:: Cuban Sky ::

“Look three times,
think twice,
paint once,”
is a time-honoured shibboleth.
The Painter’s Keys

Following up on my gouache quest, I had to paint this twice as my first one had pretty good skies, but a dull lower third. I took this photo when I was in Varadero, Cuba in 2012 and the skies were majestic & scary at the same time. The ocean was calm, but there was a rumble of distant thunder and eminent rain. Such a beauty!

If you are wondering about the quote, I have been following Painter’s Keys for a very long time and for an artist, it is filled with great advice and painting anecdotes. You should look at it.

On another note, this Friday is my last day as a paid employee of John Abbott College, and next Monday my real retirement begins after 26 years of working in the Public Sector. I am overjoyed and grateful that I do not have to go in to teach as COVID-19 is still in our midst and to mingle with 7000 students would be scary even though I am double jabbed. But I do not have to worry as I have retired — yeahhhhh!!!.

If you are interested in learning more about how to paint in gouache, you can look here for the info for Shari’s link.


Solitary bougainvillea :: Bougainvillier solitaire

Here is the last sketch from Cuba. I had so much trouble finding a composition on that day… can you believe it? I turned round and round and round… and then my eyes floated downwards to this very old tree stub where a very lonely bougainvilla was trying to grow — so lonely and beautiful at the same time. So I painted it. I first drew in the lines with a fountain pen and then applied the watercolours. The square format and the bigger size paper permits me to be more creative.

Voici mon dernier sketch fait de Cuba. J’ai tellement eu de la misère à trouver un sujet… pourtant… donc je tournais en rond et en rond, jusqu’au point où mes yeux se sont abaissés pour voir un morceau de bois mort, ou qui semblait mort, et ce bougainvillier qui poussait tant bien que mal. J’ai dessiné les lignes avec ma plume fontaine et ensuite mis les couleurs aquarelle. Le format de ce paper me permet d’être plus créative…

Paper:  Trav•e•logue series watercolor journals by Hand•book Journal Co. #8
Size: 8.25″ x 8.25″
Colours: French Ultramarine, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Aureolin Yellow and Winsor Red.


200th post :: 200e blog

This is my 200th post since I started my blog last May and I am very proud of this painting. First, because I managed to paint without using an ink pen, which I have been very reliant upon in these past few months. Second, because I painted using different layers of washes instead of painting within the ink lines… yeah! Thanks for Marc Taro Holmes for explaining to me the concept of the consistency of the watercolours as being like tea, followed by milk and finishing with honey! Third, painting has changed my life in many ways… some days it makes ma very proud, others not so much but there is always this urgency to at least try and do better. And when I do, I get such a sense of accomplishment that no job can give. Lastly but not least, I have met such a great group of people in the sketching community as well as received so much great feedback from  them, as well as from the viewers/followers on my blog — I thank thee ;-)

C’est ma 200e peinture que je poste sur mon blog depuis mai 2012 et j’en suis très fière. La première raison est que ça fait exactement 1 an que j’essaie de peindre sans utiliser une ligne d’encre et je n’y arrivais pas. Deuxièmement, j’ai peint en plusieurs couches… donc en commençant par un lavis ensuite mettre des couches subséquentes en changeant l’épaisseur de l’aquarelle. Comme Marc Taro Holmes dit: consistence du thé, ensuite celle du lait pour finir avec le miel. Troisièmement, la peinture a changé ma vie dans bien des senses. J’ai rencontré des sketchers incroyables et tous les commentaires d’encouragement que je reçois des personnes qui suivent le blog m’aident tellement… j’en suis très reconnaissante — merci!

Paper:  Trav•e•logue series watercolor journals by Hand•book Journal Co.
Size: 8.25″ x 8.25″
Colours: Schminke Cerulean Blue, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Aureolin Yellow


Plage Cayo Largo Beach

This is a sideview from our beach in Cayo Largo… quite nice. The sea was much more feisty than it seems in my painting — but hey! I was just happy to get the colours right!
Voici la vue de la plage de notre hôtel… la mer était beaucoup plus tumultueuse qu’elle en a de l’air — mais hey! J’étais juste contente d’avoir réussi la couleur.

Colours: Prussian Blue, Aureolin Yellow, Raw Sienna & Burnt Sienna
Sketchbook:  Trav•e•logue series watercolor journals by Hand•book Journal Co.Size: 8.25″ x 8.25″20130625_CayoLargo

Trip down south… and a few lessons in the making! Une couple de leçons plus tard.

We left in a rush, pretty much at the last minute, last Friday for a well deserved break to Cayo Largo… which turned out to be hot, humid and hot… the exact opposite of our Quebec weather conditions.

On the first day of the trip, my colour palette was exposed to close to 46ºC temperatures, and when I opened my handbag, all of the Winsor & Newton watercolours had dripped all over my handbag and over each other! Not so for the Daniel Smith nor Schminke watercolours. Yikes! So I spent the rest of my day trying to salvage and clean the mess up. Lesson #1.

When I started painting in the sketchbook, I did not notice that the sunscreen on my arm had touched the right-hand side of the page… and it acted as wax on the paper. You can see the effects of this under the bridge, on the left palm tree. Lesson #2.

In this temperature, the Daniel Smith watercolours all seemed to granulate and take in the salt from the sea air. They did not react well to the hot temperature. Lesson #3.

Sketchbook:  Trav•e•logue series watercolor journals by Hand•book Journal Co.
Size: 8.25″ x 8.25″
Bought at Avenue des arts, a fine arts shop in Westmount.
Recommended by: Shari Blaukopf

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