:: Pyper ::

You start painting the moment you look at the subject, not with the first brushstroke.
— Josef Zbukvik

Zbukvik’s quote is so true. How many times do I catch myself looking and longing to paint it? And at the very same time, I am figuring out in my mind how to paint and draw it. The minute that my eyes rest on the subject, my mind twirls with paints.

I have been drawing, painting, ink line only, without lines… but using lead is really not my forte. So here is my little 85 lb. Golden Retriever Pyper. Luckily, he just fidgeted a bit, quite unusual for him as he seems to have a third sense — he knows when I am painting him, and wakes up to play. So in order to learn how to draw with lead, instead of creating an outline of his shape and then filling it in, I outlined him with feathery wisps of strokes and I think that the result is better that way, even though far from perfect. I also kept part of him incomplete, as in reality it was not necessary to draw him even if it would have been good practice for me.

Je peins avec des aquarelles, des fois à l’huile, dessine avec de l’encre, une plume fontaine avec toutes sortes de crayons et de pinceaux, et rarement que je dessine avec un crayon à la mine! Voici mon petit Pyper, un Golden Retriever qui ne pèse que 85 livres -) Ce soir il a resté endormi pendant que je le dessinais qui est assez surprenant car il semble avoir un 3e sens… quand j’essaie de le dessiner (ou que je lui donne de l’attention) il se lève et veut jouer. Pour le dessin au lieu de faire un contour de sa forme et ensuite de remplir, j’ai utilisé une série d’hachures longues représentant son poil.

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook
Pencil: Pentel 0,3 HB
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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Teapot :: Théière

“Nourish yourself with grand and austere ideas of beauty that feed the soul… Seek solitude.”
— Eugène Delacroix, 1798-1863

When I decide to draw or paint I first think of my subject and then the paper. As tonight I actually felt like drawing, rather than painting, I chose the Moleskine Sketchbook as it is wonderful to draw on as the ink glides on the surface. However, when you decide to move on to paint with watercolour, you have to scrub the paint into the paper as the paper has a glaze on it that makes the watercolours pearl. I used a synthetic brush on this paper as the bristles are harder than with red sable and are better for scrubbing.

Quand je décide de dessiner ou de peindre, la première chose est de trouver un sujet et ensuite je pense à quel papier que je vais utiliser. Comme ce soir j’avais le goût de dessiner, j’ai décidé de prendre le papier Moleskine qui réagit superbement avec l’encre d’une plume fontaine car il y a une fine couche de glaise sur le papier qui est sublime pour la glisse. Par contre, quand on décide de peindre en aquarelles par-dessus, on doit “scrubber” pour que la peinture entre dans le papier et ceci donne un effet assez “grunge”. (Excusez pour tous les anglicismes, mais je ne sais pas…) Pour pouvoir avoir de bons résultats il est mieux de prendre un pinceau synthétique  car les poils sont plus raides.

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook
Fountain Pen: Platinum Desk Pen EF DP1000AB
Ink: Noodlers Lexington Grey
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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:: Restaurant Kam Fung ::

  • Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people
    are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home;
    that wildness is a necessity;
    and that mountain parks and reservations
    are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigation rivers,
    but as fountains of life.
    — John Muir

    Today was a very good day as it started early and had many exciting experiences. First, about 12 Urban Sketchers of Montreal met at la Maison Kam Fung in the Chinese sector of Montreal to have a Chinese Brunch and sketch together. The food was very good and the fellowship with other sketchers was very enjoyable. Then I had to leave as I had a ticket to see the Vincent Van Gogh “A New Way of Seeing”  film at the Kirkland Cineplex. It brought tears to my eyes… his life story is unique and sad too and the quality of the filming, in high definition, is something to see. The next film will be on May 28th on the Impressionists.

    Aujourd’hui a été une journée assez productive et intéressante où je me suis joint à environ 12 autres Urban Sketchers de Montréal pour dessiner en brunchant à la Maison Kam Fung dans le quartier chinois de Montréal. La bouffe film sur Van Gogh intitulé “A New Way of Seeing” au Cinéplex de Kirkland. Sa vie a été tellement triste que j’ai été remplie d’émotions! Le prochain film est le 28 mai sur les Impressionistes

    Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook
    Pen: Pilot Prera Fine
    Colours: Raw Sienna, New Gambodge, Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramrine
    Location: Restaurant Kam Fung, Montréal, Québec, Canada

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Soft & Hard Edges :: Contours mous & durs

Spring is a natural resurrection,
an experience in immortality.
— Henri David Thoreau

I started watercolour painting about 2 years ago and throughout the different workshops & courses that I attended artists often referred to hard & soft edges and I was never sure, until today, exactly what they meant. I knew what they meant, but where and when to apply it was a different matter. Until today. As I was painting and pondering on the finished product, I thought that the ice shards were not sharp enough (bottom painting) and I had my ah-ha moment! The shards need hard edges (top painting). Yahoo! So I drew on top of my watercolour some lead lines to show the hard edges… sometimes comprehending different concepts takes time… and life becomes easy.

J’ai commencé à peindre avec des aquarelles il y a environ deux ans et au cours de divers ateliers et cours les artistes parlaient souvent de contours durs & doux et je savais ce qu’ils voulaient dire, et je ne comprenais pas totalement… jusqu’à aujourd’hui. En regardant ma peinture finie, je regardais les amas de glaces et je me suis dit qu’ils avaient besoin d’un contour dur (peinture du haut) et non un contour mou comme j’avais fait (peinture du bas). Donc j’ai pris un crayon à la mine et j’ai retracé par dessus ma peinture des contours durs pour démontrer ce que je veux dire. Des fois certains concepts sont plus difficiles à comprendre… et la vie devient facile.

Paper: Travelogue Sketchbook
Colours Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, Alizarin Crimson & French Ultramarine
Location: Reference photograph Lake St. Louis, Québec, Canada

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Artist Friend :: Amie artiste

The robins sing with a will now. What a burst of melody! It gurgles out of all conduits now; they are choked with it. There is such a tide and rush of song as when a river is straightened between two rocky walls. It seems as if the morning throat was not large enough to emit all this sound.
— Thoreau’s Journal, April 16, 1856

Throughout this week I’ve come home from school to hurl myself at making dinner than going to various meetings. On top of that, my work schedule has conspired against me as it has been adding on so many hours of correcting and preparing that the painter in me, has not painted for awhile now. Wednesday night at the AHA meeting in Hudson, I met up with a fellow sketcher and she invited me to draw/paint/sketch a live model session at her house that takes place on Friday mornings…. so this morning was delightful — delightful because it took me away from the daunting task of correcting 56 students — and delightful because we were six artists modelling for each other (which was  a first for moi) and was just a very pleasant and productive meet-up. We drew 4 x 3 minute sessions followed by 4 x 20 minute session. I am so lucky to share these moments with other like-minded people. Thank you!

Toute la semaine j’étais bien occupée avec maintes réunions et décisions à prendre… en plus d’avoir des tonnes de corrections à faire cette fin de semaine. Mercredi soir à la réunion AHA, une femme m’a invitée à me joindre à leur session de modèle vivant qui se tient à tous les vendredis matins à sa résidence. Donc ce matin était un matin fort agréable — agréable à cause que je n’étais pas en train de corriger ou de préparer mes cours — et agréable car nous étions six personnes à jouer au modèle vivant en jasant et dessinant en même temps. Je suis tellement chanceuse de vivre dans ce coin et de rencontrer ces belles personnes. Merci!

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook 5″ x 8″
Pencil: 2B
Location: Hudson, Québec, Canada

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Open for comments :: Ouvert pour commentaires

For the past year and a half, many people have mentioned to me that they could not comment on this blog. I fixed it tonight — youppi! It took so much time to find what was the culprit, and it was an anti-spam code that had been inserted in my blog during the installation of some plug-ins. So thankfully, now you should be able to comment. A quick contour drawing tonight…

Pour la dernière année et demie beaucoup de personnes m’ont dit qu’ils ne pouvaient pas commenter sur mon blogue… eh bien, tout est réparé à partir de ce soir. Il y avait un code anti-spam et avant que je le trouve, ça l’a pris bien du temps. Donc j’espère qu’à partir de ce soir, tout est ok. Youppi!

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A bit of help :: Un peu d’aide

Life etches itself onto our faces as we grow older, showing our violence, excesses or kindnesses.
— Rembrandt

You know that you are influenced by the winter temperatures when you start painting what you would like the weather to be instead of how it is! Today there were still flurries coming down for most of the afternoon and I ignored these weather signs… I do not know what got a hold of me but it seems as though I forgot to look at my subject and painted what I felt like seeing in front of me instead. So guess what? I added greens with sunny colours. So when I realized this, I decided to add some white (which I rarely do) to soften up the greens in the mountain (as the mountain still has snow on it -).

Vous savez que vous êtes influencé par les températures hivernales quand vous commencez à peindre ce que vous aimeriez voir au lieu de ce qui est! Aujourd’hui il y avait encore des averses de neige et j’ai ignoré ces signes météorologiques … Je ne sais pas ce qui s’est emparé de moi, il semble que j’ai oublié de regarder mon sujet et peint ce que j’avais envie de voir en face de moi à la place. Alors j’ai ajouté des verts et des couleurs ensoleillées. Quand j’ai réellement réalisé ce que je faisais, j’ai décidé d’ajouter un peu de blanc (que j’utilise très rarement) pour adoucir les verts dans la montagne (comme la montagne a encore de la neige -).

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Series
Colours: Q. Gold, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, Indanthrone Blue and Chinese White
Fountain Pen: Platinum Desk Pen EF DP1000AB
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada


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Pink Moon :: Lune Rose

It is also good to love: because love is difficult. 
For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test and proof.
The work for which all other work is merely preparation. 
— “Letters to a young poet” by Rainer Maria Rilke

Our Spring has been moody, filled with bad tempered transitions as yesterday we had the full rays of the sun cheering and warming us and today we woke up to a thick blanket of snow — gorgeous it was, and capricious too our Spring this year. Today is the full Pink Moon, heralded by our Native People by the appearance of the moss pink, or wild ground phlox—one of the first spring flowers. It is also known as the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and the Fish Moon. I painted today one of the most beautiful roads in my region in Rigaud, it is long and winding with soft curves rising and falling, taking your breath away at every turn. The mountain acts as a backdrop, adding to the drama of the landscape.

Notre printemps est imprévisible, remplie de transitions atmosphériques allant du très froid au très chaud… partant hier d’une journée ensoleillée et chaude nous nous sommes réveillés sous un manteau de neige épais — magnifique en soi, et capricieux aussi. Aujourd’hui est la pleine Lune Rose, annoncée par les autochtones avec l’apparition de la mousse rose, une des premières fleurs du printemps. J’ai peint aujourd’hui sur une des plus belles routes de Rigaud, où la route est sinueuse et longue avec des courbes douces qui montent et qui descendent ayant comme toile de fond la montagne, ajoutant au drame de ce paysage majestueux.

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Series
Colours: New Hansa Medium, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Indanthrone Blue
Fountain Pen: Platinum Desk Pen EF DP1000AB
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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:: Leonardo Da Vinci ::

An action by means of which one man,
having experienced a feeling, intentionally transmits it to others.

— Tolstoy

You do not see me often draw with a lead pencil and as I was perusing the excellent book The Practice & Science of Drawing by Harold Speed I fell upon an image drawn in lead by Leonardo Da Vinci… and I studied it, and looked at it, sideways, upside down, with a low light, with a bright light, mornings and at night and I was amazed at how such a simple drawing could be so wonderful. So I told myself that I had better learn from him, and what better of learning than by doing? Leonardo’s drawing hangs in the Royal Collection at Windsor, for those of you who live who are lucky enough to live close by. One of my future plans will be to go and visit this collection.

Vous me voyez rarement dessiner à la mine et en lisant le livre “The Practice & Science of Drawing” j’ai vu ce magnifique dessin de Léonard Da Vinci qui est si simple, si majestueux. Je l’ai examiné le matin, l’après-midi, le soir, avec toutes les lumières allumées, avec peu de lumière, de côté, à l’envers et m’exclamant sur la simplicité et la beauté de son trait. Et je me suis dit de que pourrais-je apprendre que du maître? Et voilà que j’ai décidé de faire un essai de ce dessin qui réside dans la Collection Royale à Windsor, pour ceux qui sont assez chanceux d’y vivre près. Bon! Là je dois aussi aller voir cette collection. 

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