Red Poppies… at last!

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
— Isaac Asimov

Yesterday’s black and white poppies were just too sad. So I had to paint them today.

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook
Fountain Pen: Pilot Penmanship  Fountain Pen, Clear, EF Nib, Japan
Ink: Noodlers Lexington Grey (bulletproof), my favourite colour
Watercolours: DS Cobalt, DS Green Gold, DS Cadmium Red, DS Alizarin Crimson, Payne’s Grey

Let us remember… and not forget

:: Flanders Fields ::

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
— by John McCrae, May

This seems to be a common theme of mine lately. Well yes, let us remember and not forget… in these troubled times.

Revisiting a lesson learned, and also forgotten

“I suppose what you’re doing as a painter is making a record of your trip through life.
I can’t think of any job that is quite as satisfactory as doing a painting.”
(Robert Genn (1936- 2014))

The quote above rings true for me… it is true that this blog records part of my life in a way. After preparing for my Book Club for tomorrow night, I now have the leisure of time on my hands… and what do I do with it? Going through some of my older paintings and see what comes up. By the way, her class is spectacular. As a teacher, she invests herself totally in it and she expects you to be totally invested too. An awesome combo.

I had not looked at this painting for over a year as this was done in a class given by Uma Kelkar. Quite interesting to revisit after this time. I really had a lot of fun doing this as it was difficult and challenging. The aim was to look at the reflections (incident light coming from the sun), cast shadows, diffused shadows and shadows and make them believable. I changed some of the blue colours along the way too.

Compromise or surrender?

Come, come, whoever you are.
Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving – it doesn’t matter,
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
(Rumi)

I have been furiously scribbling away while waiting on the phone for the credit card company to fix my compromised card.A full 2 hours later, it has been done at last! So in want of a better means of entertainment, I just scribbled away while looking at a photo. I think that he reflects my state of mind… LOL -) Purchases were made on the credit card that I was not even aware of. Thankfully, the fraud department saw through it, and I have not been charged… phew! I wonder why they use the term “compromised” but hey! I won’t argue with them.

Moleskine Sketchbook
Fountain Pen: Pilot Penmanship  Fountain Pen, Clear, EF Nib, Japan
Ink: Noodlers Lexington Grey (bulletproof), my favourite colour

No promises, back & front, forwards & backwards

When Joni Mitchell was nine, she contracted polio. After recovery, she taught herself how to walk again. In 2015, after her brain aneurysm, Mitchell again taught herself to walk. As a tween, she had taught herself to play the guitar from a Pete Seeger songbook. With her left hand weakened, she devised daring alternate tunings, which led to innovative voicings, and intuitive approaches to harmony and song structure.
The Painter’s Key

This time I will not promise that I am back in business and that I will be painting a number of paintings…. I’ve learnt that lesson far too often. But what I will say is that I am hopeful, that with the turn of the seasons, I get back to drawing or painting for my heart’s desire.

Yesterday I found one of the photographs that I took in Turkey a long time ago, about 7 years ago I guess, that had always fascinated me and I thought that it would be fun to draw. Well, then, once I had drawn it, I thought it would be fun to add colours to this and practice with rusty eyes with new colours. So here it is. It developed into the front and back of a person… search me how come, but hey! I was having fun. Don’t know if you noticed, but the one on the left has a door as it is a police station in Turkey… can you imagine working in such amazing architecture?

Sketchbook: Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook
Colours: Ochre, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine, Burnt Umber
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

Practicing looseness

“I never get tired of the blue sky.”
Vincent van Gogh

With this experiment, I tried playing with different values and staying the loosest possible and it gave me quite an abstract result. I had to go over the trees with a black pen afterwards as the values were too similar…. had trouble distinguishing the trunk from the background. Here the leaves have not started to burgeon yet, but soon…. very soon!

Direct Painting in Watercolour

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.
Art is knowing which ones to keep.

Scott Adams

What does direct painting mean? It just means that you do not draw any lines whatsoever beforehand. You take your brush, and your brush becomes the calligraphic tool. Very very intimidating at first, but then you get a thrill of doing it. So for this painting of the Joshua Tree National Park in California, I find that it is rendered very softly… a tad too soft in a way. I should have painted a level 5 value in the end to add contrast but I decided to keep it this way. Still happy with it!

Paper: Saunders Waterford CP
Colours: Yellow Ochre, Cerulean Blue, Burnt Umber

To have spunk…

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”
— (Frank Lloyd Wright)

Even though this dog is unknown to me, he has spunk! Like many small dogs that I know, they are fierce little creatures when taunted and show courage and determination. I like his badass attitude when painting, but I really do not enjoy when they constantly bark at you. LOL -) My own big Golden Retriever is nothing like this. He is soft, gentle, intelligent, never barks (or hardly) and is very affectionate. He is also getting very old, on our daily walks he lags behind and is walking very very slowly. I fear that not much time is left for our big guy.

Paper: Pentalic Sketchbook
Colours: [W&N] Yellow Ochre, [W&N] Payne’s Grey and [DS] Alizarin Crimson

Just a little push…

I want to remind you that regardless of the turmoil you have in your life, or the errands, or daily tasks, it’s important that you stop and make a sketch, even if you only spend 10 minutes on it. That connection to your creativity will bring you back each day to your creativity. It will help you stay limber for those days when you might actually squeeze in an hour (gasp!)
— https://rozwoundup.com

Sometimes what you need is just a little push and you start doing it. I have been busy, yes busy, but not busy enough to stop drawing or painting as it fills your heart and purpose in life. So I just needed this little push and https://rozwoundup.com/ did it for me.

Here are some of her words, and I thank her.

So here is a dog that she painted that I drew, in gratitude.

Meteora, Greece

La fin du monde est à sept heures
Annonçait le téléviseur
La fin du monde est à sept heures
La fin du monde est à sept heures
On voit les signes avant-coureurs
Les voisins ne se parlent plus
On ne rigole plus dans la rue
Les gens ne font que travailler
Ils sont chanceux et occupés
Le samedi, ils magasinent
Avez-vous vu leur triste mine

— Jean Leloup, “La fin du monde est à sept heures”

Painting done in direct watercolour, no lines, directly on watercolour paper, Saunders Waterford CP. So hard to do and so proud too. Wow! Never thought that I would be able to pull this off. All a question of values… value 2 for the mountains, value 4 for the strokes in the stone and value 5 for the shadows. Still so much to learn, but I am following a path…