:: Courage ::

The struggle to save the global environment is in one way much more difficult than the struggle to vanquish Hitler, for this time the war is with ourselves. We are the enemy, just as we have only ourselves as allies.
— Al Gore

In many artistic endeavours, courage is needed. Courage to paint, even though your last painting was scrapped and that today’s might be better, or worse. Courage to play those darn musical scales for the thousandth time as you know that deep down, they are helpful. Courage to hear what other people think of your work, and keep yourself from breaking down in front of them. Courage to look at your work in a subjective manner, and be proud even amidst its faults. Courage to start writing a book, even though you have never written one before. Today I summoned a bit of courage and decided to start sketching people… I say summon courage as painting people is very intimidating for me. I am shy of painting in front of people and to show people that I am painting them well… that is even worse. So today I enlisted to Marc Taro Holmes’ “Sketching People in Motion” an online video course given at Craftsy.com. His class is well worth it and Marc has the experience needed to teach and is also a very generous person. Also at around $25 it is a fair price. Here are the three first sketches that I did this afternoon (the bottom one was the first one). Tomorrow I will be adding the colours to these sketches… can’t wait!

Pratiquer une forme d’art, peu importe laquelle, prend du courage. Courage pour commencer une nouvelle peinture quand on sait que la dernière était terrible, et que celle-ci pourrait être mieux, ou pire. Courage de pratiques les gammes de musique pour la millième fois, quand on sait que oui elles sont nécessaires. Courage pour commencer un livre, surtout quand on n’en a jamais écrit un! Courage d’entendre des personnes critiquer tes oeuvres sans perdre face et s’écrouler. Aujourd’hui j’ai décidé de faire face à une de mes hantises et j’ai décidé de peindre des personnes et pour m’aider j’ai décidé de suivre le cours de Marc Taro Holmes “Sketching People in Motion” qui en vaut la chandelle car Marc a l’expérience nécessaire et est une personnes généreuse avec son enseignement. À $25 le prix est très raisonnable aussi et voici les trois dessins que j’ai faits cet après-midi. Demain il me reste à les peindre -)

Paper: Bockingford CP 140 lbs.




Dominical Sketching :: Sketch dominical

There are always a myriad of colour choices that will work in any situation, as long as the tonal value is appropriate.
— Gaye Adams

Why is it that some paintings just don’t turn out? I know that for me, I need to love what I paint… if there is a tiny inkling of doubt, the painting usually suffers. I have been promising myself to paint this farmhouse every time that I pass in front of it… and yet. Well there are some things that I like about it… the fact that there are no ink lines (except for the electrical lines), my trees are slowly evolving…. instead of painting each individual branch, I am putting in layers of abstract forms, which I like. I think that the colour values of my painting are off… as I did not do a value sketch beforehand. Next time I will -)))

Pourquoi est-ce que certaines peintures de décollent pas? Je sais que pour moi, je dois beaucoup aimer ce que je peins…. si j’ai l’ombre d’un doute, la peinture va en souffrir. Les choses que j’aiment de cette peinture est le ciel, ainsi que la forêt qu’au lieu de peindre chaque branche individuellement c’est un amas de calques abstraits, que j’aime. Je crois que les tonalités de couleurs est off dans cette peinture car je n’ai pas fait un croquis de tonalités de valeur avant… prochaine fois je vais le faire -)))

Paper: Travelogue Handbook Series
Colours: Raw Sienna, Alizarin Crimson, Raw Sienna, Raw Umber & French Ultramarine
Location: Vaudreuil, Québec, Canada


Ingredients :: Ingrédients

Art = a mad search for individualism.
— Paul Gauguin

This has to be one of my all-time favourite barns… and you know that I love old barns, and this one is special. The other day as I was passing in the vicinity, I missed it and thought that it had been torn down. So today, for my day off, I rushed back and was relieved to find it still standing there, proud and lonesome! It has the beautiful backdrop of Mount Calvaire in Oka, has pristine snow and is old… it has all of the ingredients that I need for a landscape painting. The dried grasses and hay in the forefront add depth to the painting… it permits the eye to travel towards the barn and the forest… so for me, it makes it interesting.

Cette grange est une de mes granges favorites! Elle a tout les ingrédients dont j’ai besoin pour peindre… elle a le Mont Calvaire à Oka tout en-arrière, une forêt, une grange, une neige immaculée, et tout en-avant, le foin et les herbes séchés qui permettent à l’oeil d’entrer dans la peinture et se rendre à la grange pour ensuite finir son chemin tout au haut du Mont Calvaire! Une de ces bonnes journées je vous raconterai l’histoire de ce mont. 

Paper: Travelogue Handbook Series
Colours: Raw Sienna, Burnt Umber, Alizarin Crimson & Indanthrone Blue
Fountain Pen: Pilot Penmanship EF
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Vaudreuil, Québec, Canada


Van Gogh to Kandinsky :: Van Gogh à Kandinsky

A critic at my house sees some paintings. Greatly perturbed, he asks for my drawings. My drawings! Never! They are my letters, my secrets.
— Paul Gauguin

I went to see the The Van Gogh to Kandinsky exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and it was well worth the visit, even though we were 6 bodies deep at some point in time -) Because of the number of people that were there, it was difficult to draw — let alone draw a straight line. What I love about visiting museums is to try and reproduce, very quickly, the paintings of some of my favourite artists… once you have sketched their painting, an understanding dawns on you and gives you an inside perspective as to how the painter felt when he was painting it or what he was seeing. It gives you a glimpse of what was and on the plus side, I learn how they draw. I drew Gaughin’s Les meules jaunes & Le gardien de porcs, Vincent Van Gogh’s les Saules au coucher du soleil, Jean Metzinger’s Nu debout, a Cézanne still life and a painting from De Vlaminck. It is a great feeling to draw and learn from the Masters. If you still have not seen this exposition, it ends on Sunday January 25, 2015.

Je suis allée voir l’exposition de Van Gogh à Kandinsky au Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal et même si nous étions 6 personnes de profond, donc bien difficile pour dessiner, j’ai quand même eu la chance de dessiner ces petits croquis qui me permettent d’entrevoir comment est-ce que ces grands maîtres de la peinture pouvaient “voir” leur peinture. Ceci nous permet de rentrer un tout petit peu dans leur monde et c’est un grand privilège. Vous devriez l’essayer pour voir -) J’ai dessiné Gaughin’s Les meules jaunes & Le gardien de porcs, Vincent Van Gogh les Saules au coucher du soleil, Jean Metzinger Nu debout, une nature morte de Cézanne et une peinture de De Vlaminck. Si vous n’avez pas encore été visiter cette exposition, dépêchez-vous car elle finit ce dimanche, le 25 janvier 2015.


Washes :: Lavis

Our social relationships are limited, most of the time, to gossip and criticizing people’s behaviour. This observation slowly pushed me to isolate from the so-called social life. My days pass by in solitude.
Ingmar Bergman

What caught my eye today was this gorgeous tortuous tree trunk and I knew that I wanted to paint it. However this entailed that I had to paint the background too, and I kept telling myself “Why did I choose to paint this? This is way too complicated!” But slowly and surely, I managed to finish it after a full two hours of painting, which I am not used to painting for that length of time. I am happy with the result though and between the drawing in pencil/ink and the actual putting down of paints, I had to take a break and think about how I would paint this. So I actually started with a light New Gambodge wash all over the painting (except for the tree and the left facing windows) and then thinking about Joseph Zbukvic’s recipe of Tea+Coffee+Milk+Cream+Butter. The first wash represents the tea, then a thicker paint is represented by Milk and the final touches are done with a texture of cream and butter densities. This permits to build layers of watercolours one on top of the other.

I wanted to compare the iPhone results to a real scanner and this is why there are two paintings for this post. The top one is with the scanner and the bottom one is with the iPhone and I am pleasantly surprised with the iPhone. This is good news for travelling to Turkey this summer.

En me promenant sur la rue Sherbrooke à Montréal aujourd’hui, cet arbre s’est révélé à moi en me criant: “Peins-moi, peins-moi!” Il avait bien raison car il était exquis… par contre, il fallait bien que je peigne aussi l’arrière-plan! J’ai commencé avec un lavis de New Gambodge sur toute la toile sauf pour l’arbre et les fenêtres. Ensuite j’ai utilisé la recette de Joseph Zbukvic qui est d’utiliser les densités de Thé+Café+Lait+Crème+Crème+Beurre pour ajouter les étages de peinture et finir avec le beurre à la toute fin. 

Paper: Handbook Travelogue
Colours: New Gambodge, Raw Sienna, Burnt Umber, Alizarin Crimson & Cobalt Blue
Fountain Pen: Platinum Desk Pen EF DP1000AB
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Québec, Canada



Nib “dip” pens :: Plumes métalliques

Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear which is inherent in the human situation.
Graham Greene

It is true that writing acts as a form of therapy for me… it completes the drawings/paintings that I create. If I were to either write or draw/paint only, the process would feel incomplete… something would be missing. This blog is such an amazing medium for me as it gives me the opportunity to invest in both of these loves that I have, and ends with the hope that someone “may” read and look at what I have to offer. Thank to t hose who do -)))

Drawing with a nib pen (sometimes people call them dip pens) is a very special sensation for me…. it takes me back to the days when scribes would letter entire books by hand using a quill feather. The pen is dipped in black ink (or any colour for that matter) and then drawn with until there is no more ink, and the pen is dipped again… it is a nice sensation and very dangerous for my kitchen studio as I have a butcher block counter… this ink stains so carefulness is required.

Il est vrai que écrire est une forme de thérapie pour moi… l’écriture complète les peintures/dessins que je crées et que je publient. Si j’étais pour omettre d’écrire et de seulement publier un dessin, il y aurait quelque chose qui manquerait du procédé de création. Ce blog est tellement un médium unique pour moi car il me permet d’investir dans les deux amours que j’ai, et qui finit toujours avec l’espoir que peut-être quelqu’un va lire ou regarder ce que j’ai offrir. Merci à ceux qui le font -)))

Dessiner avec une plume métallique est une sensation très plaisante… ça me rappelle les images que j’ai de scribes penchés sur leurs livres manuscrits et qui portent leur plume vers l’encrier et de retour à la page. Ce va et vient est par contre très dangereux dans mon atelier-cuisine car cette encre est très tachante pour mon comptoir en bois.

Dip Pen: Deleter Comic Pen
Ink: Deleter Manga Ink, black #4
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada


You :: Toi

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
Oscar Wilde

Today is considered The Light of Lohri Day, a holiday celebrated by Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh people. Since the events that happened at Charlie Hebdo in France, I have been looking at the art that caricaturists do and what their lives entail… and many of these artists lead dangerous lives, specifically the political artists. This has given me the urge to get my people sketching up to par… and what better way than to study other famous artists and try to figure out how they do it and emulate wha they do. I used a dip pen to create this drawing with manga ink. So this is from my favourite caricature artist — Boligan!

Depuis les événements d’Hebdo Charly en France, je me suis attardée à regarder bien des oeuvres de caricaturistes et j’en ai découvert un par le nom de Boligan qui est incroyable! Pour moi dessiner des personnages est difficile et quel meilleur moyen d’apprendre que je de refaire ce que les grands font? Donc voici ma version d’un des personnages de Boligan, que j’aime beaucoup -)

Dip Pen: Deleter Comic Pen
Ink: Deleter Manga Ink, black #4
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada


:: Distaff Day ::

Partly work and partly play
You must on St. Distaffs Day:
From the plough soon free your team;
Then cane home and fother them:
If the maids a-spinning go,
Burn the flax and fire the tow.
Bring in pails of water then,
Let the maids bewash the men.
Give St. Distaff’ all the right:
Then bid Christmas sport good night,
And next morrow every one
To his own vocation.’
— St. Distaff’s Day; Or, the Morrow after Twelfth-day

In many European cultural traditions, women resumed their household work after the twelve days of Christmas and this day was called Distaff Day.Women of all classes would spend their evenings spinning on the wheel. During the day, they would carry a drop spindle with them. Spinning was the only means of turning raw wool, cotton or flax into thread, which could then be woven into cloth. (Information taken from Wikipedia).

Well today is a cold one in Québec… -22C and tonight will be -32C… brrrr! This postcard was sent to Montreal, and Chi Mai received it yesterday so here it is on her blog. I painted the same scene twice, yesterday’s post in Winter and this one in Spring. These were photographed by Brian, a high school friend. I am so much looking forward to Spring at the moment.

Paper: Saunders Waterford CP 140 lbs.
Colours: Aureolin Yellow, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramarine
Fountain Pen: Platinum Desk Pen EF DP1000AB
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey


Epiphany :: La fête des rois

Three Kings came riding from far away,
Melchior and Gaspar and Baltasar;
Three Wise Men out of the East were they,
And they travelled by night and they slept by day,
For their guide was a beautiful, wonderful star.
— Longfellow

Today we have gained 15 minutes of sunlight and spring is just around the corner… even though the harshest part of the winter days has not been seen yet. Last Friday I sent out two different postcards to two different destinations… one in Belgium and the other one in Montreal to commemorate the 2015 New Year. Well they finally arrived at destination today… at the same time. So here is the Belgium New Year’s Postcard that I sent to  Christine as I knew that she loved old Québec buildings and architecture… so I sent her a sugar shack that I painted from a reference photo that Brian, a high school friend, took a while ago.

Aujourd’hui nous avons 15 minutes de plus de lumière donc le printemps est juste de l’autre côté même si le pire de l’hiver est à venir. Vendredi passé j’ai envoyé deux cartes postales différentes à deux endroits différents… une à Montréal et l’autre en Belgique pour commémorer la Nouvelle année 2015. Les deux sont arrivées aujourd’hui, en même temps! Voici la carte de la Belgique. Je sais que Christine aime bien les vieilles bâtisses et l’architecture du Québec, donc j’ai décidé d’y envoyer une peinture de cabane à sucre (shack à sucre). J’ai peint d’une photo de référence que Brian, un ami de secondaire, m’a autorisée à utiliser pour ces fins.

Paper: Saunders Waterford CP 140 lbs.
Colours: Aureolin Yellow, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramarine
Fountain Pen: Platinum Desk Pen EF DP1000AB
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey

Between two realities :: Entre deux réalités

“The purposeful wandering that precedes actually sitting down to paint is often just as important and pleasurable as putting paint on paper. Painting is a process of deliberately moving back and forth between the two worlds, and the pictures that result, if they are any good, serve as the bridges that connect them”.
— Tom Hoffman

My greatest difficulty in the painting process is finding “what” to paint. Sometimes I wish for the most perfect setting that I have never painted before and end up painting a tree or a fence. The process of finding what to paint is an enjoyable and somewhat anguishing one also… I set out in my car hoping to have something pop up in my eyes and crying “paint me, paint me!”. During this time this I am floating between two realities and many call this state a transitional one, in which I float between the reality of my day-to-day life and the translation of the form/content that I am perceiving through my eyes and that runs through my paintbrush. I often feel that when I am painting I end up in a state that of “flow” in which I forget where I am and time disappears.

Ma plus grande difficulté dans le processus de création d’une peinture est de trouver “quoi” peindre. Des fois j’espère pour la scène la plus pittoresque qui soit et je peins en fin de compte une clôture ou un arbre. Le processus de trouver est très agréable et angoissant en même temps… je pars en automobile en espérant que quelque chose va crier: “Peins-moi, peins-moi!”  Pendant ce temps je flotte entre deux réalités… que beaucoup appellent un état de transition entre la réalité de la vie de tous les jours et la traduction de la forme/contenu que je perçois au travers de mes yeux… et qui court vers mon pinceau. Je me retrouve souvent dans un état de “flow” où j’oublie où je suis et le temps disparaît.

Paper: Pentalic Sketchbook
Fountain Pen:
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Colours: Aureolin Yellow, Raw Sienna,Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Sienna & French Ultramarine
Location: St-Clet, Québec, Canada (from a reference photograph)