:: 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

:: The Lost Words ::

“Once Upon a time, words began to vanish from the language of children. They disappeared so quietly that at first almost no one noticed – fading away like water on a stone. The words were those that children used to name the natural world around them: acorn, adder, bluebell, bramble, conker – gone! Fern, heather, kingfisher, otter, raven, willow, wren…all of them gone! The words were becoming lost: no longer vivid in children’s voices, no longer alive in their stories.”

I have a book at home called The Lost Words and it is a gorgeous spell book. This is the excerpt on the back sleeve. “…When the most recent edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary was published, a sharp-eyed reader soon noticed that around forty common words concerning nature had been dropped. Acorn, adder, bluebell, dandelion, fern, heron, kingfisher, newt, otter and willow. The words were no longer being used enough by children to merit their place in the dictionary. The list of these lost words were replaced by attachment, blog, broadband, bullet-point, cut-and-paste, and voice-mail. The news of these substitutions — the outdoor and natural being displaced by the indoor and virtual — became seen by many as a powerful sign of the growing gulf between childhood and the natural world. In response, Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris set out to make a “spell book” that would conjure back twenty of these lost words, and the beings they name, from acorn to wren. By the magic of word and paint, they sought to summon these words again into the voices, stories and dreams of children and adults alike, and to celebrate the wonder and importance of everyday nature….”

If you are interested in reading more about this beautiful book here is a link. So with this in mind, one of the sketches that I will be asking my students to complete will be creating an acrostic poem and drawing its being for a “lost” natural being that they could not part with in this world… I chose a tree -)))

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Fountain Pen: Pilot Falcon SEF
Ink: De Atramentis Document Black
Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook Art Plus Large

:: 18 emojis ::

“Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”
C. Northcote Parkinson, British scholar

I have been prepping in a kind of a frenzy these last few days as I procrastinated this summer… too well for my liking and habits — hah-hah! I promised myself that I will do as I usually do and start prepping once my final grades are in next May.

For my drawing class I have been teaching different sketching techniques hoping that the majority of my students catch one technique that they will aspire to. Well I have to admit that almost 50% of the students can’t see or apply the different techniques and seem to draw in the same manner as they were taught when they were very young.

So with the help of a very old drawing book by Pranks, I decided to try something new. Learn from the masters by replicating what they are seeing! I myself have been astonished by what I have learned over the years with this technique — quite a revelation. So I am giving it a go for this semester and hope that this might ease some student anxiety over the “blank” page and help them to start drawing.

My first exercise is to see their creativity by getting them to draw 18 different Emojis in their sketchbook… a way for me to look into their creativity and imagination levels! I had fun drawing these and I will be painting them too a bit later on…

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Fountain Pen: Pilot Falcon SEF
Ink: De Atramentis Document Black Ink
Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook 5″x8″

:: I worried…. by Mary Oliver ::

I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the river
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
hopeless.

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

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:: Blue Moon ::

Blue moon you saw me standing alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own
Blue moon, you knew just what I was there for
You heard me saying a prayer for 
Someone I really could care for
And then there suddenly appeared before me
The only one my arms will ever hold
I heard
— Billie Holiday

Not a drawing of a blue moon but of a small hand-crafted wood lamp that actually prevented me from watching the moon last night by shedding its warm soft glow on the outside window. I will check her out tonight so hoping for clear skies.

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook 5″x8″
Fountain Pen: Pilot Falcon SEF
Ink: De Atramentis Document Black
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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:: Little XMas Tree ::

“If creativity is a habit, then the best creativity is the result of good work habits.
They are the nuts and bolts of dreaming.”
(Twyla Tharp)

Today is the full moon and it promises to be a beautiful night as the skies are clear out here on Rigaud Mountain. We put up our Christmas decorations today and this is one of our little trees that is standing on a small table.

I drew this in my favourite “drawing” paper which are Moleskine Sketchbooks… the paper is just fabulous for drawing, especially with my favourite fountain pen of all times, the Platinum 3776 EF. The paper has some type of glaze on top of it which makes drawing on it as if I was drawing with butter… hum… so cool -) However as it is fabulous for drawing, it is not as fabulous for painting! When you put watercolour paints on it, the paint stays “on” the paper instead of being absorbed… and sometimes you just have to scrub it in, which gives it a grungy look, which I sometimes like. An artist in Scotland, Will Freeborn, specializes in painting in Moleskines.

Paper: Moleskine Skethchbook
Fountain Pen: Platinum 3776 EF
Ink: DeAtramentis Document Black
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada

:: Inktober 8 Crooked Theme ::

Why do you paint?
For exactly the same reason I breathe.
— E.E. Cummings from Brainpickings.org

These Inktober themes are really challenging me as I usually am more of an Urban Sketcher, meaning that I try to paint what I see in my environment and not through the computer screen, nor photographs and oh my, certainly not from my imagination! Well, not anymore as these themes have to be found within me and then drawn or painted as I see fit… they are never close to what I had in mind, but I think that the correlation between my imagination and my pen is improving.

I drew in pencil first, as I do not have the courage for now to go straight to ink pen as I usually do, and then I went over with my Hero 573 Fube Nib Fountain Pen. I originally thought to keep this in a  monochromatic black theme, but I got carried away as usual… some buildings in the distance, a road and this “crooked” person stealing an innocent bystander.

Paper: Stillman & Birn Zeta Series sketchbook #20
Pen: Hero 573 Fube Nib with De Atramentis Document Black Ink
Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada from my imagination
#Inktober 8 Crooked Theme

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:: Rien ne se perd, rien ne se crée, tout se transforme ::

There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to be see beyond the usual — become clairvoyant. We reach then into reality. Such are the moments of our greatest happiness. Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom.
— The Art Spirit by Robert Henri

As Fall is approaching here, the leaves are turning a golden hue with some bursts of oranges and deep purple… it is already starting here. The peak of the season is usually near October 15th here in southern Québec, and this date varies with the latitude that you are living in. A book that I often delve in is The Art Spirit as it is profoundly spiritual in an artistic sense. Henri must have been a wonderful teacher, and I do hope that some days, a very few perhaps, I might inspire my students as Henri inspires me!

These flowers were photographed by a famous writer here in Canada, Kim Thuy and she won the Giller prize for her book Ru. Her first photograph were of these flowers in their fragrant bloom (which I have posted before), and the second photograph is the flowers with the petals falling… I thought that it was appropriate with our imminent fall season. She mentioned this quote to me when she sent me the second photograph. “Presque arrivées à leur destination”. Well said Kim! This painting is part of the next exhibit that I will be taking part in November 2018 that is called Square Foot Exhibition. All are welcome. #squarefootexhibition2017.

Paper: Fluid 100
Ink: De Atramentis Document Black
Fountain Pen: Carbon Desk Pen EF
Location: Reference photograph here in Rigaud, Québec, Canada

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:: Quills ::

One smile can start a friendship,
one word can end a fight.
One look can save a relationship,
one person can change your life.

I am starting to prep for my oncoming semester by doing some quick basic pen strokes with my newly filled up Platinum Carbon Fountain Pen, which I love by the way and has to be the best buy there is as it is quick inexpensive (approximately $20 Cdn). This is the first sketchbook that I used when I started drawing and I still love it as this is the older version of glazed paper that they used to sell… now with the newer version of Moleskine Sketchbooks the paper is quite thinner and is not as good quality as before as it has lost the glaze that makes writing and drawing such a pleasure as the ink glides on the paper… alas!

Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook Large
Fountain Pen: Platinum Carbon Pen
Ink: De Atramentis Document Black Ink
Watercolours: Ultramarine & Burnt Sienna

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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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