:: A few stories ::

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“You need a village, if only for the pleasure of leaving it. A village means that you are not alone, knowing that in the people, the trees, the earth, there is something that belongs to you, waiting for you when you are not there.”
— (Cesare Parvese) taken from the Painter’s Keys

Just to let you know that I do have a booklet for sale on the Blurb.com website, if ever you are interested in purchasing one -) It is a compilation of some of my best artwork and a little souvenir! LINK

A few Stories with Watercolours & Drawings & Texts
A few Stories …
A journey
By Jane Hannah
Photo book

:: Marché des éclusiers ::

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“I’d rather be a could-be if I cannot be an are;
Because a could-be is a maybe who is reaching for a star.
I’d rather be a has-been than a might-have-been, by far;
For a might-have-been has never been, but a has was once an are.”
(Milton Berle)

If I had one place to hang out on weekends in Montreal, surely this would be one of the places. You have it all! The waterfront, bike trails, old beautiful buildings, entertainment, great restaurants, tons of activities, exhibitions of all kind, a marina and I pass. And these beautiful vintage old silo buildings which are part of Montreal’s history!

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:: Just for today… ::

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     Just for today I’m going to try to make a better painting. We’re not talking Sistine Chapel here, just a piece of joy begun and ended between sunup and sundown.
     Just for today I’ll be happy with it. As Abraham Lincoln said, “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Today I’m making up my mind to be pleased.
     Just for today I’m trusting in luck, intuition, chance and happenstance. Today I’m going to fit myself and my work around some of these minor miracles.
     Just for today I’ll strengthen my mind. When I’m puzzled or have a problem I’ll consult trusted reference. Thought and concentration will be with me, if only just for today.
     Just for today I’ll do something I don’t know how to do — for the fun of it; for the exercise. If and when I fail, no one may notice, and I’ll not say anything.
     Just for today I’ll not find fault with anything or anyone, and I’ll not try to improve or regulate anyone but myself.
     Just for today I’ll have a plan. I may not follow it exactly, but I’ll have it. While I’m at it, I’ll save myself from two pests; hurry and indecision.
     Just for today I’ll put beauty, elegance, charm and character into my work. What I give to the world is also what the world gives to me. I need those things.
     Just for today I’ll not think about what anybody else is doing. I’ll be sufficient unto myself, for while I may not be great, I am certainly great enough for today.
     Just for today I’ll take some real time for a quiet time — a half-hour or so by myself where I can sit back and get a better idea of the big picture.
— The Painter’s Key

This is such a beautiful poem that touches me deeply. It comes from the heart, and it is an artist that wrote it. I really needed this mantra just now as after painting with the wonderful Montreal Urban Sketchers today at la Maison des éclusiers, I was met with major traffic jams, orange cones galore… it took me 1 hour to get out of the city, and another 50 minutes to get home! There was so much traffic… sigh…

Sketchbook: Hand}book paper co., the field watercolor jounal
Colours: New Gamboge, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine
Location: Maison des éclusiers, Vieux-Montréal

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:: The Art Spirit ::

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In considering lines as a means of drawing, it is well to remember that the line practically does not exist in nature. It is a convention we use.
— The Art Spirit by Robert Henri

For those of you who are interested in the spirit of art, I highly recommend this book The Art Spirit by Robert Henri who was a teacher in NYC and died in 1929. “Henri was an inspired teacher with an extraordinary gift for verbal communication, with the personality and prophetic fire that transformed pupils into idolators.”

I have this 5″x 8″ sketchbook next to me when I am watching tele at night and I draw what I see in front of me… which is mostly my husband. My dog is constantly moving around, and the minute that he sees me watching him, he gets up and wants to play even though he has turned 8! So yesterday I decided to look at a woman on the tele, and then draw her from memory. I think that this is a good mental exercise to do… remembering what things look like without looking… A bit like hide and seek in art -)

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:: A few tries later… ::

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Great love is never justified. It’s like the little tree that springs up in some inexplicable fashion on the side of a cliff: where are its roots, what does it feed on, what miracle produces those green leaves?
— Wisława Szymborska (July 2, 1923–February 1, 2012)

Last night I decided to draw my husband and he kept moving non-stop even though he did not realize that I was trying to draw him. It took me eight tries to eventually get this somewhat decent one, at least one that shows some sensitivity towards the model. He tends to look fatter in this drawing than he really is…

I have been looking at Joseph Zbukvik’s wonderful video Planning your painting, and what a guy and what an artist! He is very generous with his knowledge and at some point in the video he says that we should draw without ever lifting the pencil from the paper… and this is what I tried today. I liked the sensation of doing this and I should practice this more often. Definitely something that I will be teaching my students this coming semester.

Paper: The Colour of Water Sketchbook from the MMFA
Lead Pencil 0.5
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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:: Simple things… ::

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Grandpa was a carpenter,
he built houses, stores and banks,
he chain-smoked Camel cigarettes
and hammered nails in planks.
He was level-on-the-level,
shaved even every door,
and voted for Eisenhower
’cause Lincoln won the war.
— John Prine

Sounds like a simple poem, does it not? But I love it! Simple and you get the feeling that you know him. He would have liked living where the this painting was done. Here is the same scene as yesterday but more emotional and vocal in a simple landscape scene. Hope that you like it! This paper had been taped down for quite a long time and when I finished my painting and peeled it, some of the painting tore off… and that’s why it has a screwy angle -)

Paper: Bockingford app. 10″x11″
Watercolours: Q. Gold, New Gamboge, Pyrrol Crimson, Burnt Sienna & Ultramarine
Location: Ste-Marthe, Québec, Canada

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:: Song of the Open Road ::

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Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road, 
Healthy, free, the world before me, 
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose. 
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune, 
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing, 
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms, 
Strong and content I travel the open road. 
The earth, that is sufficient, 
I do not want the constellations any nearer, 
I know they are very well where they are, 
I know they suffice for those who belong to them. 
(Still here I carry my old delicious burdens, 
I carry them, men and women, I carry them with me wherever I go, 
I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them, 
I am fill’d with them, and I will fill them in return.) 
— Walt Whitman

 

Yesterday I had many going-ons… I had to drive my husband to the hospital for some tests, then headed back to the house and feed the dog and do some chores, then went back to the hospital to get him, then came back… then went off again to do a bit of shopping and then back again. A lot of road time, gazing at the beautiful skies…

Last night as I calmed down I decided to paint those skies and of course my part of the country, looking at Rigaud mountain where I live.

Paper: Saunders Waterford
Watercolours: New Gamboge, Q. Gold, Raw Sienna, Pyrrol Crimson, Ultramarine

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