Growth & Learning :: Croissance & apprentissage

“I think that one’s art is a growth inside one. I do not think one can explain growth. It is silent and subtle. One does not keep digging up a plant to see how it grows.” 
― Emily Carr

As I was painting this house, I suddenly realized that my brush was almost dry! And when you are painting in water colour, your brush is supposed to be wet? So this house was totally ruined by “dry-brushing” instead of water brushing (if that term exists). So looking down at my painting, I decided to put big blobs of water colour, invigorating the house as the water colours did their own thing -) So to me this is learning… the problem is that I often forget what I have learnt! I also wanted to mention that I have just received the Platinum Desk Pen EF DP1000AB which is the finest pen that I have ever owned… it is really nice and the ink flows freely.

Comme je peignais cette maison, je me suis soudain rendue compte que mon pinceau était presque à sec! Et quand vous peignez avec de l’aquarelle votre pinceau ne doit pas être sec, comme le mien était (le terme aqua est très clair? De l’eau?)! Il doit être chargé d’eau et de peinture. Donc, en regardant ma peinture, j’ai décidé de charger au maximum mon pinceau d’aquarelle, et de risquer de ruiner la maison — et j’ai laissé la peinture faire ce qu’elle doit faire. Avec de l’aquarelle, on doit laisser aller, pas essayer de contrôler le tout. Je suis fort contente d’avoir appris de quoi  — le problème est que j’oublie souvent ce que j’apprends!!! Je voulais aussi mentionner que je viens de recevoir plume fontaine Platinum Pen EF DP1000AB qui est le stylo le plus fin que j’ai jamais possédé … il est vraiment sympa et l’encre coule à flot.

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Series, grand portrait size
Colours: Aureolin Yellow, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson & Cobalt Blue
Fountain Pen: Platinum Desk Pen EF DP1000AB
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: My mother’s home on the waterfront of beautiful Lake St. Francis, Valleyfield, Québec, Canada

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The reality of it all :: La réalité de tout celà

On ne doit pas empêcher la réalité de faire un beau tableau. Reality should not prevent the making of a beautiful painting.
— JPR

Someone on my blog yesterday cited the above quote, which is totally appropriate for tonight’s post. I thank him for his kind remarks and I have been thinking about it today. He is right, the “reality” of something should not be the absolute aim of a painting… and I finally mustered up the courage today at around 4:00 pm to paint yesterday’s drawing in colour. So I gathered my colour palette and brushes and water and walked down about 100 feet, and I was in front of this magnificent view. I painted the brook with a wash of indanthrone blue, which has just recently been added to my palette and I love its’ intensity… it is a more intense cobalt blue, which my palette sorely needed to have.

Quelqu’un a écrit sur mon blog la citation ci-haut, qui est totalement appropriée! Je le remercie pour sa remarque juste et sensible and j’y ai pensé tout au long de la journée. Il a raison, la “réalité” de quelque chose ne doit pas absolument dominer ou diriger une peinture… et j’ai finalement pris mon courage à deux mains aux alentours de 4:00 pm et j’ai pris mes pinceaux, eau et palette de couleurs et j’ai marché 100 pieds pour arriver à cette magnifique vue. J’ai peint le ruisseau avec du bleu indanthrone qui est un bleu plus intense que le bleu cobalt et qui manquait à ma palette de couleurs.

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Series, grand portrait size
Colours: Aureolin Yellow, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber & Indanthrone Blue
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey

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Patience is perfection :: La patience est perfection

A line is a dot that went for a walk.

Paul Klee

This is not the first time that I try painting my beautiful brook… and it surely will not be the last! So, I treaded carefully today, drawing first and then hesitating… should I paint it right away? or should I wait? I opted for the second option. The reason for the waiting is because I need to think about how I will paint it… to me, water and waterways are daunting, and I have managed to ruin many of my paintings. Tomorrow I will paint it and I might post it, if it is a reasonable success… if not, this view will suffice -)

Ce n’est pas la première fois que j’essaie de peindre mon ruisseau… et ce ne sera sûrement pas la dernière! Aujourd’hui j’ai commencé par le dessiner, et j’ai arrêté car je me demandais si j’étais pour le peindre tout de suite… ou attendre. Pourquoi attendre? Car pour moi peindre de l’eau ou des cours d’eau est bien difficile, et je dois y penser… je dois y réfléchir et ne pas me lancer sans aucune espèce d’idée où je m’en vais. J’ai tellement ruiné de peintures que l’expérience me dicte d’être patiente -) Demain je vais la peindre, et si j’ai un succès raisonnable vous allez la voir… sinon, celle-ci va suffire -)))

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Series, grand portrait size
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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The wall of Rigaud :: Le mur de Rigaud

The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.
— Baha’u’llah

Looking over the edge of Rigaud mountain, called “The Wall” by cyclists, peering out at the vista and the Laurentians, our earth is a wonder… too bad that our leaders are acting as if we had many earths at our disposal. I never use Cadmium Yellow as I find that it is too opaque for my taste… however, as I was mixing my colours today a thought emerged and I started thinking about Jeanne Dobie’s principle of Octanic colours, where two colours that are mixed together will form very vivid colours if their undertones complement each other. So mixing Cadmium Yellow, which has a green undertone (therefore has some blue?) with Prussian Blue which also has a green undertone (which means that it has some yellow?) is ok.

En regardant au-dessus du “Mur” de Rigaud, communément appelé comme ça par les cyclistes, et de sa vue saisissante des Laurentides, c’est à se demander comment se peut-il que nos dirigeants agissent comme si on avait plusieurs planètes à notre disposition? Pendant que je peignais, je e suis rappelée Jeanne Dobie’s théorie sur les couleurs “octaniques” où les nuances d’une valeur devraient être en complément avec l’autre. Donc en utilisant du Jaune Cadmium, qui a une nuance froide verte, avec du Bleu de Prusse, qui a aussi une nuance verte, la combinaison ne tourne pas boueuse, qui est bien -)))

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Series, grand portrait size
Colours: Cadmium Yellow, Alizarin Crimson and Prussian Blue
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey

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Back to reality :: Retour à la réalité

And what, sir, is the subject matter of that painting?” (Critic) “The subject matter, my dear good fellow, is the light.
— Claude Monet

This is my last painting that I post of our holiday in the south. As I was getting used to painting in this new environment, it was time to fly back home and face reality, which was very sweet indeed. During the holiday week, I chose Winsor Blue to reflect the blues and greens of the south and to tint the sand with its halo. Reading on the Winsor & Newton website, Winsor Blue was created to replace the capricious, less reliable Prussian Blue.

Voici ma dernière peinture de notre séjour dans le sud. Comme je m’habituais à peindre dans ce nouvel environnement, il était déjà le temps de reprendre l’avion et faire face à la réalité, qui est bien chouette quand même -) Pendant cette semaine, j’ai choisi le Bleu Winsor pour représenter les couleurs du sud et pour aussi teindre le sable avec son halo. En lisant sur le site de Winsor & Newton, le Bleu Winsor a été créé pour remplacer le Bleu de Prusse, qu’ils disent beaucoup plus capricieux et moins fiable. 

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Series
Colours: Aureolin Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Sienna & Winsor Blue
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey

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Painting in situ woes :: Les difficultés de peindre in situ

Thy life’s journey lies along its own path and I cannot share thy journey — but I can walk beside thee. And I will.
— Diana Gabaldon

When I arrived down south, I was very eager to start painting and it took me a few days to adjust to the very warm and humid temperatures. My paint would immediately dry up on the paper because of the heat, then high winds came in, then it rained and then it was beautiful again. Oh! Did I mention the sand falling into my colour palette and putting tiny little grains in all of my paints? I have already mentioned in another post that for me, I need to figure out which “blue” that I need to use in order to set the tone of the painting. To find the correct blue that represents the sky as well as the sea takes a series of tests (I will post these tomorrow). I also struggled with the colour of the sand… as you can see, I was not in my environment! Everything was new! I also realized that I should have had a colour palette chosen for the south, and not my regular colours. So I started out with Cobalt blue and it turned out muddy. Then I tried Cerulean Blue and its granular quality become much too apparent in the heat and it seemed to be streaking and falling off the paper. I then regretted having brought “thin” watercolour sketchbooks as I would have needed much more water than I could put on it. Then I had an aha moment, and I tried using Winsor Blue and some Aureolin Yellow and it was almost a perfect match for the emerald sea and the sky… yeah! However, just before having that aha moment, I had painted this with Prussian Blue. Ooooh! The woes of painting -)))

En arrivant dans le sud, j’avais tellement hâte de commencer à peindre. Mais peindre en aquarelle avec des températures oscillant dans les 40C, avec des journées de coups de vent, ensuite de la pluie, et ensuite des journèes d’une beauté incroyable, il y a beaucoup d’ajustement à faire, et étant donné que tout était nouveau, et que je n’étais pas dans mon environnement, eh bien, il y a eu beaucoup de ratés! Quand je commence à peindre, je réfléchis toujours à quel bleu que je vais utiliser pour donner l’atmosphère ou le ton à ma peinture. J’ai donc commencé avec du Bleu Cobalt et il était trop brumeux. Ensuite j’ai esasyé le Bleu Céruléen, mais sa granulation semblait vouloir tomber en bas de la page! Ensuite j’ai essayé Bleu Prusse qui était OK, mais j’ai eu un moment de nirvana quand j’ai utilisé le Bleu de Winsor… il était parfait pour démontrer le vert émeraude de la mer. Par contre, cette peinture a été faite avec du Bleu de Prusse. Ahhh! Les difficultés rencontrées sont en fait, je l’espère bien, un cheminement vers une évolution quelconque.

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Series
Colours: Aureolin Yellow, Raw Sienna, Q. Rose & Prussian Blue
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey

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The Beach :: La plage

Comedian Jim Carrey describes the moment he gave a name to his life’s calling.
“The purpose of my life had always been to free people from concern.”
Then at the age of 50, he started painting and he found a second purpose in his life.
“The purpose of art,” he wrote in his artist statement, is to bring people into presence.”
— The Painter’s Keys

I have finally settled down into the daily routine of life, and I am full of energy to paint, and reflect and just do what I have to do. I love both of Jim Carrey’s quotes, and if you sometimes ponder on the meaning of art in your life, visit the The Painter’s Keys website as it is really worth it. These wonderful palapas shelter us from the torrid sun and permit us to idle on the beach, without a care in the world -)

Étant revenue de notre petit séjour de repos avec plein d’énergie pour peindre et réfléchir afin de faire ce que j’ai à faire, et savoir où je m’en vais, les citations de Jim Carrey m’étonnent et me ravissent. Si jamais vous vous demandez ce que l’art peut vous apporter dans votre vie, le site The Painter’s Keys vaut vraiment la peine. Ces merveilleux palapas nous ont abrité du soleil torride et nous ont permis de nous reposer sur la plage, sans un souci au monde -)

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Series
Colours: New Gambodge, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson & Winsor Blue
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey

20140612_Palapas

 

Paul’s Birdhouse :: Cabane d’oiseaux pour Paul

The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those who sang the best.”
― John James Audubon

This birdhouse will be sailing for Australia tomorrow morning and is dedicated to my cousin Paul. I had made a promise to him that I would send him a painting of a birdhouse and that in return he would build it for me! Today the woods in Rigaud were filled with the chirping of birds, the crooning of baby raccoons, a lone owl, crazy baby chipmunks running after each other and making tons of noise. Pyper, my dog, was on the alert!

Cette peinture de cabane d’oiseaux s’envole pour l’Australie pour rejoindre mon cousin Paul et en échange, il va me la construire de ses propres mains. Bon échange! Aujourd’hui la forêt était pleine de sons d’oiseaux, le murmure de bébés ratons laveurs, un hibou solitaire, des bébés suisses qui se couraient après à toute vitesse en faisant beaucoup de bruit. Pyper, mon chien, était sur l’alerte!

Paper: Saunders Waterford CP 140 lbs 
Colours: Quinacridone Gold, Rose Madder Genuine & French Ultramarine
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey

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Opportunity :: Opportunité

“When you paint, try to put down exactly what you see. Whatever else you have to offer will come out anyway.” 
― Winslow Homer

These past two weeks I had a wonderful opportunity to create many paintings for the same person way out in Australia — it was a thrill to do these. He wanted only winter scenes and I was lucky enough to have taken many photographs of my region in the past two years, so I had good reference pictures. This is one of the paintings that I rejected as I thought that its theme was redundant for his wall. This commission helped me in many ways, as it was very liberating as well as formative. So even though the temperatures are a bit up, here in Quebec, about 17C, the snow has long gone… actually since mid-April. We are still waiting for summer to arrive though.

Ces deux dernières semaines ont été extraordinaires car j’étais en train de peindre pour quelqu’un en Australie qui voulait uniquement des scènes d’hiver. Heureusement que j’avais beaucoup de photos de référence! Avoir une commission de cette grandeur m’a entraînée à peindre et à m’épanouir d’une façon que je n’avais jamais connue. Ce fut très formateur et libérateur -) Voici une peinture que j’ai rejetée car je trouvais que son thème était trop similaire à une autre peinture que j’avais créée. Donc ne vous en faites pas, il n’y a plus de neige ici au Québec depuis la mi-avril -))) Nous attendons toujours que l’été arrive… finalement!

Paper: Saunders Waterford CP 140 lbs 8″ x 8″
Colours: Indigo, Alizarin Crimson, Q. Burnt Orange, Raw Sienna
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey

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Memoirs of Hadrian :: Mémoires d’Hadrian

As I came home today I had a little box that had just arrived by mail filled with DeAtramentis inks which I tried out in the following portrait. This ink is not waterproof and I took an old brush that I had, put water on it, and scrubbed the lines… and the lines started flowing into the face for a softer effect. This ink is quite special — flows freely, glides as if it was butter and is just very pleasant to draw with.

An intense sadness washed over me today as my thoughts suddenly gravitated to one of my old friends that committed suicide when I was studying at the University of Ottawa in 1979! This past weekend while I was cleaning, rummaging, throwing out tons of papers and filing some, I found this poem that he had given me a few weeks before leaving us for good. So here is a portrait of Hadrian and his poem…

Un printemps plein de fraîcheur
m’a remis la joie au coeur
j’ai trahi ma solitude
je n’en avais pas l’habitude
s’impliquer profondément
peut devenir exaspérant
une compagne qu’elle quelle soit
serait accueillie avec joie
une amie de coeur bafouée
par un ami qu’on n’peut blâmer
et à tout ça faut rajouter
que mon coeur ne sait plus où donner
t’as beau tout faire pour consoler
il est dur de dissimuler
que tu voudrais bien remplacer
l’ami à jamais effacé
tout celà dit voyons un peu
en quoi consiste la vie à deux
si seulement c’était pas sérieux
on pourrait se parler dans les yeux
s’embrasser avec ou sans feu
considérant que c’est un jeu
duquel chacun sort victorieux
sans éraflure et très heureux.
Qu’est-ce que l’avenir nous réserve
de le dire, l’avenir se réserve.

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook
Fountain Pen: Sailor Fountain Pen F
Ink: DeAtramentis Fog Grey

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Kitchen poets :: Poètes de cuisine

‘Let two persons go out for a walk; the one a good sketcher, the other having no taste of the kind. Let them go down a green lane. There will be a great difference in the scene as perceived by the two individuals. The one will see a lane and trees; he will perceive the trees to be green, though he will think nothing about it; he will see that the sun shines, and that it has a cheerful effect; and that’s all! But what will the sketcher see? His eye is accustomed to search into the cause of beauty, and penetrate the minutest parts of loveliness. He looks up, and observes how the showery and subdivided sunshine comes sprinkled down among the gleaming leaves overhead, till the air is filled with the emerald light. He will see here and there a bough emerging from the veil of leaves, he will see the jewel brightness of the emerald moss and the variegated and fantastic lichens, white and blue, purple and red, all mellowed and mingled into a single garment of beauty. Then come the cavernous trunks and the twisted roots that grasp with their snake-like coils at the steep bank, whose turfy slope is inlaid with flowers of a thousand dyes. Is not this worth seeing? Yet if you are not a sketcher you will pass along the green lane, and when you come home again, have nothing to say or to think about it, but that you went down such and such a lane.’ 
To read John Ruskin’s book on drawing — free online — see:
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/30325/30325-h/30325-h.htm

This is another line study drawing that we had to do when I was a student in graphic arts… we did alot of these as we had no computers in those days, and everything that we did was freehand — I miss those days of holding your breath so that the line stayed beautifully straight… or wavy… or curly… or scratchy. If not, you had to start over… and of course this exercise was an exercise with “no” straight lines, and you would think that it was a relief to do, but to continuously draw with jittery lines was a struggle for me!

Voici un autre dessin que j’ai fait quand j’étais étudiante en graphisme. Dans ces années-là, nous n’avions pas d’ordinateur, et tout devait être fait à la main. Soit que notre trait devait être totalement droit, et nous arrêtions de respirer pour le faire, sinon nous devions le refaire! Et pour cet exercice, le contraire était demandé… aucune ligne droite et croyez-le ou non, c’est énervant de dessiner sans avoir aucune ligne droite -)))

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