Light & Shadows

In art, the journey outshines the destination.
In art, mistakes are golden.
Painters’ Keys

I am presently following a class with Uma Kelkar and boy is it hard… and so gratifying at the same time. We are looking at how light bounces off objects and how it reflects, on shadows, cast shadows, etc. Here are two preliminary sketches that I did. I used Payne’s Grey on Strathmore paper.

Greyscale Study

For a strong composition, you want the values to be in quite different amounts, not similar.
Try this rule to start: two-thirds, one-third, and a little bit.

Marion Boddy-Evans

This is a quick way to see if a painting will pull it off, without having to spend time on a painting that lacks contrast or composition or something else…

In a sketchbook, I created a thumbnail about 2″ x 2″. I quickly sketched the shapes (not the textures) and then created a low, mid and high-value tone painting, with only one colour. In this instance, I used Payne’s Grey as it is capable of very dark values and very light values. It is also quite staining. I painted over the entire area with the lightest of values, reserving the whites, and then painted over with the mid and darker values. I can now see where some darks should be darker and where lights are necessary. The second door on the left-hand side should have a darker value but everything else seems about right. So next step is to draw it on full-size watercolour paper and then paint it.

By the way, I am totally loving my retirement! When I wake up in the mornings, I still cannot believe it! After having worked all of my life on one job and another for over 50 years, mostly full-time, some part-time, some jobs that I totally hated and some that I loved, to now have the luxury of time, I am grateful!!! And the best job that I ever had was teaching for 27 years in the public sector and the best employer was Cégep John Abbott College for 21 years!

Greyscale Values

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook #25
Colour: W&N Payne’s Grey
Ink: Noodler’s Lexington Grey
Fountain Pen: Pilot Penmanship, Clear, EF Nib, Japan (8$) bought at http://www.JetPens.com

Somewhere in Mexico…

The object of art is not to reproduce reality,
but to create a reality of the same intensity.

— Alberto Giacometti.

Here in Rigaud, Québec, Canada it snowed for the very first time yesterday and I woke up to a fairyland of white, fluffy, beautiful snow. The opposite of this painting from sunny Mexico! This is a typical Mexican scene, with the old cars, antennas, brightly coloured buildings and beautiful tiled roofs. It pays off to do the greyscale value thumbnails and the hue values also beforehand, even though today I did not respect my triad and went all out with many colours. The facade of the building is in Raw Sienna, but if I had to do it over, I would use Yellow Ochre which is an opaque colour with a bit of Q. Gold… it would make it livelier… but hey! I think that it is lively enough. Hope that you enjoy it. The sky is in a diluted Prussian Blue and it could have been a bit darker… but so much for that. It is finished, yeah!

Paper: Fabriano Artistico CP 140 lbs, 8″ x 8″
Colours: Mostly Hansa Light, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson, Cobalt Blue, Prussian Blue
Fountain Pen: Platinum Carbon
Ink: De Atrramentis Document Black Ink.

The cross

“Art = a mad search for individualism.”
(Paul Gauguin)

This must be one of the first paintings that I have done that has no trees, anywhere. I always try to manage putting in a tree or two as for me, these are very important beings. Apart from protecting us from the wind, cleaning up the air, giving us shade in the summer and sap in the spring, they are giants that we should revere.

So this station has a lot of cables, wires, gas, oil, wood, motors and pumps of all kinds… for some people, this is heaven. For others, not so much. But this makes for an interesting landscape. The hydro pillar looks like a cross, and maybe that it is a symbol for our energy devouring societies. What made me want to paint this was the magnificent sky and the cables whirling everywhere.

I looked up the word “cross” in the dictionary and it has so many different meanings. A crucifix, a burden to bear, a crossbreed, to travel across, a span, an intersection, to oppose, to hybridize. Man! So many different meanings with one word. The beauty of the English language.

Went out for a really nice lunch with a girlfriend today and we talked non-stop for 2-1/2 hours. Good, warm feelings.

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook #25
Watercolours: Raw Sienna, Q. Gold, Alizarin Crimson & Ultramarine Blue
Ink: De Atramentis Black Document Ink
Fountain Pen: Platinum Carbon

Values & Saturation Levels

“The harder I work the luckier I get.” 
Samuel Goldwyn from the Painter’s Keys

This looks like a really easy experiment, but in reality, it was difficult. But oh so bloody interesting to do!!! For this, I wanted to check out the saturation capacity of the paper, in this case, Fabriano Artistico Cold Press and test out different values of the same colour with different increments of value. I used Prussian Blue and Carbazole Violet.

To create this experiment I created a 10% wash over the entire area and let it dry completely. Leaving a strip of the previous layer and darkening the rest till I had 10 patches with white on one end and black on the other. The real difficulty was making uniform value jumps… hah! That was the killer. Result? The last value jump of Prussian Blue is oh so beautiful! It is almost like velvet to the touch while the Carbazole Violet is shiny and black. Different results, different intensities, different colours.

Paper: Fabriano Artistico CP 140 lbs
Colours: Prussian Blue & Carbazole Violet

Remembrance “Poppy” Day :: Jour du souvenir

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle,
and the life of the candle will not be shortened.
Happiness never decreases by being shared.

— Hermann Hesse

For this day I give you two versions of a poppy field. Just to remember the braves of our country and to hold them in our thoughts. My husband prefers the first one on the left, and I think that I prefer the one on the right. Which one do you like? Just curious… Y a-t-il y a une peinture que vous préférez entre les deux? Si oui, laquelle?

Remembrance Day is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth member states, and many countries around the world, since the end of the First World War to honour armed forces members who have died in the line of duty. Hostilities formally ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” of 1918.

Paper: Moleskine Watercolour Sketchbook #25
Colours Left: DS Q. Gold, DS Raw Sienna, W&N Cerulean Blue, DS Prussian Blue
Colours Right: DS Q. Gold, DS Raw Sienna, W&N Cobalt Blue, DS Prussian Blue
Fountain Pen: Platinum Carbon Pen
Ink: DeAtramentis Document Ink Black

Testing Watercolour Papers

One never knows what one is going to do.
One starts a painting and then it becomes something quite else.
It is remarkable how little the ‘willing’ of the artist intervenes.

— Pablo Picasso

I’ve been going through all of my drawers and found a myriad of different watercolour papers that I decided to test out today. I decided to test all of them out with the same combination of mixed colours (Cerulean Blue, Prussian Blue, a bit of Q. Gold and a small amount of red to neutralize the colour). I used a wet-in-wet technique which is, I think, the reason that my colours are are too unsaturated. I definitely do not like how the Strathmore paper bloated with the water. The Arches paper combined the different intensities of colour a bit too much (but my paints were too watery). The Fabriano and Fluid 100 papers were fine and the Saunders was intense as the paper is darker than the rest. To note that the Fabriano paper was not HP (hot-pressed) as the other ones so to compare it with the others is not really fair, as I usually love the results on this paper. I think that I might redo this exercise tomorrow with more saturated paint colours.

That is what happens when you stop painting for a while… humph! My technical eye went for a ride and said bye-bye -))) Well, guess what I will try to achieve tomorrow? Good saturation levels — hah-hah!!!

Colours: DS Alizarin Crimson, DS Q. Gold, W&N Cerulean Blue, DS Prussian Blue
Papers: Arches, Bockingford, Fabriano Artistico, Fluid 100, Saunders Waterford, Strathmore

Montreal Cotton :: MoCo

Each day has its own individuality of colour.
Hawthorne on Painting

My hometown is Salaberry-de-Valleyfield and in 1874 the major employer in those days was a cotton company named the Montreal Cotton, MOCO in short, and people referred to it as “La Coton”. Everyone in Valleyfield had a parent that worked there at some point in time. My grandfather, William Hannah worked there as a small boss. His son Dorland, my Dad, worked there also separating the cotton threads. As most things today it has been converted to a hotel, and behind it an elderly residence.

Yesterday I brought my whole paraphernalia for sketching with me in Valleyfield and I managed to draw on location, but due to a lack of trees and the sun falling on me, I quit and I forgot to take a picture of my drawing.

I first painted the sky, then I painted the water and then the reflections. Then I painted the trees and the buildings and in the end put on a bit of calligraphy to show shadows and depth. Hope that you like it!


Paper: Travelogue 8″x8″
Watercolours: New Gamboge, Raw Sienna, Alizarin Crimson, Ceruleant Blue, Prussian Blue

:: 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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