No Lines :: Sans lignes

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.
— Phyllis Diller

For today’s painting I decided to plunge head first! I painted with hardly any pencil lines and especially with no ink lines. I love drawing and using fountain pens, so I automatically grab a fountain pen when about to start a “painting”… but is it a real watercolour painting if it has ink lines? So I managed to defeat my urge to pick up the fountain pen, and just painted with watercolours. I hardly recognize what I have done, but the biggest hurdle is over… just by doing it. Yes!

Pour la peinture d’aujourd’hui, j’ai décidé de plonger la tête la première! J’ai peint sans lignes d’encre et seulement un petit peu de crayon. J’aime dessiner et utiliser des stylos à plume, donc automatiquement je prends  un stylo alors que je m’apprête à commencer une “aquarelle” … mais est-ce une vraie aquarelle si elle a des lignes d’encre? Donc, j’ai réussi à vaincre mon envie de ramasser le stylo, et j’ai peint une aquarelle. Je reconnais à peine ce que j’ai fait, mais le plus grand obstacle est passé … je l’ai fait. Oui!

Paper: Saunders Waterford CP 12″x 9″
Colours: Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson and French Ultramarine
Location: Les Cèdres, Québec, Canada


Point of view :: Point de vue

You don’t have to be Michelangelo to teach basic art, just as you don’t have to be Shakespeare to be able to teach the correct use of language.
— Charles de Lint

When painting, sometimes the view does not work and it helps to shift one’s view in order to catch another vista or totally change one’s perspective. I have painted this house before, but now I chose the back and sideways view instead, with much better results. Is it not interesting that more often than not, the back of a building is more interesting that its’ front? This view is helped by the rain barrel that leads the eye into the painting, then travels between the two buildings. This creates the illusion of multiple layers with the one in front being the barrel, the path between the buildings is the second one and then the back forest.

Lors de la peinture, parfois le point de vue ne fonctionne pas et il est nécessaire de changer son point de vue dans le but de prendre un meilleur sujet. J’ai déjà peint cette maison, et  j’ai choisi l’arrière-côté de la maison avec de bien meilleurs résultats. N’est-il pas intéressant de constater que le plus souvent, l’arrière d’un bâtiment est plus intéressant que sa devanture? Le baril aide l’oeil à entrer dans la peinture et guide l’oeil à se diriger entre les deux maisons créant trois différents niveaux… le devant, le sentier et la forêt…

Paper: Saunders Waterford CP 12″x 9″
Colours: Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson and French Ultramarine
Fountain Pen: Sailor Desk EF
Ink: Carbon Black
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada


Dreams in the Mondream Wood

In the heart of the house lay a garden.
In the heart of the garden stood a tree.
In the heart of the tree lived an old man who wore the shape of a red-haired boy with crackernut eyes that seemed as bright as salmon tails glinting up the water.
His was a riddling wisdom older by far than the ancient oak that housed his body.
The green sap was his blood and leaves grew in his hair.
In the winter, he slept.
In the spring, the moon harped a windsong against his antler tines as the oak’s boughs stretched its green buds awake.
In the summer, the air was thick with the droning of bees and the scent of the wildflowers that grew in stormy profusion where the fat brown bole became root.
And in the autumn, when the tree loosed its bounty to the ground below, there were hazelnuts lying in among the acorns.

The secrets of a Green Man.
–Charles De Lint

Paper: Stillman & Birn Sketchbook
Colours: Hansa M., Q. Burnt Orange, Burnt Umber, Alizarin & Indanthrone
Fountain Pen: Platinum Desk Pen EF DP1000AB
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Les Cèdres, Québec, Canada


Thoughts for my father…

Life is your art. An open, aware heart is your camera. A oneness with your world is your film. Your bright eyes, your easy smile is your museum.
— Ansel Adams

Dad, today is your birthday and you would have been 89 years old. We miss you! Mom misses you very much too! We were so lucky to have you at our side, all of these years. You were a quiet man, extremely conscientious and you showed me what it looked like to be a good husband and a good father. You taught me how to organize myself, you transferred your love of history and genealogy to me, you showed me how to measure drinks for guests and how to assemble airplane models. You brought me along on train rides, accompanied me when I was sick, came to see me in Ottawa when I was at university and feeling lonely, you cracked me up with your sense of humour and your great outlook on life. You certainly had a special wisdom and a great philosophy. You were an avid reader with books lying all across the house, in every nook and cranny. I am an avid reader also with books lying all across the house, in every nook and cranny. You knew when to shut up — which is a great quality for keeping friends and family in harmony — and you knew when to speak up too. You showed me that men and women are equal, you were a feminist-dad -) You always had the time for me, despite your very demanding job as well as giving your time to the MOCO club, the Richelieu Club, taking photographs for the Regattas in Valleyfield, being on the topographical committee for the city of Valleyfield, perusing through the city’s history and helping out whenever you could. You were a great role model Dad and I still miss you, and always will. Happy Birthday -) I painted this building today as you had once told Mom, probably as a joke, that you would buy it for her. Do you remember where it stands? It is at the junction of route 201 between St. Stanislas de Kostka and St. Louis de Gonzague. You said that it would stand tall for a very long time and you were right, as it is still there. So here it is for you…

Paper: Stillman & Birn Sketchbook
Colours: Aureolin, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin & Indigo
Fountain Pen: Platinum Desk Pen EF DP1000AB
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Junction of Route 201 & Route 236, Québec, Canada


Cloud Illusions :: Mystère des nuages

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.”
— A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Joni Mitchell’s lyrics come back to me every time that I try to solve cloud illusions, and how to paint them. So I tackled clouds today, as well as water and mountains… hum! Might as well tackle everything at the same time. One of the Québec artists whom I admire is Marc-Aurèle Fortin, first for his trees and also for his clouds. It was a lot of fun chasing after these clouds as I felt as I was delving in Fortin territory, which I am not used to. So here are my trials and tryouts.

Les paroles de Joni Mitchell reviennent à chaque fois que j’essaie de résoudre le mystère des nuages. Aujourd’hui j’ai ouvert un de mes livres sur Marc-Aurèle Fortin, un peintre québécois que j’aime beaucoup, surtout pour ses arbres majestueux et ses nuages. J’étais dans le territoire de Fortin, une façon de peindre qui m’est inconnue et qui était amusante à faire. 



Art Show :: Vernissage

Let the painting tell you what it needs.
— Charles Reid

When my husband and I travel to an unknown country, we let the city guide us on our first day. It is with this habit that we realize that a city is a good “biking” city, or rather a walking city because of its open air markets, or something else and thus, when I read Charles Reid’s quote, I liked it. I am slowly starting to gather some of my pieces together to get them framed, and this one is a contender. I am starting to gather them together to get them framed as we are having a Department Art Show on Monday September 8, 2014 at John Abbott College and this will be my first ever!

Quand nous voyageons dans une nouvelle ville, nous laissons la ville nous guider. C’est de cette façon que nous voyons qu’une ville est une bonne ville pour se promener à bicyclette, ou si elle a beaucoup de marchés ouverts, elle est plus propice à la marche à pied… et c’est pour ça que j’aime ce que Charles Reid dit. Je commence à tranquillement regrouper mes peintures pour les faire cadrer car nous avons un Vernissage lundi le 8 septembre 2014 à John Abbott College — j’ai hâte car ça va être la première fois de ma vie que je participe à ce style d’événement! 

Paper: Saunders Waterford 140 lbs 8.25″x12.75″
Colours: Aureolin, Raw Sienna, Alizarin & Indanthrone
Fountain Pen: Platinum Desk Pen EF DP1000AB
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Ferme Tourne-Sol, Les Cèdres, Québec, Canada


Ste. Anne de Bellevue’s Waterfront :: Le quai de Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue

“There was once a town in the heart of America where all life seemed to live in harmony with its surroundings… Then a strange blight crept over the area and everything began to change… There was a strange stillness… The few birds seen anywhere were moribund; they trembled violently and could not fly. It was a spring without voices. On the  mornings that had once throbbed with the dawn chorus of scores of bird voices there was now no sound; only silence lay over the fields and woods and marsh.”
— Rachel Carson, environmentalist, scientist and writer.

These words still ring true today and were written by Rachel Caron, a great environmentalist who was concerned about the ravages of DDT in 1959. I knew that I would paint this scene one of these days and I mustered up the courage to do it today, and I actually had fun figuring it out, drawing it and then painting it.

Ces mots ont été écrits par Rachel Carson, grande environnementaliste très concernée par les ravages du DDT en 1959. Je savais qu’une de ces bonnes journées j’étais pour peindre cette scène et j’ai eu du plaisir à la faire. J’ai travaillé humide sur humide pour le ciel et pour le reste humide sur un papier sec… je pense que j’aurais dû faire l’eau humide sur humide aussi… ça sera pour la prochaine fois.

Paper: Stillman & Birn Sketchbook
Colours: Hensa Medium, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber & Indanthrone
Fountain Pen: Platinum Desk Pen EF DP1000AB
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Québec, Canada


:: Pointe-du-Moulin ::

At times there seems to be a million ideas worth painting. However, there are days when it’s a challenge to pull any idea together. On these days I go to my studio, leaf through an art history book, and tell myself that I am part of this great tradition.
— James Dean

A bit of Île-Perrot history
François-Marie Perrot, the second governor of Montreal Island, was born in Ïle de France (the area around Paris) in1644. He married Madeleine Laguide-Meynier, a niece of Jean Talon, the first intendant of New France. On October 29, 1672, Perrot was granted ownership of the island, which came to bear his name, together with the small adjacent islands. Because he was more interested in the highly lucrative fur trade, Perrot delegated his powers to Antoine Lefrenaye de Brucy. A trading post was established in the fief de Brucy, a strategic spot at the confluence of the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers. Here, Perrot’s men were in position to intercept the fur-laden canoes from the hinterland before they got to Montreal. The seignorial domain was located on the present site of Pointe-du-Domaine, at the northeastern tip of the island. Perrot hired farmhands to till the land and raise cattle. Until the end of the 17th century, Pointe-du-Moulin remained uncultivated, and no record has been found of any grants of land on the island.  (This text was taken from the information panel in the Pointe-du-Moulin Park).

Today I painted with Linda Drewry and her friends, and some of my friends were there too! I used two techniques for this painting today. The sky was made using a wet-on-wet technique, meaning that I wet the paper with clear water, did not wait for it to dry, and then applied the wet waercolours. For the rest of the painting, I used wet-on-dry, meaning that my brushes were loaded with wet watercolours and applied to the dry surface of paper.

Un peu d’histoire sur l’Île-Perrôt
François-Marie Perrot, le deuxième gouverneur de l’île de Montréal, est né à l’Île-de-France (région parisienne) en. Il a épousé Madeleine Laguide-Meynier, une nièce de Jean Talon, premier intendant de la Nouvelle-France. Le 29 Octobre 1672, Perrot a obtenu la propriété de l’île, qui porte son nom, ainsi que les petites îles adjacentes. Parce qu’il était plus intéressé par le commerce de la fourrure qui était très lucratif, Perrot a délégué ses pouvoirs à Antoine Lefrenaye de Brucy. Un poste de traite a été créé dans le fief de Brucy, un endroit stratégique au confluent de la rivière des Outaouais et du fleuve Saint-Laurent. Ici, les hommes de Perrot étaient en position pour intercepter les pirogues chargés de fourrures de l’arrière-pays avant d’arriver à Montréal. Le domaine seigneurial était situé sur l’emplacement actuel de la Pointe-du-Domaine, à la pointe nord de l’île. Perrot embaucha des ouvriers agricoles pour cultiver la terre et élever du bétail. Jusqu’à la fin du 17ème siècle, la Pointe-du-Moulin est restée en friche, et aucune trace n’a été trouvée de toute subvention de terre sur l’île. (Ce texte a été pris d’un panneau informatif à la Pointe-du-Moulin).

Aujourd’hui j’ai peint avec Linda Drewry et ses amis, et moi aussi j’avais des amies présentes. J’ai utilisé deux techniques pour cette peinture aujourd’hui. Le ciel a été fait en utilisant une technique humide sur humide, ce qui signifie que j’ai mouillé le papier avec de l’eau clair, je n’ai pas attendu que ça sèche, et puis j’ai appliqué les aquarelles qui étaient chargés dans mon pinceau. Pour le reste de la peinture, j’ai utilisé la technique de mouillé sur sec, ce qui signifie que mes pinceaux étaient chargés avec des aquarelles humides et appliquées à la surface de papier sec.

Paper: Stillman & Birn Sketchbook
Colours: Hensa Medium, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber & Indanthrone
Fountain Pen: Platinum Desk Pen EF DP1000AB
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Pointe-du-Moulin, Ile-Perrôt, Québec, Canada


Serendipity :: Sérendipité

There is an art to wandering. If I have a destination, a plan – an objective – I’ve lost the ability to find serendipity. I am on a quest, not a ramble. I search for the Holy Grail of particularity and miss the chalice freely offered, filled and overflowing.
— Cathy Johnson

     Serendipity: the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way: a fortunate stroke of serendipity | a series of small serendipities.
Since my last workshop, I am integrating the elements that I learned into my paintings. I am really looking at the negative spaces in the scene & I am keeping my brushes “very” wet. Add to this the fact that I just happened to look over my left shoulder, and really liked what I saw at Ferme Tourne-Sol…. a moment of serendipity. I was not looking for something to paint, it just presented itself to me. I really like the Indanthrone Blue that I have just bought as it is a bit darker than Cobalt Blue but it is still a really nice summer blue -)

     Depuis mon dernier atelier,  j’essaie de porter une attention particulière aux espaces négatifs ainsi que de vraiment mouiller mes pinceaux. Ajouter à cela que je me trouvais à regarder par-dessus mon épaule gauche, et j’ai beaucoup aimé ce que j’ai vu à la Ferme Tourne-Sol …. un moment de pur hasard — un moment de sérendipité! Je ne cherchais pas quelque chose à peindre, la scène s’est présentée à moi. J’aime beaucoup le bleu Indanthrone que je viens d’acheter car il est un peu plus sombre que le bleu cobalt, et il est encore un très joli bleu d’été -)

Paper: Stillman & Birn Sketchbook
Colours: Aureolin, Winsor Red, Burnt Sienna & Indanthrone
Fountain Pen: Platinum Desk Pen EF DP1000AB
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Ferme Tourne-Sol, Les Cèdres, Québec, Canada


Of rocks & learning :: De roches & d’apprentissage

As children, we come into the world with a natural desire to both speak and draw. Society makes sure that we learn language properly, right from the beginning, but art is treated as a gift of innate genius, something we either have or don’t.
— Charles de Lint

This afternoon, after a night out with some of our dearest friends of over 35 years, I was daydreaming and started thinking of John Ruskin and his wonderful drawings of trees and rocks… and my gaze lifted and this was in front of me. So I just had to draw it. In reference to the above quote, as a teacher I have seen over and over again that “talent” does not really matter. When students work hard at something and persevere, & love what they do, they usually succeed -)

Cet après-midi, après une belle soirée avec de bons amis de longue date, j’étais dans la lune et je pensais à John Ruskin et son amour pour les arbres et les roches… et je me suis levé les yeux et ces roches étaient en-avant de moi. Je devais les dessiner! En référence à la citation ci-dessus, en tant que professeure, j’ai vu maintes et maintes fois que le «talent» n’a pas vraiment d’importance. Lorsque les élèves travaillent fort et persévèrent, et aiment ce qu’ils font, souvent ils réussissent -)

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook
Fountain Pen: Romus Fine
Ink: DeAtramentis Fog Grey
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada