The majestic tree :: Arbre majestueux

I am the voice of wind
and wave and tree,
Of stern desires and blind,
Of strength to be…
— Charles G. D. Roberts “Autochthon”

Trees have longer lives than ours and were here before man. How strange to me that we do not see them, are blind to their majestic grace. So here is an ode to all of the trees of this planet, our lungs! I am grateful for their existence. Painting inspired by Arthur Rackham.

Les arbres vivent plus longtemps que nous et étaient présents sur cette Terre bien avant nous. Comment étrange que nous ne les voyons presque plus, leur grâce ignorée. Voici un ode à toutes les arbres sur cette planète, nos poumons! Sans eux, où serions-nous? Peinture inspirée par Arthur Rackham.

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook
Pen: Sailor Desk
Ink: Carbon Ink

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Peter Doig II

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.” 
― Hermann Hesse, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte

Yesterday I drew with a fountain pen one of Peter Doig’s paintings named Red Boat (Imaginary Boys). This painting has been labelled under the “Magic realism” genre which made me smile and was completed in 2004. What I learned while trying to emulate his painting is this… he uses strong vertical lines for his forest as well as for the sea, which was quite surprising and has given me a new way to paint… so thank you Peter Doig!

Hier j’ai tenté de dessiner une peinture de Peter Doig nommée Red Boat (Imaginary Boys). Cette peinture est catégorisée sous le genre du “réalisme magique” qui me fait bien sourire et a été complétée en 2004. Ce que j’ai appris en essayant de l’imiter est qu’il utilise des lignes verticales fortes pour sa forêt et aussi pour la mer! qui est assez surprenant. Donc il m’a ouvert les yeux à une nouvelle façon de peindre, donc merci Peter Doig!

Paper: Travelogue Sketchbook
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Gray
Colours: French Ultramarine, Aureolin Yellow, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna and Alizarin Crimson

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Peter Doig

I am always interested in what we miss when we try to focus on what we see. For example, when you take a photo you will always feel a bit disappointed after the exposure, because it’s never representing what you perceived when you took it.
– Peter Doig

The Montreal Urban Sketchers gathered together (my guess is that we were 20-25) at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts today. Some sketchers went off to paint the surrounding architecture from the amazing windows (remember that it is still too cold to paint outside in Montreal at the moment), others went to the Inuit section and painted fabulous Inuit art! Some of us went straight to the Peter Doig Exhibit, artist extraordinaire. What was fascinating for me today was to try and emulate his technique… after three tries, I was still very far from his mastery, but still I was starting to get it. This got me thinking too! Can you really comprehend an artist’s point of view without trying to recreate what he does? Is this why so many painters rely on the Masters to guide them and show them the way? So this is my rendering of one of his posters of the Owl and then of his Bateau Rouge. Because of the museum’s reasonable restrictions on water-based paintings, I drew with a fountain pen what I was looking at… I might follow through later on and put in dabs of colour. For now, this is what I have.

Les sketchers urbains se sont rencontrés aujourd’hui, environ 20-25 personnes,au Musée des Beaux Arts de Montréal. Certains ont choisi de peindre l’architecture extérieure vue des immenses fenêtres du musée (il faut se rappeler qu’à Montréal en ce moment il fait toujours trop froid pour peindre dehors), d’autres ont choisi de peindre la section d’art Inuit, et certains d’entre nous ont décidé d’aller voir l’exposition de Peter Doig, peintre extraordinaire! Aujourd’hui j’ai essayé de peindre comme lui et après trois essais, j’ai commencé à comprendre sa technique ou au moins sa façon de faire — et quand même très très loin de sa maîtrise. Est-ce que quelqu’un peut réellement comprendre un artiste s’il n’essaie pas de le reproduire? À cause des règlements du Musée concernant l’usage d’eau,  j’en ai profité pour dessiner à la plume fontaine -)

Paper: Handbook Travelogue
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Gray

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Destiny :: Destinée

“Each man had only one genuine vocation – to find the way to himself…. His task was to discover his own destiny – not an arbitrary one – and to live it out wholly and resolutely within himself. Everything else was only a would-be existence, an attempt at evasion, a flight back to the ideals of the masses, conformity and fear of one’s own inwardness.” 
― Hermann Hesse

As I was trying to draw this student, who thankfully had his back to me, it made me nervous… nervous that he would just walk away, nervous that he would find out that I was attempting to draw him and nervous that someone would be watching me drawing him. Why does drawing people make me so nervous? Perhaps because I am a private person that does not like prying into other people’s lives? My mind kept going back to the question that Herman Hesse is asking… what is this young man’s destiny? What lies on the road ahead of him? Will he be happy? Famous? Have a hard life? A good life? No one knows… does he?

 En dessinant cet élève, qui heureusement était de dos à moi, j’étais très nerveuse… nerveuse qu’il partirait tout d’un coup et que mon modèle ne serait plus là, peur qu’il s’aperçoive que j’étais en train de le dessiner, peur que quelqu’un d’autre me voit le dessiner… combien d’angoisses peuvent surgir en si peu de temps? Pourquoi est-ce que dessiner des personnes sur le vif m’angoisse tant? Un manque d’expérience peut-être? Étant une personne privée, je n’aime pas m’introduire dans la vie des gens. Mon esprit retournait aux mots de Herman Hesse… quelle est sa destinée à ce jeune homme? Quel sera le trajet de sa vie? Heureuse? Facile? Difficile? Personne le sait… le sait-il?

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers Lexington Gray
Colours: Prussian Blue, Raw Sienna and Burnt Sienna

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Arthur Rackham

“Like the sundial, my paint box counts no hours but sunny ones.”  ― Arthur Rackham While I was drawing a section of my kitchen this morning, I started thinking about drawing with a fine ink pen and my mind automatically drifted to Arthur Rackham’s (1867-1939) amazing art. I think that many artists learn by looking, observing, learning to see the work of famous, and not so famous artists. One artist that I have loved since I was a little girl is Arthur Rackham. He was, and still is, an amazing artist and well worth your perusing. He has a way of bringing life to trees in a way that no other can do. I have included two of his paintings in this post so that you can see what I mean. Pendant que je dessinais une partie de ma cuisine ce matin, mes pensées se sont tournées vers Arthur Rackham, un artiste que je chérie depuis ma tendre enfance. La façon qu’il travaille la ligne, et ses arbres, est incroyable! Les artistes apprennent leur métier de façons bien différentes et une est d’observer les grands artistes de ce monde. Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey 20140218_Kitchen                           a028317208c92613227219ac933bd0f2 6e3b09c8978fa0f127b3fc153695ea2a

:: Sketch Swap ::

— Swapped and residing in Gerona, Spain —

“The seasonal urge is strong in poets. Milton wrote chiefly in winter. Keats looked for spring to wake him up (as it did in the miraculous months of April and May, 1819). Burns chose autumn. Longfellow liked the month of September. Shelley flourished in the hot months. Some poets, like Wordsworth, have gone outdoors to work. Others, like Auden, keep to the curtained room. Schiller needed the smell of rotten apples about him to make a poem. Tennyson and Walter de la Mare had to smoke. Auden drinks lots of tea, Spender coffee; Hart Crane drank alcohol. Pope, Byron, and William Morris were creative late at night. And so it goes.” 
― Helen Bevington

I participated in a Sketch Swap organized by the Urban Sketchers group. I was paired up with someone from Gerona, Spain and I received his painting today in the mail. It was such a great feeling to receive it — he actually sent me a video, and a nice historical explanation of his city.

So the following painting is the one that I sent him. The architecture of the house is a typical “vernacular” or cottage type house with two slopes. Neoclassical style, around 1825, 1-1/2 stories, with symetrical opening. The floors are usually very close to the earth (no basement) with a bas-côté named “tambour” in French.  When settlers arrived in Canada, there were alot of trees… so all of our architecture is wood-based, especially houses that lie in the countryside. This house was painted on location in Coteau-Landing, Québec, Canada and is on a very quiet side road where not many cars or humans, go to. It is very typical of our older houses.

J’ai participé à un Sketch Swap avec les Urban Sketchers où nous étions mis en binôme… moi je devais peindre pour une personne à Gérone, Espagne et vice versa. J’ai reçu sa peinture aujourd’hui et c’était assez trippant. Pour ma part, je lui ai fait parvenir la peinture ci-bas, qui représente une maison rurale avec une architecture assez typique du Québec. Architecture vernaculaire ou style néoclassique, environ 1825, 1-1/2 étage sans sous-sol avec un bas côté nommé “tambour”.

Paper: Saunders Waterford CP 12″ x 9″
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In Love with… :: En amour avec…

I have been waiting for today’s weather for quite awhile now… sunny and crisp, with beautiful long shadows and fresh snow. This has to be my favourite spot to paint in the Rigaud area as it has everything that I need and is easy to park my car-studio. Good light, a majestic mountain, strong winds, farm silos and a road… just missing the few coyotes passing along the road as last night there was a choir of them singing around my house.

I have fallen in love… with Saunders Waterford CP paper -) It is splendid! It can take tons of water, “beads” very well, is forgiving when you want to “pickup” some of the excess paint, “blooms” beautifully when you need it to and agrees to being “pulled”. It is expensive paper but well worth it.

Ça fait un bout de temps que j’attendais une journée comme aujourd’hui. Ensoleillée et froide, je me suis précipitée dans mon  automobile-studio pour peindre mon endroit préféré dans la région de Rigaud. Cet endroit a tout ce dont j’ai besoin… une belle montagne, une rue, des silos, des champs… il ne manquait que les coyotes, qui hier soir se sont regroupés autour de ma maison pour chanter en choeur -)))

Paper: Saunders Waterford 140 lbs. CP 8″ x8″
Colours: Aureolin Yellow, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson & Cobalt Blue
Pen: Pilot Penmanship EF
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey

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Reverse order :: Ordre inversé

While I was drawing a typical house architecture in the region of Valleyfield today, I started thinking about certain differences that I encounter when drawing versus watercolour painting. When I first start looking at a subject, in this case the house, I start thinking in terms of layers… what will be behind, and what will be in front.

When I start drawing in the lines, I start with the objects that are in front of the other ones (this way you do not run into the problem of having lines crisscrossing behind other objects). Once I finish the drawing, then I start  in a reverse order with the watercolour… I paint the objects that are behind and finish with the objects that are in front… funny huh? I just thought that it is kind of funny to realize that both processes are in reverse order of each other. So that’s it for today -)

Quand je regarde mon sujet de la journée, je pense aux objets qui seront en-avant et en-arrière… en calques…. et quand je me mets à dessiner, je dessine toujours les objets qui sont en-avant en premier m’en allant vers l’arrière (de cette façon on évite de dessiner des lignes qui devraient rester en-arrière). Par contre, quand je commence à peindre en aquarelles, je fais exactement le contraire! Je commence par peindre, en calques, les objets qui sont en-arrière en avançant vers le devant… étrange, huh? Je trouve ça intéressant que les deux procédés sont inversés… selon mon humble opinion -)))

Sketchbook: Handbook Travelogue
Colours: Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna & French Ultramarine
Fountain Pen: Pilot Penmanship EF
Ink: Noodlers Lexington Grey

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Negative Shapes :: Espaces négatifs

For this drawing I tried finding the negatives shapes by defining them with hatching and cross-hatching lines. I retraced at the end some of the forms and this is when I realized that I should not have… and as many painters will point you, “You need to know when to stop”. Sometimes I don’t…

Pour ce dessin j’ai regardé les espaces négatifs en utilisant des lignes hachurées. À la fin, j’ai décidé de contourner des formes et j’ai réalisé en le faisant que je n’aurais pas dû. Beaucoup de peintres disent: «On doit savoir quand s’arrêter…» et des fois je ne le fais pas…

Sketchbook: Moleskine Sketchbook
Fountain Pen: Sailor Desk Fountain Pen EF
Ink: Carbon Ink
Drawn from a reference picture

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Feathers :: Plumes

Drawing in a Moleskine Sketchbook with a good quality fountain pen is heaven for me. As the sketchbook has a glaze finish on the pages, the ink flows smoothly without scratching. It reminds me of my young days as a graphic artist when I would set my X-Acto knife into the Rubylith or Amberlith to cut out the parts that were not masked… it was such a sensuous feeling. Today I practiced merging & radiating lines, using as an excuse “duck feathers”.

Dessiner dans un Moleskine Sketchbook est toujours un grand plaisir pour moi, surtout si j’utilise une plume fontaine comme le Sailor Desk Fountain Pen EF sur ce papier recouvert d’une glaise qui rend la glisse ultra sensuelle. Ça me fait penser au temps où j’étais une jeune graphiste avec un X-Acto en main découpant des parties de rubylith ou d’amberlith… quelle sensation. Aujourd’hui j’ai décidé de pratiquer des lignes en fusion et en rayonnement avec des plumes de canard.

Sketchbook: Moleskine Sketchbook
Fountain Pen: Sailor Desk Fountain Pen EF
Ink: Carbon Ink

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Le Mur de Rigaud :: The Wall of Rigaud

Through straits to heights
— Hannah Clan Motto

I like finding places where I can repaint them through the seasons… and Le Mur or The Wall on Bourget Road in Rigaud is one of them. Le Mur is a very steep incline that cyclists train in… it is very very steep. The view is of the lower Laurentian mountains, seen from Rigaud mountain, separated by the Ottawa River. I had badly rendered the street going down, and as watercolour painting is very lenient and lends itself to corrections, I actually took the paint “off” by scrubbing and then waiting it to dry and then reinserting new paints. I managed to save it -)

J’aime trouver des endroits pour peindre qui changent bien avec les saisons… et Le Mur à Rigaud est un de ces endroits. Le Mur est un chemin avec une inclinaison très abrupte où les cyclistes aiment s’entraîner. La vue est des Basses Laurentides, vu du Mont Rigaud qui est séparé par la Rivière des Outaouais. À cause d’un manque de planification, j’ai manqué mon chemin et grâce aux qualités d’un papier pour aquarelles, j’ai pu corriger en remettant de l’eau propre sur certaines régions, enlever la peinture, attendre qu’elle sèche, et ensuite repeindre par-dessus.

Paper: Saunders Waterford CP 140 lbs 12″x9″
Colours: Cobalt Blue, Aureolin Yellow, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson
Fountain Pen: Pilot Penmanship EF
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey

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Montreal Urban Sketchers Video :: Vidéo des Urban Sketchers de Montréal

LaPresse

If you are interested in learning a bit more about the Montreal Urban Sketchers and the reasoning behind our outings, this is very a helpful video that was created by La Presse while we were sketching at the Redpath Museum last weekend (2014-01-26). If  you would like to join us, everyone is welcome! Our next outing will be on Sunday February 23, 2014, place still to be determined.

Les Urban Sketchers de Montréal ont été filmés pour une topo dans le journal La Presse la fin de semaine passée (2014-01-26).  Nous sommes allés au Musée Redpath pour peindre et La Presse nous a filmé. Si vous aimeriez comprendre ce que l’on fait et le pourquoi, le vidéo est très instructif et très bien expliqué. Et si vous aimeriez vous joindre à nous pour le dimanche 23 février prochain endroit indéterminé encore, vous êtes les bienvenus… novices autant qu’experts -)

http://www.lapresse.ca/videos/arts/201401/31/46-1-un-dimanche-dessin-avec-les-urban-sketchers.php/88e7689b46104686982f97b322b832ad

Still Life :: Nature morte

If Candlemass day be dry and fair, 
The half o’ winter’s to come and mair; 
If Candlemass day be wet and foul, 
The half o’ winter’s gave at Yule.’
— Chambers’ Book of Days

In 1869 Chambers a Scotsman, wrote the Book of Days —  a trivial pursuit kind of book. It covers calendar events, weather, phenomena associated with weather, folklore and anecdotes. This book is very interesting to read and you can find references to it right here. After a long day of prepping my classes, I just had the time to grab our fruit basket and paint them. I think that I will have to renew this exercise sometime soon, as I was quite rusty with the still life… especially in the shadow areas.

Après une longue journée de préparation pour mes classes, j’ai peint ces fruits qui traînent sur la table. Je crois que je vais devoir refaire cet exercice bientôt car je me sentais bien rouillée… surtout pour les ombres.

Paper: Handbook Travelogue
Colours: Aureolin Yellow, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Cobalt Blue
Fountain Pen: Pilot Penmanship EF
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey

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USK Sketch Swap Partners :: Jumelage partenaires USK

“The first object of the painter is to make a flat plane appear as a body in relief and projecting from that plane.”
— Leonardo Da Vinci

There is a very interesting urban sketchers sketch swap that I am involved in. I will create a painting, mail it to someone in Italy whom I have never met as their name has been paired with mine… and they will do the same thing for me. So for February 8, we will be mailing ourselves our paintings… I find the concept to be quite cool as this means that I will be receiving someone else’s sketch/painting. Quite cool as this will be like a present -)

Je suis impliquée dans un concept qui est pas mal intéressant au sein des Urban Sketchers. Mon nom a été jumelé avec quelqu’un que je ne connais pas du tout, qui vit en Italie, et je créer une peinture et lui envoyer par la poste pour le 8 février… et lui va faire la même chose! Donc je vais recevoir la peinture de quelqu’un, qui va être assez cool — comme un cadeau -)

Paper: Handbook Sketchbook
Colours: Aureolin Yellow, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Orange, Burnt Umber, Cerulean Blue, Alizarin Crimson and Winsor Red
Fountain Pen: Pilot Penmanship EF
Ink: Noodlers Lexington Grey

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