“I asked him for some of the money I need to continue my work.
He told me to come around on Monday.
I went on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and there was no money.
On Friday someone else came to the door and threw me out.
I’m discouraged about getting paid for this job.”
— Michelangelo on May 12, 1506 to a friend — LINK —
On Friday between two appointments I was in St-Lazare and was parked right in front of this restaurant… what better opportunity to draw this cute little restaurant? So I drew and inked it on location, but painted it in today. Today was a beautiful spring-like day even though the temperatures were cold at -16C and we still have tons of snow at my house… no asphalt to be seen around here. But the sun was glorious and warm so all is good.
Paper: Travelogue Sketchbook 8″ x 8″ spread
Watercolours: New Gamboge, Pyrrol Crimson, B. Sienna & Cobalt Blue
Location: St-Lazare, Québec, Canada
From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud pied April dress’d in all his trim
Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing,
That heavy Saturn laugh’d and leap’d with him.
Yet nor the lays of birds nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odour and in hue
Could make me any summer’s story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew;
Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
Yet seem’d it winter still, and, you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.
— Shakespeare’s Sonnet #98
This sonnet shows how Shakespeare misses being a young man.
A bit of spring — oh I will rewind — a whole bunch of Spring on my mind today. A sure sign that Spring has arrived (even though we still have feet of snow at our doorstep) is that I started fertilizing my houseplants last week and now I am getting ready to identify our 2000 trees that we have on our lot… We have tried keeping as many trees as we can since we building here… took out the ones where our house is, and that’s it! Nowhere else. My problem with the identification process is that I would like to tag the trees as I slowly identify them… but with what? Does anyone have any suggestions? Something that would stay permanently and does not cost too much?
The best time to identify trees is during early Spring, just as the buds open and this page acts as a quick reminder of what each tree twig looks like. I will do another set at some point in time. Hope that you liked this!
Moleskine Sketchbook #24 5.5″ x 8.5″
Fountain Pen: Pilot Falcon SEF
Ink: De Atramentis Document Black
Watercolours: DS Q. Gold, B. Sienna, Burnt Umber, Pyrrol Scarlet, Cerulean Chromium
We are at the centre of the galaxy only in our own minds.
— The Book of Life
Well as you can see I have gone over the week limit and have not been able to obtain the magic number of 100 people… however, I did get 65 in total! How did I get that? Well it feels as though I cheated today, but I have been developing an idea that might take form later on in my life and I told myself why not have some fun? So here is an imaginary scene with imaginary people. Hope that you like it.
Even though this week was March Break, for me it was a fair amount of work. Amidst correcting students that handed their projects on time, waiting for those who handed them late… argh… or not at all (what is happening with my first years?), preparing for some new projects, preparing exams, I was much busier that I had hoped for. So March Break should perhaps be called “Work week” for teachers. I was thankful though to have this week to stay at home and catch up with everything that I had to do without being disturbed… very pleasurable nonetheless.
Paper: Bockingford 30″x 22″ folded 7.5″ x 5.5″
Fountain Pen: Pilot Falcon SEF with De Atramentis Document Black Ink
All great works of art are rather difficult to access.
The reader who thinks them easy has failed to penetrate to the heart of the work.
— André Gide 1869-1951
Up to 40 people today, yeah! This challenge is a challenge, to say the least. Drawing people is not what really attracts me as an artist, and I know that if I persevere I might find that I am getting better at it? Perhaps, I am hopeful -)
Today I went to the Fairview Mall in Pointe-Claire and the minute that I sat down a man said: “You must not know how to draw if you measure the way that you do?”… oh my! That deflated me a bit, and I gave him this answer: “Artists have different ways of working and my way is by measuring to get my proportions right.” I got up and found another spot as he was really looming over my shoulder and breathing down my back. Then a wonderful asian woman with most probably her grandson kept smiling and waving at me and they made my previous encounter less awkward. Felt good -))). When painting with the Urban Sketchers the power of the group is quite wonderful as we look out for each other.
Paper: Bockingford 30″x 22″ folded 7.5″ x 5.5″
Watercolours: MG Payne’s Grey
A box without hinges, key or lid
yet golden treasure inside is hid.
— J.R.R. Tolkien, Bilbo the Hobbit
I did not have much time today and I wanted to draw faces up close… really close. So again I chose a photograph on the net of a family of three people. What I tried doing today is trying to find a specific characteristic that enhanced the likeness of the person…as to me this is the real challenge as I find that all of my portraits look alike.I tried focusing on one feature at a time. Choosing people with different hair styles helps alot!
So now I am at 23 people and tomorrow I am going to sketch at Fairview Pointe-Claire for around 1:00 pm or a little earlier if I can. Can you guess the answer to the riddle?
Paper: Bockingford 30″x 22″ folded 7.5″ x 5.5″
Watercolours: Q. Gold, Pyrrol Scarlet, Raw Sienna, B. Sienna and Cobalt Blue.
What has roots that nobody sees
is taller than trees,
up up it goes
and yet never grows?
— J.R. Tolkien in Bilbo the Hobbit
I really juggled with the idea of participating in the #OneWeekOneHundredPeople Challenge by Marc Taro Holmes and Liz Steele. Some of the reasons why I am reticent is that first I have tons of correcting to do and I wonder how I will find the time to draw 100 people. Also, drawing people is intimidating for me, and I lack practice so I thought what better way than to practice this skill? I did have to muster up my courage though.
So after having thought about it for awhile, I decided that for my first day I would find a photograph on the net of people sitting in a café where there would already be 20 people there. So one painting, 20 people, instead of several small paintings… yeah! A kind of a warm-up exercise.
A few months ago I had folded a huge 30″x22″ Bockingford 140 lbs sheet the way that Cathy Johnson teaches it on YouTube. If you would like to see how she does this, it is quite simple in reality and gratifying too! You can view it here. So this is the sketchbook that I am using today to fill with my 100 people -)))
So this is a warmup exercise as tomorrow I will be in Montreal and I might not find the time… so this means that on Wednesday I’ll do 40! On Wednesday I am planning on going in the afternoon in the mall at Fairview Pointe-Claire. So if some of you would like to join me, I will be there, sketching away.
Paper: Bockingford 30″x22″ folded 7.5″ x 5.5″
Watercolours: Q. Gold, Cobalt Blue, B. Sienna, Mineral Violet
Take the word butterfly. To use this word it is not necessary to make the voice weigh less than an ounce or equip it with small dusty wings. It is not necessary to invent a sunny day or a field of daffodils. It is not necessary to be in love, or to be in love with butterflies. The word butterfly is not a real butterfly. There is the word and there is the butterfly. If you confuse these two items people have the right to laugh at you. Do not make so much of the word. Are you trying to suggest that you love butterflies more perfectly than anyone else, or really understand their nature? The word butterfly is merely data. It is not an opportunity for you to hover, soar, befriend flowers, symbolize beauty and frailty, or in any way impersonate a butterfly. Do not act out words. Never act out words.
— Death of a Lady’s Man by Leonard Cohen
Today I am in a Rectify Soundtrack, seasons 1, 2, 3 & 4 type of mood on Spotify. I love love love Johnny Cash and the soundtrack is eclectic and moody. I have often painted this scene which is situated in St-Clet and it is called Sinagri Sec on rue Du Moulin. I seem to like grungy scenes, backyards are so much more interesting than front yards… and the artist in me wishes that I could have access to all backyards near me… funny how people maintain the front and not the back, huh, just sayin’…
These three paintbrushes are my favourite ones, and not the most expensive ones I might add. The one on the right is from Rosemary & Co Sable blend SER 401 which comes from Manchester, England from last year’s trip to England. The second one was a gift from a friend that travelled to the Picasso Museum in Malaga and has not left my side since. The third one on the bottom left is a daVinci Casaneo #489 mop which can soak up an incredible amount of water, so this one was very good for the sky wash in the background.
I have painted this scene a few times and you can see it here.
Paper: Travelogue Sketchbook #22 8″x8″
Watercolours: DS Q. Gold, DS Raw Sienna, DS Cerulean Chromium, MG Mineral Violet & WN Burnt Sienna
Location: Sinagri Sec on rue Du Moulin in St-Clet, Québec, Canada
“We die. That may be the meaning of life,”
— Toni Morrison asserted in her spectacular Nobel Prize acceptance speech.
“But we do language.
That may be the measure of our lives.”
Sometimes I need precision in my life and one way to achieve this is through music. Listening to Bach’s Goldberg Variations by the eminent Glenn Gould (and Canadian to say the least) calms my soul when it is perturbed. Having played Bach throughout my life I can relate to Gould’s need for perfection AND mathematics… and this he did obtain through his sensitivity and brilliance!
Today I went to the Montpetit Funeral Home in Valleyfield to offer my condolences to a very dear friend, Benoit, who lost his 58 year old brother. Must be extremely hard! Met a few very old acquaintances there also, reminiscences and all… so many years ago.
So Pyper my dog permitted me to draw him tonight for half of his face… this in itself is a feat as he never lets me draw him… the minute that he sees me pen in hand, looking at him, he reunites with his 34th triple sense… oh no! She cannot look at me this way — LOL -)