Pyper’s Collar

This painting was done in a Moleskine Sketchbook… this paper is not a watercolour paper as it probably has many coats of glazing and is meant for sketching with pen or pencil… and when watercolour is applied to it, it “beads” or “pearls” down… which I really like. It has a grungy feeling as the paper does not absorb the paint, and lets it run down. If we want the paper to absorb the paint, we must “scrub” it in, which is entirely different from painting with watercolour paper. Anyway, I hope that you can at least recognize that this is my dog’s collar? On a foot stool? In a freestyle way… at least for moi?

Les couleurs que j’ai utilisées sont Bleu Cobalt, Burnt Sienna et New Gambodge.

Fierce Lizard

This fierce lizard or Gorgosaurus, is Tyrannosaurus Rex’s cousin. Even in the Redpath Museum, when looking at the bones that have been set together in restoration, it is a very fierce looking animal indeed. The colours that I used for this painting are New GambodgeMayan Violet and Cobalt Blue.

Au Redpath Museum à Montréal, il y a de beaux squelettes, comme celui-ci. Le Gorgosaurus, est le cousin du Tyrannosaurus rex, bien connu par le film Jurassic Park. J’ai utilisé les couleurs New Gambodge, Mayan Violet et Bleu Cobalt.

Paper: Larolan
Watercolors: Daniel Smith and Winsor & Newton
Carbon Ink Fountain Pen, extra fine with Black and Lexington Grey inks

Irish Elk :: Wapiti géant

I drew this yesterday at the Redpath Museum and then had the time to paint it today (I took a photograph to remember its colours). The Irish Elk, also known as the Giant Deer or Megaloceros giganteus, was a giant of the last ice age, about 10,500 years ago. It stood 7 feet (2.1 meters) at the shoulder. Adult males had massive antlers that spanned 12 feet (3.7 meters) and weighed up to 88 pounds (40 kilos), as per National Geographic. I painted using French Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna and Aureolin in a Larolan Sketchbook, 5.5″ x 8.5″. This is a wonderful paper to paint on.

Voici un géant wapiti vivant au moment de la dernière ère glaciale, il y a environ 10,500 ans. Ce géant mesurait 7 pieds (2.1 mètres) à l’épaule et les ramures s’étendaient à 12 pieds (3.7 mètres) de large et le wapiti pesait environ 88 livres (40 kilos). C’est surprenant qu’un si gros animal soit si peu pesant.

Redpath Museum

Today I joined the Montreal Urban Sketchers with one of my students, Emily, to paint there. There must have been at least 10 urban sketchers who gathered there and it is always a nice feeling to know that you are not the only one that is sketching… I painted a Dermochelys Coriacia or Leatherback Sea Turtle or Tortue lute in French.

This museum is a gem and opened in 1882. It showcases an ethnology exhibit (with three Egyptian mummies and coffins), a mammal exhibit where it takes a look at the plight of endangered species, amongst the passenger pigeon and the dodo bird which became extinct around the 1890s, a rock and mineral display, an invertebrate collection.  There is no entrance fee but donations are accepted. The museum is an example of greek revival architecture and is well worth the visit.

Nous sommes allés peindre au Musée Redpath aujourd’hui et une de mes élèves, Emily,  est venue avec moi. Ce musée est extraordinaire et est un monument architectural en soi. J’ai peint une Tortue lute ou Dermochelys Coriacia. Les Sketchers urbains de Montréal se sont joints pour peindre à cet endroit aujourd’hui et nous devions être environ 10-12 personnes au moins. C’était tellement plaisant de savoir qu’on est pas seul à peindre… qu’il y a des peintres qui sont éparpillés un peu partout dans le musée.

Paper: Larolan
Watercolor: Winsor & Newton, Daniel Smith
Ink: Carbon Pen, extra fine

My new Mantra: Look longer, draw slower and be more observant

I have been experimenting with continual line contour drawing where the pen never lifts from the paper and not picking it up until I get to the very end. This forces me to look at the object, as it slows down my eye and also slows down my hand. My new mantra: look longer, draw slower and be more observant. I tried keeping open edges in the drawing (where the edges are not completely closed) as this permits the watercolours to flow from one region into the other as well as lets the viewer get involved in the painting. I used Cobalt Blue, New Gambodge & Winsor Red.

La semaine passée j’ai peint ma 100e peinture et je me remémorais ma hantise de publier, ou non, la première peinture que j’ai fait en mai dernier. J’avais délibéré un très long moment pendant cette journée car d’après moi, je mettais une peinture qui était très loin de mon “supposé” potentiel. Je voulais que ma première peinture soit parfaite. Si j’avais décidé, cette journée en mai passé, de ne pas publier ma peinture, je ne crois pas que je serais rendue à 100+ peintures aujourd’hui. Quand j’ai publié cette première peinture sur mon blog, ma première réaction était de l’enlever… après ça je me suis dit, “Bien vraiment, personne ne va la voir anyway”. Le lendemain matin quand je me suis levée, je suis allée sur mon blog pour voir si la peinture était si pire que ça… et oui elle l’était. Donc je me suis précipitée pour en faire une nouvelle, tout de suite, qui serait meilleure, pour essayer d’oublier celle-là. Ça fait six mois que je me précipite à tous les matins pour en peindre une autre, qui, j’espère bien, va surpasser la dernière — LOL ;-) C’est ça la motivation!!!  Si j’avais attendu de peindre une perfection, je n’aurais aucune peinture à présenter en ce moment, car j’aurais abandonné… ça! j’en suis certaine. Des fois il faut se lancer dans le vide, et espérer pour le mieux, tout simplement.

Paper: Larolan
Ink: Noodler’s Lexington Grey
Watercolors: Winsor & Newton, Daniel Smith 

Boulangerie Paradis Neighbour

I am in awe…. I have started painting in a new stechbook which is handmade by Larolan in Sintra, Portugal. It cost me 28$ (Cdn) including the shipping, and it is wonderful (no import fees). The watercolour glides on the paper and the paper stays flat, even if I put alot of water. This has to be one of the best papers that I have ever painted on (it is very close to the Stillman & Birn paper). I am ordering 2 more today. For this painting I used two main colours, Payne’s Grey and New Gambodge with just a bit of Burnt Umber (for the tree trunks). Payne’s Grey is an autumnal colour in my view as it has alot of intensity and can be diluted to a very weak blue to a very strong dark blue, and I think that it will be good for the upcoming winter season that we are looking forward to.

This house is next door to la Boulangerie Paradis which resides on St. Jean-Baptiste street in Rigaud, which is the main commercial street that saw the first telephone poles coming up in 1911, the first telephone in 1901 and the first oil lamps were hung on street wires in 1892.

Cette maison est juste à côté de la Boulangerie Paradis, rue St-Jean-Baptiste à Rigaud. Cette rue est l’artère commerciale de la ville depuis bien longtemps.  Je me suis achetée un nouveau carnet d’aquarelle de Sintra au Portugal et le papier est merveilleux. L’aquarelle glisse et danse et le paper ne courbe pas. Je m’en commande trois autres aujourd’hui.

Paper: Larolan
Watercolours: Winsor & Newton / Daniel Smith
Fountain Pan: Carbon Pen with Carbon Ink

Bird Nests :: Nids d’oiseaux

Here are Finch, Oriole and Robin nests. These three birds nest throughout Québec in the spring. As winter is upon us, the Oriole and Robin have left us for fairer climes (as well as many others). The chickadees, goldfinches, nuthatches, sapsuckers, hawks, falcons, owls and woodpeckers will keep us company during the harsh quebec winter, pecking at the tallow and feeding at our black sunflower seed stations.

This painting was done with Ecoline (from Holland) and on the bottle it says that it is transparent watercolour, but it is not like the usual watercolours that we buy in tubes that we mix on a palette. To me it has an ink quality, as you dip your brush directly in the bottle without any dilution. It gives nice intense colours.

Voici un nid de pinson, merle d’amérique et oréole de Baltimore. Pendant les durs mois de l’hiver québécois, les chardonnerets, mésanges, sitelles, pique-bois, éperviers, faucons, pics et chouettes vont nous tenir compagnie en picossant dans le suif et en dévorant les graines de tournesol noir. Les autres sont partis pour nous revenir au printemps.

Paper: Bond
Colours: Ecoline
Pen: Pigma Micron Black .03

Wing Chair

Everyone should have a wing chair to read in… they are wonderful. So here is part of my living room, drawn quickly last night. It took about 20 minutes. There is a liberty, a spontaneity and a freshness that happens when we draw quickly that cannot be imitated by drawing slowly. So here is a bit of a speed drawing… well for me at least, as I am sure that some people would call my drawing speed a tad slow (chuckle). I ordered some Noodler’s Lexington Gray Ink today and I can’t wait to test it out… it will make these type of drawings softer looking.

Voici mon salon et ma chaise de lecture. Des fois un dessin vite fait donne un résultat plus libre et frais que des dessins qui sont pensés, réfléchis longtemps à l’avance… une certaine spontanéité. Aujourd’hui j’ai commandé de l’encre Noodler’s Lexington Gray que j’ai hâte d’essayer avec ce type de dessin.

Paper: Small Moleskine Sketchbook
Fountain Pen: Carbon Pen with Black Carbon Ink


100th Post :: 100e peinture publiée

Today is a special day as it is the day that I will post my 100th painting since I began this journey last May. Wow! I never thought that painting would carry me so far on this path. This is a journey that will be remembered for a very long time as I have met new sketching friends, learnt about the history of my region, created some good paintings and some very bad ones too (chuckle), participated in three workshops, joined the Urban Sketchers of Montreal and lastly, acquired a bit more knowledge about myself along the way. Many times I felt discouraged and thought that I was not good enough to continue and that I did not have the stamina to keep on going… but I did, and I am very proud of this. In addition, I discovered that my husband has a very good eye–when he loves a painting–this is a sure sign that many others will like it too–and he seems to be enjoying my journey, as it is also his in some way. I must give a special thanks to Shari who has been like a mentor… through her paintings, workshops and artistic ability, I was able to follow her steps–albeit very tiny steps. So thank you both, Shari & Marc for your generosity. I also learned that drawing 15 minutes a day is the key… that this will carry you through, make you look forward to that quiet time that painting gives you… as the 15 minutes goes a long way in improving your sketching skills, thus your painting skills.

The colours that were used in this painting are Payne’s Grey, Aureolin Yellow, Rose Madder Genuine and Burnt Orange.

Aujourd’hui est une journée spéciale… je vais publier ma 100e peinture depuis que j’ai commencé en mai dernier. Quelle aventure!… qui va rester graver dans ma mémoire pour bien longtemps car elle m’a tellement donnée. Elle m’a fait découvrir un autre monde que je ne connaissais pas. Elle m’a fait rencontrer des artistes qui sont devenus des amis de cet art, elle m’a permis de décrire l’histoire de ma région que j’aime de plus en plus. J’ai peint de bonnes peintures–et des moins bonnes aussi–j’ai participé à trois ateliers et je me suis jointe aux Sketchers urbains de Montréal. J’ai surtout appris que l’important est de dessiner 15 minutes par jour et que le but n’est pas de créer des chefs d’oeuvre… et que d’accepter de peindre et de publier de moins bonnes peintures fait aussi partie de la voie du peintre. J’ai toujours hâte aux fins de semaine où je rejoins ma peinture et ses moments paisibles… juste commencer à faire une forme d’art, c’est ça l’important.

Paper: Stillman & Birn, Beta Series 180 lbs
Watercolours: Winsor & Newton Artist Series, Daniel Smith
Drawing: Carbon Ink with Carbon Ink Fountain Pen, Extra Fine

Rigaud Train 2

This morning I went to do some photography with Guy, then came back and went to see The Tempest Opera with my friend Hélène, produced by Robert Lepage. Got home and did not have much time to paint… but I at least drew this painting and it is now ready for the colours tomorrow. That is really the fun part of painting… the deliberate act of putting colours on the paper.

I have been using many types of watercolour sketchbooks as they are really nice to paint on and as they fold like books they are easily put on a bookshelf. My first watercolour sketchbook that I used last May was a Strathmore paper, 5.5″ x 8.5″ cold press 140 lbs and it was fine but quite rough. Then I turned to the Moleskine Watercolour Notebooks, size 8.25″ x 5″ and completed 2 of those. Then I discovered the Stillman & Birn, Beta Series, 140 lbs cold press and I fell in love with that paper… and today I drew on the last page. So tomorrow I will still be using it as I will complete my drawing with watercolours. So this means that the next time that I paint it will be with my new Larolan sketchbook… and I can’t wait to try it out. It is hand made in Portugal and seems to be of very high quality. Starting a new sketchbook is always exciting, for my anyway…

J’ai été pas mal occupée aujourd’hui. Guy et moi avons fait une session de photo de la vieille gare de Rigaud. Ensuite Hélène et moi sommes allées voir la pièce d’opéra La Tempête de Thomas Adès, mise en scène par Robert Lepage qui est toujours aussi puissant et merveilleux. Ensuite le souper et hier soir je me suis assise pour faire un superbe dessin que j’ai ensuite ruiné avec de la peinture. Donc je l’ai recommencé et arrêté là… juste avant de mettre la peinture… car demain matin je vais mettre la couleur… qui est toujours la partie la plus excitante de peindre. Il est minuit et je vais aller me coucher très bientôt.

Last Train from Rigaud :: Dernier train de Rigaud

On February 14, 1890 the last train rail is finally installed in Rigaud. The train is ready to run. The locomotive 333 from the “Grand Tronc” is heard for the first time by the locals and a huge inauguration is organized where 2000 pilgrims gather to admire the 20 cars that are pulled by two locomotives.

On June 30th, 2010 at 6:40 a.m. the train left Rigaud for the last time as the municipality deemed that it was too expensive to keep it running… what a loss. This is the train station, before… & after…

Au mois de février 1890, plus précisément le 14, le dernier rail est finalement installé à Rigaud et ceci inaugure le début d’une ère nouvelle — il y aura un train à Rigaud. 2000 pèlerins viennent admirer les 20 wagons tirés par deux locomotives… il est dit qu’il y avait 5000 personnes qui sont venues voir ce spectacle en cette journée.

Le 30 juin 2010, le train part à 6h40 pour la dernière fois en direction de Montréal. La municipalité de Rigaud estime que les coûts sont trop onéreux pour continuer ce service. Quelle tristesse. Voici la gare maintenant… et avant…

Paper: Stillman & Birn, Beta Series, 140 lbs
Watercolours: Winsor & Newton Artist Series + Daniel Smith
Ink: Black Carbon Ink with Carbon Ink Fountain Pen, Extra Fine

Ampersands & Éperluètes

The ampersand is actually two letters combined — the e and the t of the Latin and French ‘et’. It has the same meaning in German ‘und’, ‘e’ in Italian and Portuguese and ‘og’ in Danish and Norwegian. The finest ampersand was cut by William Caslon in 1720. Claude Garamond, the revolutionary Frenchman turned it from type to art. Here is a drawing that I did of Garamond Italic (top) and of Caslon Italic (bottom). The ampersand signifies permanence, and many professional partnerships are linked to it. Ben & Jerry’s, Marks & Spencer, House & Garden, Town & Country, etc. There is a font that was released by SOTA in 2010 that is named ‘Coming Together’ that has no less than 483 different ampersands. Could you imagine seeing Ben and Jerry’s name this way? They must have stopped their partnership…

L’éperluète est la combinaison de deux lettres — le ‘e’ et le ‘t’ qui vient du latin et du français ‘et’. En allemand ‘und’, en italien et en portugais ‘e’, et en danois et norvégien ‘og’. La plus belle éperluète fut coupée par William Caslon en 1720 et le révolutionnaire Claude Garamond a pris ce glyphe et en a fait un objet d’art. Voici un dessin de la typo en Garamond italique (haut) et en Caslon italique (bas). L’éperluète signifie la permanence, et les partenariats d’affaires abondent avec ce glyphe. Ben & Jarry’s, Marks & Spencer, House & Garden, Town & Country, etc. Il y a une typo qui a été sortie en 2010 qui s’appelle ‘Coming Together’ qui regroupe 438 éperluètes.

Paper: small Moleskine Sketchbook
Ink: Black Carbon Ink with Carbon Ink Fountain Pen, Extra Fine

The Sugar Candied Home :: La maison en pain de sucre

This is Louise’s house, one of my very dear friends, and where my Golden Retriever Pyper stays when I have to be away for longer periods. This is his second home, he has been going there since he was 8 weeks old.

For this painting I sticked to three main colours for this painting. Winsor Red, Aureolin Yellow and Cobalt Blue with a tad of Winsor Green. Why do I only use three primary colours for the whole painting? Imagine that I used 3 colours on the left hand side, and another 3 colours for the right hand side… the painting would appear divided, broken in two.

Many of my friends tell me that they do not know what to say on my blog–and I think that this is quite common, as to become an art critic is not for everyone. Suffice to say that just mentioning: “I really like the trees and the way that you drew them” or asking a question “what happens when you stick to three main colours?” or something like that is quite sufficient… and it is a very good start. Once you have started commenting, then the next time, you will try to find another way of saying things… you will only excel at commenting with practice — that is all. So please try and comment, I am quite open to your suggestions, views and different ways of seeing my paintings.

Cette peinture a été peinte avec du Winsor RedAureolin Yellow et Cobalt Blue avec un peu de Winsor Green. Ceci aide les mélanges de couleur à rester en harmonie et soutiennent toute la peinture. Imaginez que le côté gauche aurait été peint avec 3 couleurs, et le côté droit aurait été peint avec 3 autres couleurs. Il y aurait eu une disjonction, une brisure, une division dans la peinture.

Souvent les gens me disent qu’ils ne savent pas quoi me dire sur mon blog. C’est normal, car devenir un critique d’art ne se fait pas du jour au lendemain… ça prend de la pratique. Donc une de mes suggestions est de vous inviter à commencer. Vous pourriez commenter de cette façon: “J’aime bien la façon que tu as dessiné l’arbre à gauche” tout simplement…. ou vous pourriez me demander une question: “Pourquoi est-ce si important de rester avec les mêmes trois couleurs primaires?” Et un petit commentaire à la fois, vous allez développer une façon de dire les choses. Vous allez vouloir changer la façon aussi de dire ou de commenter et c’est là que le vocabulaire va s’agrandir. Aussi, vous allez commencer à regarder d’une autre façon, car si vous commentez, vous allez regarder avec votre commentaire en tête. C’est aussi simple que ça!

Watercolours: Winsor & Newton Artist watercolours
Paper: Stillman & Birn, Beta Series 140 lbs
Drawing Ink: Carbon Ink Fountain Pen with black Carbon Ink

Winter is Awaiting :: L’hiver se fait attendre

My friend Shari highly recommended a book named Making Color Sing by Jeanne Dobie. I have to say that in the first 6 pages I have learnt so much about watercolour properties. Watercolours are divided into transparent, staining and opaque colours and she thoroughly illustrates that by combining three opaque colors, you get a muddy color… I did not know that, even though I have experienced it many many times. But if you mix three transparent colours, the result is not muddy but a somewhat neutral value of grey. So today I followed one of her exercises for mixing different tonal values of greys and then added a jewel color, which is the complement of the dominant tone in the grey. These colors have been mixed from three “transparent” primary colours only: Aureolin Yellow (AY), Rose Madder Genuine (RMG) and Cobalt Blue (CB).

Then I decided to paint one of her paintings where she explains different tonal values through greys only… I really muffed the right hand side of the painting so I have cropped it off. Still, it seems as I am preparing for winter… and by the way, I am waiting for winter to arrive — with snow ;-) Have you noticed that on the right hand side of the painting it looks like a giant queen ant? As she has wings?

Voici une peinture qui se précipite vers l’hiver… peut-être aidée par moi-même, car j’aime bien l’hiver. J’ai peint cette image à partir d’un nouveau livre que je viens de découvrir que Shari m’a hautement recommendé et qui est fascinant. “Making Color Sing” de Jeanne Dobey. J’ai peint un exercice dans son livre… et le voici. Toute cette peinture ne repose que sur trois couleurs transparentes primaires: Aureolin Jaune, Rose Madder et Bleu Cobalt. Heu! On dirait qu’à droite c’est une fourmie reine géante (à cause des ailes) qui essaie de rentrer dans la peinture — LOL. La voyez-vous?

Watercolours: Winsor & Newton Artist watercolours
Paper: Stillman & Birn, Beta Series 140 lbs

Une table toute croche

Vieille table familiale un peu toute croche, qui repose sur un vieux tapis de Turquie qui est un peu tout croche… coup donc! Je dois aimer les choses qui sont un peu toutes croches ;-) Voici ma table un peu toute croche qui vit dans mon salon qui est tout probablement un peu tout croche…

This coffee table has been in my family for many generations… and I thought that it would be fun to draw it in my small Moleskine sketchbook. THEN I decided to paint it… what a mistake. Some colours do not agree with the Moleskine sketchbook… the more opaque colours like Burnt Sienna, Indian Red, etc. The transparent colours work perfectly in it… they become grungy looking, which I truly love. So here is a perfect example of using the wrong colours in a painting.