ville et le rossignol  chante
L’horloge ne compte pas les heures
    Et le soleil te donne toutes ses heures
    À leur manière, les saisons
    T’ofrent es frissons
J’entends la tourterelle triste

    Certains jours ça existe…
    Par contre, la mésange
    Toute heurese bat des ailes
Le parfum des fleurs

    À l’été, donnera des couleurs
    Les maîtres de la maison
    Auront de tout nouveaux horizons.
Avec souvenirs, veillera en paix

    Arrêtant le teps si elle le pouvait
    De l’ennui, elle ne rira
    Car ici, Dame Nature allège les tracas
Et le vent, dans sa douce voix

    Laisse passer le bonheur entre ses doigts
    Et d’un duvet doux
   La brise répète cachez-vous, c’est pour vous.
–Poème de Marie Dionne, ma bien-aimée et ancienne voisine qui me manque beaucoup.

I thought that it would be fun to participate in this fun challenge. Started by Marc Taro Holmes and Liz Steel, it’s called One Week 100 People, and the goal is to draw 100 people in one week (March 6-10), as well as share your drawings using the hashtag #OneWeek100People2017.

So this challenge is to draw 20 people per day for 5 days. You can sketch “live” or in front of your TV, or from YouTube or even yourself for 100 times — sounds fun, does it not? As this week is the March Break for me, I do not have access to the unlimited number of students that I usually have… so I deciced to draw from the TV. Not ideal, but there is no alternative for now. What I noticed is that my student usually keep their coats on during class… or at least some of them do. They keep their hats on, their coats, scarves, etc. it must have something to do with our Quebec temperatures I guess…and add alot of pizzaz to a drawing! When watching TV, especially The Voice, there are no scarves, hats or coats… which is a bit more boring… tomorrow I will try to find a show that has more diversity and that is people oriented — do you know of any that I could watch?

I decided to “draw” with a fountain pen as this is my preferred medium and even though I do not have much time, the renos are still going on strong, and I have piles of student projects to correct, tonight at exactly at 9:00 pm I decided that while listening to The Voice, I would sketch out the participants… and here they are. I wonder if some of you can guess who is who? In a sense a challenge such as this one is really helpful as it forces you to draw people, which I am not a great fan! And it is making me to start “liking” drawing people… I see this day in and and day out in the classroom. Students coming into class saying that they “hate” typography or drawing… and I wonder how can you hate something when you do not know it? Try it first, and then we will see…. and I have to admit that by drawing people, it grows on you -)))

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:: The Projectile ::

The Projectile

We sipped tea.
Politely musing on possible reasons for the success of my books in your country.
Slipped into talk of pain and humiliation you find occurring, and recurring, in my stories.
And that element of sheer chance.
How all this translates in terms of sales.
I looked into a corner of the room.
And for a minute I was 16 again,
careening around in the snow in a ‘50 Dodge sedan with five or six bozos.
Giving the finger to some other bozos,
who yelled and pelted our car with snowballs, gravel, old tree branches.
We spun away, shouting.
And we were gonna leave it at that.
But my window was down three inches.
Three inches.
I hollered out one last obscenity.
And saw this guy wind up to throw.
From this vantage, now, I imagine I see it coming.
See it speeding through the air while I watch,
like those soldiers in the first part of the last century
watched cannisters of shot fly in their direction while they stood,
unable to move for the dread fascination of it.
But I didn’t see it. I’d already turned my head to laugh with my pals.
When something slammed into the side of my head so hard
it broke my eardrum and fell into my lap, intact.
A ball of packed ice and snow.
The pain was stupendous.
And the humiliation.
It was awful when I began to weep in front of those tough guys while they cried, Dumb luck.
Freak accident.
A chance in a million!
The guy who threw it, he had to be amazed,
and proud of himself, while he took the shouts and back-slaps of the others.
He must have wiped his hands on his pants.
And messed around a little more before going home to supper.
He grew up to have his share of setbacks and get lost in his life, same as I got lost in mine.
He never gave that afternoon another thought. And why should he?
So much else to think about always.
Why remember that stupid car sliding down the stupid road,
then turning the stupid corner and disappearing?
We politely raise our tea cups in the room.
A room that for a minute something else entered.
— by Raymond Carver & poem dedicated to Murakami, one of my favourite authors…

I have not been active on my blog for awhile now and I just wanted to give everyone a heads-up that I am still here & alive! It has been an awesome beginning to the 2017 year, even though extremely busy. In mid-December, while I was working in my office, my husband came in to announce that we were starting the renos “now”. “Now” I said? And he said yes… within 2 minutes, I was already starting to move books from their shelves, putting them in the few boxes that we had, he was already sawing at one of the floor boards… oooh! What a start! So since then, we are in a huge reno mode that has not stopped. My house is totally tipsy turvy… sometimes I cannot even find my dog, as he does not seem to like all of the ins-and-outs that are happening amongst the workers that spring up at every hour of the day on “his” territory. One good thing about renovating in winter, is that the workers are all free! And when you call them, they arrrive. Very different from a summer renovation.

So I took the time tonight to sketch the front of my fireplace that is inundated with books and mostly 3-ring binders… as we are moving the office from the réz-de-jardin to the first floor, and the bedrooms are moving down. There are mostly perks to this. The réz-de-jardin faces the brook and the main area of our property, it stays fresh all summer even if the temperatures reach high humidex levels and it is very very quiet as there is a 3 acre area of forest free of any human activity.. cool! And lastly, this area opens up to a main screened-in porch that is tucked away in a nook — quite wonderful for sipping your morning coffee or your afternoon tea -).

Soooo, here is the mumble jumble of a part of my living room. Enjoy and hope to be back in shape and ready to sketch in about 3 weeks time -)

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Posted in Sketches / Drawings / Paintings | 2 Comments

:: Troublesome yellows ::

“My life … runs back through time and space to the very beginnings of the world and to its utmost limits. In my being I sum up the earthly inheritance and the state of the world at this moment.”
— Simone de Beauvoir

Alas, I have heard many times how watercolorists (and myself) complain about how difficult it is to make good greens, without creating a mud puddle. So I decided to look at all of the yellows that I have at my house, and study them in a methodical fashion.

So my method was to create a rectangle and put a black line with a Sharpie permanent marker and then add a first layer of the colour. Then wait until it is completely dried up and then add a second layer on the top left-hand side of each colour (a dab of paint).

What I am looking for is this:
— That the lightfastness number is 1 (not 2) so that the colour does not fade in time;
— That the colour is completely transparent;
— Ideally the least amount of pigments. One pigment is ideal…

Results:
Best cool transparent yellow with good lightfastness:
— My best pick is from Sennelier Primary Yellow, Serie 1, Lightfastness 1, PY74

Best warm transparent yellow with good lightfastness:
— My best pick is Daniel Smith New Gambodge, Series 1, Lightfastness 1, PY97+PY110
AND Daniel Smith, Quinachridone Gold, Series 2, Lightfastness 1, PO49 (DS says that this colour is semi-transparent) but to my eye it seems totally transparent! Maybe that I am getting old -)

Surprisingly, I did not think that New Gambodge would be completely transparent but they were. Both Winter & Newton and Daniel Smith had very good results, however the Lightfastness number for W&N was 2, so I have eliminated it.

The two yellows that were the coolest were W&N Bismuth Yellow and DaVinci Hansa Yellow Light and they were both semi-opaque.

So here is the chart that I created & I left the resolution at 150 ppi so that you could zoom in to see what I am talking about.

If you have not had the chance yet to read Jeanne Dobie’s Making Color Sing and if you are also wondering about your muddy colours, then this is a must-have book. Her chapter 3 on Octanic Colours is fabulous and she explains, in my very condensed explanation, that when you mix two colours together, that you must look at the primary color that you are using and what other color it is made up of (red, yellow or blue). For example, Aureolin Yellow (has blue in it) and Winsor Blue (has yellow in it) therefore these two colors will make great greens as these colors are octanic. Cadmium Red (has yellow in it) and Cadmium Yellow (has red in it) therefore this works! French ultramarine (has red in it) and Alizarin Crimson (has blue) in it, etc.

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Posted in Sketches / Drawings / Paintings | 5 Comments

:: Huntingdon ::

What could be more interesting, or in the end, more ecstatic, than in those rare moments when you see another person look at something you’ve made, and realize that they got it exactly, that your heart jumped to their heart with nothing in between.
— Robert Motherwell

The other day I went with one of my friends for a car ride to the Huntingdon area & I took quite a few reference photographs for just in case that I would need them for a winter day like today. Here in Rigaud it was freezing rain this morning, then ice pellets and will probably snow again tonight. Luckily, we only had four hours of blackout and it was during the night, but my husband has put some wood in the fireplaces, put in more gas in the generator, the candles are close to us and it is cozy. We are ready!

Paper: Handbook Travelogue 8″ x 8″
Colours: New Gambodge, Cerulean Blue, Goethite, Burnt Sienna, Deep Sap Green, French Ultramarine
Fountain Pen: Sailor Desk EF
Ink: DeAtramentis Document Black Ink
Location: Huntingdon reference photograph

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Posted in Sketches / Drawings / Paintings | 2 Comments

:: Mighty pine king ::

The old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost.
— J. R. R. Tolkien

I have painted this pine many times before as it is totally gorgeous to me & it is but a few hundred meters from my house & easy to get to. The weather was just awful here in Québec today as it started in the morning with ice pellets, then freezing rain and tonight the weather forecast is for snow. I painted this pine tree for one of my colleagues that asked me to paint it for her and also as part of the 7 Paintings in 7 Days Challenge that is going on on Facebook.

I am not sure if I like the colour  Hansa Medium Light as it felt too opaque for me. I used to love using Aureolin Yellow & since I followed a workshop with Jane Blundell I learnt that it is not lightfast! I will have to find a substitution for Hansa… if anyone has any suggestions for a cold yellow that is transparent, I would appreciate it!

Paper: Saunders Waterford 8″ x 12″
Colours: Hansa Medium Light, Burnt Sienna & French Ultramarine
Fountain Pen: Sailor Desk EF
Ink: Deatramentis Document Black Ink
Location: Reference photo in Rigaud

Pinus Strobus L. — Pin strobus — Pin blanc — White pine.

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Posted in Sketches / Drawings / Paintings | 2 Comments

Health, love, wisdom & a long life!

Listen to the wind, it talks
Listen to the silence, it speaks
Listen to your heart, it knows.
— Proud native american

I wish all of you Health, love, wisdom & a long life!

I went back today to my all-time favourite spot to do some plein air painting (from my car I might add) and the mountain of Rigaud  stirs my heart. This New Year has me in a retrospective & prospective state of mind and I am sitting sandwiched between these two states, which I fancy. I like thinking back, and I also like thinking forward. I anticipate the opening chapter of a new semester with my students & I regret the closing of another chapter of my life, where age seems to defy me! I am relishing my semester break & already  it feels as though the sun is giving off its soft rays a tad longer every day. Life goes fast & slow, new friendships appear & old ones disappear sometimes, family grows and then shrinks. My pillars are the practice of the arts & the fulfillment of knowledge which are dear to me & keep me rooted.

Paper: Arches Cold Press 8″ x 6″
Colours: Q. Rose, Deep Sap Green, French Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber
Fountain Pen: Platinum Century 3776 (the height of Mount Fuji)
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Rigaud Mountain, Quebec, Canada

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:: Crack of Dawn ::

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
— Leonard Cohen

Listening to the beautiful music of Brahms this afternoon, it snowed all morning and the temperatures have peaked to more comfortable temperatures, I painted the same picture as yesterday, adding some daylight to it as by now we all know that starting today the days are getting longer! Yeahhh!

Paper: Handbook Travelogue 8″x5″
Colours: Q. Gold, Burnt Sienna, Indanthrone Blue
Fountain Pen: Platinum Desk
Ink: Artementis Document Ink Black
Reference photo: Eric Girouard

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:: Beginnings & Endings ::

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

     Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
     My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
     He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
     The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
— by Robert Frost

Today is the beginning of winter as the Winter Solstice has officially arrived about 45 minutes ago (5:44 am). I welcome this day every year as I know that by tomorrow the days will start growing longer… and Spring will be around the corner even if still far away. At the end of February I will start feeding my houseplants. Every season brings in new hopes, new beginnings & endings. It is the beginning of the holiday season, flu season, family reunions & festivities with friends & family, it is the end of a teaching semester, of a sketchbook and of yearly resolutions… these will pass and make place for new ones this coming New Year. As the day is at its longest night, I will stay up late tonight, watching the night & the stars, cherishing its deep shadows.
Paper: Travelogue Sketchbook 8″x5″
Colours: B. Sienna, Cobalt Teal, Indanthrone Blue
Fountain Pen: Sailor Desk EF
Ink: DeAtramentis Document Ink Black
Location: Reference photograph taken by Eric Girouard
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The Old Farmer’s Almanac explains the solstice this way. “It has the fewest hours of sunlight in the year.The word solstice comes from the Latin words for “sun” and “to stand still.”At the winter solstice, the Sun’s path has reached its southernmost position. However, a few days before and after the winter solstice, the change is so slight that the Sun’s path seems to stay the same, or stand still. The Sun is directly overhead at “high-noon” on Winter Solstice at the latitude called the Tropic of Capricorn.”
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:: Wishing you Peace, Love & Joy ::

Ev’rybody’s talking ’bout
Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism, Ragism, Tagism
This-ism, that-ism, is-m, is-m, is-m
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance
Hit it
C’mon, ev’rybody’s talking about
Ministers, sinisters, banisters and canisters
Bishops and Fishops and Rabbis and Popeyes and bye-bye, bye-byes
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance
Let me tell you now
Ev’rybody’s talking ’bout
Revolution, evolution, masturbation, flagellation, regulation, integrations
Meditations, United Nations, congratulations
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance
— John Lennon
Paper: Travelogue Handbook 8″x8″
Colours:New Gambodge, Q. Rose, Red Sennelier & French Ultramarine
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada
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:: Beautiful silent skies ::

Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation. (Hans Jean Arp)

When I want to see huge, beautiful skies there is one place to go in my region and it is just between Rigaud and St. Clet. The skies are always luminous, grand and silent as they stretch west towards the sunset surrounding St. Polycarpe and St. Telesphore! I must have painted this sky many times up to now and here it is an older post. There is always a sense of awe that chokes me a bit in front of these immense skies… an inner peace.

I have been cooped up in the house for the past four days as the flu has hit us… the sniffles, coughing, sneezing and nose blowing type of sessions where you just want to lie down and sleep, and when it is time to sleep, you are wide awake! Have you ever had this? In a sense my husband and I were well timed as it started one day apart from each other, so I did not feel guilty binging on Netflix.

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Journal 8″x5″
Colours: Burnt Sienna, Q. Rose, Raw Umber & French Ultramarine
Location: Route 201 between Rigaud and St-Clet, Quebec, Canada.

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:: Three hats for one ::

Get yourself a mirror and paint your own portrait, over and over.
It’s a great chance to experiment, you’ll discover things about yourself,
and you don’t have to pay the model!
— Susan Avishai

Last night I was in the mood for drawing older men with hats, or at least that is what attracted my eye while surfing on Google. Without any live models with hats in front of me (my husband did not feel like putting one on and refused to be my model — he was intent on the soccer game) I drew from reference photos… very handy in these circumstances.

Most of my portrait drawings in the past I was trying to make them portrait perfect, and tonight I tried finding their distinct personalities. The last one is the best one in my point of view. I think that I will try what Susan Avishai says about self-portraits… it might just be very interesting!

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook 5″x8″
Pen: Pigma Micron 1.0
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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:: Square Phillips ::

“Aurora borealis
The icy sky at night
Paddles cut the water
In a long and hurried flight
From the white man to the fields of green
And the homeland
We’ve never seen.”
— Neil Young

We are quite lucky in Montreal to have so many beautiful landmarks, and Phillips Square is certainly one of them. There is the monument of King Edward VII, the Hudson Bay building and the beautiful Birks building, Christ Church Cathedral (neo-gothic) which is the focal point of my painting, Saint Patrick’s Basilica and many more of great beauty. A great place to sketch, even though it was freezing outside and right after I had finished my drawing I had to zip back home and continue correcting as the fall semester is coming to an end. I drove to Avenue des arts to buy some painting materials, and they were closed. Yikes! I took a picture of the Montreal Urban Sketchers group this morning as Shari was explaining to newcomers what we were about and some new info for the year 2017.

And now back to a frenzy of correcting!

Paper: Travelogue Handbook 8″x8″
Paint: Q. Gold, B. Sienna, Cerulean Blue and some Q. Rose and Phtalo Blue
Location: Square Phillips, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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:: Urban Sketchers newspaper article ::

For those of you who have not had the chance to read the article in the newspaper La Presse, here it is! Pour ceux et elles qui n’ont pas eu la chance de lire l’article dans le journal La Presse, le voici -)

http://www.lapresse.ca/voyage/destinations/201611/16/01-5041915-urban-sketchers-croquer-la-vie.php

 

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: Montreal Urban Sketchers in La Presse :

REMEMBERING LEONARD COHEN (1934-2016)
My page was too white
My ink was too thin
The day wouldn’t write
What the night penciled in.
— The Book of Longing (2006)

Today there is a fabulous newspaper report in the Travel section of La Presse on the Montreal Urban Sketchers. They have showcased the works of six urban sketchers from Montreal and in La Presse+, which is free if you have an iPad, you can see more information on the International Urban Sketchers and much more. What a great honour and a thrill to see this. Thanks to our leaders in this organization, Shari & Marc -)

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:: Ultimate Chroma ::

You should often amuse yourself when you take a walk for recreation, in watching and taking note of the attitudes and actions of men as they talk and dispute, or laugh or come to blows with one another… noting these down with rapid strokes, in a little pocket-book which you ought always to carry with you.
— Leonardo da Vinci.

Since Jane Blundell’s Workshop last month I have really been thinking hard about watercolour paints and how I should be using them. One of the many things that I learned was that Alizarin Crimson has a high lightfastness therefore we should not be using it as it will fade with time. I had been using this colour for many years now, and I am so happy to have learnt this… amongst many other things too. Permanent Alizarin Crimson is fine though, even though it is a synthetic blend.

For many years now I have been looking at the excellent website Handprint.com and there was a section that I told myself that when I had the time, I would surely test it out. And finally I tested it out today, even though I had no time, and it was much easier than I had originally thought that it would be. It is called “Learning how dilution feels” on the site and can be found under the link “The secret of glowing colour“.

I started with a tiny teaspoon that I filled with tube paint… which one did I use? Well, the one that I have tons of at my house and that I will not be using anymore for anything else than for tests. Alizarin Crimson. So I filled up the tiny teaspoon and with a synthetic brush I put that quantity on my clean palette. This is the “Raw” version 1:0. Then I added 1 tiny teaspoon of water and mixed it well to the paint, and this gave the 1:1 ratio of water and paint. The texture was one of molasses or corn syrup. You can easily follow what was the next step, huh? Well the colour started singing at 1:3 (cream texture) and this is where it started beading too! From 1:3 to 1:6 (milk texture stage) the colour had attained its maximum chroma and I was thrilled to see this. 1:7 and 1:8 were really nice too and at ratio 1:9 it started feeling watery… fine for some instances, but the colour had definitely lost its chroma. At ratio 1:12 blooms started appearing, a sure sign for me anyway that I have overwatered. Wow! I loved doing this as I always have problems of overwatering or underwatering my paintings… hard to find the right balance! Hope that you enjoyed this test -)

Colour: W&N Alizarin Crimson
Paper: Handbook Travelogue Sketchbook 8″x 8″

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