:: Shakespeare’s Birthplace ::

This week marks William Shakespeare’s birthday. Shakespeare, who was born in 1564, endured a life chequered by outbreaks of plague. Seven hundred years later, it still rings true! To mark this some of Britain’s most famous Shakespearean actors, including Dame Judi Dench, read from Richard II. Here are the lyrics…. and if you would like to hear them played out by Dame Judy Dench — a real treat — , just go and view it on the excellent news show BBCNewsnight.

KING RICHARD II
I have been studying how I may compare
This prison where I live unto the world:
And for because the world is populous
And here is not a creature but myself,
I cannot do it; yet I’ll hammer it out.
My brain I’ll prove the female to my soul,
My soul the father; and these two beget
A generation of still-breeding thoughts,
And these same thoughts people this little world,
In humours like the people of this world,
For no thought is contented.
The better sort,
As thoughts of things divine, are intermix’d
With scruples and do set the word itself
Against the word:
As thus, ‘Come, little ones,’ and then again,
‘It is as hard to come as for a camel
To thread the postern of a small needle’s eye.’
Thoughts tending to ambition, they do plot
Unlikely wonders; how these vain weak nails
May tear a passage through the flinty ribs
Of this hard world, my ragged prison walls,
And, for they cannot, die in their own pride.
Thoughts tending to content flatter themselves
That they are not the first of fortune’s slaves,
Nor shall not be the last; like silly beggars
Who sitting in the stocks refuge their shame,
That many have and others must sit there;
And in this thought they find a kind of ease,
Bearing their own misfortunes on the back
Of such as have before endured the like.
Thus play I in one person many people,
And none contented: sometimes am I king;
Then treasons make me wish myself a beggar,
And so I am: then crushing penury
Persuades me I was better when a king;
Then am I king’d again: and by and by
Think that I am unking’d by Bolingbroke,
And straight am nothing: but whate’er I be,
Nor I nor any man that but man is
With nothing shall be pleased, till he be eased
With being nothing.
Music do I hear?

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Paper: Hand•book journal co. 8″ x 8″ #26
Ink: Lexington Grey
Fountain Pen: Pilot Penmanship EF
Watercolours: New Gamboge, Q. Gold, Ceruleant Blue, Ultramarine, Q. Rose, Q. Burnt Orange, etc.

:: Working for love ::

On the Painter’s Keys website I found this little gem and thought that I would share it with you. It resonated with me as it is true that we are low consumers and thrive in quiet spaces. We know how to work for love? Wow! That is sooo true… I cannot paint something that I do not love. It has to come from the heart first, and if I love it, I know that I will paint it well…

I’m willing to bet my last roll of toilet paper that the 99% of artists the world is currently digging professional graves for will not all perish in the age of isolation. We have low overheads. And our worldly needs are modest. We know how to work for love. Many of us are poor consumers. We also thrive in the quiet spaces, which means our ideas are being given the opportunity to improve. We are all at home, now. If part of art’s function is to explore our universal human experience, home is our current, unifying theme.
Painter’s Key

I am definitely in need of some greenery as this painting attests to. Here in Québec, or at least where I live, there is hardly any green yet. I painted this little old house as I followed Shari‘s online class… she motivates me to continue!

20200425-oldHouse2-jane-hannah-loResPaper: Hand•book journal co. 8″ x 8″
Ink: DeAtramentis Document Black
Namiki Fountain Pen SEF
Watercolours: New Gamboge, Q. Gold, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine, Q. Rose, Q. Burnt Orange

:: Teleworking ::

“All human beings have three lives: public, private, and secret.”
— Gabriel García Márquez

Here in Québec, elementary schools, high schools and daycare centres have been in lockdown since Monday March 16th… and most businesses too… but not College nor University teachers. We have been teleworking, quite hard I might say, on making sure that our students “can” do the work from the safety of their homes while progressing with their multiple courses. My third years have just started their 3-week Stage period by teleworking also. I know that students are anxious and can’t wait to meet up with their friends, but we have all told each other that we would never complain again of having to go back to school or work — hah-hah!

I have had to adjust and the first two weeks were very stressful, but now I am getting quite used to it. It is never as rewarding as being in the classroom with your students, but my days are passing without any major hurdles and I feel more relaxed as time seems to have slowed down… and sometimes it stops… and I can feel the rush of air… and I catch my breath and look up at the sky. No planes… only birds flying in and out, swirling in the air.

I took the time to draw this little old house from a picture on Pinterest that I found interesting and I have also registered for Shari Blaukopf’s online class, Mattias Adolfsson’s online class and a special class on Procreate with Roman Garcia Mora. Maybe that I overdid the classes thing, but there are great deals at the moment and it is always nice to learn… isn’t it?

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Paper: Hand•book journal co. 8″ x 8″
Ink: DeAtramentis Document Black
Namiki Fountain Pen SEF

:: Fisherman’s Hut ::

You can never do too much drawing.
— Tintoretto

One of my friends Chi Mai sent me a photograph of a Fisherman’s Hut and I drew it, quite quickly, with a dip pen and some brown ink. Just feels good to stop being online and drawing a tad… now back online to continue prepping for my classes that are officially starting tomorrow.

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Pen: Dip Pen
Ink: Noodler’s Ink #41 brown

:: La maline ::

Aie! La maline
La vilaine, la méchante
Au-dessus de la ville
Et mène jusqu’ici
Au milieu de cette île D’Oléron
     Aie! La maline
La vicieuse, la cruelle
T’as cassé les carreaux
De ma si belle fenêtre
Qui donnait sur le ciel D’Oléron
     Et t’as fait du vent
Et t’as fait du bruit
T’as fait pleuré Pierre
T’as troublé Marie
Enragé la mer
Donné d’la misère À ma vie
     Mais là, c’est fini
Mon grand cri de terre
Mon grand rire sauvage
Loin, loin de la ville
Loin, loin de cette île D’Oléron
— Marie-Jo Thério

After 10 days of laryngitis, for a professor, this is deeply frightful in many ways. I have not spoken in 10 days can you imagine? So many times during this past week have I pictured myself, in dreams and awake, coming into class not being able to speak out loud! Yikes!

Slowly but surely my voice is healing, but it will still be a while before it finds its own resonance and the minute that I force it, it breaks… I wonder what kind of a week is waiting for me with the students -)))

I have been listening to this song for the past week, and oh what a song! What lyrics and artist…

There are so many things that I love about this sketch. The purple eyes (a bit like Elizabeth Taylor’s were), the wavy beard, the intensity of the colours and the very round face with crooked glasses… the jagged edges around the throat… and the loneliness… all of this is real for me. Can you see something else? The night gave me inspiration to continue. I go to bed too late and wake up too late — hah-hah!

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Handbook Journal Pocket Landscape Red

:: Journey’s End ::

The signpost stands where the crossways meet
There’s but one road to the journey’s end
The wanderer bent with his heavy load is waiting for a friend
The sun sinks slowly behind the hill
The dead leaves lie where the wind has blown
Likewise he who has travelled far must find his way alone
And as he leaves so the signpost turns
To point the way to the journey’s end
The old grey man with his heavy load no longer needs a friend
— Journey’s End, by Strawbs, album Grave New World

While listening to Strawbs, the Grave New World album I took the last of the afternoon to paint a snow scene. I have the week off and it feels really good, even though I still have loads of correcting, the income taxes to prepare, classes for next week to prepare… I am liberated from going to the College! To get back into painting, especially with watercolour, it was a good idea for me to go back to basics today and start over as if I was a beginner — which I am in a sense -)

For me this means, no ink lines, hardly any pencil lines, picking a classic watercolour scene, wetting the paper beforehand and then taking my time and painting and make sure of letting the paints dry before continuing (as I usually don’t).

First I put some water in the bottom half of the sheet, waited a bit, and then took some Cerulean Blue to create the effect of snow squalls. Then for the top snow mounds (4) I actually wet the individual mounds and then dropped the Cerulean, then went on to another mound. Learning from the master Grant Fuller.

Colours: Q. Gold, B. Sienna, Cerulean Blue and Phthalo Blue
Paper: Hand•book paper co., field watercolour journal 8″ x 8″

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:: Rusty ::

Là où va la main, l’oeil suit;
Là où va l’oeil, va l’esprit;
Là où va l’esprit, se trouve le coeur;
Là où se trouve le coeur, est la réalité de l’être,
Le siège de l’âme.

The Rigaud woods today are beautiful on a sunny and spring-like day! The shadows are long and deep and the birds are feeding, spring is definitely in the air. I am quite rusty with my paints as I have not painted in a very long while because of my job workload… but now I am beginning my March break and I will have some time to paint… well at least I hope so. But you know how life gets in the way of our plans, huh? We will see by the end of the week what happens and I will keep you posted.

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Fountain Pen: Platinum Carbon Desk Fountain Pen EF, Black, Japan
Ink: DeAtramentis Document Black Ink (waterproof)
Colours: Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Pyrrol Crimson & Cobalt blue
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

:: What a difference… ::

What a difference a day made
Twenty-four little hours
Brought the sun and the flowers
Where there used to be rain
— by Dinah Washington

What a difference… a scan makes as opposed to taking a picture with an iPhone late at night -) Well last night when I painted this I wanted to post it right away but the paints were still wet. So I took a picture with my iPhone. This morning I woke up and decided to properly scan it? And see the difference? Can you hum the tune that I have in my head at the moment?

The links did not follow when I posted on Facebook so for those of you who would like to hear Serge Bouchard passionately speak about our First Nations here is the name of the YouTube episodes, as there are 4. CERP Serge Bouchard 1 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxivQXXsgeg)

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:: Did you know? ::

In Québec we have an anthropologist who studied for most of his life the First Nations and Aboriginals and First People. His name is Serge Bouchard and if ever you are interested in listening to what he has to say (only in French though)  this is a good place to start. He explains the history of it all. LINK.

Listening to him on YouTube, I decided to draw him, quite furtively at first as I have not drawn in a very long while. Then I decided to take out my paints… and yes it feels good to have drawn & painted…  -)))

• One person of Inuit descent is an Inuk, which is singular for Inuit?
• Inuit are “Aboriginal” or “First Peoples” but are not “First Nations”. Also, Inuit are not Innu. Innu are a First Nations group located in northeastern Québec and parts of Labrador.
• Inuit land claim regions occupy 40% of Canada’s land mass.
• The Inuit population is the youngest in Canada, with 56% of the population under the age of 25.

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:: Colour in my eyes O children ::

O children
     Forgive us now for what we’ve done
     It started out as a bit of fun
     Here, take these before we run away
    The keys to the gulag
O children
     Lift up your voice, lift up your voice
     Children
     Rejoice, rejoice
— O Children by Nick Cave

As some of you surely know, once you have’nt painted in a while, you need to put colours in your eyes… a weird way of explaining it but to me it makes a lot of sense. I guess that I mean that I have to saturate my eyes with colours. I actually test out colour combos, which by the way I love to do and need to do.

To bring you back further in time, I had a recent conversation with some water colour artists on choosing and painting with reds… and the responses were quite diverse.

The two reds that I decided to test out were my two favourite ones of course – hah-hah! Daniel Smith’s Pyrrol Crimson and Daniel Smith’s Q. Rose. One of the reasons that I love these two colours is that they only have one pigment… not a mix of pigments. Some water colour artists sometimes wonder why their colours turn to mud? Well, that is one of the reasons… when mixing too many pigments together at the same time, they turn a mushy brow…

The six squares represent the colour at 100% (top left) then a mix of Q. Gold, then with New Gamboge, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue and Cerulean Blue. I picked only primary colours to test this out, yellows and blues to see the variants in colour.

All in all, both colours are valuable and the combos even more so. The Pyrrol Crimson gives off richer hues and the Q. Rose gives more summery and bright hues… it all depends what you are painting, when and where on this beautiful planet. Let’s keep it beautiful, huh? Nick Cave & P. J. Harvey have been my musical muses these past few weeks -)))

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Paper: Hand•book journal co. pocket landscape
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada