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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:: Did you know? ::

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.

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:: Colour in my eyes O children ::

O children
     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
O children
     Lift up your voice, lift up your voice
     Children
     Rejoice, rejoice
— 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 -)))

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Paper: Hand•book journal co. pocket landscape
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

:: Lieu historique national du Commerce-de-la-Fourrure-à-Lachine ::

Do not fail to draw something every day, for no matter how little it is, it will be well worth while, and it will do you a world of good. 
— Cennino Cennini, 1370-1440

I was painting with my friend Chi Mai today on the Canal Lachine in front of the Fur Trade at the Lachine National Historic Site which dates back from 1803. It is a gorgeous place, right next to the Canal Lachine and next to Lake St. Louis which is part of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Chi Mai has a vast knowledge in watercolours and she helped me out in the end which is very generous of her. Thanks Chi Mai! If you would like to see her work, just click on this LINK.

I find that I have trouble with midtones and usually my paintings fall flat as all of my values fall in the same range… not enough contrast. So I worked today with one concept in mind and this was to have values in mind. To do this I started with a value sketch in lead pencil.  The other thing that I did do differently today was only use flat brushes, and I loved it. I had a big 1″, 0.5″ and 0.25″ and I really enjoyed using these and kind of liberated my arm. And Chi Mai helped me with my values -)))

Paper: Arches 12″x12″
Watercolours: Pyrrol Crimson, Ultramarine, Cobalt Blue, Q. Burnt Orange, Raw Sienna & Burnt Sienna.
Location: LINK

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:: Summer breeze ::

 

Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind

Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind
— Seals & Croft

Woke up to a sunny windless morning and went swimming in the Pacific for a good 45 minutes. I have to say that this is a perfect holiday! We had dinner with our hosts last night at a local fish restaurant and ate exquisitely. 

While typing this post, I actually thought that we were still in the morning but it is presently 1:10 pm and we still have not had our breakfast… time flies when I am painting. So this is the drawing completed in watercolour this morning.

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Paper: Travelogue Sketchbook 8″x8
Watercolours: Q. Gold, Cobalt Blue, Raw Sienna, Q. B. Orange & Sap Green
Location: Bucerias, Nayarit, Mexico

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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:: Death of a lady’s man ::

Take the word butterfly. To use this word it is not necessary to make the voice weigh less than an ounce or equip it with small dusty wings. It is not necessary to invent a sunny day or a field of daffodils. It is not necessary to be in love, or to be in love with butterflies. The word butterfly is not a real butterfly. There is the word and there is the butterfly. If you confuse these two items people have the right to laugh at you. Do not make so much of the word. Are you trying to suggest that you love butterflies more perfectly than anyone else, or really understand their nature? The word butterfly is merely data. It is not an opportunity for you to hover, soar, befriend flowers, symbolize beauty and frailty, or in any way impersonate a butterfly. Do not act out words. Never act out words.
— Death of a Lady’s Man by Leonard Cohen

Today I am in a Rectify Soundtrack, seasons 1, 2, 3 & 4 type of mood on Spotify. I love love love Johnny Cash and the soundtrack is eclectic and moody. I have often painted this scene which is situated in St-Clet and it is called Sinagri Sec on rue Du Moulin. I seem to like grungy scenes, backyards are so much more interesting than front yards… and the artist in me wishes that I could have access to all backyards near me… funny how people maintain the front and not the back, huh, just sayin’…

These three paintbrushes are my favourite ones, and not the most expensive ones I might add. The one on the right is from Rosemary & Co Sable blend SER 401 which comes from Manchester, England from last year’s trip to England. The second one was a gift from a friend that travelled to the Picasso Museum in Malaga and has not left my side since. The third one on the bottom left is a daVinci Casaneo #489 mop which can soak up an incredible amount of water, so this one was very good for the sky wash in the background.

I have painted this scene a few times and you can see it here.

Paper: Travelogue Sketchbook #22 8″x8″
Watercolours: DS Q. Gold, DS Raw Sienna, DS Cerulean Chromium, MG Mineral Violet & WN Burnt Sienna
Location: Sinagri Sec on rue Du Moulin in St-Clet, Québec, Canada

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