“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?
Paper: Hand•book journal co. 8″ x 8″
Ink: DeAtramentis Document Black
Namiki Fountain Pen SEF
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!
Handbook Journal Pocket Landscape Red
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″
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.
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 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)
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.
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
Lift up your voice, lift up your voice
— 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 -)))
Paper: Hand•book journal co. pocket landscape
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada
How can I go home
With nothing to say
I know you’re going to look at me that way
And say what did you do out there?
And what did you decide?
You said you needed time
And you had time
You are a china shop
And I am a bull
You are really good food
And I am full
I guess everything is timing
I guess everything’s been said
So I am coming home with an empty head
— You had time by Ani DiFranco
Oh boy! Watercolour papers are a diverse bunch of papers! When I started painting a few years back, I used to love the Moleskine Watercolour Notebook and then a couple of years later while experimenting with other papers the Moleskine was put aside as I preferred most of the other ones. This morning when I picked it up again, I decided to paint with watercolours (not India Ink) and wow! I love it again! Such a strange relationship that we have with these beautiful papers. In the same way, some of the colours that I have used in the past have been put aside to be replaced by other ones and sometimes they come back in – they are sneaky like that – wouldn’t you say?
On Sundays, while I am working or painting I always listen to music and today was an Ani DiFranco type of day. One of the softest songs is You had time…
Paper: #27 Moleskine Watercolour Notebook
Fountain Pen: Platinum 3776 EF (the 3776 is the height in meters of Mount Fuji)
Ink: DeAtramentis Document Black
Watercolours: DS Q. Gold, DS Pyrrol Crimson, DS Cerulean Chromium, W&N Burnt Sienna
Here is my present palette colours which I am really enjoying as they contain the colours that I love. The next one that I will exchange is the MC Azo Yello as I find it too opaque…
I’ve learned that no matter what happens,
or how bad it seems today,
life does go on,
and it will be better tomorrow.
— Maya Angelou
Paper: #27 Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook
Fountain Pen: Pilot Falcon Namiki SEF
Ink Wash: Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay Black India Ink
All the fine winds gone
And this sweet world is so much older
Animals pull the night around their shoulders
Flowers fall to their naked knees
Here I come now, here I come
I hear you been out there looking for something to love
The dark force that shifts at the edge of the tree
It’s alright, it’s alright
When you turn so long and lovely, it’s hard to believe
That we’re falling now in the name of the Anthrocene
— Anthrocene by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Sometimes when you enter a building and you look around you and assess the place and wham! You love it? Well, this is definitely my kind of place. This beautiful grand desk filled with books, papers and of course fountain pens is just in my style. I took out my Bombay Black India Ink bottle to create the washes and am quite satisfied with the different values that it gave me, going from a soft light gray to quite dark values.
On another note, the semester is in full swing, a whole lot of correcting and prepping to do and just being present for the students is quite engaging, to say the least.
Paper: #27 Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook
Ink: Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay Black India Ink
Fountain Pen: Pilot Namiki Falcon SEF