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…

:: Desert ::

There is a town in north Ontario,
With dream comfort memory to spare,
And in my mind
I still need a place to go,
All my changes were there.

— Neil Young, “Helpless” Canadian singer, songwriter extraordinaire.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8LYOyqJE7k

The same landscape as the previous ones, but the elements of design are different, as in this case colours. Hot, fiery desert winds and sparks of light. In our sub-zero temperatures here in Quebec, it feels good to delve into a bit of warmth… once in a while.

Unreal II

I’m really starting to have fun with these “unreal” landscapes…. they are pushing me in another direction which I like. They are pushing me to throw in elements from my imagination into a landscape instead of painting what I see in front of me. As an urban sketcher I often see myself as a recorder, a gatherer of information, painting a memento of what lies in front of me, of the landscape or cityscape around me.

:: Wonky Friday Portrait ::

I am crazy about two colours:
carmine and cobalt.
Cobalt is a divine colour and there is nothing so beautiful for creating atmosphere.
Carmine is as warm and lively as wine… the same with emerald green.

— Vincent van Gogh

This wonky Friday portrait is just what I needed… a bit of craziness during pandemic times. I am having so much fun with these portraits, and I was long overdue. Today I used a Zebra Brush Pen from Pilot that I bought at JetPens. Everything is written in Japanese on the pen, so I can’t really read what is written. It gives a thicker line that I usually use and gives it a caricature-like quality which goes well with the model that I chose.

Paper: Pentalic Aqua Journal 8″ x 5″
Watercolours: Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Q. Gold, Alizarin Crimson & Ultramarine
Pen: Zebra Brush Pen Fine LINK

:: Portrait Study ::

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

I have been living in the same house now for 17 years, our longest time up to now, with my husband. Our first house we lived in was for 9 years, then our second house was 6 years, then another one for 4 years, then a temporary place for 2 years while we were constructing this one, and now 17! Huh-huh!You must by now be guessing my age -))) The reason we have lived in this one for so long is very easy. I love nature, being surrounded by trees, birds, critters great and small. I love the quietness of this place and the huge lot.

So my quest today was to do a portrait study and I wanted to find someone who looked a bit flamboyant… and the beard did it! I am slowly getting back into my watercolours but I still have a way to go to feel utterly comfortable with this wonderful medium.

I also cleaned up my palette, and squeezed some new juicy colours into it. A clean palette does not last long as it gets dirty really quick — well for me anyway, and it is a thing of beauty. DS means Daniel Smith, W&N means Winsor & Newton, H means Holbein… Some painters classify their colours by cold/warm. I don’t. I classify them as if they were on a colour wheel… it must be my years of teaching colour theory.

Paper: Pentalic Aqua Journal 8″ x 5″
Watercolours: Mostly Cobalt Blue, Lemon Yellow, Burnt Sienna, some Gold Green
Fountain Pen: Pilot Namiki SEF
Ink: DeAtramentis Black Document Ink

Beautiful Summer Solstice

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all

— Joni Mitchel songwriter, musician, poet and so much more.

Solstices and equinoxes mark the four movements in a celestial score. Summer Solstice marks the time of the longest day and the beginning of summer. In centuries past, Midsummer’s Eve was seen as one of the times that the fairies were supposed to come out and dance.
— By John Forti, The Heirloom Gardener

I followed a workshop that was entirely in gouache and here is my first try. Decades ago when I was a young graphic designer, we used to work with gouache to do touch-ups in page layout and illustrations. I remember that I used to tint the white gouache so that its colour was exactly the same as the paper that I was working on. Here is a link to the workshop, if you are interested. LINK. What is really interesting in gouache, as opposed to watercolours, is that you can paint light on dark and dark on light. This makes it a really interesting medium and more versatile than watercolours but the colours are mostly opaque. It was very interesting to paint with this medium today. I am looking forward to my next painting.

I don’t know clouds… at all.

Paper: Strathmore Toned Tan Paper, 12″ x 9″
Gouache: Winsor & Newton Zinc White, Lemon Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson, Cerulean Blue, Ultramarine & Phthalo Green.

Who loves water & trees… I do!

Who loves trees best?
I, said the spring,
Their leaves so beautiful to them I bring.
Who loves the trees best?
I, summer said,
I give them blossoms, white, yellow, red.
Who loves the trees best?
I, said the fall,
I give luscious fruits, bright tints to all!
Who loves the trees best?
I love them best, harsh winter answered,
I give them rest.
— The Pearl Story Book” by Ada. M Skinner

Well, I have finally retired and now I will have more time to paint, draw, play music, read… and just relax.. anyway that is the plan for the moment. So I am slowly prepping back up and will be back soon on this blog to make it come alive again. Been too long. This pandemic has been too long. Here is a painting that I did in 2020… and I still love it!

Watercolours: Hansa Light, Q. Gold, Burnt Sienna, Q. Rose, Cerulean Blue, Cobalt Blue, Indanthrone (C)
Paper: Fabriano 12″x9″ CP
Reference photograph

:: Radio ::

“When we learn our mother tongue, we acquire certain habits of thought that shape our experience in significant and often surprising ways.”
— Guy Deutscher, Linguist, University of Manchester, UK

I thought of Radio Gaga, Radiohead then I thought about radio waves, then wavelengths for this prompt. This will be my last Inktober drawing for this week as tomorrow I have to prep for my classes! I am hoping that next weekend I might find time to continue the Inktober challenge, which is always fun.

Inktober Day 4 :: Radio Prompt ::
Paper: Japanese Album

What a semester it has been! I am finding it a difficult semester as I have had to reconfigure all of my classes in order to teach online. I have had to double the amount of prepping, correcting, duplicating of assignments to reach the highest number of students… and it is exhausting. Answering way more individual questions, setting up break-out rooms for groups of students, correcting on the spot… and the list goes on.

The government here in Québec does not seem to care at all about teachers as in fact, Cégep “college” teachers have never stopped teaching since March 13, 2020. On March 16 we immediately converted to online teaching and have been since. Even though it is really nice to be here at home as I do not have to drive in, I would much rather be in class… BUT only if there is a vaccine right? No vaccine, it would be impossible as at John Abbott we have no air ventilation… we have recycled air, we cannot open the windows and the air quality is not at all healthy even in non-Covid times so imagine now.

:: Bulky ::

Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.
— Maya Angelou

Inktober’s day 3 prompt is bulky and I decided to exaggerate proportions… small head with a big body. I could have done the contrary too… big head, small body but I decided to stick with my first idea.

Inktober Day 3 :: Bulky

Paper: Japanese Album
Ink: Dr. Ph. Martin’s Black Star Matte
Brush: Kuretake Water Brush Set

:: Wisp of a brush ::

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature.
It will never fail you.”

— Frank Lloyd Wright

Today’s prompt is “wisp” and when I read it I immediately thought of these long beautiful chinese calligraphy brushes…. which someone brought back from Shanghai as a present to me. Below you will find the tools that I will be using for the Inktober Challenge this year. I have decided to use Kuretake Water Brushes and to fill them up in advance with a dilution of 30% black, 60% black. This way I will have consistent grey values.

Wisp of a brush
Inktober Tools

Going from left to right at top of image.
• Small container with a mix of water and black ink;
• Dr. Ph. Martin’s Black Star Matte
• Dr. Ph. Martin’s Pen-White
• _____ to wripe off excess ink from brush
• 4 Chinese calligraphy brushes on top of green water container
Bottom of image.
• Eyedropper for adding ink
• Dip pen
• 3 Kuretake brush pens filled up with different % of mix (small, medium and large size)
• Platinum Desk Pen EF DP1000AB plus convertor, Red, Japan

Inktober Tools 2

Paper: Japanese Album
Ink: Dr. Ph. Martin’s Black Star Matte
Brush: Beautiful chinese calligraphy brush