Cleaning & Stuff :: Le nettoyage -)))

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I wanted to offer you a Visual Commentary by Jeff Moores as this is exactly how I feel when I am about to paint. First I have to clean up the area, do the filing if it needs to be done, clean the floor if need be and once everything is spotless, I can settle down and start painting. The problem, is that when I finish painting, the area is a total mess!!! This cartoon is hilarious and represents well what I was up to today… as I was cleaning!

While I was cleaning and rummaging through old files, I came across drawings that I had done when I was very young and studying to become a graphic artist. It was a thrill for me to find them again and linger and reminisce. I hope that you enjoy my 1984 drawing of Margaret Thatcher.

Je voulais vous offrir cette bande dessinée que je trouve extrêment comique car je me vois tellement dans cette caricature. C’est vraiment typique de mes habitudes — je dois absolument peindre dans un endroit propre — donc quand je décide de peindre, je serre les choses en désordre, je balaie le plancher, je nettoie le bureau et quand tout est beau, je suis prête à peindre! Le problème est quand je finis, mon endroit de travail est tout croche et en désordre… la même chose que dans la bande dessinée!!!

Pendant que je nettoyais aujourd’hui j’ai tombé sur de vieux dessins de Margaret Thatcher que j’ai faits en 1984 lorsque j’étais étudiante en graphisme… -))) C’était pour une étude de traits.

 

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Plein-air Sketching Gear :: Setup pour le plein air

The sketch hunter moves through life as he finds it, not passing negligently the things he loves, but stopping to know them, and to note them down in the shorthand of his sketchbook.
― Robert Henri

Some of you have asked me to show you how my plein-air setup functions and where I have bought my items. The green stool was bought for 8$ at Canadian Tire (22″) (LINK), the black stool underneath the yellow beauty case is a Walkstool (LINK) and is 26″ and is more expensive… but very sturdy. The yellow vintage beauty case was bought at a fundraiser from a colleague of mine for a big whopping 7$ and is perfect for carrying my art materials in it as I can put my colour palettes flat down. I put my water bottle on the floor or in the beauty case. This system is perfect for sketching in the car (without the stools of course) as I put the vintage case on the passenger seat and the corafoam leans on the steering will.  I use a corafoam (5$) bought at Reno Depot to put either a flat sheet or watercolour or my sketchbooks. I sit on the green stool and put the corafoam board on my knees and then lean the board on the vintage case… and voilà! I am ready to start painting -)

Just to let you know that I will not be able to post any paintings for awhile as I am busy with a commission at the moment.

Plusieurs personnes m’ont demandées de publier des photos de mon setup pour le plein-air. Le tabouret vert est celui que je m’assoie dessus et je l’ai acheté chez Canadian Tire pour 8$ et qui mesure 22″ (LIEN). Le tabouret noir (qui est sous la valise vintage jaune) est 26″ de haut et est de très bonne qualité. C’est un Walkstool (LIEN). La valise vintage je l’ai payée un gros 7$ d’une de mes collègues de travail. Le corafoam vient de Réno-Dépôt et j’ai acheté un grand format de 30″x40″ et ensuite couper pour pas très cher. Ce système est très bien aussi dans l’automobile car je mets la valise vintage sur le siège du passager et le corafoam sur le volant, et je suis prête à peindre [évidemment je n’apporte pas les tabourets pour l’automobile] -)))

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Boy oh Boy

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” 
― Pablo Picasso

Boy oh Boy was finishing this painting difficult… I painted it three times, without much success. This got me thinking… why is it that this painting’s mystery could not be solved? Well, I do have a few answers. First, the building was backlit and hardly had any shadows, so the lighting was not very good (first important lesson). Second, I started a new sketchbook and the paper is fine (even though I am not used to it) and the paper dimensions are throwing me off. It is 5.5″ x 8.5″ and I rarely paint in this ratio. Anyway, this painting is either too wide in landscape mode and too thin portrait mode. Excuses, excuses, I know!

Sapristi que j’ai eu de la misère à finir cette peinture. Je l’ai repeinte trois fois, et je suis toujours insatisfaite. Ceci m’a fait penser… pourquoi est-ce que j’ai eu tant de misère? Bien j’ai une couple de réponses. Premièrement, cet édifice faisait dos au soleil, donc tout à l’ombre qui est la première règle à éviter. Deuxièmement, je viens de commencer un nouveau cahier à croquis (le papier est bien) mais les dimensions me rendent mal à l’aise. La dimension est trop étroite mode portrait et trop large sur la largeur. Je sais, excuses, excuses!

Paper: Stillman & Birn Beta
Colours: Aureolin Yellow, Rose Madder, Cobalt Blue
Fountain Pen: Pilot Penmanship EF
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Maison Smith, Parc of Mount Royal, Montreal, Québec, Canada

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Bois de Liesse

If you desire to draw, that you may represent something you care for, you will advance switfly and safely. If you desire to draw, that you make a beautiful drawing, you will never make one.
— John Ruskin, Artist & Observer by Christopher Newall

We are quite lucky here in Montreal as there are many activities that are out there for artists to join, free of charge. Today was the first time that I joined Linda Drewry (I hope that I have spelled her family name correctly…) who is the person that organizes plein air days during the summer months in the Montreal area. She has been organizing these for the past 20 years! Here is a link to her blog and if ever you feel like joining us in these endeavours, you are most welcome -) We went to the Bois de Liesse today in Pierrefonds (my father used to call Pierrefonds “RockBottom” -) and Chi Mai, Linda Denis and myself painted houses that are privately owned which are on the grounds of this estate. Quite charming place.

Les artistes sont chanceux à Montréal car il y a beaucoup d’activités qui sont gratuits et intéressants. Aujourd’hui je me suis joint à Linda Drewry qui organise depuis 20 ans des journées plein air tout au long de l’été où plusieurs artistes peignent ensemble avec toutes sortes de médium différents. Aujourd’hui nous nous sommes retrouvés au Bois de Liesse à Pierrefonds et Chi Mai, Linda Denis et moi-même avons peint une des maisons qui ont des propriétaires privées mais qui sont situées sur les terrains de ce bois. Un bel endroit à découvrir…

Paper: Stillman & Birn Beta
Colours: Aureolin Yellow, Burnt Sienna, Cobalt Blue
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: 9432 Gouin West, Pierrefonds, Québec, Canada

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Betula Alleghaniensis :: Yellow Birch :: Bouleau des Alléghanys :: Merisier

L’un des plus grands arbres de la forêt laurentienne, où il atteint son maximum de développement. Le bois, très pesant, à grain serré, est très employé des machines aratoires, dans l’ébénisterie et la carrosserie. L’odeur aromatique de l’écorce blessé est la même que celle du Gaultheria procumbens “Teaberry” ou “Thé des bois”. Le tronc de cet arbre ne flotte pas, et l’espèce échappe ainsi à la dévastation amenée par l’industrie du papier; on ne coupe le B. Alleghaniensis que là on peut le transporter par voie de terre. Le nom populaire “merisier” est un pur canadianisme, et assez déroutant. 
— Flore Laurentienne par le Frère Marie-Victorin

This is an example of the type of information that you can find in this wonderful flora book pertaining to the indigenous species that live and thrive in the province of Quebec. Anyone who loves stories on plants and trees and history, it is must read. I have a few of these majestic trees on my two acre lot, and they are wonderful to paint and attract all kinds of wildlife. Their golden yellow trunk is luminous. The last two days have been wonderful… we stayed home, cleaned up part of our lot, made campfires and just relaxed… before the mosquitoes arrive -) I found an unused sketchbook of Stillman & Birn and wanted to commemorate the first page with a nice painting. I seem to be superstitious in the sense that if I ruin the first page of a sketchbook, I seem to think that the rest of the pages will be mediocre. I am glad that it turned out ok and the paper is wonderful.

Ce livre sur la flore laurentienne de Marie-Victorin est un véritable petit bijou de lecture, d’information sur les arbres et espèces indigènes et beaucoup d’histoire. Nous avons passé une très belle fin de semaine à s’occuper d’une partie de notre terrain, à faire des feux de camp, à relaxer… et peindre…. avant que les maringouins arrivent -) J’ai trouvé un livre à croquis de Stillman & Birn et pour la première page, je voulais réussir ma peinture car sans être superstitieuse, si je ruine la première page d’un livret, j’ai tendance à penser que les peintures suivantes vont être médiocres? Je suis contente qu’elle est ok et ce papier est magnifique.

Paper: Stillman & Birn, Beta Series, 180 lbs, CP
Colours: Raw Sienna, Rose Madder Genuine, French Ultramarine
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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Pine King :: Le roi des pins

The master is the piece of paper, the watercolour you are working on at the moment, listen to it; watercolor is the boss.
— Josef Zbukvik (further quotes by Josef are found at the bottom of this post)

This is my third version of the same majestic tree. Speaking with other artists, they have told me that they often need to paint the same subject three or four times in order to get it right. Well… after three times, I would say that the “lone pine” has turned into the “Pine King” or should I say “KingPine”? As you will notice, all three trees have different personalities and that is due to artistic license, where the artist is accorded leeway (take out or add) in his/her interpretation of what is observed. This is what is tremendously liberating when painting a subject as opposed to taking a picture of it.

Voici ma troisième version du majestueux pin. En parlant avec d’autres artistes, ils me disent qu’ils doivent refaire la même peinture jusqu’à trois fois pour être satisfait. Eh bien, après trois fois, je dois dire que je suis satisfaite et que mon “pin solitaire” est devenu le “roi des pins”. 

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Series
Colours: Aureolin Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramarine
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: St. Georges Road, Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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1. Painting precise locations is irrelevant; simply capture the character
2. Connecting shapes is most important, after that come tonal values. Color is last
3.  Analyze your subject; see the foreground, background, balance, shapes and tones
4.  The master is the piece of paper, the watercolour you are working on at the moment, listen to it; Watercolor is the boss
5. People are seldom still or rigid; they are off-balance in movement and animated.
6. Tone is the king; color is a mere assistant.
7. Watercolor will paint itself; if you let it.
8. Look at the subject; reduce it to a visual language.
9. Look at the values; where is the white, where is the light? How does it relate to the dark background?
10. Indicate, don’t state
11. Let the energy of the original line remain; don’t kill it with paint.
— Josef Zbukvik

Solitary pine :: Pin solitaire

Anything can be painted! The secret is not the subject, but how you perceive the shapes, values and colours. 
— Making Color Sing by Jeanne Dobie

When I woke up this morning I was not satisfied with yesterday’s painting… so I decided to paint it again, this more with more care and less giddiness (I think that I was giddy with happiness as my teaching semester is finished — now I am in correction mode). Yesterday I had used New Gambodge and it muddied my greens. So the first thing that I thought about was the quality of my greens as yesterday’s were too muddy. I opted for Aureolin Yellow (AY) and French Ultramarine (FU) where the darker blue can hold up the very light yellow colour in AY. I tried personalizing my greens today and I am happier with the result.

Quand je me suis réveillée ce matin, je n’étais pas satisfaite de ma peinture que j’ai peinte hier. En plus, j’ai utilisé la couleur New Gambodge qui rend la couleur boueuse. Donc je me suis décidée de la refaire, cette fois avec plus d’attention (étant donné que hier était ma dernière journée d’enseignement, je pense que j’étais assez désinvolte). La première chose que j’ai planifiée était la couleur des verts… et j’ai opté pour un mélange de French ultramarine et Aureolin Yellow car la densité du bleu compense pour la légèreté de ce jaune. Je suis contente du résultat.

Paper: Handbook Travelogue
Colours: Aureolin Yellow, Burnt Sienna and French Ultramarine
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey

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Big Pine :: Gros pin

A while later, at Fontainebleau, he found himself “lying on the bank of a cart-road in the sand, with no prospect whatever but a small aspen tree against the blue sky.” He described how, “languidly, but not idly, I began to draw it; and as I drew, the languor passed away: the beautiful lines insisted on being traced, — without weariness. More and more beautiful they became, as each rose out of the rest, and took its place in the air. With wonder increasing every instant, I saw that they ‘composed’ themselves, by finer laws than any known of men. Thus, Ruskin came to embrace the essential principle of direct and unaffected experience of the physical world.
— John Ruskin, Artist & Observer by Christopher Newall, National Gallery of Canada

The above quote touches me immensely, and with this quote in mind, I painted this beautiful specimen of a pine tree. Alas without the grace of Ruskin’s art but certainly an honest attempt.

Cette citation me touche beaucoup et avec elle en tête, je suis partie à la recherche d’un beau spécimen… et voici ce superbe pin. Hélas, sans la grâce de l’artiste Ruskin, mais un honnête effort quand même.

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Series
Colours: Winsor Blue, New Gambodge, Winsor Red and Burnt Umber
Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: St. Georges Road, Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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Draw what is there :: Dessiner ce qui est là

… one day on the road to Norwood, I noticed a bit of ivy round a thorn stem, which seemed, even to my critical judgment, not ill ‘composed’; and proceeded to make a light and shade pencil study of it in my grey paper pocketbook, carefully, as if it had been a bit of sculpture, liking it more and more as I drew. When it was done, I saw that I had virtually lost all my time since I was twelve years old, because no one had ever told me to draw what was really there!
— John Ruskin, Artist & Observer

So the apple today was there on the table for me to draw… with a graphite pencil. I am trying to figure out how to draw in pencil and as I was perusing Ruskin’s book, and looking closely at his drawings, I can see that his lines are often parallel with some distance between them. So this is my pencil practice. I also tried applying what he says in his quote “to really draw what is there”.

Aujourd’hui cette pomme était sur la table de cuisine, et c’est elle que j’ai dessinée, au crayon graphite. En regardant les dessins à la mine de John Ruskin, j’ai remarqué que ses dessins au crayon sont souvent faits avec des lignes distancées et parallèles. Donc voici ma pratique au crayon. J’ai essayé d’appliquer ce que Ruskin dit: de vraiment dessiner ce qui est là”.

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook 8″x5″
Pencil: Graphite 6B and HB
Location: Rigaud, Québec

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Mother :: Maman

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.
— John Ruskin

Guy and I went to the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa today to visit John Ruskin’s Artist & Observer Exhibit, which ended today. It was wonderful! His art is awesome, and I fell in love with his art. He uses alot of lines, and he is a master with graphite… it was very inspiring. When we came out of the gallery, I decided to paint this giant bronze spider that is called Maman for Mothers’ Day. This giant bronze was created by the Franco-American artist Louise Bourgeois as a tribute to her mother. Happy Mothers’ Day!

Nous sommes allés au Musée national du Canada à Ottawa aujourd’hui pour voir l’exposition de John Ruskin “Artiste et observateur“. C’était incroyable — quelle belle exposition — et aujourd’hui était la dernière journée qu’on pouvait la voir. Il travaille beaucoup avec la ligne, les traits en encre et au graphite. Très très beau. En sortant du musée, pendant que Guy prenait un bain de soleil, j’ai décidé de peindre la sculpture en bronze d’une araignée géante nommée Maman… le jour de la Fête des Mères -) 

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Series
Colours: French Ultramarine, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Umber, Serpentine Genuine
Fountain Pen: Sailor Desk EF
Ink: Carbon Black Ink
Location: National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario

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Abstract bird :: Oiseau abstrait

Today was a fun day as Linda and I signed up for a Mixed Media Acrylic workshop given by Diane St-Georges in Hudson with the AHAA group (Artistes Hudson Artists Association). We worked with image transfers, acrylics, and looking at the rules of composition. At the end of the workshop we had a really nice critiquing time which was very beneficial. Some of the key points that were noted were:
a) Four corners must be different;
b) There should not be anything on the middle line;
c) Following the Golden Rule (Swiss Grid), choose one focal point (the upper right evokes the most sentiment — if an object is right in the center, it has a religious effect);
d) There should be a dominant colour;
e) No object should exit at the corners.

Aujourd’hui j’ai eu une belle journée car j’avais un atelier dirigé par Diane St-Georges avec le groupe AHAA  “Artistes Hudson Artists” en utilisant des médias mixtes, tels que acrylique, transfer d’images, alcool et acétone. La journée a passé vite et bien qu’inhabituel pour moi, j’ai aimé peindre en abstraction… donc voici mon oiseau -)

Paper: Boddingford 30″x22″, divided in 8 parts by masking take;
Acrylics (Golden Liquid) : Raw Sienna, Cadmium Red Light and Cobalt Blue
Materials used:
– Acetone to make the transfer from laser print to silk paper
– Alcohol 70% to show the background;
– Acrylic gloss medium.
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Tonal values :: Niveaux de gris

You can’t do sketches enough. Sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh.
— John Singer Sargent

As you will witness, I have difficulty drawing in graphite or with a lead pencil…. I do not know why, but what I do know is that I need practice. On Will Kemp’s website, he explains quite thoroughly what it takes to make a good drawing. If you do not know his website, it is well worth going to see as he has various exercises  (the tonal values at the bottom of this post).

Comme vous pouvez constater, je ne suis pas à l’aise avec le crayon à la mine ou le graphite… je ne sais pas pourquoi et ce que je sais, est le fait que j’ai besoin de pratique. Il y a un site que j’aime bien, celui de Will Kemp où il explique le dessin, les ombres, la lumière, etc. Il a aussi des exercices donc un que j’ai fait plus bas (niveaux de gris).

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Sketchbook
Graphite & Lead Pencils: Staedtler HB, 4B, Graphite 2B, Cretacolor 9B

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Old shed is gone… :: Vieille grange n’est plus…

Even though it was a rainy and foggy day today, I knew where I was heading when I jumped into my car with my painting materials. I was going to paint the old shed with the Calvaire mountain in the background. When I got there, I just saw a lump of earth and my heart sank… my beautiful old shed had been demolished. So here is the view, without that shed. I had already painted that shed last year, so here is the post.  While I was happily painting, a police car drove up and a very young cop came up to my window. He told me that I could not paint there as I did not have my hazard lights on, and that is was a zone of 70 km/h… therefore not allowed. So he told me to drive up a bit and park in the lane for tractors going into the field… I obliged, wondering where in my countryside I could find a lower speed limit… not much chance of that.

Même si aujourd’hui était une journée pluvieuse et brumeuse, je savais où je m’en allais quand j’ai sauté dans mon automobile avec ma sacoche et mes peintures… je m’en allais peindre la petite shed avec la vue incroyable du Mont Calvaire. Mais quand je suis arrivée, ma petite shed était disparue… elle avait été démolie! Donc voici la vue et vous pouvez voir ma petite shed comme je l’ai peint l’année passée ici. Pendant que j’étais en train de peindre, je vois une police s’arrêtée en arrière de mon auto et se diriger vers ma fenêtre. Elle m’a expliquée que je n’avais pas le droit de stationner sans mettre mes hasards car j’étais dans une zone de 70 km/h… elle m’a aussi indiquée de me diriger un peu plus loin où il y avait un passage pour les tracteurs pour se rendre dans les champs. Je me suis dirigée vers cet endroit en me demandant si dans mon patelin des zones de 70km/h existaient réellement… et je ne crois pas -(

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Sketchbook
Colours: Raw Sienna, Raw Umber, Serpentine, Cobalt Blue, Vivianite
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Chemin Harwood in Vaudreuil-Dorion facing Mont Calvaire

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Numbered Memories :: Mémoires chiffrés

Créer, c’est vivre deux fois
— Albert Camus

Today is a memorable day for my husband and I. Thirty-two years of going out together, 30 years of living together and 16 years of marriage. Ten years of living in Rigaud, 323 painting posts, with an army of black flies waiting for us, just outside our door… life is good!

Aujourd’hui est une journée mémorable pour mon conjoint et moi. Il y a trente-deux ans nous avons commencé à sortir ensemble, 30 ans de vie commune et 16 ans de mariage. Dix ans de vie sur la belle montagne de Rigaud, 323 peintures publiés sur mon blogue et une armée de mouches noires qui nous attendent à notre porte… la vie est belle!

Paper: Travelogue Handbook Sketchbook
Colours: Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Mayan Blue and Burnt Umbar
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Besner Clock on Victoria Street in Valleyfield

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