Some day we shall look back on this dark era of agriculture
and shake our heads.
How could we have ever believed
that it was a good idea to grow our food with poisons?
— Jane Goodall
Here is my beloved mountain of Rigaud, from another point of view. I have drawn this mountain many times and I have included the links to my previous posts… in summer, fall, & winter and I am planning on painting it this spring as this is the only season that is missing. Usually I paint “live” meaning that I am in front of the subject, most of the time sitting in my car. Today I decided to use a reference photograph instead of painting it live in my kitchen-studio and as you can see, the “optical consistency” of my painting is off. There is a very good, lengthy and theoretical explanation for this on the Handprint Blog. What it means is that my background watercolour paints are too diluted in the spruce near the road and the curb of the arms are too intense in comparison. This is what happens when you do not paint “live” in my point of view… your paintings are a bit off. There is a very good explanation by John Ruskin, who had an exhibit at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa last year that was outstanding.
“The one thing that you have to learn — the one power truly called that of painting, is to lay on any coloured substance, whatever its consistency may be, at once, of the correct tint you want, in the exact form you want, and in the exact quantity you want. That is painting.” — John Ruskin.
Voici la montagne de Rigaud que j’aime tant. Je l’ai peinte plusieurs fois, l’été, l’automne et l’hiver et ce printemps je vais y aller car c’est la seule saison qui me manque. La plupart du temps je peins “live” ce qui veut dire que je suis en avant de mon sujet, habituellement assise dans mon char. Mais aujourd’hui j’ai pris une photo et je l’ai peinte de mon studio-cuisine pendant la soirée… et ma peinture est “off”. Le densité de mes peintures n’est pas correcte et il y a une bonne explication, qui est longue et théorique sur le site de Handprint.
Paper: Travelogue Handbook 8″ x 8″
Colours: Hensa Medium, Raw Sienna, Raw Umber, Alizarin Crimson & French Ultramarine
Fountain Pen: Platinum Desk Pen EF DP1000AB
Ink: Noodlers’ Lexington Grey
Reference Photograph Location: Rigaud, Québec, Canada
‘Let two persons go out for a walk; the one a good sketcher, the other having no taste of the kind. Let them go down a green lane. There will be a great difference in the scene as perceived by the two individuals. The one will see a lane and trees; he will perceive the trees to be green, though he will think nothing about it; he will see that the sun shines, and that it has a cheerful effect; and that’s all! But what will the sketcher see? His eye is accustomed to search into the cause of beauty, and penetrate the minutest parts of loveliness. He looks up, and observes how the showery and subdivided sunshine comes sprinkled down among the gleaming leaves overhead, till the air is filled with the emerald light. He will see here and there a bough emerging from the veil of leaves, he will see the jewel brightness of the emerald moss and the variegated and fantastic lichens, white and blue, purple and red, all mellowed and mingled into a single garment of beauty. Then come the cavernous trunks and the twisted roots that grasp with their snake-like coils at the steep bank, whose turfy slope is inlaid with flowers of a thousand dyes. Is not this worth seeing? Yet if you are not a sketcher you will pass along the green lane, and when you come home again, have nothing to say or to think about it, but that you went down such and such a lane.’
To read John Ruskin’s book on drawing — free online — see:
This is another line study drawing that we had to do when I was a student in graphic arts… we did alot of these as we had no computers in those days, and everything that we did was freehand — I miss those days of holding your breath so that the line stayed beautifully straight… or wavy… or curly… or scratchy. If not, you had to start over… and of course this exercise was an exercise with “no” straight lines, and you would think that it was a relief to do, but to continuously draw with jittery lines was a struggle for me!
Voici un autre dessin que j’ai fait quand j’étais étudiante en graphisme. Dans ces années-là, nous n’avions pas d’ordinateur, et tout devait être fait à la main. Soit que notre trait devait être totalement droit, et nous arrêtions de respirer pour le faire, sinon nous devions le refaire! Et pour cet exercice, le contraire était demandé… aucune ligne droite et croyez-le ou non, c’est énervant de dessiner sans avoir aucune ligne droite -)))
… one day on the road to Norwood, I noticed a bit of ivy round a thorn stem, which seemed, even to my critical judgment, not ill ‘composed’; and proceeded to make a light and shade pencil study of it in my grey paper pocketbook, carefully, as if it had been a bit of sculpture, liking it more and more as I drew. When it was done, I saw that I had virtually lost all my time since I was twelve years old, because no one had ever told me to draw what was really there!
— John Ruskin, Artist & Observer
So the apple today was there on the table for me to draw… with a graphite pencil. I am trying to figure out how to draw in pencil and as I was perusing Ruskin’s book, and looking closely at his drawings, I can see that his lines are often parallel with some distance between them. So this is my pencil practice. I also tried applying what he says in his quote “to really draw what is there”.
Aujourd’hui cette pomme était sur la table de cuisine, et c’est elle que j’ai dessinée, au crayon graphite. En regardant les dessins à la mine de John Ruskin, j’ai remarqué que ses dessins au crayon sont souvent faits avec des lignes distancées et parallèles. Donc voici ma pratique au crayon. J’ai essayé d’appliquer ce que Ruskin dit: de vraiment dessiner ce qui est là”.
Paper: Moleskine Sketchbook 8″x5″
Pencil: Graphite 6B and HB
Location: Rigaud, Québec