Water Tower at John Abbott

The water tower at John Abbott was dismantled in June 2011 after 106 years of service as it was built in 1905. Maintaining this tower and its 44-foot tall steel water storage tank would generate high costs so it was decided to bring it down.

I love these structures, so this is why I decided to paint it. Painting from pictures is very different from painting “live” or on location. Pictures have a one-dimensional feel to them… they are lacking the 3D effect that our eyes take in when looking, touching and hearing. Also, when we are painting on location, all kinds of things happen… birds pass and chirp, raindrops fall and take away all of the watercolour paints, wind picks up and can make your sketchbook fly away, your fingers get cold, or hot, the watercolours take hours to dry in the cold… but there is something in the immediate surroundings that keep your senses on edge that no picture — even though perfect — can transmit.

Voici la vieille tour d’eau, qui n’est plus pour raisons pécuniaires et sécuritaires, au Cégep John Abbott. J’aime tellement ces structures, signes d’un autre temps. Peindre d’une photo, comme celle-ci, et peindre dehors est extrêmement différent. Les photos sont unidimensionnelles… tandis que la réalité, vue par nos yeux et nos sens, est plus que 3D… on pourrait dire 3D à la 3. Quand on peint dehors, tous nos sens sont éveillés. On entend les oiseaux pipitter, le vent se lever ou tomber, le cri d’une sirène, le soleil qui bouge, les doigts gèlent, les nuages arrivent et enlèvent nos ombres, et en plus de problèmes réels comme des bourrasques de vent qui emportent nos papiers, les pinceaux qui tombent par terre, les papiers qui s’envolent… même si il semble avoir beaucoup de désavantages à peindre dehors, rien n’y équivaut. C’est tellement plus sensible et excitant et vrai!

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About Jane Hannah

Canadian graphic artist, painter, sketcher, typographer, calligrapher and teacher at Cégep John Abbott College in Québec, Canada. Jane Hannah also has a website for her students at www.gimligraphics.com and a main blog at www.janehannah.com. She is also part of the Montreal Urban Sketchers.
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