:: November Day ::

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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

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Paper: #27 Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook
Fountain Pen: Pilot Falcon Namiki SEF
Ink Wash: Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay Black India Ink

A language not our own…

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Listening to Radiohead’s Kid A album, Rigaud is awash with sleets of ice rain, bouts of rain and some snow… perfect temperature to stay warm inside and get back to some drawing. Are you like me? I tend to read many books at the same time and I am reading four at the moment… each book lives in a specific room, reflecting that rooms ruminations. One of the books that I am reading gives me peace and tranquillity and a deep longing for spring to finally arrive… after the icy winter that we have just endured.

“Braiding Sweetgrass, an Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants” by Robin Wall Kimmerer opens up a world for the mind, body, emotion & spirit and is a hymn to the world. Here is an excerpt:

“…I come here to listen, to nestle in the curve of the roots in a soft hollow of pine needles, to lean my bones against the column of whit pine, to turn off the voice in my head until I can hear the voices outside it: the shhh of wind in needles, water trickling over rock, nuthatch tapping, chipmunks digging, beechnut falling,  mosquito in my ear, and something more — something that is not me, for which we have no language, the wordless being of others in which we are never alone. After the drumbeat of my mother’s heart, this was my first language. Listening in wild places, we are audience to conversations in a language not our own…”.

Paper: Stillman & Birn, 9″ x 6″, Gamma series
Fountain Pen: Pilot Falcon SEF
Ink: DeAtramentis Document Black Ink
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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:: I worried…. by Mary Oliver ::

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I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the river
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
hopeless.

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

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Day 3 :: #OneWeek100People2018

All great works of art are rather difficult to access.
The reader who thinks them easy has failed to penetrate to the heart of the work. 

— André Gide 1869-1951

Up to 40 people today, yeah! This challenge is a challenge, to say the least. Drawing people is not what really attracts me as an artist, and I know that if I persevere I might find that I am getting better at it? Perhaps, I am hopeful -)

Today I went to the Fairview Mall in Pointe-Claire and the minute that I sat down a man said: “You must not know how to draw if you measure the way that you do?”… oh my! That deflated me a bit, and I gave him this answer: “Artists have different ways of working and my way is by measuring to get my proportions right.” I got up and found another spot as he was really looming over my shoulder and breathing down my back. Then a wonderful asian woman with most probably her grandson kept smiling and waving at me and they made my previous encounter less awkward. Felt good -))). When painting with the Urban Sketchers the power of the group is quite wonderful as we look out for each other.

Paper: Bockingford 30″x 22″ folded 7.5″ x 5.5″
Watercolours: MG Payne’s Grey

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Day 2 :: #OneWeek100People2018

A box without hinges, key or lid
yet golden treasure inside is hid.
— J.R.R. Tolkien, Bilbo the Hobbit

I did not have much time today and I wanted to draw faces up close… really close. So again I chose a photograph on the net of a family of three people. What I tried doing today is trying to find a specific characteristic that enhanced the likeness of the person…as to me this is the real challenge as I find that all of my portraits look alike.I tried focusing on one feature at a time. Choosing people with different hair styles helps alot!

So now I am at 23 people and tomorrow I am going to sketch at Fairview Pointe-Claire for around 1:00 pm or a little earlier if I can. Can you guess the answer to the riddle?

Paper: Bockingford 30″x 22″ folded 7.5″ x 5.5″
Watercolours: Q. Gold, Pyrrol Scarlet, Raw Sienna, B. Sienna and Cobalt Blue.

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:: #OneWeek100People2018 ::

What has roots that nobody sees
is taller than trees,
up up it goes
and yet never grows?
— J.R. Tolkien in Bilbo the Hobbit

I really juggled with the idea of participating in the #OneWeekOneHundredPeople Challenge by Marc Taro Holmes and Liz Steele. Some of the reasons why I am reticent is that first I have tons of correcting to do and I wonder how I will find the time to draw 100 people. Also, drawing people is intimidating for me, and I lack practice so I thought what better way than to practice this skill? I did have to muster up my courage though.

So after having thought about it for awhile, I decided that for my first day I would find a photograph on the net of people sitting in a café where there would already be 20 people there. So one painting, 20 people, instead of several small paintings… yeah! A kind of a warm-up exercise.

A few months ago I had folded a huge 30″x22″ Bockingford 140 lbs sheet the way that Cathy Johnson teaches it on YouTube. If you would like to see how she does this, it is quite simple in reality and gratifying too! You can view it here. So this is the sketchbook that I am using today to fill with my 100 people -)))

So this is a warmup exercise as tomorrow I will be in Montreal and I might not find the time… so this means that on Wednesday I’ll do 40! On Wednesday I am planning on going in the afternoon in the mall at Fairview Pointe-Claire. So if some of you would like to join me, I will be there, sketching away.

Paper: Bockingford 30″x22″ folded 7.5″ x 5.5″
Watercolours: Q. Gold, Cobalt Blue, B. Sienna, Mineral Violet

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:: Precision needed… ::

“We die. That may be the meaning of life,”
— Toni Morrison asserted in her spectacular Nobel Prize acceptance speech.
“But we do language.
That may be the measure of our lives.”

Sometimes I need precision in my life and one way to achieve this is through music. Listening to Bach’s Goldberg Variations by the eminent Glenn Gould (and Canadian to say the least) calms my soul when it is perturbed. Having played Bach throughout my life I can relate to Gould’s need for perfection AND mathematics… and this he did obtain through his sensitivity and brilliance!

Today I went to the Montpetit Funeral Home in Valleyfield to offer my condolences to a very dear friend, Benoit, who lost his 58 year old brother. Must be extremely hard! Met a few very old acquaintances there also, reminiscences and all… so many years ago.

So Pyper my dog permitted me to draw him tonight for half of his face… this in itself is a feat as he never lets me draw him… the minute that he sees me pen in hand, looking at him, he reunites with his 34th triple sense… oh no! She cannot look at me this way — LOL -)

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:: Blue Moon ::

Blue moon you saw me standing alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own
Blue moon, you knew just what I was there for
You heard me saying a prayer for 
Someone I really could care for
And then there suddenly appeared before me
The only one my arms will ever hold
I heard
— Billie Holiday

Not a drawing of a blue moon but of a small hand-crafted wood lamp that actually prevented me from watching the moon last night by shedding its warm soft glow on the outside window. I will check her out tonight so hoping for clear skies.

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook 5″x8″
Fountain Pen: Pilot Falcon SEF
Ink: De Atramentis Document Black
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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:: Smile ::

Smile tho’ your heart is aching
Smile even tho’ it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
You’ll get by
     If you smile
Thro’ your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shin-ing thro’ for you
     Light up your face with gladness
Hide ev-‘ry trace of sadness
Altho’ a tear may be ever so near
     That’s the time
You must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying
You’ll find that life is still worth-while
     If you just smile
— Nat King Cole

Here in Rigaud the temperature is -25C and the birds are in a frenzy at my feeders. If you are staying inside today, as am I, there is some good reading to do, or cooking, painting, drawing or simply puttering around doing miscellaneous stuff and on Sundays, this is “the” perfect day to do this! So have a wonderful dominical day while I am listening to “Smile” by Nat King Cole -)

Yesterday my black & white drawing of the head of a cactus got viewed as a potential spider and I decided that today I would add some watercolours so that it looked more like itself. I used a mix of two colours only to achieve these hues. These two colours combined together on this type of paper almost appear velvety, don’t you think?

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook
Watercolours: Q. Gold & Cerulean Chromium Blue
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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:: Cactus Epiphany ::

We are all visitors to this time, this place.
We are just passing through.
Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.
– Australian Aboriginal Proverb.

With the arrival of 20 cm of new snow it is a relief to know that on Epiphany we have gained 20 minutes of daylight as this winter in Québec has seen extreme temperatures. Looking out my window the thermometer is indicating -18C with a full sun. I can hear my husband shovelling outside and the birds are having a full day at the feeders. My dog is sleeping at my feet and I am preparing my classes for next week… sigh…

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook
Fountain Pen: Pilot SEF
Ink: De Atramentis Document Black
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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:: Have a Wonderful New Year ::

“To be nobody-but-yourself
— in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else
— means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight.”
by E. E. Cummings

By this first of January 2018, I wish you all Health, love, wisdom & a very long life!

My dear departed father would have loved to see this painting of our Scottish family’s coat of arms. I tried replicating the colours as documented in the Rietstap Armorial General where the original description of the arms (shield) is as follows:

“Ar. Three roebucks’ heads couped Az. collared or, a bell pendent from each collar.” When translated the blazon also describes the original colours of the Hannah arms as: “Silver and charged with three blue roebucks’ heads, severed from their bodies and wearing gold collars from which a bell is hanging.” Above the shield and helmet is the crest which is described as: “A black cross, three branches of which terminate in crosslets and the other (lower) branch of which is sharpened to a point, issuing out of a black crescent.”

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Sketchbook #22
Colours: Q. Gold, Cobalt Blue, B. Sienna
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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:: -21 celsius ::

Well it is -21 celsius at the moment here and warmer than yesterday as it reached -27C last night… The cars are having trouble starting too, can you imagine? We went for a very small walk this morning and Pyper our Golden Retriever was glad to get back home… a first for him that is sure. This weather is perfect for an informative and long post!

A bit on inks on this cold day. There is a big difference when deciding to buy inks for writing or drawing with a fountain pen. I mostly draw with fountain pens, some inexpensive such as the Platinum Carbon and some expensive ones too such as my newly acquired Pilot Falcon SEF fountain pen.

I need to use a good quality inks that are waterproof as I like finishing up my drawings with watercolours… thus with water. If I use non waterproof inks, the inks will bleed and sometimes that effect is what I want, as you can see in this post. However I prefer to have my lines retain their solidity, so I like using waterproof inks. In Canada not many companies seem to carry the good quality fountain pen inks that are waterproof so I usually buy my inks at Jetpens.com or Gouletpens.com. Both are good reliable companies. When I first started with fountain pens I used to buy Noodlers’ bulletproof inks and the term bulletproof means waterproof… and there is a very informative page on Jetpens.com that talk about the differences in Noodler’s inks. THEN I tried De Atramentis Document Inks and ooooh lala — fell in love with this ink immediately. This ink glides and does not clog my pens and you can mix these inks together to make your own custom-made colours. I am waiting for a De Atramentis Document Brown to arrive so that I can mix it up with my Document Blue which will give me a dazzling grey colour. If you wish to peruse a very good blog on this matter, check Jane Blundell’s blog right here. I also buy a “dilution” bottle that De Atramentis sells via Gouletpens.com and I add a few drops of the dilution into my ink just in case. It keeps the ink very smooth running, albeit a bit longer to dry.

Totally forgot to mention about ink converters so my next blog will talk about that.

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook 5″x8″
Fountain Pen: Pilot Falcon SEF
Ink: De Atramentis Document Black + Dilution 10 drops
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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:: A long sigh ::

IN AND OUT
The dog searches until he finds me upstairs,
lies down with a clatter of elbows,
puts his head on my foot.

Sometimes the sound of his breathing saves my life
— in and out, in 
and out;
a pause, a long sigh….

Tuesday was my last day of classes, Wednesday I started correcting, today we had our last department meeting of the semester and tomorrow I am still correcting… however, I feel free and that I can start breathing again. Cegep teaching is a weird field, as you are juggling with over 100 students, preparing your courses, correcting your students and of course teaching… I calculated once that I was  correcting over 2000 times per semester… something that I am not overjoyed to know! and on top of that dealing with administrative requirements, deadlines, dealing with software issues and all of these young beautiful people that are dealing with their own issues on top of that… lahdiladah! Can you tell that I am “very” happy to be done? So here is a small flowerpot that I have in my house that I just painted to commemorate all of this! Yeah!!!

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook Watercolour
Watercolours: Q. Gold, Q. Rose & Cerulean Chromium
Painted in Rigaud, Quebec, Canada
janehannah.com
#sketchbook #watercolour #flowerpot #painting

:: Vir et mulier facies ::

Follow your passion
it will lead you to your purpose.

Drew these two faces last night while watching TV and not really concentrating on what was going on the tube. Really enjoyed drawing the flowing lines and couldn’t stop. From my imagination. Enjoy some latin -)

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook
Fountain Pen: Platinum 3776 EF
Ink: DeAtramantis Document Black
Location: Rigaud, Quebec, Canada
#faces, #drawing, #ink, #imagination, #Moleskine Sketchbook, #sketch

:: Inktober 26 Squeak Theme ::

     Hey there, Mr. Tin Man
You don’t know how lucky you are
You shouldn’t spend your whole life wishin’
For something bound to fall apart
     Everytime you’re feeling empty
Better thank your lucky stars
If you ever felt one breakin’
You’d never want a heart
— Miranda Lambert

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Paper: Sketchbook #21 Handbook field watercolour journal 6″x6″
Ink: Dr.Ph.Martin’s Black Matte
Watercolour: Q. Quinachridone
Location: Rigaud from a reference photo
#inktober2017, #inktober,  26 squeak theme

:: Inktober 24 Blind ::

“Our intelligence, however lucid,
cannot perceive the elements that compose it
and remain unsuspected.”

This inktober theme “blind” was the hardest for me….

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Paper: Sketchbook #21 Handbook field watercolour journal 6″x6″
Ink: Dr.Ph.Martin’s Black Matte
Location: Rigaud from my imagination
#inktober2017, #inktober,  24 blind theme

:: Inktober 22 Trail ::

(Sung by Munchkins)
Follow the yellow brick road, follow the yellow brick road
Follow, follow, follow, follow, follow the yellow-brick road
Follow the yellow-brick, follow the yellow-brick
Follow the yellow-brick road

You’re off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz
You’ll find he is a Whiz of a Wiz is ever a Wiz there was
If ever, oh ever, a Wiz there was the Wizard of Oz is one because
Because, because, because, because, because
Because of the wonderful things he does
You’re off to see the wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz!
—  L. Frank Baum

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Paper: Sketchbook #21 Handbook field watercolour journal 6″x6″
Ink: Dr.Ph.Martin’s Black Matte
Watercolours: Q. Gold
Location: Rigaud from my imagination
#inktober2017, #inktober,  22 trail theme

:: Inktober 21 Furious ::

Over the misty mountains cold
Far over the Misty Mountains cold,
To dungeons deep and caverns old,
We must away, ere break of day,
To seek our pale enchanted gold.

— J.R.R. Tolkien

I toggled between the idea of a furious bull or a furious dragon… and the dragon won. Beautiful day here in Rigaud, need to get out in the sunshine -)

Paper: Sketchbook #21 Handbook field watercolour journal 6″x6″
Ink: De Atramentis Document Black Ink
Fountain Pen: Carbon Pen
Watercolours: DS Pyrrol Scarlet, DS Q. Gold, WN Indanthrone, WN B. Sienna
Location: Rigaud from my imagination
#inktober2017, #inktober,  21 furious theme

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:: Inktober 20 Deep::

What has roots as nobody sees,
is taller than trees,
up up it goes,
and yet never grows?
— J.R.R. Tolkien

Roots run deep and studies are showing that trees have a very intricate communicating system with their own. So happy to hear this -)

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Paper: Sketchbook #21 Handbook field watercolour journal 6″x6″
Ink: Dr.Ph”Martin’s Black Star Matte & Pen-White
Watercolours: DS Cerulean Blue Chromium & W&N Burnt Sienna
Location: Rigaud from my imagination

:: Inktober 19 Clouds ::

Rows and flows of angel hair 
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way
     But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done 
But clouds got in my way
     I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all
     Moons and Junes and ferries wheels 
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real 
I’ve looked at love that way
     But now it’s just another show 
You leave ’em laughing when you go
And if you care, don’t let them know 
Don’t give yourself away
     I’ve looked at love from both sides now 
From give and take and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions I recall
I really
— Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell

I was dreaming of fluffy, beautiful, light clouds… and I drew the digital cloud instead…. humph! Why? Because it is our world now, and we have to make do with it…  like it or not…

Sketchbook #20 Stillman & Birns Zeta

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