:: Wisp of a brush ::

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature.
It will never fail you.”

— Frank Lloyd Wright

Today’s prompt is “wisp” and when I read it I immediately thought of these long beautiful chinese calligraphy brushes…. which someone brought back from Shanghai as a present to me. Below you will find the tools that I will be using for the Inktober Challenge this year. I have decided to use Kuretake Water Brushes and to fill them up in advance with a dilution of 30% black, 60% black. This way I will have consistent grey values.

Wisp of a brush
Inktober Tools

Going from left to right at top of image.
• Small container with a mix of water and black ink;
• Dr. Ph. Martin’s Black Star Matte
• Dr. Ph. Martin’s Pen-White
• _____ to wripe off excess ink from brush
• 4 Chinese calligraphy brushes on top of green water container
Bottom of image.
• Eyedropper for adding ink
• Dip pen
• 3 Kuretake brush pens filled up with different % of mix (small, medium and large size)
• Platinum Desk Pen EF DP1000AB plus convertor, Red, Japan

Inktober Tools 2

Paper: Japanese Album
Ink: Dr. Ph. Martin’s Black Star Matte
Brush: Beautiful chinese calligraphy brush

Cosmic Fish

I’m very sane about how crazy I am.
— Carrie Fisher

In these pandemic times, drawing is good for you, especially since I have been sitting at the computer for long hours since the semester began and it is making me a bit stir-crazy! Drawing seems to liberate me from my troubles… in these troubled times — hah-hah!

The 2020 Inktober challenge began today and the prompt was “fish”… so I thought of a big cosmic fish at 10:00 pm tonight… not much time for drawing it, but still am happy with the result. The important factor is that I had fun and that it was good for me. If I have the time tomorrow I will scan it in instead of taking a quick photo with my iPhone. I will stick to a black and white theme this year with different values of grey…. if I find the time…

Cosmic Fish

Paints: Dr. PH.Martin’s Pen-White & Black Star Matte
Paper: Moleskine Japanese Sketchbook
Brushes: Kuretake Water Brushes

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

Who loves the trees best?

Who loves trees best?
I, said the spring,
Their leaves so beautiful to them I bring.
Who loves the trees best?
I, summer said,
I give them blossoms, white, yellow, red.
Who loves the trees best?
I, said the fall,
I give luscious fruits, bright tints to all!
Who loves the trees best?
I love them best, harsh winter answered,
I give them rest.
— The Pearl Story Book” by Ada. M Skinner

For two days now I have been painting under Shari‘s wonderful guidance a stillwater view of a lake.

I struggle with every painting that I do and I guess that this is part of the fun and the excitement of it all? If it were easy, would I keep at it? Would it keep me challenged enough to find it interesting? I don’t think so. I must say that I will always question my competence, as this is part of my temperament. The key to learning and improving is to keep on doing it, without taking long breaks as I am doing… with the Covid-19 situation, my life has changed a bit and underneath my apparent calmness, there is a struggle and anxiety that is there. Today and tomorrow it will be there too. So because I have not painted in a while, I felt rusty and of course I redid the same scene three times… not once, twice but three times! And talk to any artist, and they know what I am talking about.

So if you can, I would be really interested in knowing which one of these three paintings that you love best? And could you let me know? As I am very curious -) Top one is A, middle is B and lower one is C.

Stillwater A
Stillwater B
Stillwater C

Watercolours: Hansa Light, Q. Gold, Burnt Sienna, Q. Rose, Cerulean Blue, Cobalt Blue, Indanthrone (C)
Paper: Fabriano 12″x9″ CP
Reference photograph

:: Shakespeare’s Birthplace ::

This week marks William Shakespeare’s birthday. Shakespeare, who was born in 1564, endured a life chequered by outbreaks of plague. Seven hundred years later, it still rings true! To mark this some of Britain’s most famous Shakespearean actors, including Dame Judi Dench, read from Richard II. Here are the lyrics…. and if you would like to hear them played out by Dame Judy Dench — a real treat — , just go and view it on the excellent news show BBCNewsnight.

KING RICHARD II
I have been studying how I may compare
This prison where I live unto the world:
And for because the world is populous
And here is not a creature but myself,
I cannot do it; yet I’ll hammer it out.
My brain I’ll prove the female to my soul,
My soul the father; and these two beget
A generation of still-breeding thoughts,
And these same thoughts people this little world,
In humours like the people of this world,
For no thought is contented.
The better sort,
As thoughts of things divine, are intermix’d
With scruples and do set the word itself
Against the word:
As thus, ‘Come, little ones,’ and then again,
‘It is as hard to come as for a camel
To thread the postern of a small needle’s eye.’
Thoughts tending to ambition, they do plot
Unlikely wonders; how these vain weak nails
May tear a passage through the flinty ribs
Of this hard world, my ragged prison walls,
And, for they cannot, die in their own pride.
Thoughts tending to content flatter themselves
That they are not the first of fortune’s slaves,
Nor shall not be the last; like silly beggars
Who sitting in the stocks refuge their shame,
That many have and others must sit there;
And in this thought they find a kind of ease,
Bearing their own misfortunes on the back
Of such as have before endured the like.
Thus play I in one person many people,
And none contented: sometimes am I king;
Then treasons make me wish myself a beggar,
And so I am: then crushing penury
Persuades me I was better when a king;
Then am I king’d again: and by and by
Think that I am unking’d by Bolingbroke,
And straight am nothing: but whate’er I be,
Nor I nor any man that but man is
With nothing shall be pleased, till he be eased
With being nothing.
Music do I hear?

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Paper: Hand•book journal co. 8″ x 8″ #26
Ink: Lexington Grey
Fountain Pen: Pilot Penmanship EF
Watercolours: New Gamboge, Q. Gold, Ceruleant Blue, Ultramarine, Q. Rose, Q. Burnt Orange, etc.

:: Working for love ::

On the Painter’s Keys website I found this little gem and thought that I would share it with you. It resonated with me as it is true that we are low consumers and thrive in quiet spaces. We know how to work for love? Wow! That is sooo true… I cannot paint something that I do not love. It has to come from the heart first, and if I love it, I know that I will paint it well…

I’m willing to bet my last roll of toilet paper that the 99% of artists the world is currently digging professional graves for will not all perish in the age of isolation. We have low overheads. And our worldly needs are modest. We know how to work for love. Many of us are poor consumers. We also thrive in the quiet spaces, which means our ideas are being given the opportunity to improve. We are all at home, now. If part of art’s function is to explore our universal human experience, home is our current, unifying theme.
Painter’s Key

I am definitely in need of some greenery as this painting attests to. Here in Québec, or at least where I live, there is hardly any green yet. I painted this little old house as I followed Shari‘s online class… she motivates me to continue!

20200425-oldHouse2-jane-hannah-loResPaper: Hand•book journal co. 8″ x 8″
Ink: DeAtramentis Document Black
Namiki Fountain Pen SEF
Watercolours: New Gamboge, Q. Gold, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine, Q. Rose, Q. Burnt Orange

:: 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

:: La maline ::

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!

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Handbook Journal Pocket Landscape Red

:: Journey’s End ::

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″

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