:: Fifth of fifth ::

Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad. (Salvador Dali)

I have been preparing for the Sketch in time event that will be presented at Stewart Hall in Pointe-Claire July 5th, 2015 and the deadline for submitting my five paintings is June 1st so there is not much time left for me to complete this as my schedule is quite heavy nowadays. This is my last painting that I have to do and I drew and inked it on location in Ste. Anne’s on a beautiful sunny day. I will probably go back on Sunday to paint it as the deadline is looming. The Sketch in time — to me — commemorates moments in history, and I chose this subject because of the railroad tracks in Ste. Anne’s as this bridge assembly dates back from 1899. I also like how the footbridge unwinds underneath.


:: JAC ::

Because watercolor actually moves on the paper, it is the most active of all mediums, almost a performance art.
— Nita Engle

Here is my beautiful John Abbott College campus on the West Island in Montreal. I had drawn the painting on site, and painted it today from my house and I overworked it… the watercolours are not fresh enough… but still, I am happy with it. You know that you are overworking a painting when you spend too much time going over and over and over…. I should have stopped when it was still fresh. This is a common enough lament from watercolour painters from all over the world… this is one of the most difficult tasks to learn when you are painting. Stop! When the paints are still fresh.

En aquarelle une des leçons que l’on réapprend très souvent est d’arrêter avant de trop travailler la peinture…. et c’est ce que j’ai fait aujourd’hui. J’aurais dû arrêter, mais j’ai continué et mes couleurs ne sont plus fraîches… mais c’est pas grave car j’ai apprend une leçon aujourd’hui! Stop! Quand c’est le temps -)

Paper: Saunders Waterford CP 9″x12″
Colours: Aureolin Yellow, New Gambodge, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Perylne Maroon and Mayan Blue
Fountain pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers Lexington Grey
Location: Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Québec, Canada20150528_JAC

Montreal’s duality :: La dualité de Montréal

First I was dying to finish high school and start college.
And then I was dying to finish college and start working.
And then I was dying to marry and have children.
And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough for school
so I could return to work.
And then I was dying to retire.
And now, I am dying… and suddenly I realize I forgot to live.
— Anonymous.

This small square, with a fountain and view of the Champ-de-Mars park, was created in 1858 and represents the unique character of Montreal. Both statues are facing each other, one representing the French and the other representing the English. The statue is of Jean Vauquelin (1728–1772), commander of the French fleet in New France. Vauquelin stares across rue Notre-Dame at his counterpart, the English admiral Horatio Nelson (1758–1805). The two statues are symbols of Montréal’s French and English duality.

Painting this, there were some beautiful shadows just in front of me of the trees above my head and I am wondering if I should take them out, or not. You will be able to judge with the paintings shown below and let me know which one that you prefer? Also, when we went sketching with Les amis de la montagne on Sunday, my sketching kit was very popular… many people stopped to ask me about it. If you are interested in this type of kit for painting/sketching here is the link En Plein Air Pro. I love it! It is light, easy to carry and has everything that I need for plein air painting -) Thanks to Shari and Marc for letting me know where they bought theirs.

Ce petit carré Vauquelin, avec une fontaine et vue sur le parc du Champ-de-Mars, a été créé en 1858 et représente le caractère unique de Montréal. Les deux statues sont face à face, l’un représentant les français et l’autre représentant les Anglais. La statue est de Jean Vauquelin (1728-1772), commandant de la flotte française en Nouvelle-France. Vauquelin regarde à travers la rue Notre-Dame, à son homologue, l’amiral anglais Horatio Nelson (1758-1805). Les deux statues représentent bien la dualité linguistique française et anglaise de Montréal. J’ai mis deux peintures recadrées différamment car mes ombres dans une sont grandes et dans l’autre sont petites… pouvez-vous me dire laquelle vous préférez?

Paper: Saunders Waterford HP 7″x11″
Colours: Aureolin Yellow, New Gambodge, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Perylene Maroon, Cobalt Blue & Bloodstone
Fountain Pen:
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Vauquelin Square, Old Montreal, Québec, Canada




St. Louis Square :: Carré St-Louis ::

In watercolour, if you are not in trouble, then you’re in trouble. — Selma Blackburn I most often paint in sketchbooks and when I do, it is impossible to tear off the page to keep the painting as this would ruin the sketchbook… and I would not want to as the sketchbooks are a fantastic legacy of looking back at your work, in chronological order. To me they are worthless as each drawing or painting or sketch reminds me of that instance. There are many paintings that I would like to “repaint” on bigger sheets of watercolour and this is one of them. I originally painted this one in 2013. Je peins la majorité du temps dans des carnets de croquis et souvent, il y a des peintures que j’aimerais refaire sur un plus grand format de papier aquarelle… et en voici un exemple. On pourrait penser que je pourrais simplement déchirer une feuille de mon carnet, mais ceci ruinerait le carnet car les feuilles deviendraient lousses mais surtout je perdrais l’ordre chronologique de tout ce que j’ai fait en peinture ou dessin ou croquis. Paper: Saunders Waterford CP 8″x8″ Colours: Yellow Ocre, Alizarin Crimson, Serpentine Genuine & Payne’s Grey Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey 20150525_carréStLouis

:: Les amis de la montagne ::

In the morning Benjamin Franklin asked himself this question:
“What good shall I do this day?”
In the evening he would ask the following question:
“What good have I done to-day?”

Today was a really nice day to be out sketching, but it did take awhile before the weather turned for the better. Les amis de la montagne had invited the Montreal Urban Sketchers to come out and paint the mountain today and we were quite a few to participate. When we set out our paraphernalia, it started raining big drops of rain, and slowly the sun fettered out to warm our cold backs. Talking of backs, I had a really sore back since Friday morning when I sneezed and the release went directly in my lower back… yikes! I thought this morning that I might not be able to go out sketching with the Montreal Urban Sketchers on the beautiful Mount Royal in Montreal. So when I woke up, I was very careful to tread carefully, did not do any sudden movements and by the time that I hit the road, I was sitting comfortably in the car, ready for a sketching day. My friend and I, Linda Denis, we painted together and it was just nice to be outside with thousands of other people, walking up and down the mountain. It turned out to be a gorgeous day.

Aujourd’hui était une super belle journée pour peindre malgré le fait que le soleil a pris son temps à se joindre à nous. Les amis de la montagne avaient invités les Urban Sketchers de Montréal pour se joindre à eux pour peindre la montagne du Mont-Royal et nous étions plusieurs au rendez-vous. Comme nous nous étions installés pour commencer à peindre, de grosses gouttelettes d’eau se sont mises à tomber et tranquillement le soleil s’est mis à réchauffer nos dos congelés. En parlant de dos, vendredi matin j’ai éternué et s’est jetée dans le bas de mon dos. Je pensais ce matin que je ne pourrais pas me joindre au groupe, mais tranquillement pas vite, en faisant bien attention à mes mouvements, je me suis levée, déjeuner et très doucement je me suis installée en arrière du volant de mon automobile et tranquillement pas vite, mon amie et moi Linda Denis, avons fait notre petit chemin vers Montréal. Il y avait aussi des milles personnes qui marchaient de long en large sur le Mont-Royal et l’air était très festif. Une superbe journée.

Paper: Saunders Waterford CP 140 lbs.
Colours: Aureolin Yellow, New Gambodge, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, French Ultramarine
Location: Maison Smith, Mount Royal, Montreal, Québec, Canada


Colour Preparation :: Preparation des couleurs

The daily small painting, a small resource and time commitment, is an exercise in absolute focus for that time period. It’s like a meditation, really. (Gaye Adams)

I am in preparation mode for a few things, such as a trip to Turkey and two Art Shows. I have not cleaned my colour palette in a very long time and I am in the process of choosing which colours that I will be bringing with me in the warm climes of Turkey, and also the soon to be warmer climes here in Quebec. Did you know that presently it is 3C in Rigaud? So bloody chilly! Anyway, to get back to my story, I decided to lay out all of my colour tubes and map them out by colour categories…. the three primary colours of course, earth tones, greens, quinachridones and various shades of white to black… neutral tones. So here it is and the names have all been written down as well as the company that holdes them. When I decide to choose my colours for my trip, they will all be in front of me thus making it easier to choose.

If you feel like joining me this Sunday we will be meeting at Maison Smith on Mount Royal in Montreal for the Sketching a Mountain Event -)

I am also testing out a new bluetooth keyboard that attaches to my iPhone 6+ and up to now it is working very well…. except for the French accents, all is fine. It is an iKross with folding stand a grand total of $24.

Je suis en train de preparer plusieurs evenements en meme temps, dont un voyage en Turquie et deux expositions de peinture donc j’ai beaucoup de boulot a faire, en plus de finaliser tous mes cours. Comme vous avez certainement remarque, je ne trouve pas mes accents francais… donc sans accents va suffire pour le moment.  Si ca vous tente vous pouvez vous joindre a moi pour dessiner/peindre sur le Mont-Royal dimanche qui s’en vient. Rendez-vous a 10h00 a la Maison Smith. 


:: Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue ::

The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice.
— Mark Twain

Yesterday I spent the whole day painting in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue which is a small town just next to my College, which is very practical for sketching and painting. So yesterday I picked a subject that has a strong historical facet in this small town, and started drawing… and drawing.. and drawing. And then suddenly, a thought popped into my head. Why don’t I draw small thumbnail sketches first? To try and figure out the complexity of the subject (as it is a complex one, trust me). So lo and behold, here they are. And from these 5 thumbnail sketches I chose one which is the second one from the top. Then my life got easier. I then decided to draw a bigger version to see if it still made sense (the only one on the right hand side), and even though I did not take the time to do the values, the composition to me looked good. I have a theme brewing in my head, and it is all in the same quaint village.

Hier j’ai peint toute la journée à Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, qui est un tout petit village au bord des écluses — qui fait le pont entre le Lac St-Louis et le Lac des Deux Montagnes — et où j’enseigne aussi, ce qui rend ces petites escapades de peinture bien pratiques car elles ne sont pas trop loin de mon travail ni de ma maison. Donc hier j’ai choisi un thème qui a une grande résonance historique et j’ai commencé à dessiner… et à dessiner…. et étant donné que le sujet est fort complexe, mon esprit s’est tout d’un coup arrêté et je me suis dit: “Sapristi! Pourquoi que je ne fais pas de petits croquis?” Et les voici, les voilà! Décomplexifiés et simplifiés. Fiou! J’ai ensuite choisi le deuxième du haut et je l’ai re dessiné un peu plus gros (le croquis tout à la droite). Je suis prête à commencer mon grand dessin. J’ai un thème qui me trotte dans la tête dans un beau petit village qui a plein d’histoire -)

Paper: Travelogue Sketchbook (small)
Pencil: Lead
Location: Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue



Hertzberg Building :: Édifice Herzberg

It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready.
I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything.
There is almost no such thing as ready.
There is only now.
And you may as well do it now.
Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.
— Hugh Laurie

“Draw me a mountain”. You are invited to join Urban Sketchers Montréal for a day of drawing and painting on the Mount Royal on Sunday, May 24th, 2015 – the anniversary of the creation of Mount Royal Park. Here is the drawing for a future painting that I did today on my beautiful campus of Cégep John Abbott College viewing the Hertzberg Building.The building is named in honour of Gerhard Herzberg, a pioneering German Canadian physicist and physical chemist who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1971 (source Wikipedia). I will be painting it later…

“Dessine moi une montage”. Vous êtes invités à vous joindre aux Urban Sketchers de Montréal pour une journée de croquis et de peinture sur le Mont-Royal, dimanche le 24 mai 2015.  Voici un dessin d’un édifice sur mon campus du Cégep John Abbott College et qui va devenir une future peinture.

Paper: Saunders Waterford CP 9″x12″
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Hertzberg Building, Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Québec, Canada



The Maski :: Le Maski

“Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices,
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me; that, when I waked,
I cried to dream again.”
William Shakespeare, The Tempest

For those of you who know the St. Zotique region, here is the view from the resto-bar Le Maski on the main road. Those mountains are in Vermont on the other side of Lac St-François which is a beautiful lake… a lake where I grew up and when I see it makes me reminisce of those days gone by. I have many reasons to celebrate today… it was our last day of teaching, I spent the whole day correcting the final term projects, and I took the time to paint… which fills my heart. So all in all it was a good day. When I started painting I wanted to make angry skies as the electricity stopped three times today because of high gusts of wind and there was thunder rumbling and this was painted just before the tempest.

Pour ceux entre vous qui connaissent le lac St-François vous allez probablement reconnaître Le Maski, un resto-bar populaire dans la région. Les montagnes en face sont situées au Vermont, de l’autre côté de ce beau lac qui me rappelle tellement mon enfance au bord de ce chef d’oeuvre. J’ai beaucoup de raisons de célébrer aujourd’hui car la dernière journée de cours est arrivé et c’était aujoud’hui. Donc je suis dans le mode de corrections et j’ai quand même pris le temps de peindre pour commémorer cet heureux événement. Quand j’ai commencé à peindre je voulais faire un ciel chargé car il y avait du tonnerre et de forts vents et ce matin c’était le calme avant la tempête. 

Paper: Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook
Colours: Aureolin Yellow, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson, Cobalt Blue, Mayan Blue
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera EF
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Le Maska, St-Zotique, Québec, Canada


Take Two :: Prise deux

Hiking is a bit like life: 
The journey only requires you to put one foot in front of the other…
again and again and again.

And if you allow yourself the opportunity to be present throughout the entirety of the trek, you will witness beauty every step of the way, not just at the summit.
— Unknown.

Oooh what a difficult painting that I did today… not because the task was difficult but because I did everything wrong. I put in too much detail, I killed the colours by overworking them, my shadows and highlights are all wrong. And last but not least, I painted this from a reference photograph instead of going to Montreal and drive in traffic for one hour. Anyhow, welcome to my quirky painting. Tomorrow is another day, with another painting. At least it was good practice for my eyes and hand coordination and getting me back, surely but slowly, in the painting mood and mode.

Peinture difficile car elle est toute croche. J’ai mis trop de détails donc difficile à peindre,  j’ai trop joué avec les couleurs donc j’ai tué leur fraîcheur, les ombres et clairs-obscurs sont plus abstraits que d’autre chose… et en plus, j’ai peint cette peinture d’une photo de référence au lieu d’être sur les lieux, et ceci fait toute la différence. Mais ça ne me tentait pas de faire une heure d’automobile dans le traffic aujourd’hui. Demain est un autre jour, avec une autre peinture. Au moins c’était une très bonne pratique pour mes yeux et la coordination main-peinture, et aussi pour me ramener, tranquillement pas vite, dans le mode et ambiance peinture.

Paper: Saunders Waterford CP 12″x9″
Colours: Aureolin Yellow, Raw Sienna, New Gambodge, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Alizarin Crimson & Cobalt Blue
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera EF
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: from a reference photograph taken in Montreal