Summer

I am often helplessly confronted by the picture… filled with suspense.
What I have drawn suddenly seems to have developed its own dynamic – one that is not always necessarily kind to me.
It is a genuine struggle and challenge.
Simone Bingemer

When you live in the province of Québec, Canada, you wait 9 months to get to this point in time. Summer! We actually only have about 2 months of real summer weather, July and August and sometimes September is quite beautiful and balmy too. With the pandemic ebbing away, the weather has been on my mind as I seem to need fresh air. We have been cooped up for so long…

So here is another cloud painting in gouache, and I found this one to be difficult to do. I actually did a second one after, and it is good for the trash can. Hah-hah! That happens too.

I have also put a photo of my outside painting studio… so nice. As it is screened in, there are no mosquitoes! Yeahhh!

Cumulonimbus Clouds
Cumulonimbus clouds

Paper: Strathmore Toned Tan Paper, 12″ x 9″
Gouache: Winsor & Newton Zinc White, Lemon Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Alizarin Crimson, Cerulean Blue, Ultramarine & Phthalo Green.

Outside painting setup at my house

:: First Frost ::

The lake has started to thicken,
specks of ice.
The mountains are starting to whiten,
snowflakes have fallen.
The birds are gathering at the feeders,
my dog is sleeping. 
— by Jane Hannah

This week we had our first frost and it came as a surprise! Yesterday we had our fundraiser Square Foot Exhibition for the Old Brewery Mission and it was definitely a success. Twenty artists displayed their works and it was quite amazing to see all of the different styles and mediums. I am really enjoying the Fluid 100 paper, as it is 100% cotton and this makes a tremendous difference with watercolours. It takes all of the paint that you throw at it, and then does what it wants to do.

This painting is for sale, and ready to go.

Paper: Fluid 100 12″ x 12″
Colours: Q. Gold, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, P. Crimson & Indanthrone
Location: Hudson, Québec, Canada

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:: Église St-Enfant-Jésus du Mile End ::

“There is no such thing as an amateur artist as different from a professional artist,”
wrote Paul Cezanne,
“There is only good art and bad art.”

The Montreal Urban Sketchers were out sketching out today and the weather was beautiful, even though a tad cold with the wind. Surprisingly it was colder in Montreal than in Rigaud… as we live in the forest, there is rarely any wind. When I first decided to draw this majestic building, I did not know how intricate that it would be… and I kept thinking, “why did I choose to draw this building?” However, in the end I was quite happy to have completed it! I might have time tomorrow to paint it… I hope so -)

Paper: Field Watercolor journal 7″ x 10″
Pen: Platinum Desk Pen EF DP1000AB
Ink: Noodlers Lexington Grey
Location: Église St-Enfant-Jésus du Mile End

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:: Beautiful silent skies ::

Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation. (Hans Jean Arp)

When I want to see huge, beautiful skies there is one place to go in my region and it is just between Rigaud and St. Clet. The skies are always luminous, grand and silent as they stretch west towards the sunset surrounding St. Polycarpe and St. Telesphore! I must have painted this sky many times up to now and here it is an older post. There is always a sense of awe that chokes me a bit in front of these immense skies… an inner peace.

I have been cooped up in the house for the past four days as the flu has hit us… the sniffles, coughing, sneezing and nose blowing type of sessions where you just want to lie down and sleep, and when it is time to sleep, you are wide awake! Have you ever had this? In a sense my husband and I were well timed as it started one day apart from each other, so I did not feel guilty binging on Netflix.

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Journal 8″x5″
Colours: Burnt Sienna, Q. Rose, Raw Umber & French Ultramarine
Location: Route 201 between Rigaud and St-Clet, Quebec, Canada.

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Shadows :: Ombres

As the snow is melting everywhere, there are many remnants in my backyard… we still have at least 2 feet of snow on the Mountain of Rigaud and I am grappling with the idea that I want spring to arrive, fast! and wishing that these beautiful shadows that are cast on the snow could last. The quandary of the artist… these shadows I will miss… so I am painting them… and painting them… and painting them.

Shadows change hues as the temperatures change. In the deep of winter with frigid temperatures the shadows are a blue metallic — when the sun starts coming out, and the temperatures go up a bit, the shadows turn to a deep blue-violet and now, as spring is almost around the corner, the shadows have turned to a grey-lavender.

Comme la neige fond vite, il y a toujours des restes sur mon terrain… au moins 2 pieds de neige sur la montagne de Rigaud. Je suis super contente que le printemps arrive à grands pas, au plus vite possible, et le fait que mes ombres qui sont si belles sur la neige vont disparaître. Le dilemme de l’artiste… ces ombres vont me manquer, donc je les peins, et je les peins, et je les peins…

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Sketchbook
Colours: Q. Gold, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Cobalt Blue
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Gray
Location: My backyard in Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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Intertwined :: Entrecroisés

These two trees seem to have lived for a very long time, side by side, looking over the beautiful Lake St. Francis (now thawing) and perhaps having at one moment in time, only the wind, birds and a few human beings passing by them. Now there is a booming sailboat club right next to them, an asphalt road and many passersby. Times change but these type of friendships last. The snow is receding at a very good rate and we can start seeing water appearing on the still frozen lakes — finally!

Ces deux arbres semblent avoir vécu depuis bien longtemps, un à côté de l’autre, regardant le très beau lac St-François (qui est toujours gelé). Dans leur passé, ils étaient tout probablement accompagnés du vent, de la pluie, du soleil et quelques humains qui passaient. De nos jours, ils côtoient le club de voile de Valleyfield, avec une route en asphalte passant devant et beaucoup de personnes en balade. Les temps changent mais les amitiés, des fois, restent. Finalement la neige descend, oohhhh que lentement et sûrement, et l’eau commence à apparaître sur les lacs toujours glacés.

Paper: Handbook Travelogue Sketchbook
Colours: Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna & Cobalt Blue
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Location: Parc Marcil in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Québec, Canada

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Air of spring :: Air printanier

“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” 
― Albert Camus

This morning when I woke up there was a mini snowstorm going on and as the day wore on, the temperatures went up… a bit. It felt balmy at 3ºC and it was raining by 10:00 am — a sure sign that spring is in the air. This painting was done this week for a commission that I had… one painting is on its way to Colorado  as a reminder of a dream that once was while this one is staying here…

Quand je me suis réveillée ce matin, il y avait une mini-tempête de neige… ensuite elle s’est calmée, et il a commencé à pleuvoir vers 10h00, un signe certain que le printemps s’en vient. Ooooh! Que j’ai hâte. Cette peinture a été complétée cette semaine pour une commission… l’autre est sur son chemin pour le Colorado rejoindre quelqu’un avec un rêve qui a été…

Paper: Saunders Waterford CP 8″ x 8″
Colours: Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna & French Ultramarine
Fountain Pen: Pilot Prera F
Ink: Noodlers’ Bulletproof Lexington Grey

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:: Sketch Swap ::

— Swapped and residing in Gerona, Spain —

“The seasonal urge is strong in poets. Milton wrote chiefly in winter. Keats looked for spring to wake him up (as it did in the miraculous months of April and May, 1819). Burns chose autumn. Longfellow liked the month of September. Shelley flourished in the hot months. Some poets, like Wordsworth, have gone outdoors to work. Others, like Auden, keep to the curtained room. Schiller needed the smell of rotten apples about him to make a poem. Tennyson and Walter de la Mare had to smoke. Auden drinks lots of tea, Spender coffee; Hart Crane drank alcohol. Pope, Byron, and William Morris were creative late at night. And so it goes.” 
― Helen Bevington

I participated in a Sketch Swap organized by the Urban Sketchers group. I was paired up with someone from Gerona, Spain and I received his painting today in the mail. It was such a great feeling to receive it — he actually sent me a video, and a nice historical explanation of his city.

So the following painting is the one that I sent him. The architecture of the house is a typical “vernacular” or cottage type house with two slopes. Neoclassical style, around 1825, 1-1/2 stories, with symetrical opening. The floors are usually very close to the earth (no basement) with a bas-côté named “tambour” in French.  When settlers arrived in Canada, there were alot of trees… so all of our architecture is wood-based, especially houses that lie in the countryside. This house was painted on location in Coteau-Landing, Québec, Canada and is on a very quiet side road where not many cars or humans, go to. It is very typical of our older houses.

J’ai participé à un Sketch Swap avec les Urban Sketchers où nous étions mis en binôme… moi je devais peindre pour une personne à Gérone, Espagne et vice versa. J’ai reçu sa peinture aujourd’hui et c’était assez trippant. Pour ma part, je lui ai fait parvenir la peinture ci-bas, qui représente une maison rurale avec une architecture assez typique du Québec. Architecture vernaculaire ou style néoclassique, environ 1825, 1-1/2 étage sans sous-sol avec un bas côté nommé “tambour”.

Paper: Saunders Waterford CP 12″ x 9″
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Commission

Commission: an order for something, especially a work of art, to be produced specially. I wanted to explain the steps that I go through when I receive a commission from a client. For this example I am working from a reference photograph. I also wanted to mention that I never post a client’s final painting as that painting does not belong to me anymore… it is theirs -)))

1. Composition Sketch: the first step that I take is to figure out the composition… I think and sketch about the various elements for the painting and where to place them… will I add a tree there or keep the houses in the background? Usually I create three of these.
2. Tonal Value Sketch: I then pick the best composition, and figure out the main highlights and tonal values of the sketch and pick one colour (usually Payne’s grey) and apply three values to a rough sketch. The one colour is applied at difference intensity levels (75%, 40% and 15%). This is the sketch that I am showing you today. I must add that I will do the compositional sketch right after this, as I have not yet figured out if I will leave the houses as they are in the photograph or put trees instead…
3. Small sketch in colour: In a sketchbook, in a much smaller size than the real size, I then “try out” a rough coloured version of the painting and see where that brings me. I might have to do two of these. This is where I choose my triads.
4. Real size sketch in pencil: Once that I am satisfied with my small sketch, I move on to a very high quality paper and draw everything at the client’s required size with a #7B pencil (quite soft lead so that it does not scratch the watercolour paper as this may create gutters and lines in the watercolour).
5. Real size sketch in ink: Then I go over the pencil lines with ink (if necessary or required).
6. Final version of the painting. Voilà! In the hopes that it is to my liking, as I am “the” most difficult person to please -)
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Pour ce blogue je voulais expliquer les étapes que je fais quand je reçois une commande d’un client. Pour cet exemple, je travaille d’une photographie de référence que la cliente m’a envoyée.

1. Croquis de composition: la première chose que je dessine sont des “thumbnails” ou des tout petits croquis de composition. Est-ce que je vais garder les maisons à l’arrière ou est-ce que je vais les enlever et mettre des arbres au lieu? Est-ce que je vais mettre l’horizon au centre ou plus haut ou plus bas?
2. Valeurs de tons: Ensuite je fais une étude de valeurs de tons. J’utilise pour ceci qu’une couleur avec trois intensités différentes (à peu près 15%, 40% et 75) pour démontrer les tons clairs, sombres et moyens.
3. Sketchbook: Je fais un croquis dans un “sketchbook” en couleurs et c’est là que je choisis mon triade de couleurs… des fois je peux en faire 2 ou 3 de ces croquis.
4. Grandeur réelle: papier aquarelle d’une très grande qualité (Saunders Waterford 140 lbs CP) et je la coupe à la grandeure désirée, dans ce cas, 11″x14″, et je dessine au crayon #7B (un crayon gras pour ne pas abimer le papier).
5. Encre: Après je retrace avec une plume fontaine remplie d’encre (si nécessaire ou désiré).
6. Peinture finale: peindre la peinture finale en espérant qu’elle soit à mon goût car je suis la personne la plus “critique” de mes peintures. Des fois je dois refaire 2 fois…

Paper: Larolan Sketchbook #10 – 5″ x 8″
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Pen: Twisbi Classic EF
Colour: W&N Payne’s Grey

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Shades of grey :: Nuances de gris

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.”
― W.B. Yeats

I decided to do a study in grey combinations today. Instead of using the triad colours that I usually use, I decided to use only one red color with multiple blues… to create different shades of grey. Each building has a different blue colour but always the same Indian Red. This farms is in Coteau-Landing, Québec.

J’ai décidé de faire une étude de gris aujourd’hui. Au lieu d’utiliser le triade de couleurs que j’utilise habituellement, j’ai décidé d’utiliser qu’un rouge “Indian Red” et multiples couleurs de bleu pour créer différentes nuances de gris. Chaque bâtiment a un bleu différent combiné au “Indian Red”. Cette ferme est située à Coteau-Landing.

Paper: Travelogue Sketchbook
Colours: Indian Red, Cerulean Blue, Cobalt Blue, Prussian Blue, Manganese Blue, French Ultramarine & Payne’s Grey
Poem: by W. B. Yeats for my Mother in memory of my father…
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