:: The Art Spirit ::

In considering lines as a means of drawing, it is well to remember that the line practically does not exist in nature. It is a convention we use.
— The Art Spirit by Robert Henri

For those of you who are interested in the spirit of art, I highly recommend this book The Art Spirit by Robert Henri who was a teacher in NYC and died in 1929. “Henri was an inspired teacher with an extraordinary gift for verbal communication, with the personality and prophetic fire that transformed pupils into idolators.”

I have this 5″x 8″ sketchbook next to me when I am watching tele at night and I draw what I see in front of me… which is mostly my husband. My dog is constantly moving around, and the minute that he sees me watching him, he gets up and wants to play even though he has turned 8! So yesterday I decided to look at a woman on the tele, and then draw her from memory. I think that this is a good mental exercise to do… remembering what things look like without looking… A bit like hide and seek in art -)

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:: A few tries later… ::

Great love is never justified. It’s like the little tree that springs up in some inexplicable fashion on the side of a cliff: where are its roots, what does it feed on, what miracle produces those green leaves?
— Wisława Szymborska (July 2, 1923–February 1, 2012)

Last night I decided to draw my husband and he kept moving non-stop even though he did not realize that I was trying to draw him. It took me eight tries to eventually get this somewhat decent one, at least one that shows some sensitivity towards the model. He tends to look fatter in this drawing than he really is…

I have been looking at Joseph Zbukvik’s wonderful video Planning your painting, and what a guy and what an artist! He is very generous with his knowledge and at some point in the video he says that we should draw without ever lifting the pencil from the paper… and this is what I tried today. I liked the sensation of doing this and I should practice this more often. Definitely something that I will be teaching my students this coming semester.

Paper: The Colour of Water Sketchbook from the MMFA
Lead Pencil 0.5
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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:: Simple things… ::

Grandpa was a carpenter,
he built houses, stores and banks,
he chain-smoked Camel cigarettes
and hammered nails in planks.
He was level-on-the-level,
shaved even every door,
and voted for Eisenhower
’cause Lincoln won the war.
— John Prine

Sounds like a simple poem, does it not? But I love it! Simple and you get the feeling that you know him. He would have liked living where the this painting was done. Here is the same scene as yesterday but more emotional and vocal in a simple landscape scene. Hope that you like it! This paper had been taped down for quite a long time and when I finished my painting and peeled it, some of the painting tore off… and that’s why it has a screwy angle -)

Paper: Bockingford app. 10″x11″
Watercolours: Q. Gold, New Gamboge, Pyrrol Crimson, Burnt Sienna & Ultramarine
Location: Ste-Marthe, Québec, Canada

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:: Song of the Open Road ::

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road, 
Healthy, free, the world before me, 
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose. 
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune, 
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing, 
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms, 
Strong and content I travel the open road. 
The earth, that is sufficient, 
I do not want the constellations any nearer, 
I know they are very well where they are, 
I know they suffice for those who belong to them. 
(Still here I carry my old delicious burdens, 
I carry them, men and women, I carry them with me wherever I go, 
I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them, 
I am fill’d with them, and I will fill them in return.) 
— Walt Whitman

 

Yesterday I had many going-ons… I had to drive my husband to the hospital for some tests, then headed back to the house and feed the dog and do some chores, then went back to the hospital to get him, then came back… then went off again to do a bit of shopping and then back again. A lot of road time, gazing at the beautiful skies…

Last night as I calmed down I decided to paint those skies and of course my part of the country, looking at Rigaud mountain where I live.

Paper: Saunders Waterford
Watercolours: New Gamboge, Q. Gold, Raw Sienna, Pyrrol Crimson, Ultramarine

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:: Lieu historique national du Commerce-de-la-Fourrure-à-Lachine ::

Do not fail to draw something every day, for no matter how little it is, it will be well worth while, and it will do you a world of good. 
— Cennino Cennini, 1370-1440

I was painting with my friend Chi Mai today on the Canal Lachine in front of the Fur Trade at the Lachine National Historic Site which dates back from 1803. It is a gorgeous place, right next to the Canal Lachine and next to Lake St. Louis which is part of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Chi Mai has a vast knowledge in watercolours and she helped me out in the end which is very generous of her. Thanks Chi Mai! If you would like to see her work, just click on this LINK.

I find that I have trouble with midtones and usually my paintings fall flat as all of my values fall in the same range… not enough contrast. So I worked today with one concept in mind and this was to have values in mind. To do this I started with a value sketch in lead pencil.  The other thing that I did do differently today was only use flat brushes, and I loved it. I had a big 1″, 0.5″ and 0.25″ and I really enjoyed using these and kind of liberated my arm. And Chi Mai helped me with my values -)))

Paper: Arches 12″x12″
Watercolours: Pyrrol Crimson, Ultramarine, Cobalt Blue, Q. Burnt Orange, Raw Sienna & Burnt Sienna.
Location: LINK

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:: Books on painting ::

Cast shadows provide an object with roots and stability and keep it from floating in midair. They are an important structural unit. They help describe the surface the object rests on.
— David A. Leffel

I have not been painting that much this summer, but I have been reading alot — actually tons of watercolour & oil painting books that my friend Linda Denis kindly gave me. Two of the books that have retained my attention on a daily basis are these:

  1. The Art of Watercolor, revised edition by Charles Le Clair which is an exceptional book as it is a handbook offering a comprehensive course of study you would find at university level, it features the works of contemporary and historic masters, it offers how-to techniques and combines studio information with art-historical comment. Wow!
  2. Oil Painting Secrets from a Master “David A. Leffel” by Linda Cateura. This book is like following a workshop with the master David A. Leffel for one whole year and he is right behind you guiding you. It is incredible!!!

So the painting that I did is of Mount Royal which is in the middle of Montreal and you can see the skyscrapers at a distance on the left. I was practicing my skies and then decided to add the mountain for visual impact. Today I used the last page of my Travelogue Sketchbook and I am filing it away… it has been part of another chapter in my life -)

Travelogue Sketchbook 8″x8″
Watercolours: Cerulean, Ultramarine, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna

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:: Flat Wash ::

All is lovely outside my house and inside my house and myself.
— Winslow Homer

I decided to play with flat washes today and here I went… but how could I just put in a sky and not put in a beautiful Montreal skyline at the bottom? So I took a picture from the internet, and drew it in rapidly.

For the flat wash I worked on an inclined surface to let the watercolours run downward and used the biggest brush that I could handle and tried keeping a juicy mixture of paints… I find that the colours are a bit too dark for the sky and a bit too even too — I should have put different colours of paints… next time! I began at the top and tried to let each stroke settle before continuing to let the bead settle. I did horizontal strokes but realize now that I should have used a zigzag approach to break the linear lines and avoid a striped effect. No matter, it did not take me too much time and this is the excuse to try and start painting more as I neglected my paints this summer… life sometimes just has to do its own thing, huh?

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:: Grand séminaire de Montréal ::

I see and write things first as an artist,
second as a woman,
and third as a New Yorker.
All three have built-in perspectives that aren’t neutral.
— Laurie Anderson

I met up with the Montreal Urban Sketchers yesterday at the Grand Séminaire de Montréal and it was quite astounding! The chapel was gorgeous and the grounds, well… huge! To think that the Sipulcian priests thrived within the seigneurial system from 1675 to 1840 in Montreal! It is my Dad’s passing away day — a great deal of thought for you Dad!

Location: Montréal, Québec, Canada

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:: Stewart Hall ::

 “When love and skill work together
— expect a masterpiece.”
(John Ruskin)

Another lovely day and a wonderful event was held today at Stewart Hall in Pte. Claire. The organizers do a very fine job and we are very grateful to them. We were about 30 Montreal Urban Sketchers working frenetically at timeshaving to deal with the strong winds gusting from Lake St. Louisand the minute that we would deposit our paints on the paper, they were already dry. Working in plein-air certainly has its challenges and its rewards.

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:: Sunday Sketching Stewart Hall in Pointe-Claire on July 8th :: Dimanche le 8 juillet à Stewart Hall, Pointe-Claire ::

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On Sunday July 8th the Montreal Urban Sketchers  have been invited to a Picnic Vernissage Day at Stewart Hall’s Cultural Centre in Pointe-Claire. Stewart Hall is situated in a gorgeous historic mansion and is a unique cultural venue located on the bank of Lake Saint-Louis. It is an absolutely stunning spot to sketch in all seasons!

10:00 am START: Urban Sketchers Montreal
Sketch Stewart Park, Lake Saint-Louis, and the Cultural Centre. Paper and pencils will be provided.

12:00: Picnic
Bring your lunch and sit by the water to enjoy the beginning of summer. Snacks, drinks and ice cream will be available!

2:00 pm: Vernissage MAKING A STAND: Revisited Pedestals – Part III
Everyone is invited to the Art Gallery for the vernissage of the exhibition.

3:00 pm End of the day: Meet-up Montreal Urban Sketchers
We will gather on the patio facing the lake to share our drawings.

During the day there are many other activities available for you. At 11:00 am there will be a Botanical drawing workshop, at noon the Launch of the public piano season Latin jazz and Cuban program and  from 1:00 to 4:00 pm Friends of Stewart Hall book sale, amongst other activities.

In the event of rain, there is a room on the first floor that has been reserved for us; we will still have a nice view over the lake and everything; (but let’s cross our fingers that it won’t rain!)

Directions Stewart Hall on Google Maps: LINK

Hope to see you there -)))

If you are interested in seeing all of the activities during this day, check out this LINK.

On Sunday July 8th the Montreal Urban Sketchers  have been invited to a Picnic Vernissage Day at Stewart Hall’s Cultural Centre in Pointe-Claire. Stewart Hall is situated in a gorgeous historic mansion and is a unique cultural venue located on the bank of Lake Saint-Louis. It is an absolutely stunning spot to sketch in all seasons!

10:00 am START: Urban Sketchers Montreal
Sketch Stewart Park, Lake Saint-Louis, and the Cultural Centre. Paper and pencils will be provided.

12:00: Picnic
Bring your lunch and sit by the water to enjoy the beginning of summer. Snacks, drinks and ice cream will be available!

2:00 pm: Vernissage MAKING A STAND: Revisited Pedestals – Part III
Everyone is invited to the Art Gallery for the vernissage of the exhibition.

3:00 pm End of the day: Meet-up Montreal Urban Sketchers
We will gather on the patio facing the lake to share our drawings.

During the day there are many other activities available for you. At 11:00 am there will be a Botanical drawing workshop, at noon the Launch of the public piano season Latin jazz and Cuban program and  from 1:00 to 4:00 pm Friends of Stewart Hall book sale, amongst other activities.

In the event of rain, there is a room on the first floor that has been reserved for us; we will still have a nice view over the lake and everything; (but let’s cross our fingers that it won’t rain!)

Directions Stewart Hall on Google Maps: LINK

Hope to see you there -)))

If you are interested in seeing all of the activities during this day, check out this LINK.

______________________

Le dimanche 8 juillet 2018, les Urban Sketchers de Montréal sont invités à participer à un Pique-nique Vernissage au Centre culturel Stewart Hall de Pointe-Claire. Stewart Hall est une demeure historique sur un lieu enchanteur situé aux abords du Lac Saint-Louis. Un endroit absolument magnifique pour faire des croquis, en toutes saisons!

À partir de 10h : Urban Sketchers Montréal
Vous aurez l’occasion de faire le croquis du parc Stewart, du lac Saint-Louis et du Centre culturel. Feuilles et crayons seront fournis.

12h: Pique-nique
Apportez votre pique-nique et installez-vous au bord de l’eau pour profiter du début de l’été. Des grignotines, des boissons et de la crème glacée seront offertes.

14h : Vernissage STATUER. Les figures du socle – Partie III
Tous sont invités à la Galerie d’art pour le vernissage de l’exposition.

15h fin de la journéeRencontre Urban Sketchers Montréal
Sur le patio face au lac St-Louis pour partager nos croquis/dessins/peintures et voir ce que les autres ont croqué.

Pendant cette journée il y aura aussi un Atelier de dessin botanique à 11h, le lancement du Piano publicà midi, une Vente de livres Les Amis de Stewart Hall, un Atelier de création artistique à 13h et d’autres événements qui pourraient être fort intéressants à peindre aussi.

Dans l’éventualité de pluie, il y a une pièce qui nous a été réservée face au lac au rez-de-chaussée.

Directions Stewart Hall sur Google Maps: LIEN

En espérant vous voir -)))

Si vous êtes intéressée d’avoir plus d’informations, tous les événements sont bien indiqués ici sous ce LIEN.
_________________

 

MapStewartHall

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:: Two brushes ::

“Accept everything which happens, even if it seem disagreeable, because it leads to this, the health of the universe.”
— Marc Aurelius

I had a glorious day today with a walk in the forest with my husband and my dog, then came back and joined one of my painting friends at John Abbott College where we decided to both paint a blue house on Lakeshore Road. Well I muffed it up… until she came to the rescue! She told me to try painting with two brushes at the same time!!! One for painting, and one for making the watercolour streaks disappear. Well it worked — thanks Chi Mai -))) She also helped me in so many other ways!

Paper: Arches CP 12″x12″
Colours: MG Azzo Yellow, New Gamboge, Q. Rose, Indanthrone, Burnt Sienna
Location: Lakeshore Road in front of John Abbott & MacDonald Campus

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:: Windy Day ::

In the morning the sea is dead calm and at noon the winds start picking up — thanfully I might add as it is very hot here — but not too hot for my taste.

For this painting I decided to use four different yellows for the coconut fronds… MG Azo Yellow, Sennelier Yellow, New Gamboge and Q. Gold all of them mixed with Cobalt Blue. I find that greens are difficult to paint in watercolour and thankfully, using this method it does not get boring… yeah!

Paper: Travelogue Sketchbook 8″ x8″
Location: Bucerias, Niyarit, Mexico

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:: Summer breeze ::

 

Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind

Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind
— Seals & Croft

Woke up to a sunny windless morning and went swimming in the Pacific for a good 45 minutes. I have to say that this is a perfect holiday! We had dinner with our hosts last night at a local fish restaurant and ate exquisitely. 

While typing this post, I actually thought that we were still in the morning but it is presently 1:10 pm and we still have not had our breakfast… time flies when I am painting. So this is the drawing completed in watercolour this morning.

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Paper: Travelogue Sketchbook 8″x8
Watercolours: Q. Gold, Cobalt Blue, Raw Sienna, Q. B. Orange & Sap Green
Location: Bucerias, Nayarit, Mexico

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:: Banderas Bay ::

Sorry for the second repost.

We arrived yesterday in Bucerias, a small town north of Puerto Vallarta in Mexico. We have a small kitchenette and we went grocery shopping this morning, and it is quite wonderful to stay here as we are right in front of the beach, in comfortable chairs looking at the sail kiters flying by.

I drew in my first sketch of the beach today as drawing helps me to settle down into my art. If I plunge head first in watercolours, sometimes and often they are just off. So I will be posting the completed painting tomorrow.

Paper: Sketchbook Travelogue 8″x8″

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:: Parc des ancres ::

Start to paint seriously the moment you pick up a brush. If you begin by painting carelessly, with slapdash strokes, you’ll find it difficult to move into more careful painting. Nothing delights a student more than to draw with a paintbrush — the more minute the detail, the better. Avoid doing this. Instead, paint with your brush; think in terms of dimension. Instead of drawing individual hairs, for example, paint their thickness or dimension; paint the light on the hair.
— David A. Leffel

Parc des ancres is situated in a small municipality named Pointe-des-Cascades where the St. Lawrence River cascades down several feet, thus giving it its name. There is a lighthouse and many huge vintage anchors lie along its path.

I have been reading a book named Oil painting secrets from a master by Linda Cateura and even though this is an oil painting book it has a tremendous amount of insights into painting for all mediums. Prominent artist/teacher David A. Leffel shares his secrets for making professional-quality paintings. I highly recommend this book…

Paper: Pentalic Aqua Journal 5″ x 8″
Colours: DS Q. Gold, DS B. Orange, W&N B. Sienna, DS Q. Rose, DS Chromium Blue
Location: Parc des Anches, Pointe-des-Cascades

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:: Little things for my Mom ::

Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean
And the pleasant land.
Thus the little minutes,
Humble though they be,
Make the mighty ages
Of eternity.
— by Julia Abigail Fletcher Carney

Today it is Mother’ Day and I wanted to paint a bouquet of wild flowers for my Mom, as I know that she loves flowers. At 93 years old, my Mom is quite extraordinary. You see, when I post this, she will go on the computer, get her emails and then find my post and she will comment on it. Do you know many 93 year olds that can do this? She also has a very good spirit, has a solid sense of humour, is able to relate and has tons of common sense. Oh no! She is not the type of woman to whine that her children do not come to see her enough, or that they do not care for her enough or that they should hold her hand all day long! Oh no! She does not do that. As she took care of her own father for most of her life, she is very much aware of the toll — however I must point out that when I go to see her, it makes me happy and not the reverse. When I meet with her she can talk about politics, world events and casualties and always always knows how to appease me. One of her famous quotes to me is: “Don’t worry Jane, things will take care of themselves… don’t push things around, everything falls into their proper order.” One day I asked her if she was satisfied with her life. And she said: “Absolutely! I have never desired more than I ever had — I was always happy with what I had and never asked for more.” Wow, wow, wow! I think that she needs to teach all of us some lessons in life. Have a good one Mom, hope that you sleep well and that you eat your proteins tomorrow, at least enough to sustain you for the day! Keep up your spirits, as they are fabulous!

Jane, Your Daughter

Paper: Travelogue Sketchbook 8″ x 8″
Colours: Pyrrol Crimson, Q. Rose, Q. Gold and Ultramarine
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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:: School’s out ::

      Well we got no choice
All the girls and boys
Making all that noise
‘Cause they found new toys
Well we can’t salute ya
Can’t find a flag
If that don’t suit ya
That’s a drag
     School’s out for summer
School’s out forever
School’s been blown to pieces
      No more pencils
No more books
No more teacher’s dirty looks
      Well we got no class
And we got no principles
And we got no innocence
We can’t even think of a word that rhymes
      School’s out for summer
School’s out forever
My school’s been blown to pieces
      No more pencils
No more books
No more teacher’s dirty looks
      Out for summer
Out till fall
We might not go back at all
      School’s out forever
School’s out for summer
School’s out with fever
School’s out completely
— Alice Cooper
And yes school is finally over, at least the correcting, prepping and teaching parts… I still have things to do for school and I need to prepare for my next semester, but I can start concentrating on getting in shape (as I am definitely not at this point) and painting. Two goals for moi -) and of course puttering around the house, doing some daily chores.
I painted today just around the corner from my house, a century old house on 60 acres of forest land… quite a beautiful spot.
Paper: Travelogue Sketchbook 8″ x 8″
Colours: Sennelier Yellow, Q. Rose, B. Sienna, Cobalt Blue, some Indanthrone
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada
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:: May’s Iris ::

Alive without breath,
As cold as death;
Never thirsty, ever drinking,
All in mail never clinking.
The Hobbit by J.R.R.Tolkien

One of my previous students posted a photograph that she took of one of her irises last summer and I kept the photograph which I painted today. This is May’s iris, who lives in Beaconsfield. We also had a nice brunch with some friends this morning and then went on to visit Shari Blaukopf’s solo exhibit in Pointe-Claire and wow! She is such a beautiful watercolour artist. Congratulations Shari –)

This iris was painted with watercolours in a Moleskine sketchbook using tons of pigmented water being dropped on the page, and not scrubbed in. (See yesterday’s post if you are perplexed). I first drew it in and then painted it… Glad with the result and I really don’t know which one that I prefer… how about you? Can you guess the answer to the riddle?

Sketchbook: Moleskine
Watercolours: Mineral Violet, Ultramarine & Q. Gold
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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:: Rainy Day 2 ::

This thing all things devours;
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats mountains down.
The Hobbit by J.R.R.Tolkien riddle

I don’t know why I love painting in a Moleskine Sketchbook so much as it is not really made for watercolour. It is mostly a drawing type of paper as it has some type of glaze on top of it that makes the watercolour pearl into drops onto the page instead of being absorbed… and I love that quality! It makes for very intense and deep colours. The trick is to manage to let the watercolour pearl on top of the paper instead of scrubbing it in and let it dry from a long time -) Can you guess J.R.R’s riddle from The Hobbit?

Sketchbook: Moleskine 5″ x 8″
Watercolours: Q. Gold, Cerulean Blue Chromium & B. Sienna

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:: Rainy Day ::

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”
— Plato

As today in Rigaud it is a rainy, cold day the idea of going out for sketching is not very appealing and looking at my calendar, I realized that I have not posted for a very long while as a few weeks ago I was inundated with school work, then caught a cold which developed into bronchitis and now, finally, I am slowly coming back to my old self. When I have not painted or drawn in awhile I always feel “rusty” and today I decided to draw, which is my very first love. The sense that drawing gives me is always one of well being and of a certain accomplishment.

Sketchbook: Moleskine 5″x8″
Fountain Pen: Platinum Desk Pen EF DP1000AB
Ink: De Atramentis Document Black Ink
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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:: Roma Pizza Restaurant ::

“I asked him for some of the money I need to continue my work.
He told me to come around on Monday.
I went on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and there was no money.
On Friday someone else came to the door and threw me out.
I’m discouraged about getting paid for this job.”

— Michelangelo on May 12, 1506 to a friend — LINK

On Friday between two appointments I was in St-Lazare and was parked right in front of this restaurant… what better opportunity to draw this cute little restaurant? So I drew and inked it on location, but painted it in today. Today was a beautiful spring-like day even though the temperatures were cold at -16C and we still have tons of snow at my house… no asphalt to be seen around here. But the sun was glorious and warm so all is good.

Paper: Travelogue Sketchbook 8″ x 8″ spread
Watercolours: New Gamboge, Pyrrol Crimson, B. Sienna & Cobalt Blue
Location: St-Lazare, Québec, Canada

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Twigs :: Rameaux

From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud pied April dress’d in all his trim
Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing,
That heavy Saturn laugh’d and leap’d with him.
Yet nor the lays of birds nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odour and in hue
Could make me any summer’s story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew;
Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
Yet seem’d it winter still, and, you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.
— Shakespeare’s Sonnet #98

This sonnet shows how Shakespeare misses being a young man.

A bit of spring — oh I will rewind —  a whole bunch of Spring on my mind today. A sure sign that Spring has arrived (even though we still have feet of snow at our doorstep) is that I started fertilizing my houseplants last week and now I am getting ready to identify our 2000 trees that we have on our lot… We have tried keeping as many trees as we can since we building here… took out the ones where our house is, and that’s it! Nowhere else. My problem with the identification process is that I would like to tag the trees as I slowly identify them… but with what? Does anyone have any suggestions? Something that would stay permanently and does not cost too much?

The best time to identify trees is during early Spring, just as the buds open and this page acts as a quick reminder of what each tree twig looks like. I will do another set at some point in time. Hope that you liked this!

Moleskine Sketchbook #24 5.5″ x 8.5″
Fountain Pen: Pilot Falcon SEF
Ink: De Atramentis Document Black
Watercolours: DS Q. Gold, B. Sienna, Burnt Umber, Pyrrol Scarlet, Cerulean Chromium

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:: Icarus ::

We are at the centre of the galaxy only in our own minds.
The Book of Life

Well as you can see I have gone over the week limit and have not been able to obtain the magic number of 100 people… however, I did get 65 in total! How did I get that? Well it feels as though I cheated today, but I have been developing an idea that might take form later on in my life and I told myself why not have some fun? So here is an imaginary scene with imaginary people. Hope that you like it.

Even though this week was March Break, for me it was a fair amount of work. Amidst correcting students that handed their projects on time, waiting for those who handed them late… argh… or not at all (what is happening with my first years?), preparing for some new projects, preparing exams, I was much busier that I had hoped for. So March Break should perhaps be called “Work week” for teachers. I was thankful though to have this week to stay at home and catch up with everything that I had to do without being disturbed… very pleasurable nonetheless.

Paper: Bockingford 30″x 22″ folded 7.5″ x 5.5″
Fountain Pen: Pilot Falcon SEF with De Atramentis Document Black Ink

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Day 3 :: #OneWeek100People2018

All great works of art are rather difficult to access.
The reader who thinks them easy has failed to penetrate to the heart of the work. 

— André Gide 1869-1951

Up to 40 people today, yeah! This challenge is a challenge, to say the least. Drawing people is not what really attracts me as an artist, and I know that if I persevere I might find that I am getting better at it? Perhaps, I am hopeful -)

Today I went to the Fairview Mall in Pointe-Claire and the minute that I sat down a man said: “You must not know how to draw if you measure the way that you do?”… oh my! That deflated me a bit, and I gave him this answer: “Artists have different ways of working and my way is by measuring to get my proportions right.” I got up and found another spot as he was really looming over my shoulder and breathing down my back. Then a wonderful asian woman with most probably her grandson kept smiling and waving at me and they made my previous encounter less awkward. Felt good -))). When painting with the Urban Sketchers the power of the group is quite wonderful as we look out for each other.

Paper: Bockingford 30″x 22″ folded 7.5″ x 5.5″
Watercolours: MG Payne’s Grey

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Day 2 :: #OneWeek100People2018

A box without hinges, key or lid
yet golden treasure inside is hid.
— J.R.R. Tolkien, Bilbo the Hobbit

I did not have much time today and I wanted to draw faces up close… really close. So again I chose a photograph on the net of a family of three people. What I tried doing today is trying to find a specific characteristic that enhanced the likeness of the person…as to me this is the real challenge as I find that all of my portraits look alike.I tried focusing on one feature at a time. Choosing people with different hair styles helps alot!

So now I am at 23 people and tomorrow I am going to sketch at Fairview Pointe-Claire for around 1:00 pm or a little earlier if I can. Can you guess the answer to the riddle?

Paper: Bockingford 30″x 22″ folded 7.5″ x 5.5″
Watercolours: Q. Gold, Pyrrol Scarlet, Raw Sienna, B. Sienna and Cobalt Blue.

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:: #OneWeek100People2018 ::

What has roots that nobody sees
is taller than trees,
up up it goes
and yet never grows?
— J.R. Tolkien in Bilbo the Hobbit

I really juggled with the idea of participating in the #OneWeekOneHundredPeople Challenge by Marc Taro Holmes and Liz Steele. Some of the reasons why I am reticent is that first I have tons of correcting to do and I wonder how I will find the time to draw 100 people. Also, drawing people is intimidating for me, and I lack practice so I thought what better way than to practice this skill? I did have to muster up my courage though.

So after having thought about it for awhile, I decided that for my first day I would find a photograph on the net of people sitting in a café where there would already be 20 people there. So one painting, 20 people, instead of several small paintings… yeah! A kind of a warm-up exercise.

A few months ago I had folded a huge 30″x22″ Bockingford 140 lbs sheet the way that Cathy Johnson teaches it on YouTube. If you would like to see how she does this, it is quite simple in reality and gratifying too! You can view it here. So this is the sketchbook that I am using today to fill with my 100 people -)))

So this is a warmup exercise as tomorrow I will be in Montreal and I might not find the time… so this means that on Wednesday I’ll do 40! On Wednesday I am planning on going in the afternoon in the mall at Fairview Pointe-Claire. So if some of you would like to join me, I will be there, sketching away.

Paper: Bockingford 30″x22″ folded 7.5″ x 5.5″
Watercolours: Q. Gold, Cobalt Blue, B. Sienna, Mineral Violet

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:: Death of a lady’s man ::

Take the word butterfly. To use this word it is not necessary to make the voice weigh less than an ounce or equip it with small dusty wings. It is not necessary to invent a sunny day or a field of daffodils. It is not necessary to be in love, or to be in love with butterflies. The word butterfly is not a real butterfly. There is the word and there is the butterfly. If you confuse these two items people have the right to laugh at you. Do not make so much of the word. Are you trying to suggest that you love butterflies more perfectly than anyone else, or really understand their nature? The word butterfly is merely data. It is not an opportunity for you to hover, soar, befriend flowers, symbolize beauty and frailty, or in any way impersonate a butterfly. Do not act out words. Never act out words.
— Death of a Lady’s Man by Leonard Cohen

Today I am in a Rectify Soundtrack, seasons 1, 2, 3 & 4 type of mood on Spotify. I love love love Johnny Cash and the soundtrack is eclectic and moody. I have often painted this scene which is situated in St-Clet and it is called Sinagri Sec on rue Du Moulin. I seem to like grungy scenes, backyards are so much more interesting than front yards… and the artist in me wishes that I could have access to all backyards near me… funny how people maintain the front and not the back, huh, just sayin’…

These three paintbrushes are my favourite ones, and not the most expensive ones I might add. The one on the right is from Rosemary & Co Sable blend SER 401 which comes from Manchester, England from last year’s trip to England. The second one was a gift from a friend that travelled to the Picasso Museum in Malaga and has not left my side since. The third one on the bottom left is a daVinci Casaneo #489 mop which can soak up an incredible amount of water, so this one was very good for the sky wash in the background.

I have painted this scene a few times and you can see it here.

Paper: Travelogue Sketchbook #22 8″x8″
Watercolours: DS Q. Gold, DS Raw Sienna, DS Cerulean Chromium, MG Mineral Violet & WN Burnt Sienna
Location: Sinagri Sec on rue Du Moulin in St-Clet, Québec, Canada

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:: Precision needed… ::

“We die. That may be the meaning of life,”
— Toni Morrison asserted in her spectacular Nobel Prize acceptance speech.
“But we do language.
That may be the measure of our lives.”

Sometimes I need precision in my life and one way to achieve this is through music. Listening to Bach’s Goldberg Variations by the eminent Glenn Gould (and Canadian to say the least) calms my soul when it is perturbed. Having played Bach throughout my life I can relate to Gould’s need for perfection AND mathematics… and this he did obtain through his sensitivity and brilliance!

Today I went to the Montpetit Funeral Home in Valleyfield to offer my condolences to a very dear friend, Benoit, who lost his 58 year old brother. Must be extremely hard! Met a few very old acquaintances there also, reminiscences and all… so many years ago.

So Pyper my dog permitted me to draw him tonight for half of his face… this in itself is a feat as he never lets me draw him… the minute that he sees me pen in hand, looking at him, he reunites with his 34th triple sense… oh no! She cannot look at me this way — LOL -)

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:: John Coltrane Frame of Mind ::

Damn the rules,
it’s the feeling that counts.
— John Coltrane

I started listening to Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue album and then switched to John Coltrane — and that was my aha moment. This was the music that truly represented my frame of mind today… languid, relaxed and in a reading kind of mode. I sat next to the big windows in the living room, feeling the sun soak into my body as I was reading one of Rutherford’s historical novels “Londonium”. This is a big book, spanning over 2000 years of history, where you have to keep up with the names, places, kings and slings.

This is when I started to paint from a photograph that I had taken last week in St-Clet. I did not have the colours in my eye, so to say. Which blue would I use? Cobalt, Cerulean, French Ultramarine? Sooo I decided to put all of them, and almost met with a disaster! When I scanned in my painting, then my paint was not totally dry and a streak appeared. Oh well, one of these days where I am just probably a tad too relaxed -))) Painting from a photograph is never as spontaneous as painting in “plein air” as it is more intellectual than physical. The comfort of it is so nice though…

Paper: Travelogue Sketchbook
Watercolours: Mainly Cerulean Chromium, Burnt Sienna, Cobalt Blue and some Gamboge, Mineral Violet & Pyrrol Crimson

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:: Easy Rider ::

Get your motor runnin’
Head out on the highway
Lookin’ for adventure
And whatever comes our way
Yeah Darlin’ go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space
      I like smoke and lightning
Heavy metal thunder
Racin’ with the wind
And the feelin’ that I’m under
Yeah Darlin’ go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space
     Like a true nature’s child
We were born, born to be wild
We can climb so high
I never wanna die
     Born to be wild
Born to be wild
     Get your motor runnin’
Head out on the highway
Lookin’ for adventure
And whatever comes our way
Yeah Darlin’ go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space
     Like a true nature’s child
We were born, born to be wild
We can climb so high
I never wanna die
      Born to be wild
Born to be wild
— Steppenwolf

Just that kind of day -) Was at the Montreal of Fine Arts MDBA and visited the Western Exhibition and there, right at the end of the exhibit, this beautiful Harley Davidson — and oh yes — the original one from the Easy Rider movie! Wow!

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:: A journey across the halls ::

“Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom.”
— Sir Francis Bacon

On Friday as I was walking in the hall at my College I saw this girl and her expression stopped me… I looked at her very closely. She did not smile back, did not acknowledge my nod, nothing… and it troubled me as I wondered if she was ok. Her expression stayed with me and I decided to draw her from memory… and as you have guessed, yes our memories do fail us or play tricks on us. No matter, the intensity of her gaze was what was important for me to capture.

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook
Pen: Pilot Falcon SEF
Ink: De Atramentis Document Black Ink
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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:: Blue Moon ::

Blue moon you saw me standing alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own
Blue moon, you knew just what I was there for
You heard me saying a prayer for 
Someone I really could care for
And then there suddenly appeared before me
The only one my arms will ever hold
I heard
— Billie Holiday

Not a drawing of a blue moon but of a small hand-crafted wood lamp that actually prevented me from watching the moon last night by shedding its warm soft glow on the outside window. I will check her out tonight so hoping for clear skies.

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook 5″x8″
Fountain Pen: Pilot Falcon SEF
Ink: De Atramentis Document Black
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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:: Sunday Sketching ::

Art transforms us not with what it contains but with what it creates in us — the constellation of interpretations, revelations, and emotional truths illuminated — which, of course, is why the rise of the term “content” to describe creative output online has been one of the most corrosive developments in contemporary culture. A poem — or an essay, or a painting, or a song — is not its “content”; it transforms us precisely by what cannot be contained, by what is received and interpreted.
— Ursula K. Le Guin

Today was the monthly Montreal Urban Sketchers meet-up day and we regrouped at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts… a grand architectural delight. I knew as I got in my car this morning that I wanted to sketch some crazy architecture and did not know exactly where and what I would sketch… but it was to be architectural details! This view is just at the entrance of the museum. I did take the time to do a quick visit of the Western Exposition Il était une fois… before and looked left and right, and I came right back here to sit down and sketch.

What I learned today was that for drawing the Travelogue Handbook is less than ideal, because it is made with watercolour CP quality paper (which means bumpy) which also means bumpy lines. This rattled me as I have a good hand and did not appreciate the bumps, but hey! nothing is perfect in life. I also decided to go low profile with my tools and used BIC Cristal pens, blue, green and purple… and even though they smudge once in awhile (at $2.60 for 12) they are quite comfortable in the hands and do a good job. The museum has strict guidelines as to what sketchers can draw with…

Paper: Travelogue Handbook 8″x8″
Tools: BIC Cristal Blue, green & purple, Pilot Grip EF
Location: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Québec, Canada
#urbansketching, #drawing, #sketching, #BIC,

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:: House for sale ::

Walking as a creative fuel
“Nature’s particular gift to the walker…
is to set the mind jogging,
to make it garrulous,
exalted,
a little mad maybe — certainly creative and suprasensitive.”

My 92-year old Mom had a funeral to go to in Valleyfield today and I accompanied her. One of her very old-time friends, Anita, died last week and the memories that accompany her are joyful and at the end very sad.

For this dreary, grey and mild Sunday (about 1C) I parked my car in front of this house for sale. As I was getting ready to get out of the car, I noticed the windows, the roof, the stained glass windows of this house and I thought to myself that this must be a well built house and probably not too expensive. I hope that the people that buy it honour it, in some way or the other, and respect its simple beauty. Its only disadvantage is being right in front of a funeral home…

Paper: Travelogue Handbook 8″x8″ #22
Watercolours: New Gamboge, Pyrrol Crimson, Cerulean Blue Chromium, Indanthrone Blue, Burnt Sienna
Location: Valleyfield, Québec, Canada

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:: Smile ::

Smile tho’ your heart is aching
Smile even tho’ it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
You’ll get by
     If you smile
Thro’ your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shin-ing thro’ for you
     Light up your face with gladness
Hide ev-‘ry trace of sadness
Altho’ a tear may be ever so near
     That’s the time
You must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying
You’ll find that life is still worth-while
     If you just smile
— Nat King Cole

Here in Rigaud the temperature is -25C and the birds are in a frenzy at my feeders. If you are staying inside today, as am I, there is some good reading to do, or cooking, painting, drawing or simply puttering around doing miscellaneous stuff and on Sundays, this is “the” perfect day to do this! So have a wonderful dominical day while I am listening to “Smile” by Nat King Cole -)

Yesterday my black & white drawing of the head of a cactus got viewed as a potential spider and I decided that today I would add some watercolours so that it looked more like itself. I used a mix of two colours only to achieve these hues. These two colours combined together on this type of paper almost appear velvety, don’t you think?

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook
Watercolours: Q. Gold & Cerulean Chromium Blue
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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:: Cactus Epiphany ::

We are all visitors to this time, this place.
We are just passing through.
Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.
– Australian Aboriginal Proverb.

With the arrival of 20 cm of new snow it is a relief to know that on Epiphany we have gained 20 minutes of daylight as this winter in Québec has seen extreme temperatures. Looking out my window the thermometer is indicating -18C with a full sun. I can hear my husband shovelling outside and the birds are having a full day at the feeders. My dog is sleeping at my feet and I am preparing my classes for next week… sigh…

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook
Fountain Pen: Pilot SEF
Ink: De Atramentis Document Black
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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:: Have a Wonderful New Year ::

“To be nobody-but-yourself
— in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else
— means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight.”
by E. E. Cummings

By this first of January 2018, I wish you all Health, love, wisdom & a very long life!

My dear departed father would have loved to see this painting of our Scottish family’s coat of arms. I tried replicating the colours as documented in the Rietstap Armorial General where the original description of the arms (shield) is as follows:

“Ar. Three roebucks’ heads couped Az. collared or, a bell pendent from each collar.” When translated the blazon also describes the original colours of the Hannah arms as: “Silver and charged with three blue roebucks’ heads, severed from their bodies and wearing gold collars from which a bell is hanging.” Above the shield and helmet is the crest which is described as: “A black cross, three branches of which terminate in crosslets and the other (lower) branch of which is sharpened to a point, issuing out of a black crescent.”

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Sketchbook #22
Colours: Q. Gold, Cobalt Blue, B. Sienna
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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:: -21 celsius ::

Well it is -21 celsius at the moment here and warmer than yesterday as it reached -27C last night… The cars are having trouble starting too, can you imagine? We went for a very small walk this morning and Pyper our Golden Retriever was glad to get back home… a first for him that is sure. This weather is perfect for an informative and long post!

A bit on inks on this cold day. There is a big difference when deciding to buy inks for writing or drawing with a fountain pen. I mostly draw with fountain pens, some inexpensive such as the Platinum Carbon and some expensive ones too such as my newly acquired Pilot Falcon SEF fountain pen.

I need to use a good quality inks that are waterproof as I like finishing up my drawings with watercolours… thus with water. If I use non waterproof inks, the inks will bleed and sometimes that effect is what I want, as you can see in this post. However I prefer to have my lines retain their solidity, so I like using waterproof inks. In Canada not many companies seem to carry the good quality fountain pen inks that are waterproof so I usually buy my inks at Jetpens.com or Gouletpens.com. Both are good reliable companies. When I first started with fountain pens I used to buy Noodlers’ bulletproof inks and the term bulletproof means waterproof… and there is a very informative page on Jetpens.com that talk about the differences in Noodler’s inks. THEN I tried De Atramentis Document Inks and ooooh lala — fell in love with this ink immediately. This ink glides and does not clog my pens and you can mix these inks together to make your own custom-made colours. I am waiting for a De Atramentis Document Brown to arrive so that I can mix it up with my Document Blue which will give me a dazzling grey colour. If you wish to peruse a very good blog on this matter, check Jane Blundell’s blog right here. I also buy a “dilution” bottle that De Atramentis sells via Gouletpens.com and I add a few drops of the dilution into my ink just in case. It keeps the ink very smooth running, albeit a bit longer to dry.

Totally forgot to mention about ink converters so my next blog will talk about that.

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook 5″x8″
Fountain Pen: Pilot Falcon SEF
Ink: De Atramentis Document Black + Dilution 10 drops
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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:: All you need is love ::

“All you need is love.
But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” 

― Charles M. Schulz

On a cold and snowy day out here in the woods and listening to the Vince Guaraldi Trio, who composed and arranged the Charlie Brown songs, you can’t help but feel hopeful with this music. The perfect music for playing when your guests arrive on this celebrating day.

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:: Happy Holidays :: Joyeuses Fêtes ::

A Christmas Song
     Once in Royal David’s City
Stood a lonely cattle shed
Where a mother held her baby
You’d do well to remember the things he later said
When you’re stuffing yourselves at the Christmas parties
You’ll just laugh when I tell you to take a running jump
You’re missing the point I’m sure does not need making
That Christmas spirit is not what you drink
     So how can you laugh when your own mother’s hungry
And how can you smile when the reasons for smiling are wrong?
And if I just messed up your thoughtless pleasures
Remember, if you wish, this is just a Christmas song
— Jethro Tull

Have a wonderful holiday with your family & friends.
Joyeuses fêtes à vous et à votre famille & amis -)))

Paper: Travelogue Sketchbook
Watercolours: New Gamboge, DS Pyrrol Scarlet, MG Ultramarine, WN B. Sienna
Calligraphy: Dr. Ph.Martin’s 29H Crimson Lake
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

#urbansketching, #watercolour, #rigaud, #holidays, #fêtes, #rigaud

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:: Shortest day of the year ::

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,
And miles to go before I sleep.
— Robert Frost

Robert Frost’s poem is one of my favourite ones of all time and so appropriate for this time of year. Today is the shortest day of the year and also the longest night in my neck of the woods, and this gives me much pleasure! To think that tomorrow the days will get longer fills my heart with renewed hope.

I received a Pilot Falcon Fountain Pen with a Soft Extra Fine Nib yesterday in the post and drew this to test it out, and oh by God this is a perfect one!!! The nib is flexible and if I press just a little bit, the ink flows through the twine with great ease… a totally wonderful feeling. So here is my test drive of the day, drawing my husband’s newly built little shed (that ended up being quite big actually).

Fountain Pen: Pilot Falcon SEF
Ink: Iroshizuku, colour kon-peki
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

 

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:: Paroles de Migwetch ::

Si la vie était dure je jure
que je ne l’ai jamais su
Je n’ai de regret que celui de mon âge
et ce jeune cœur de moi est intact
Le mal qu’on m’a fait est écrit dans le sable
et le bien est gravé dans le roc
Souffle ce vent de haine
ma peau est feuille de chêne
Je suis si seule parfois
parfois si souvent
souvent toujours
Je ne serai plus l’architecte des nuages
ni de vos existences
Vos beaux yeux noirs déposés sur mon visage
comme une récompense
J’irai rejoindre sous la feuille
mon bien-aimé
si doux celui
qu’un jour m’a dit
Pour toute la vie
— Richard Desjardins, partie de la chanson Paroles de Migwetch

I went to visit my 92 year old Mom today and as usual she was in very good spirits. She seems to have adjusted very well to her new residence on Dufferin Street in Valleyfield and enjoys the company of her girlfriends. She keeps telling me that she has a 19-year old boyfriend — always laughing out loud as she tells me… and I almost faint every time that she says so! Of course this is a joke! This painting is on the backstreet to where I lived for 9 years with my young husband… very good memories of those days gone by…

When I scan my paintings it (Epson) seems to dull the colours a bit and I always want to have the scan look as much as possible to the real painting. So the steps that I take in Photoshop are the following.
a) I scan at 300 dpi for my high resolution image;
b) I then do –> auto tone –>auto contrast –> auto color” which gives me good results, even though the colours become too vibrant
c) I then open –> Layer –> New adjustment layer –> Levels and then I move the mid-adjustment gamma to 1.15 instead of the mid value of 1.0
d) I also open –> Layer –> Color Balance- -> where I put the yellow slider to +0.15 and the red slider to +0.15. This combination seems to work well for most paintings that I do, except for the black and white ones of course.
d) I save my image –>international date.paint subject.myname.jpg
e) I flatten the image and then resize the resolution to 100 dpi;
f) I save again adding –>loRes add the end of the filename and this is the one that I post.

I am listening to the music of Rectify on Spotify, a TV show that still resonates with me!

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Paper: Travelogue Sketchbook 8″x8″ #22
Watercolours: DS Q. Gold, DS Pyrrol Crimson, MG Ultramarine, DS Raw Sienna, WN Burnt Sienna
Fountain Pen: Platinum Carbon Desk
Ink: Noodlers Lexington Grey
Reference photograph taken in Valleyfield

 

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:: Silver teapot ::

Je te promets le sel au baiser de ma bouche
Je te promets le miel à ma main qui te touche
Je te promets le ciel au dessus de ta couche
Des fleurs et des dentelles pour que tes nuits soient douces
— Johnny Halliday

In France the musical idol Johnny Halliday, the French Elvis, has just vanished and his words were tender and the country is in mourning.

I have sent my marks to the students so now I can start enjoying my time off. What better way than to draw one of my Mum’s beautiful silver teapots? It has a grungy look as I drew this last night while watching TV and my husband kept saying to me: “Look Jane, you’re going to miss out on what is happening…” and lo and behold, I have no clue as to what the TV show was about — LOL -) He was right, but I was concentrating on the beautiful reflected lights of the teapot!

Paper: Travelogue Sketchbook 8″x8″ #22
Watercolours: DS Q. Gold, MG Mineral Violet & MG Ultramarine
Fountain Pen: Platinum Carbon Desk
Ink: DeAtramentis Document Black Ink
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada
#teapot, #watercolours, #drawing, #sketchbook, #ink, #PlatinumCarbon, #DeAtramentis

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:: A long sigh ::

IN AND OUT
The dog searches until he finds me upstairs,
lies down with a clatter of elbows,
puts his head on my foot.

Sometimes the sound of his breathing saves my life
— in and out, in 
and out;
a pause, a long sigh….

Tuesday was my last day of classes, Wednesday I started correcting, today we had our last department meeting of the semester and tomorrow I am still correcting… however, I feel free and that I can start breathing again. Cegep teaching is a weird field, as you are juggling with over 100 students, preparing your courses, correcting your students and of course teaching… I calculated once that I was  correcting over 2000 times per semester… something that I am not overjoyed to know! and on top of that dealing with administrative requirements, deadlines, dealing with software issues and all of these young beautiful people that are dealing with their own issues on top of that… lahdiladah! Can you tell that I am “very” happy to be done? So here is a small flowerpot that I have in my house that I just painted to commemorate all of this! Yeah!!!

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook Watercolour
Watercolours: Q. Gold, Q. Rose & Cerulean Chromium
Painted in Rigaud, Quebec, Canada
janehannah.com
#sketchbook #watercolour #flowerpot #painting

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:: Vir et mulier facies ::

Follow your passion
it will lead you to your purpose.

Drew these two faces last night while watching TV and not really concentrating on what was going on the tube. Really enjoyed drawing the flowing lines and couldn’t stop. From my imagination. Enjoy some latin -)

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook
Fountain Pen: Platinum 3776 EF
Ink: DeAtramantis Document Black
Location: Rigaud, Quebec, Canada
#faces, #drawing, #ink, #imagination, #Moleskine Sketchbook, #sketch

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:: Little XMas Tree ::

“If creativity is a habit, then the best creativity is the result of good work habits.
They are the nuts and bolts of dreaming.”
(Twyla Tharp)

Today is the full moon and it promises to be a beautiful night as the skies are clear out here on Rigaud Mountain. We put up our Christmas decorations today and this is one of our little trees that is standing on a small table.

I drew this in my favourite “drawing” paper which are Moleskine Sketchbooks… the paper is just fabulous for drawing, especially with my favourite fountain pen of all times, the Platinum 3776 EF. The paper has some type of glaze on top of it which makes drawing on it as if I was drawing with butter… hum… so cool -) However as it is fabulous for drawing, it is not as fabulous for painting! When you put watercolour paints on it, the paint stays “on” the paper instead of being absorbed… and sometimes you just have to scrub it in, which gives it a grungy look, which I sometimes like. An artist in Scotland, Will Freeborn, specializes in painting in Moleskines.

Paper: Moleskine Skethchbook
Fountain Pen: Platinum 3776 EF
Ink: DeAtramentis Document Black
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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:: A tree says… ::

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.
— Herman Hesse

Yesterday I did a very rough small sketch (5.5″x3.5″) of a possible future painting. So today I still had it in mind when I woke up and decided to paint it in a bigger format. I am happy with the result even though there is some bloom which I like (I know that some people do not)… it depends on its location. If it takes place organically, a tree or flower blooming, I am fine with it. However if a bloom appears on an architectural element, then not so much. I first drew out the main objects in pencil, then I went slowly over the lines with a fountain pen filled with a beautifully permanent black ink and then painted over all of this… I rarely do the contrary, draw the lines over the watercolour as I find that the lines thicken and the paintings become more comic-like. It is a question of preference, actually.

I had to laugh today as someone commented on my blog that the “silly” season was soon upon us… love that expression, as it is true in some ways. If we gather around at a table without an abundance of gifts and are happy to be in each other’s company, then in my view all is good. But when gifts take over the celebrations, then we have lost the spirit of it all. To achieve balance in this notion is key….

Paper: Travelogue Sketchbook 8″x8″
Watercolours: DS Q. Gold, DS Q. Rose, MG Ultramarine, WN B. Sienna
Fountain Pen: Platinum 3776 EF (3776 meters, height of Mount Fuji in Japan)
Ink: De Atramentis Document Black Ink
Painted from a reference photograph that I took in St. Lazare
Blog: http://www.janehannah.com

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:: November day ::

“The high value put upon every minute of time,
the idea of hurry-hurry as the most important objective of living,
is unquestionably the most dangerous enemy of joy.”

— Herman Hesse

During the month of November it rains, it snows, there are days of sunshine and cloudy days that add a touch of grey in the atmosphere that I feel thankful for. My grandfather used to say that it was the month of the dead, but to me it is a month of contradictions — between resting, preparing for the holiday festivities and getting over the hurdle of correcting student projects, it is a month of change… from autumn to winter. Changes are about to happen as the slow November month turns into the festive month of December and its shortest day of the year! So here is a dreary and beautiful little hamlet of warmth and rest — just behind my cosmetician’s business.

Paper: Handbook Travelogue
Watercolours: Q. Gold, Q. Rose, Cerulean Chromium, B. Sienna & Raw Umber

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:: First Frost ::

The lake has started to thicken,
specks of ice.
The mountains are starting to whiten,
snowflakes have fallen.
The birds are gathering at the feeders,
my dog is sleeping. 
— by Jane Hannah

This week we had our first frost and it came as a surprise! Yesterday we had our fundraiser Square Foot Exhibition for the Old Brewery Mission and it was definitely a success. Twenty artists displayed their works and it was quite amazing to see all of the different styles and mediums. I am really enjoying the Fluid 100 paper, as it is 100% cotton and this makes a tremendous difference with watercolours. It takes all of the paint that you throw at it, and then does what it wants to do.

This painting is for sale, and ready to go.

Paper: Fluid 100 12″ x 12″
Colours: Q. Gold, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, P. Crimson & Indanthrone
Location: Hudson, Québec, Canada

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:: The way through the woods ::

They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago. 
Weather and rain have undone it again, 
And now you would never know 
There was once a road through the woods 
Before they planted the trees. 
It is underneath the coppice and heath, 
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees 
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease, 
There was once a road through the woods. 

Yet, if you enter the woods 
Of a summer evening late, 
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools 
Where the otter whistles his mate, 
(They fear not men in the woods, 
Because they see so few.) 
You will hear the beat of a horse’s feet, 
And the swish of a skirt in the dew, 
Steadily cantering through 
The misty solitudes, 
As though they perfectly knew 
The old lost road through the woods.
But there is no road through the woods.
— Rudyard Kipling

Winter has finally arrived and I greet it with a mixture of trepidation and awe as I actually enjoy all of our four seasons here in Québec. This weekend will be a busy one as I have student projects to correct, I am thrilled to be part of the Square Foot Art Exhibition on Saturday from 11:00 to 4:00 pm and I do hope to see some of you there. This is one of the paintings that will be on exhibit. Hope that you enjoy it.

As some of you already know, I love trees. I painted this majestic white pine two weekends ago while autumn was still in bloom right here in Rigaud. Does this poem bring you back to childhood?

Paper: Fluid 100 12″ x 12″
Watercolours: MG yellow, B. Sienna, B. Umber, Ultramarine, P. Scarlet
#squarefootexhibition2017

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:: Banderas Bay ::

We arrived yesterday in Bucerias, a small town north of Puerto Vallarta in Mexico. We have a small kitchenette and we went grocery shopping this morning, and it is quite wonderful to stay here as we are right in front of the beach, in comfortable chairs looking at the sail kiters flying by.

I drew in my first sketch of the beach today as drawing helps me to settle down into my art. If I plunge head first in watercolours, sometimes and often they are just off. So I will be posting the completed painting tomorrow.

Paper: Sketchbook Travelogue 8″x8″

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