:: Troublesome yellows ::

“My life … runs back through time and space to the very beginnings of the world and to its utmost limits. In my being I sum up the earthly inheritance and the state of the world at this moment.”
— Simone de Beauvoir

Alas, I have heard many times how watercolorists (and myself) complain about how difficult it is to make good greens, without creating a mud puddle. So I decided to look at all of the yellows that I have at my house, and study them in a methodical fashion.

So my method was to create a rectangle and put a black line with a Sharpie permanent marker and then add a first layer of the colour. Then wait until it is completely dried up and then add a second layer on the top left-hand side of each colour (a dab of paint).

What I am looking for is this:
— That the lightfastness number is 1 (not 2) so that the colour does not fade in time;
— That the colour is completely transparent;
— Ideally the least amount of pigments. One pigment is ideal…

Best cool transparent yellow with good lightfastness:
— My best pick is from Sennelier Primary Yellow, Serie 1, Lightfastness 1, PY74

Best warm transparent yellow with good lightfastness:
— My best pick is Daniel Smith New Gambodge, Series 1, Lightfastness 1, PY97+PY110
AND Daniel Smith, Quinachridone Gold, Series 2, Lightfastness 1, PO49 (DS says that this colour is semi-transparent) but to my eye it seems totally transparent! Maybe that I am getting old -)

Surprisingly, I did not think that New Gambodge would be completely transparent but they were. Both Winter & Newton and Daniel Smith had very good results, however the Lightfastness number for W&N was 2, so I have eliminated it.

The two yellows that were the coolest were W&N Bismuth Yellow and DaVinci Hansa Yellow Light and they were both semi-opaque.

So here is the chart that I created & I left the resolution at 150 ppi so that you could zoom in to see what I am talking about.

If you have not had the chance yet to read Jeanne Dobie’s Making Color Sing and if you are also wondering about your muddy colours, then this is a must-have book. Her chapter 3 on Octanic Colours is fabulous and she explains, in my very condensed explanation, that when you mix two colours together, that you must look at the primary color that you are using and what other color it is made up of (red, yellow or blue). For example, Aureolin Yellow (has blue in it) and Winsor Blue (has yellow in it) therefore these two colors will make great greens as these colors are octanic. Cadmium Red (has yellow in it) and Cadmium Yellow (has red in it) therefore this works! French ultramarine (has red in it) and Alizarin Crimson (has blue) in it, etc.


:: Huntingdon ::

— SOLD —

What could be more interesting, or in the end, more ecstatic, than in those rare moments when you see another person look at something you’ve made, and realize that they got it exactly, that your heart jumped to their heart with nothing in between.
— Robert Motherwell

The other day I went with one of my friends for a car ride to the Huntingdon area & I took quite a few reference photographs for just in case that I would need them for a winter day like today. Here in Rigaud it was freezing rain this morning, then ice pellets and will probably snow again tonight. Luckily, we only had four hours of blackout and it was during the night, but my husband has put some wood in the fireplaces, put in more gas in the generator, the candles are close to us and it is cozy. We are ready!

Paper: Handbook Travelogue 8″ x 8″
Colours: New Gambodge, Cerulean Blue, Goethite, Burnt Sienna, Deep Sap Green, French Ultramarine
Fountain Pen: Sailor Desk EF
Ink: DeAtramentis Document Black Ink
Location: Huntingdon reference photograph


:: Mighty pine king ::

— SOLD —

The old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost.
— J. R. R. Tolkien

I have painted this pine many times before as it is totally gorgeous to me & it is but a few hundred meters from my house & easy to get to. The weather was just awful here in Québec today as it started in the morning with ice pellets, then freezing rain and tonight the weather forecast is for snow. I painted this pine tree for one of my colleagues that asked me to paint it for her and also as part of the 7 Paintings in 7 Days Challenge that is going on on Facebook.

I am not sure if I like the colour  Hansa Medium Light as it felt too opaque for me. I used to love using Aureolin Yellow & since I followed a workshop with Jane Blundell I learnt that it is not lightfast! I will have to find a substitution for Hansa… if anyone has any suggestions for a cold yellow that is transparent, I would appreciate it!

Paper: Saunders Waterford 8″ x 12″
Colours: Hansa Medium Light, Burnt Sienna & French Ultramarine
Fountain Pen: Sailor Desk EF
Ink: Deatramentis Document Black Ink
Location: Reference photo in Rigaud

Pinus Strobus L. — Pin strobus — Pin blanc — White pine.


Health, love, wisdom & a long life!

Listen to the wind, it talks
Listen to the silence, it speaks
Listen to your heart, it knows.
— Proud native american

I wish all of you Health, love, wisdom & a long life!

I went back today to my all-time favourite spot to do some plein air painting (from my car I might add) and the mountain of Rigaud  stirs my heart. This New Year has me in a retrospective & prospective state of mind and I am sitting sandwiched between these two states, which I fancy. I like thinking back, and I also like thinking forward. I anticipate the opening chapter of a new semester with my students & I regret the closing of another chapter of my life, where age seems to defy me! I am relishing my semester break & already  it feels as though the sun is giving off its soft rays a tad longer every day. Life goes fast & slow, new friendships appear & old ones disappear sometimes, family grows and then shrinks. My pillars are the practice of the arts & the fulfillment of knowledge which are dear to me & keep me rooted.

Paper: Arches Cold Press 8″ x 6″
Colours: Q. Rose, Deep Sap Green, French Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber
Fountain Pen: Platinum Century 3776 (the height of Mount Fuji)
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Rigaud Mountain, Quebec, Canada