:: 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

:: 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

A language not our own…

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 ::

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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